What To Do When The Internet Hates You

After facing the business end of an internet shitstorm this week, here’s tips for companies finding themselves in similar situations.

Apologize early, and often. Post that apology on your site and in the main forums where you’re being discussed. Don’t just say “oops,” express true contrition.
Change. Listen to your critics. Parse out the good suggestions. Incorporate the best in your new ways. Announce them publicly, and quickly.
Go to their living room. Jump into the forums where you’re being criticized most heavily. Respond to questions, and clarify previous statements. Speak in reasonable, measured tones. This strengthens your position, and divides the extremists and moderates who will begin to eat each other.
Know when to shutup. After certain point, you’ve said all that can be said and anything thereafter can and will be used against you. So, shhh…. Stop pouring gas on the fire.
Read poetry. Some will never believe your apology, or look on your change of heart with suspicion (It doesn’t help if you made snarky comments when people entreated you to alter course before…). Take solace in Emerson, who wrote, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.”
Try not to suck again.


[Photo: decaf]

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