In CorporateWorld, when trouble pops up and things get sticky, CEOs don’t wring their hands and try to dodge the issue. No-sir-ee, the chief gets paid the big bucks to step forward confidently and seize control… by ringing up the company’s PR consultants and having them try to dodge the issue.
Jeff Bezos, Amazon Inc.’s boss, is an expert at this. The uber-rich online marketing colossus has been hit with a long string of exposés about the corporation’s nasty practices. From profiteering as a flagrant tax dodger and predatory killer of independent, local businesses to running a massive network of publicly subsidized warehouses with sweatshop labor, Amazon’s carefully-crafted image as a “cool” company is, well, getting fried in negative headlines and online chatter.
Thus, Bezos (known for thinking outside the cage), has hired a flock of tweety birds to counter the negativity. They are former warehouse workers who now tweet full-time about how absolutely wonderful those warehouse jobs are. The tweeters tell us that air circulation in the warehouses is “very good;” in a 10-hour shift, they assure us, lucky workers get not one, but two 30-minute breaks; and they’re even allowed bathroom breaks (within reason, of course).
Bezos has given his Twitter testifiers the title of Amazon “ambassadors,” and each of their Twitter accounts is branded to look alike, topped with the corporation’s happy smile logo. It’s claimed that the tweeters are not scripted or told what to write — but you can bet every tweet is monitored by corporate supervisors. And note that Amazon won’t let reporters interview any of them.
As Sen. Bernie Sanders said of this PR gimmick: “If Amazon actually paid all its workers a living wage and treated them with dignity, they would not have to pay dozens of people to tweet all day.”
This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.