Orica : Following difficulties

A barrier to Twitter access offers no obvious pay back.

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The feature

Orica, Australia-based mining supplies and services provider, puts a barrier in the way of direct access to its Twitter account.

Orica promotes graphic links to its four social media properties (Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+) across its global site including in a ‘Connect with us’ panel in the universal rich footer. For Twitter the link launches a pop-up panel confirming @OricaLimited as the official Twitter account and inviting users either to ‘Sign in to follow this account’ giving a user name/e-mail and password or click on a button to ‘Sign in and follow @OricaLimited’, which leads to Twitter’s sign in/sign up form.

Links to the four properties are also included in a Social Media sub-section of the universal Contact Us facility. Here, users responding to the invitation to ‘Visit Orica on Twitter’ are presented with notification that ‘@Orica’s Tweets are protected’ and advised to use a ‘Follow’ button on the page that again opens Twitter’s sign in/sign up form.

The takeaway

The two different staging pages that Orica puts in the way of direct access to its Twitter page create some confusion about whether the official ‘handle’ is @Orica or @OricaLimited. But it’s the consistency with which a customs post is erected in both locations to monitor access to the account that attracts most attention. The tactic is highly unusual and what advantage Orica sees in it is hard to figure out. It’s unlikely to be trying to farm names – otherwise why offer the option to go straight to your Twitter account or create one – and if it is worried about open access to sensitive news items why is there no gatekeeper on its news release archive and LinkedIn and Google+ accounts.

The disadvantages to such a policy are much easier to envisage: it goes against the potential strength of Twitter by inhibiting its potential to spread stories quickly to a wide audience; the nightclub bouncer effect – ‘we need to approve you first’ – is off-putting, as is the impression of secretiveness that is conveyed. In the end it is also a barrier that is easily got round: a Google search produces an unrestricted link to the Twitter account – where there’s a ‘follow’ button for anyone who wants to.


Orica has asked to point out that the @orica Twitter account is not associated with the company and that its official account is @oricalimited. It has also corrected the Contact Us> Social Media link on its website to point to the official account. 25.07.2014

First published 24 July, 2014
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