We are now a couple days into the analysis of the Guitar Man as poster child for how customers can create a social media wildfire. His story seems to tell us that this changes everything meaning the voiceless, disgruntled customer now has a voice. And the message to corporations worldwide is "you better listen and act accordingly." It's a new world.
Yesterday, I shared more of the story suggesting that the airline wasn't as cold-hearted as we have been led to believe. Guitar Man had not done his part in requesting compensation. But the point of this conversation is not to try the case. There will be no judgment of guilt or innocence. Instead, we want to know what was accomplished and what did this really change.
Was it a social media wildfire? Any video that reaches eleven million views can arguably be called mainstream. Guitar Man went from obscurity to stardom because of his video. But how much of the fire was social media and how much was mainstream media? It turns out the piece was covered by print and broadcast - CNN, CBS, BBC, Wall Street Journal, L.A. Times, Chicago Tribune, Rolling Stones Magazine - which may have driven more views than online viral communication.
Did the airline remain silent? No. Media inquiries wouldn't allow that. They did not refute Guitar Man's story. They stated that they had called Guitar Man to apologize and "make things right." Guitar Man turned down the offer of money suggesting the money be donated to charity. It was. United said they would also use the video for employee training.
At the time, many suggested that United would suffer material financial damage because of the video. We'll explore that next. Stay tuned.
Follow Gary Lemke on Twitter - @lemke.
Publish Date: October 23, 2011 3:21 PM