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Goldman Sachs' public relations offensive

May 25, 2012: 9:40 AM ET

Welcome to Twitter, Goldman Sachs! The above tweet is how @GoldmanSachs announced its entrance to the Twittersphere on Thursday and by Friday morning, the account had racked up more than 10,741 followers.

Goldman Sachs (GS) timed the launch of its Twitter account to coincide with its annual shareholder meeting, which turned out to be fairly uneventful. CEO Lloyd Blankfein's $12.4 million pay package was approved by more than 94% of shareholders.

The Twitter feed launch is just one part of Goldman's new public relations offensive.

In early March, the firm hired Jake Siewert,  a veteran of the public relations departments of the U.S. Treasury Department, the Clinton White House and Alcoa (AA), as its new head of PR. And for the past month, Siewert has been holding town hall style meetings at Goldman Sachs' Manhattan headquarters to walk employees through the firm's new strategy.

At one recent meeting, Siewert laid out his vision for a more open and friendly Goldman Sachs. He told the firm's lawyers that Goldman Sachs could no longer stick to doing its work behind a curtain. Siewert said Goldman must find ways to define itself to the public and become more proactive about doing so, according to an employee attending the meeting.

A company spokesperson confirmed details of the meeting.

Siewert spoke of the difficult task the firm faces in rebuilding its credibility in the wake of the financial crisis and from the recent scathing op-ed by an ex-employee .

That meeting was held May 10.

One day later, JPMorgan's (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon announced that his firm's traders lost at least $2 billion from bad bets, and Goldman Sachs quickly lost its crown as Wall Street's most vilified bank.

Even with a rapidly growing following on Twitter, Goldman Sachs' official feed has a long way to go to catch up to its elevators' anonymous Twitter feed. @GSElevator's account supposedly and often mockingly chronicles what's been said and heard on the banks' elevators. That account has more than 262,000 followers and 704 tweets.

So far, @GoldmanSachs has only three tweets.

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Maureen Farrell
Maureen Farrell
Staff writer, CNNMoney

Maureen Farrell is a staff writer at CNNMoney and covers Wall Street, banking, mergers and the stock and bond markets. Prior to joining CNNMoney, she covered venture capital and entrepreneurs for Forbes, and mergers and bankruptcy for Mergermarket and Debtwire, both divisions of the Financial Times.

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