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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Reputation Management: It's a Social Thing

The Web in all its incarnations (the computer, mobile, through the television) has made the world a very, very small place.

We can now connect with people near instantaneously, which means no good deed goes unblogged and no bad deed goes unwritten about. In a world of constant communication, listening and responding to anything about your company -- or you -- has become a must-do.

For instance, I had a horrific experience with Lenscrafters last week, which I Twittered out to my 400+ followers and blogged about on MySpace. That led to a series of emails and texts from people who had similar experiences. We used the mobile Web to connect and relay our message out to thousands of others (and nary one word came back from LensCrafters).

Google has made mobile communications targeting businesses even easier.

But not responding -- as LensCrafters did -- can be better than Dell's response to negative criticism. The company sent a cease-and-desist letter to a former employee who posted unhappy musings about Dell. Of course, the letter had the opposite effect, infuriating the blogosphere and causing Dell to rescind its complaint and apologize.

That has to be a bit terrifying for companies: engage, but don't engage incorrectly.

Of course, there are some basic rules for managing a crisis, which surprisingly play out exactly like you'd think: listen, don't be pretentious, host the conversation, make changes when you can.

The Web can be a frightening place if you're new to it. There are so many new technologies swirling around it's hard to keep up; however, we're finding that many of the old rules apply just the same online as they do in the real world.

By Brad at 12:39 PM | Comments (0)

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