Health Inc.

Osteopaths' Group Lures Media With Twitter Gifts

Ask anybody who knows us, we love Twitter. So you don't have to pay us to follow you, just tweet interesting things, OK?

Now that we've got that out of the way, let's talk about the American Osteopathic Association. We just got a mailing from the medical group that promised us a $10 iTunes gift card in exchange for following the group's Twitter feed just for the media. That offer is a new one on us and something that rubs us the wrong way.

The American Osteopathic Association offers journalists $10 iTunes cards to follow the group's media i

Click on the scan of a card in the AOA mailing to see the instructions to journalists for collecting $10 iTunes gift cards. hide caption

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The American Osteopathic Association offers journalists $10 iTunes cards to follow the group's media

Click on the scan of a card in the AOA mailing to see the instructions to journalists for collecting $10 iTunes gift cards.

The AOA represents 67,000 doctors of osteopathic medicine, or DOs, who have the same privileges as MDs but subscribe to a philosophy of care dating back to the 1800s that "focuses on the unity of all body parts," as the AOA Web site explains.

The AOA promises its media feed will have all sorts of health-care news, story ideas and experts for journalists. We wouldn't know. The feed is locked until you ask for permission to join, and we're uncomfortable doing that, given the pay-to-play offer that led us there in the first place.

"What were you thinking?" we asked AOA spokesman Mike Campea. "We're just offering an incentive to follow our Twitter feed and get access to our media center," he said. "It's not asking for an article or anything."

The mailing and offer are part of "a campaign to reach out to our key media contacts," he said. "That's it."

When we checked the locked Twitter feed, it had 21 followers. Campea said most of those people were following the AOA before the mailing.

Correction: The initial version of this post said DO stands for doctor of osteopathy, but, as a commenter noted, the degree denotes a doctor of osteopathic medicine.

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