WP Remix


I love stumbling across interesting items on the web, as it lets me claim ‘web surfing’ as a productive use of my time. In a recent search for some other extremely important information, I found the Air Force Web Posting Response Assessment flowchart. See, I TOLD you I was being productive! It was shiny and new and I found it both interesting and the impetus to start the process of formalizing a similar response plan for my workplace.

I won’t ramble on about this, as when I looked for a cleaner copy of the flowchart I found that it’s only new to me. You’ve probably seen it before, as it’s been around the block a bit and several others have written extensively on this topic. Google ‘Air Force Response’ and you’ll see what I’m talking about. To summarize them all: You need a plan. Now.

Ok, maybe I’ll ramble just a bit, I can’t resist. Maybe you’re like me and haven’t seen it either.

From the recent feud between Kevin Smith and Southwest Airlines (they thought he was too fat to fly, he attacked them publicly on Twitter for days on end) to reader commentary entered after an article is posted on a blog or newspaper’s website, the internet and social media takes the complaint letter to a new level. Accurate or not, if it’s on the web anyone and everyone can read it, forward it, or comment on it. Even worse, they might hear only one side of the story, believe it, and absorb it as fact before you have a chance to react.

HINT: Click the graphic to print or re-size for people with normal eyesight.

Gone are the days of receiving a complaint letter or e-mail and having ample time to consider how or if you want to respond. You can’t spend hours (or days) writing a thoughtful response letter to the editor when an article is being commented on right now. You may find yourself with the need to decide how to respond and what to say within minutes (or even seconds) and there won’t be time to determine your philosophy. If you take the time to develop a strategy in advance you’ll be in a better position to react quickly.

The Air Force’s flowchart is a great example of how you might start to formalize your response procedures. They’ve taken the time to determine what types of posts they’ll respond to, how they’ll respond, who to involve, and more. It’s a good start for any communications team and it might just save your reputation some day.

I invite your comments. I’ll consult my flowchart and decide how to respond.

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