Word of the Week: Astroturfing

Word of the Week: Astroturfing

By Word of the Week on April 23rd, 2010

Astroturfing – In this feature, we usually present a term or tool that is useful for the healthcare marketer, but astroturfing is a practice that should be avoided. Astroturfing in PR is organizing a campaign to appear as if it is a grassroots movement, when in reality the person or people advocating a cause are either paid to do so by the organization who initiated the campaign, or they are members of that organization acting anonymously or with pseudonyms. The term takes its name from AstroTurf, the fake grass that was used for some baseball fields. When a supposed grassroots effort is exposed as astroturfing, it immediately loses some (if not all) of its legitimacy, and the lack of transparency violates what many consider to be one of the unspoken rules of social media.