5 new Dallas debacles for Museum Tower's social media consultant
UPDATE: Mike Snyder has resigned from Ropewalkers, his own consulting firm.
The drama between the Museum Tower high-rise condominium versus Nasher Sculpture Center took a crazy turn on July 27, when an expose by the Dallas Morning News revealed deceptive online practices by the Museum Tower's PR team.
According to the story (behind a paywall), former Channel 5 anchorman Mike Snyder created fake Facebook profiles to influence public perception about Museum Tower. The tower is battling the Nasher over the sunlight it's reflecting.
Museum Tower is owned by the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System. After they hired Snyder as a media consultant, he created two phony Facebook entities: Brandon Eley and Barry Schwarz. Not only did Eley and Schwarz post critical updates on their Facebook pages, but they also ganged up in tandem on media websites such D Magazine, the Dallas Morning News and possibly even CultureMap.
"Using aliases, Snyder has frequently launched personal attacks against the media, accusing reporters of bias and dishonesty," the Dallas Morning News story says. Snyder said he created the fakes to offset all the negativity toward Museum Tower.
On July 29, the fallout began: Dallas City Councilman Scott Griggs wrote to the pension's board of trustees, calling for an overhaul of their legal and PR campaign. Architectural Record weighed in. And the Nasher released a statement expressing its disappointment that the Museum Tower wasted its time on "negative and fraudulent publicity" instead of solving the problem.
Five causes for a social media whiz
It seems beyond comprehension that anyone who calls himself a media consultant would devise such a dim-witted plan. Even more incomprehensible is the fact that an organization would buy into it – if for no other reason than the fact that fake comments and bogus profiles are so 2008.
Besides, the Museum Tower-Nasher debacle seems headed inevitably for litigation. Snyder ought to find other causes where he can use his old-school sock puppet ways. We have a list of suggestions.
1. The long wait times at Pecan Lodge.
Create a Twitter account called "BBQBob" and use it to protest the lines at Pecan Lodge, the ultra-hot barbecue spot at the Dallas Farmers Market, where the wait on weekend mornings is 90 minutes-plus. BBQBob could pelt Pecan Lodge owners Diane and Justin Fourton with demands to be first in line every Saturday. He could go on Chowhound and claim that the brisket has gone downhill since the restaurant's feature on Diners Drive-ins and Dives.
2. The construction traffic on LBJ.
Who doesn't hate the horrendous traffic jams caused by the endless construction of the LBJ Express? But echoing the universal complaints would not reflect Snyder's style. The Museum Tower way would be to counteract the construction's downside. He could create a Facebook profile called John Q. Commuter, crowing about what a great opportunity the LBJ parking lot provides for texting, quiet time and getting away from the family.
3. Tony Romo cheering squad.
Under-performing yet overpaid – sounds like a Snyder project. He could launch a petition to get the poor QB a raise.
4. Revive MySpace.
The first-generation social media site has been dropping out of favor for at least five years. That makes it perfect Snyder fodder. He should create a fake band called A Night at the Museum, with music clips "borrowed" from JT.
5. Prank the fire department.
Calling the Dallas Fire Department and reporting false fires seems only slightly less juvenile than creating dummy Facebook accounts.