Timeshare, Twittering, Retweets and the New AP Guidelines

Last week the Associate Press issued over 6 pages of guidelines for retweeting … 6 pages outlining how journalists should write or retweet the 140-character messages that Twitter carries. Had it been a tweet itself, the new AP Guidelines for Retweets would have run over the Twitter character limit by some 13,000 characters!

With the AP’s release, a hailstorm of Twitter-fire immediately ensued.

You see, the Associated Press was not only trying to coach journalists on how to appropriately include their opinions in their Tweets, it was also attempting to rewrite Twitter’s style protocol, saying:

Retweets, like tweets, should not be written in a way that looks like you’re expressing a personal opinion on the issues of the day. A retweet with no comment of your own can easily be seen as a sign of approval of what you’re relaying.”

The new AP Twitter Guidelines for Retweets recommends that journalists separate the tag “RT” from the name of the account they are retweeting by including their own comments in between the two. The report uses the following example:

Instead of: RT @jonescampaign smith’s policies would destroy our schools

The new AP Guidelines call for: RT Jones campaign now denouncing smith on education:  @jonescampaign smith’s policies would destroy our schools

Critics of the guidelines pointed out that Twitter’s style protocol is Twitter’s to define and is not up to the Associated Press to rewrite or dictate.

The AP report then goes on to say, “Everyone who works for AP must be mindful that opinions he or she expresses may damage the AP’s reputation as an unbiased source of news.”

One can respect what the new AP Guidelines are attempting to do. Yet in a skeptical world, perhaps only the media itself still clings to the ideal of an unbiased media. Others have long ago lost any notion that journalists or the agencies they represent can present content that is free from a reflection of their personal experiences, opinions, and interpretations.

Timeshare and the Tools of Twitter

Search Twitter for “timeshare” or “#timeshare” and it is clear that how the industry and consumers are treating timesharing in the Twitterscape takes many different forms.

Some timeshare companies, including @BluegreenTweets @WelkResorts and @Innseason (to name only a few), do a wonderful job of tweeting a steady stream of event updates at or near Bluegreen timeshare resorts; Welk Resorts, and InnSeason Resorts. Ironically, they rarely if ever include the word “timeshare” in their tweets.

Other notable timeshare tweeters include @marriottvacclub, that mixes Marriott Vacation Club resort news, events, and customer service responses via their Twitter communications.

As an industry, timeshares and vacation ownership clearly don’t have all the fine points of twitter worked out. Sadly, the twitter stream is awash with spammy tweets about timeshare and promises to rescue, save, salvage, heal, and liberate timeshare owners from their timeshares.

But the timeshare industry, much like the Associated Press, can’t issue an ultimatum saying: “Everyone affiliated with timeshares must be mindful that opinions he or she expresses may damage the reputation of vacation ownership as a great option for memorable family vacations.”

Timeshare Companies are not Helpless; We have Options

As recently spearheaded by ARDA and VacationBetter.org, the reliable, legitimate, and dedicated companies of the timeshare industry have to make Twitter and other social media platforms “awash” with the true and positive message of timesharing. We have to encourage and inspire timeshare owners and renters to communicate their message as happy owners and happy renters.

We have to post the positive statistics of our industry, which have an immensely high owner satisfaction rate. We have to tell how timeshares make a vacation lifestyle possible for millions and share the positive impact our industry has on economies at  many levels.

The real truth of timeshares won’t be unbiased, because those who love it, often do so with great passion, but it will be sincere and it is a message that desperately needs to be told, retold, tweeted, posted, retweeted and shared.

You’ll find our tweets at @vacationhotdeal.