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Second Thoughts on Dunkin' Donuts, Pizza Hut and Social Media

I recently praised Dunkin' Donuts new "Dunkin' Run" program, a web site and iPhone application that helps coordinate coffee-and-donut runs among friends or colleagues, but perhaps I was too hasty. Apparently the iPhone application has an average rating of only two stars -- and you can't register from the iPhone itself.

Furthermore, The Big Money reports, "the registration process is too invasive. Why does a donut company need to know my address and my mother's maiden name?" I still think Dunkin Run is a great concept, but it looks like there are some bugs that need to be worked out.

I also might have been a bit too enthusiastic in my support for hiring 22-year-olds to run company Twitter accounts. While the Pizza Hut intern I mentioned seems to be doing a stellar job and keeping it professional, other companies have not been so lucky.

An intern for a London home-furnishing company tried to get hits by using key words related to Iran, even though the tweets had nothing to do with what was going on there. This was basically equivalent to spamming people who were seeking info on Iran, and the company had to do damage control and issue an apology. So while young people may know how to handle Twitter and other forms of social media, companies better make sure the people they hire also know how to handle a brand.

In other social media news, Starbucks leads the pack in social media index rankings for restaurants, followed by Subway, McDonald's and KFC. The rankings come from the marketing firm Vitrue, whose chief executive also said that the term "Starbucks" appears online more than the word "coffee."