When You Make A Living From Your Site, Fans Are Also Customers

I attended a SXSWi panel with a dubious title yesterday, “Online Adulation: Use Don’t Abuse Your Fans.” Look at those verbs. “Use.” “Abuse.” Not good.
There was one true blogebrity on the panel and sadly she conveyed, perhaps unintentionally, what a hassle it is to be so popular. I don’t doubt for a second that it is a hassle, for blogebrities don’t have people around them to deflect the constant stream of requests on their time and attention like an actor or rock star might.
Yet, because blogs are the centerpiece of social media today, we expect bloggers to be social. Thankfully, the moderator of this panel, Tom Merritt of c|net, provided a nice counterbalance to the blogebrity.
Merritt said he responds to critical emails, which often makes for better fans. He also said, “Good audience relations is good customer service.”
Of course, Merritt is representing a business, not just himself, so he has the additional responsibility of speaking for the c|net brand. But I get the sense that he’d go the extra mile, even if he wasn’t.

About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am now head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.