We PR bloggers are in a unique situation. On the one hand we feel it our responsibility to point out how some companies are failing to fully embrace the world of online media and such. Sometimes we do that in the form of blog posts, sometimes it’s on things like Twitter where there’s a conversation going on.
But on the other hand I think there’s a certain amount of empathizing that needs to occur before we take a company to task publicly. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes for 30 seconds (you might call that putting yourself in a 30-second spot, but then Jaffe would have to slap you) and think about how you would feel if your client were the one about to be trashed. Wouldn’t you appreciate a quick email if someone was having a problem? I know I would – and have.
I think it’s important that we remember, as our reliance on web-based services increases, that problems and hiccups are going to occur. Gmail will go down. Newsgator will occasionally eat some feeds. Twitter might not update immediately. We all throw out little comments – more like heads-up alerts than anything, and lately especially on Twitter – when something goes down. When these things happen we have three options:
1) Go get a cup of coffee and wait it out
2) If we think it’s a serious problem we can use the contact form on the website
3) If we know they have a community evangelist out there in the…ummm…community we could contact them
4) Blog about every single outage like we’re the only person to whom the company should be answerable
I usually choose #1. If I know a person who fits the #3 bill I might do that. But I try not to resort to #4 unless things have not gone well with the other options.
I wouldn’t want my clients getting trashed over what are, essentially, growing pains (or stupid happenings – hey, it’s software). I therefore try not to do that because I can imagine how lousy I would feel. Plus I wouldn’t want to do that to the people I know. Jeremy and I seem to be in agreement on this point based on his comment. I just think it’s more polite to everyone involved to handle this privately first before publicly embarrassing a company and its agents, but that’s just me.