If you’re hooked anywhere into the blogosphere or twitterville, then you’ve probably caught some of the heated discussion about Forrester’s new blogging policy. As a result, I’ve received a lot of nice messages from people showing their support for this (my personal) blog. So, I want to start by saying thank you to everyone.
You’re probably waiting for me to make some profound statement about my support or opposition to the new blogging policy which will fuel a new round of tweets. Sorry to disappoint you. I have a policy about not commenting on Forrester’s policies. I find it to be my best policy.
What I am going to comment on is what other companies can learn about this situation. Not about the policy itself, but about the aftermath from the policy. So here are some of the lessons for companies:
- Assume everyone will find out. The thought that somehow you can make a major or controversial decision without people finding out is naïve. As you are making decisions, assume that everyone will find out. So factor it into the decisions that you make and the way that you communicate those decisions.
- Don’t get bullied by the crowd. From my very unofficial count, there are significantly more negative than positive comments about Forrester’s new policy. But that doesn’t matter. Companies can’t get overly swayed by volume; social media has a way of amplifying some positions over others.
- Pick your battles wisely. Social media provides an outlet for lots of people to share their thoughts and opinions. So you can almost always find people that disagree with your actions or decisions. If you try to rebuff all of them, then you’ll find yourself swimming upstream — and likely looking pretty silly along the way.
- Be open and honest. The comments about Forrester’s policy came from a range of people — Forrester followers, clients, competitors, employees, ex-employees, etc. So any attempt to “spin” the facts can be dangerous; many people with different insights are prepared to pick apart every word you write.
- Don’t overly obsess about social media. I’ve written a lot about voice of the customer (VoC) programs, which are a key ingredient for customer experience efforts. These VoC programs need to treat social media as one of many listening posts, which in many cases may not be as valuable as other customer-direct listening posts like calls into the call centers and comments on surveys.
The bottom line: Be smart about social media.