Pitchforks and Torches 2.0

We’ve had several examples of the social media tools du jour being used to propagate outrage at an incredible rate. Too fast for organizations that are actually paying attention to respond quickly enough for the people concerned about the issue. A couple examples:

And that’s just this week!

Both issues were genuine concerns for the public and each company’s customers. Both corporations have responded via policy, PR and online. And yet the online world, with the epicenter on Twitter, created a great hue and cry with incredulity that neither company had responded to the issue within an hour or two of them going big time on Twitter. If these topics had just stayed on Twitter it might be such a big deal but they were quickly was covered by blogs, online news sites and eventually the national media.

Corporations, even those that live online such as Amazon, simply can’t respond that fast even if their culture and policies would ultimately do the right thing.

Something must change to defuse these kinds of issues. Asking Twitter users to give the companies some time to respond is highly unlikely to work! Therefore, the solutions has to lie within the company. Overall, organizations will have to improve how the speed with which they react and engage online even if they don’t have a formal response yet.

The process may go something like this: Listen -> Identify Issue -> Engage and Acknowledge via SocMed -> Determine Action or Response -> Communicate Decision -> Enact Change -> Communicate Impact of Change.

The trick: all of that up to Engage and Acknowledge needs to happen the same day and the rest following very shortly thereafter. The question to consider with your senior team: how can you prepare your organization to react this fast to emergent issues online?

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