Do you remember when Pennies From Heaven was a top song by Bing Crosby? Probably not—that was way back in 1936. What about the August 4, 2002 fire on the Statendam? No? Well how about the sinking of the Concordia? Chances are that you don’t recall the first two items—they were so long ago. The Concordia is still very recent and raw for us in the industry, but for most, it has fallen off the radar. As technology continues to improve and deliver news in a near real-time format, our memory and attention span is getting shorter and shorter. I venture to say in a month, the Concordia disaster will be but a fleeting blip for all except those who are directly involved.
Last week in the TRO Community, there was a conversation about how to respond to a less than flattering comment made about an agency on a brides’ forum. The agency was not called out specifically; however some self-named expert chimed in with a comment that cast a poor light on that, and all agencies. You know what I am talking about—the guy on Cruise Critic who took one cruise and now is the penultimate expert on cruising. The TRO member was asking how to best handle the situation. Answers ranged from posting a rebuttal (against that particular forum’s rules), to having a friend post a flattering comment, to asking the administrator to remove it. The one answer that did not come up right away is probably the best—ignore it!
While it seems foreign to ignore it when someone picks a fight, it does make sense in many cases. Information and news today is broadcast on an endless ticker tape. With few exceptions, as soon as “important information” falls off the ticker, it’s likely forgotten by 90% of those who saw it. In a week it will be completely erased. And like the figurative ticker, most news sources today are literally arranged like a ticker where the older news falls off the page as soon as something better comes along.
To add more commentary, simply brings the old news to the forefront once again and stirs up old wounds. Unless something is legally slanderous or libelous (and you plan to take action), I am convinced that your best bet is to let it go.
And if a client digs up that old thread and questions it, it is the perfect opportunity to explain one-on-one what happened (or didn’t) and why you chose to handle it as you did. Online is rarely the place you want to get into a shouting match. While the memory of the consumer will fade, the memory of Google and Bing rarely does.
As I wrote this column, many were mourning the death of Whitney Houston. Apparently a photo of her in a casket leaked to the National Enquirer. According to Perez Hilton (OK cut me some slack so I can make a point), Houston’s family certainly had a solid case to go after the photographer, but instead they decided to let it go. Smart move!