When an employee of New Media Strategies dropped the f-bomb in a tweet from client Chrysler's Twitter account March 9, it might have been chalked up to one of those things that can happen to someone on a bad day. Instead, Chrysler decided not to renew its contract with the agency.
There's a lot of noise around this situation that focuses on the language used rather than the message. In the end, I think that the situation (handled properly) would have been no harm if the use of the f-bomb was the only problem. But the larger point from Chrysler's perspective is the negative sentiment to their home city, one they have trying to overcome with the Eminem ads and the "Imported from Detroit" tagline – the offending tweet was NOT the message Chrysler is trying to put across.
From my perspective, the even bigger problem is that Chrysler doesn't use its own voice, but an agency with its Twitter presence – sorry, but I don't see that as engaging in a conversation, nor do I see it as an authentic presence in social media. Social media/PR/marcomms agencies may be great at helping you set up a socmed strategy and presence, but they are a lousy proxy in a relationship – intermediaries just get in the way of hearing and being heard. Is that a lesson that companies STILL haven't learnt about social networks?