Yesterday evening, I had a great discussion about event feedback on the Internet with one of my good friends. In today’s world almost anyone has the power to post information online. Look at the latest Bigfoot hoax. Two guys went out and posted a YouTube video that turned into a media frenzy. How many hours were lost to a rubber Bigfoot costume in a freezer? If you are an event organizer you should be aware that people will comment online about your event. These comments could be positive or negative. There are steps you can take to mitigate the risk. One angry Internet comment justified or not, can turn into a public relations disaster for almost any event.
Stand By Your Critique
This part is a bit of a personal editorial. I have no issues with people who want to criticize an event. I believe that feedback, good or bad, is beneficial to every event. Event organizers should recognize that any feedback is a good feedback. But event feedback should be done responsibly. I’ve seen a disproportionately high number of ‘Anonymous’ comment criticizing events. If someone is going to criticize an event for any reason, be man or woman enough to sign your real name to the comment. In some cases the comment posted was a complete fabrication. What’s more dangerous is that you don’t even need to attend an event to make comment. Almost anyone can post a comment on a blog or forum about your event. Because of this, event organizer must become increasing more vigilant of their event’s online reputation.
Become the Information Authority on Your Event
Event organizers are going to need better situational awareness in the Internet 2.0 world. A way to deal with ‘Anonymous’ comments is by becoming the online authority for your event. Having your own web site is crucial in this process. If you’re aware of unsettling comments about your event, use your own web site to your advantage. People are more likely to believe an authority web site than some random forum post. If there is a critique of your event and is significant enough to warrant a response, use you’re official event web site to respond.
Use Google Alerts
You can use free technology to monitor the Internet for comments about your event. Go to alerts.google.com to find out additional information on setting up a Google Alert. You can setup an alert for your event. Google’s search engine will automatically send an email sent to you when the phrase you entered is detected on their search network. The email sent to you will contain a link to the information posted and brief excerpt. It isn’t perfect, but it’s far better than scouring the Internet manually.
Find an Online Champion
In another post I wrote about utilizing online champions to support your event. You can utilize the same people to keep a watchful eye for any potentially troublesome comments. If you have enough trust in these people, have them take the lead responding to critiques.
As the Internet becomes more popular and technology evolves, event organizers are going to have to become increasingly more mindful of information about their event online.
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