Early Use of Social Media Draws National Attention

One of Tricom’s cutting-edge uses of social media was our work for the United Steelworkers when the union was engaged in a labor dispute with the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. The USW was deeply concerned about Goodyear’s use of replacement workers, especially in light of a study that showed the replacement workers may have been responsible for producing faulty tires at another company that had led to deadly accidents on Ford Explorers.

Tricom opened a YouTube channel for the Steelworkers with a 30-second video of a crashing car, accompanied by a narrative about the study, suggesting the same danger might arise if Goodyear continued to use replacement workers. The YouTube video was viewed by tens of thousands online and caught the attention of The Wall Street Journal, which ran a story about the Steelworkers’ innovative approach to influencing public opinion during the labor dispute.

An Associated Press story also ran in papers around the country.

Equally important, it got the attention of Goodyear’s negotiators, who reached agreement with the striking Steelworkers and demanded that the first step the union take once the agreement was ratified was to remove the YouTube video – rare evidence of the power of social media to influence public opinion, not to mention Tricom’s success in publicizing its clients’ messages.