What's this blog really about?

You may notice a variety of topics here - from business, to charity promotion, even to local news, but the primary reason this blog was created was to alert readers to the hostile atmosphere and sexual harassment at The Danville Register & Bee. The readers and creator of this blog want a FULL FRONT PAGE apology in the Danville Register & Bee, plus the disciplining of those individuals involved. Until then, we'll continue to post regular updates. To tolerate THIS kind of behavior by a major media network is intolerable. And this isn't just ONE instance. Media General has been sued nationwide for racism and sexism, yet they CONTINUE to keep the offenders employed. Why? And why am I doing this? TRUTH compels me.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Get onboard the CLUE Train Register & Bee....

First of all, thanks to all those who have written with support and encouragement about this blog. I'm pleased to say that even Al Tompkins at The Poynter Institute has acknowledged that blogs like this are the direction the country is moving in. I told him that six months ago when I sent him the link, but now that popular writers and other sources are whipping the band wagon into a trot he's on board. He wrote:

2009 Marks the Arrival of Feedback 3.0
I am a fan of a site called TrendWatching.com. From "rough luxury" to clothing that is designed for gadget users, the site defines megatrends that are emerging in business. One trend, called Feedback 3.0, really caught my eye and sent my mind racing.

The site identifies the history of feedback as:

* FEEDBACK 1.0 (one of those early Web phenomena) saw outraged individuals posting scathing reviews, feedback and complaints, often to the delight of other netizens. Brands remained unaware or chose not to listen, dismissing these outbursts the way they'd dismissed any kind of customer dissatisfaction for decades.
* FEEDBACK 2.0 (which we're in right now) is about these rants -- and some raves -- having gone 'mass' (no, make that MASS!). The long-predicted conversation is finally taking place, albeit amongst consumers and not, as intended, between corporations and consumers. Companies have started to take note, but to a large degree still choose to listen, not talk back, trying to 'learn' from the for-all-to-see review revolution. Which is surprising, to say the least, since a quick and honest reply or solution can defuse even the most damaging complaint.
* FEEDBACK 3.0 (which is building as we speak) will be all about companies joining the conversation, if only to get their side of the story in front of the mass audience that now scans reviews. Expect smart companies to be increasingly able (and to increasingly demand) to post their apologies and solutions, preferably directly alongside reviews from unhappy customers. Expect the same for candid rebuttals by companies who feel (and can prove) that a particular review is unfair or inaccurate, and want to share their side of the story.

As the website The ClueTrain Manifesto points out, companies that do not listen to and engage the audience/customers miss out because:

1. People in networked markets have figured out that they get far better information and support from one another than from vendors. So much for corporate rhetoric about adding value to commoditized products.
2. There are no secrets. The networked market knows more than companies do about their own products. And whether the news is good or bad, they tell everyone.

Trendwatching.com goes on to show examples of emerging Feedback 3.0 in action:

* Tripadvisor's management response feature allows representatives of hotels, restaurants and attractions to respond to reviews written about their properties. Local business review site Yelp allows business owners to manage their own page with detailed information, and lets them respond privately to reviewers. The latter is also offered by product ratings and reviews provider Bazaarvoice, which allows owners direct contact with posters of negative reviews. HomeAway, the vacation rentals marketplace, has an owner-response feature that allows property owners to publicly post in response to reviews.
* There's also a self-organized 'right of reply': we've argued (for years, really) that setting up one's own conversation Web site for customers is the most amazing way to prevent damning reviews from popping up all over. It's been happening for quite a while on sites like Dell Ideastorm and My Starbucks Idea, where anyone can post suggestions, with Dell and Starbucks actually replying for all to see. Starbucks also Twitters about the latest happenings on My Starbucks Idea. Two conversation-expert firms that can get you started with this kind of FEEDBACK 3.0 are Feedback 2.0 and Salesforce Ideas, which powers Dell and Starbucks.
* Also, check out GM Facts and Fiction, a theoretically interesting approach by GM to tackling the many 'myths' about the company and its current problems. Pity they don't allow for any kind of real conversation… Last time we checked, the comments feature was turned off.

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