Journal Archives

  1. [For background on #AmazonFAIL, see my article at the Women’s Media Center, and this post from yesterday.]

    Amazon is blaming their PR nightmare on their French brethren. While this still sounds sort of suspicious to me — it reeks of, “I totally have a girlfriend; you just haven’t met her because she lives in FRANCE” — I’ll run with it for the sake of the teaching moment that we have. Let me sooth my own inner conspirist, though, by saying that I find it extremely bizarre that this swath of books were all taken down together, at the same time.

    So, you’re a global corporate giant, and you’ve got a PR nightmare on your hands. You learn quickly that the storming of your castle is happening on social networks and media like Twitter and Facebook. If you’re looking to make the situation exponentially worse, here’s what you should do:

    • Stay silent. You know that you have a corporate blog, and a Twitter feed, and pages on Facebook, but you should ignore them. People aren’t there to talk to you, they’re there to wait patiently for your pearls of wisdom when you deem it time to do so. Preferably wait at least 36 hours before making any kind of statement.
    • Go old-school. When you’ve finally got something to say, choose old PR strategies and apply them to new media. Get your entire communications team to talk to “authoritative” voices that the masses will clearly listen to, and be quieted by.
    • Make it up. Don’t know have any control over your inner situation, or have any idea what’s happening? Come up with a really flimsy excuse, like, I don’t know, a “glitch.” Your consumer base, especially the sector that’s raving luny, is clearly not savvy enough to understand the complicated nature of your big business. Don’t admit, ever, that you are not 100% in control of the situation.

    There ya have it. And for you folks working the #sorryamazon hashtag? Please. Don’t let those jokers off the hook so easily. This is a  giant FAIL on the part of Amazon– everyone makes mistakes (though again, mistakes that affect LGBT, feminist and disability-themed books? I don’t know), but there are a myriad of things Amazon could have done to remedy the ripple effect.

  2. Please go read xkcd. Hilarious.

    Yesterday, Allyson Kapin of Rad Campaign and Women Who Tech pointed to the supposed Ten Commandments of Twitter and wondered how many we agreed with. Me? Some, I guess, but it got me thinking first about Twitter etiquette (Twitterquette? sounds like a dessert or a lawn game), and then other old and new netiquette issues.

    It’s fascinating to watch unspoken rules evolve in new social systems over time, and then curmudgeonly frustrating when someone tries to write them down. I can see how religions all over the world got themselves into trouble early on. “Wait, when he said ‘honor thy father and mother,’ does that mean I have to go over for dinner every Sunday? Seriously?” I admire the TenCommandments dude for giving it a shot, but… yeah. Telling people how to act is going to irritate some of the people some of the time.

    It’s curious to me because I’m a firm believer in using the tools however best you see fit, whatever fits your info-digestion style. Me, I use Twitter mostly to follow people I know in person (I’m training myself to finally stop saying “in real life,” btw, since it’s all real life), and a little bit to get breaking news. It’s been indicated to me in a passive way that I’m not participating in good Twitter karma by following everyone that follows me. There’s even an app that will check your mutual status called Twitter Karma. It’s a bogus “rule” slowly being imposed on a nascent system of social transactions.

    It reminds me of 1994, when if you didn’t link back to someone in your little HTML page of family photos, there was bad blood between you after that. People, people, people! Come on. First of all, we’re all adults here. I see people I’m close with, that I’m following, that are not following me back. I know there’s a 99% chance it’s because I tweet too much for their diet, or their community, and I can understand that. (In fact, I’m going to have to clean out some high-volume tweeters this weekend myself.) The point is not for me to thus impose a new rule to counteract the karma rule, but to ask people to live and let live.

    We all have different styles of communicating, yes? This is a point we can agree on? In fact, when I’m doing trainings and workshops on using new tools, it’s one of my main points: don’t let anyone else tell you how best to use the tool. Sure, you can take suggestions or follow someone’s lead. I’ve showed people how to use Twitter just to read news feeds, or just to know what their friends are up to, or to stay on top of tech trends.

    In the end, social rules are going to evolve no matter what I say (le sigh, my power is not yet infinite and cosmic), and it’s going to be fun to watch these new sets play out. It’s kinda funny that, even after 20 years, you can still make a major social faux pax by not emailing someone back. We come up with all kinds of reasons in our little overactive brains: “she’s pissed at something I said,” “she never got the email,” “he never really loved me.” Maybe they just… forgot.

  3. A discussion on the WIPT (Women in Progressive Technology) list earlier prompted me to start a little informal survey of two categories of nonprofit workers: tech folk, and communications people. It’s so hard to figure out what reasonable salaries or rates are to ask for these days, especially when many of our for-profit counterparts are jumping onboard to ride the next wave of tech speculation and investment, haha. So, in the comments, please let us know anonymously:

    1. if you’re a techie or a communicator
    2. your job title
    3. your city/locale
    4. your responsibilities
    5. your compensation. include if you get killer benefits and stuff like that, too.

    The comments ask you to leave a name and email address. It’s just for moderation purposes; if you put a name in, that’ll show up, but your email address won’t. The URL will hyperlink the name you enter. None of the info you give will be shared with anyone for anything. A bunch of us are just dead-curious as to what’s happening out there.

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