Do I point out Tuscaloosa Toyota’s faux pas?

Tuscaloosa Toyota has signs up asking people to “follow us” on facebook when Facebook, the Web site, doesn’t use followers. It uses “friends” and “fans.”

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I’ve reached the mid-point of Spring Break.  While I absolutely love my students and what I do, it’s nice to take a break and get re-charged.   Speaking of re-charging, I’m at Tuscaloosa Toyota today to have my car serviced.

I noticed when I arrived a new sign on the door saying “follow us on facebook for contests and prizes”

I thought, ‘wow, Toyota is getting in on the Facebook craze like everyone else.’  But, then as I am sitting here waiting for my car, I thought– DOES Facebook have followers now like Twitter?

As one who teaches social media as part of journalism and mass media classes, I try to make sure my students use the right lingo for the particular outlet that they’re employing.

A sure sign of a newbie or novice is one who uses the wrong lingo for the outlet he or she is employing.  Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are all social media outlets.  But, they have differences in the language and terms of use.

I just looked around to see if this is a common social media faux pas.  There is a list. But, this wasn’t on it?   Maybe I’m wrong or over-analyzing this sign?

Facebook works based on friends.   You can also become a “fan” of a particular page or group.

But, you only follow someone on Twitter.  Some people brag about the number of “followers” they have.

So, telling your customer to “follow us on Facebook” is like mixing up the two social media sites.

Tuscaloosa Toyota should change its sign in TWO ways:

1) facebook should be capitalized as it is a proper reference.

The trademark brand is the only time you show the word lowercase.  Even on its own site, Facebook refers to itself with a capitalized word.   A “facebook” is actually a book with headshots of people.

2) the sign should say “Become our fan on Faceboook”  or “Join our growing number of Facebook fans for contests and prizes”

OK– should I just take off my copyediting hat?  Should I not think like  a teacher or one who would grade a student’s promotional campaign?

Or, should I find the marketing person here at dealership on Skyland Boulevard and suggest they make new stickers with this correction?

I just checked the dealership’s Web site and there’s no evidence of a Twitter account on its homepage.

Hey, Tuscaloosa Toyota has historically been one of the highest volume dealerships in the state and region.  So, shouldn’t they be flawless in their lingo/language with their social media strategy?

Have I become part of the social media police?

Author: George Daniels

George L. Daniels is an associate professor of journalism at the University of Alabama. After spending eight years in the local television newsroom working as a producer at stations in Richmond, Virginia; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Atlanta, Georgia, Daniels moved from the newsroom to the classroom. He’s conducted research on diversity issues in the media workplace and change in the television newsroom as well as media convergence. Before going to work in television news, Daniels worked briefly as a freelance writer for The Richmond Free Press in his hometown of Richmond, Va.

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