Lecture on Social Media Reputations

online-reputation

The lecture for this week was on reputation and how easily it can change thanks to social media.  As Justin pointed out, reputations are so dynamic because it is easy to have a say on social media.  Not only can someone have a say, but they can also promote their say as we saw in an example.  A Twitter user actually paid for one of his Tweets about British Airways to be promoted so that more people can see it.  The tweet told readers not to fly British Airways because their customer service “is horrendous.”

BAtweet

We were asked to discuss the ethical implications for this practice.  Personally, I do not have an ethical problem with this person’s decision to not only say something bad about British Airway nor do I have a problem with their decision to promote it.  To me, it’s the equivalent of standing outside a restaurant and telling people not to go in because you had a bad meal there; certainly within your right.  Further, paying to have the Tweet promoted is simply a way of exercising one’s freedom of speech in my opinion.  If political donations of astronomical amounts can be equated to freedom of speech, certainly this can too.

I also tend to agree with the lecture in terms of handling this type of situation.  The tweet needs to be dealt with just like any other through a quick response and a human acknowledgement of the issue.  British airways should look to gather more information about the customer’s experience and publicly display the fact that they are working with the customer to dissect the problem.  Complaining to Twitter is an unproductive way of handling the situation and likely will only fall of deaf ears from Twitter who seems to take no responsibility for the content posted by its users.

Other ways to address these sorts of Tweets given by the lecture include apologizing and empathizing with the customer, explaining why the even happened and what course of action you are taking to fix it.  I agree with these approaches especially if they are done in a public forum.  Acknowledging a mistake publicly and then showing that you are working to fix the problem is a great way to turn an unfortunate situation into a positive customer reputation experience.

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