In the lands of the North, where the black rocks stand guard against the cold sea, in the dark nights that are very, very long, the old men of the Northland sit around their log fires and they tell a tale…..
They tell of an unsuspecting Guardian journalist indulging in a bit of Saturday night Eurovision-baiting who aroused the fury of the Viking nation, provoking them to don their winged helmets, take up their double-bladed axes, and set sail for Bath.
Well, maybe not. But Heidi Stephens certainly caused a bit of offence when she wrote “Norway, and a young cheeky little chap called Alexander Rybak. This is the favourite, apparently … umm, sorry? He’s like a little Dickensian schoolboy with a violin and bonkers eyebrows, and it’s all very theatrical, with backing dancers in braces doing gymnastics. It’s like a stage school performance of Fiddler On the Roof. Could someone please poke him in the eye with his violin bow, please? Fairytale my ass.”
From the comfort of her sofa, and with Graham Norton quipping his way through the programme in front of her, this must have seemed perfectly reasonable. Sadly, over in Oslo, where the proud norse warriors were rejoicing for once in not getting ‘nul points’, the reaction was not what she’d have expected.
“Fairytale my ass” was reused as the headline for one of the main Norwegian daily newspapers the following day, and Ms Stephens’ blog received a large number of comments, not all of them uniformly complimentary.
Now, it hasn’t really hurt the Guardian much - sales in Bergen are much as they were before I believe - and it’s all blown over, as you’ll see from clicking on the link below. But it’s illustrative of the risks you run when dipping in to the world of web2.0.
If you, or any of your staff, are blogging, or tweeting, or whatever, with your corporate affiliation on show, then you are talking on behalf of your company as well as yourself. It’s wise, therefore, to think twice before pressing the ‘publish’ button. You don’t want the Vikings after you.