Sometimes things don’t go right. And then people talk about how not-right things are. That’s pretty much life. On the web, you can add instant global broadcasting and a “permanent record” of sorts between the Google cache and the Wayback Machines and the various site-downloaders and mirrors. How do you go about making things right?
So let’s bring this into focus: Twitter has been dealing with this exact issue of late.
Recently, the instant-message/text-message/headline-syndication tool Twitter has received some significant critical press relating to the internal workings of their technical architecture. When faced with some pretty direct questions from a pretty influential personality about why their service goes through periods of downtime pretty often, they took the time to respond to each question in a reasonable fashion.
There are some lessons in this, probably related to the Web 2.0 education post I wrote earlier, about transparency and reputation management. Here’s some thoughts on what they did:
- Timeliness: they responded publicly within one day of the critical post.
- Controlled Media: their response was posted on their own blog, giving them greater freedom in formatting and illustrating their points as well as making their message the primary focus for the discussion that follows in the comment thread. “Participating in the conversation” is great, but comment threads that are heated up to shouting level don’t really make good locations to grow your message.
- Grown-Up Voice: by responding with sincere answers to a series of questions which were, by most accounts, pretty snarky, the Twitter crew end up looking like class-acts. That’s huge branding points right there.
- Acknowledging the Problem: this one is almost always the hardest, but the most satisfying for everyone. Once everyone agrees that something isn’t right, then it’s easier for all to start focusing on fixing things.
[And if you don’t know about Twitter check out the Twitter for Real Estate or Other Business page.]