You take the good. You take the bad.

Todd

Last week, Sonia Greteman, our president and creative director, had a nice feature article in The Wichita Eagle, highlighting her outlook on a healthy work/life balance and Greteman Group’s new Altitude Attitude brand.

The afternoon the article was published, it attracted a number of positive comments – and a couple of false comments were also posted online. Being the gallant, honor-filled, truth-loving man that I am, it went against every fiber of my being to allow the rumors to go uncontested.

Fortunately, before firing off a retort, I talked it through with some members of our team. We eventually arrived at the consensus that there was very little to be gained by entering the fray.

Making this decision wasn’t easy. We didn’t want to start an online brawl. We just wanted to add our perspective to the conversation. We recognized that most people would probably never read those comments or automatically believe them, but worried about those who did.

As more and more companies enter the new media world and start paying attention to what’s being said about them, it’s going to be a constant challenge to discern when to engage and when to stay the heck away. I’m not sure there are any blanket policies that provide a simple solution, but here are three simple guidelines to keep in mind:

  1. Only deal in facts. If factual errors are leveled against your company, organization or person, address those facts logically, concisely and, when possible, with supporting evidence.
  2. Be careful when dealing with anonymous posters. If people aren’t willing to affix their name to their nasty comments, there’s a good chance fruitful, beneficial dialog isn’t going to happen. On a side note, one of the benefits of hosting your own blog is the ability to disallow anonymous commenters.
  3. Remember that opinions won’t be changed with a single, brilliant, logical, true comment. Be prepared for your thoughtful response to be met with hostility, ad hominem attacks or accusations of being an unbiased corporate stooge. When that occurs, you’ll need to evaluate again whether or not it’s worth your time and energy to respond.

So what do you think? What tips do you have for discerning when to jump in and when to stay away?

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4 Comments

  1. July 14, 2008 at 4:24 pm — Reply

    Would you make the comment in person? If not, maybe you should think twice about the way you are phrasing the comment. Just remember, once it is in the blogosphere it is out there for everyone to see.

  2. July 14, 2008 at 9:36 pm — Reply

    Transparency baby. Always disclose who you are and if you have any horses in the race, so to speak.

  3. Andrea Anglin
    July 24, 2008 at 11:54 am — Reply

    When I see something negative and factually inaccurate about Red Cross in the comments section of the paper I tend to respond. If someone posts that they just don’t like the Red Cross, I leave it alone. Everyone has an opinion.

    But if there is something out there that is not factual, I respond. I always sign my full name and give my contact info including my email and direct phone number. I’ve never had anyone actually email or call me, but I have had success in turning the tide of “comment section” opinion.

  4. TJF
    July 25, 2008 at 1:44 pm — Reply

    It’s a never ending battle.

    http://xkcd.com/386/

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You take the good. You take the bad.