Impact of Blogs
We’ve focused on Twitter and other social networking platforms, but we shouldn’t forget about the impact of blogs. Popular wisdom says that blogs are declining, but they are not. According to recent research by NM Incite, blogs continue to grow. As of 2011, there were 173 million blogs globally.10 Quite a few social media crises have started out as blog posts. And those blogs don’t have to be written by “famous” people, they just have to share something compelling. Bloggers are typically more active across social media than are non-bloggers, and they are twice as likely to post or comment on consumer-generated sites such as YouTube.
One example of a blogger sparking a social media crisis involves United Airlines. A blog post talked about United Airlines botching the transportation of a 10-year-old girl who was on her way to summer camp. There was a breakdown in the operations area, and United left this unaccompanied minor unattended in one of the busiest U.S. airports. In this situation, airline staff were unresponsive to the needs of the child and her parents. An outraged friend of the girl’s parents wrote a blistering blog post after hearing about the situation.11 The blog post was read and shared widely on Twitter and Facebook. People were shocked and outraged. The local news media picked up the story, which then moved to major news outlets. It became a crisis that affected United’s reputation. Internet users took United to task for this customer service failure.
Whereas companies used to have to worry just about the news media, today they also need to worry about individuals. Everyone has always had an opinion and a voice; today, they can share it widely to millions of people instead of to only 50 or 150.