Re: Tech Writing for Social Networks (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)

Subject: Re: Tech Writing for Social Networks (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)
From: Bill Swallow <techcommdood -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "Blount, Patricia A" <Patricia -dot- Blount -at- ca -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 4 Jun 2009 15:47:22 -0400

> To engage customers in the documentation process via social networks, it
> stands to reason that we'll need to develop a plan for dealing with
> complaints, criticisms, and just plain crankiness.

You have two fruitful options:
1) ignore it if it's without substance
2) turn the frown upside down if it has substance

Any other action is either a waste of your time or counter-productive.
You'll find that healthy networks tend to be self-policing.

> I think this is my biggest fear when using sites like Facebook, Twitter,
> even Techwr-L. I don't want us to simply post the party line, "Please
> contact 1-800-Support" ad infinitum. Our brand is in the customers'
> hands... one small slip-up can potentially be transmitted all over the
> web (i.e, "virally") in mere seconds, undoing years of brand
> cultivation. (shudder)

Rule #1: Don't be stupid.
Rule #2: See rule #1.


Unless you or someone in your company does something extremely
inappropriate under the umbrella of your company's brand, there's a
good chance that any slip-up will get some grumbles and then be
forgotten. The important part is to own up to any errors made. Be
genuine. And your brand is always in your customers' hands. If you
treat the social network as a social network and act like a genuine
human being and not a corporate conduit of communication, you'll be
amazed at how forgiving people will be.

> I picked up a copy of Groundswell (Charlene Li, Josh Bernoff) and am
> finding it very insightful (halfway through it). Thanks, Geoff. Your
> original post led me to it. I agree that the social sites seem better
> suited for marketing, sales and support functions that doc, but I'm sure
> if I can just stop myself from thinking solely in terms of "books," this
> whole idea has promise.

If nothing else, it's a great way to engage users/customers and really
get inside their heads and learn their true needs, not just what
they're screaming about at the time or what comes to mind when asked
out of the blue "What would you like to see in our product?".

Bill Swallow

Twitter: @techcommdood

Available for contract and full time opportunities. No, I don't do
birthday parties.

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re:Tech Writing for Social Networks (Twitter, Facebook, etc.): From: Blount, Patricia A

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