What does the “UPS Whiteboard Guy” and a Canadian musician have in common? Bad airline service and using social media for retribution.
July 17, 2009
Or you can bitch online…
You’re all aware of the Canadian musician, Dave Carroll who wrote a song about United Airlines trashing his guitar, made a video, and posted it on You Tube.
The song is mediocre but, like they say, it’s the thought that counts. Big thought. Last I checked well over 2 million people have watched the video! I experienced part of it on the 6 o’clock news. Even United Airlines is a fan, claiming to want the thing for future training reasons. Yeah, right. My guess is they’re feigning humility to mitigate scorn. (What I’d do.)
Either way, both parties have settled. Presumably United will be more careful with how they handle luggage. Presumably. And our Canadian friend got himself those precious moments of fame Andy Warhol made famous. I bet his band gets a lot more bookings and, if nothing else, the musician now has something for the scrapbook.
Now let’s talk about the kafuffle involving the self-named “UPS Whiteboard Actor” and Delta Airlines. After experiencing a brutal 24 hours trying to get his family from Richmond to Atlanta, the actor/creative director, Andy Azula wrote an angry post on his blog, detailing the nightmare, and vowing never to fly Delta again unless he receives some form of recompense, be it material or an apology or both. The missive was picked up by other trade blogs including Agency Spy:
Dozens of comments quickly followed, most calling the guy a whiner and a poser and a bunch of other things. Many ridiculed Andy’s odd long hair, a trademark of sorts. To be fair, the comments on his own blog were mostly in support of the “article.” Read for yourself.
Both events have two things in common: bad airline service and using social media to seek retribution. But while the musician is getting lots of love the UPS guy is taking a fair amount of abuse. There are probably many reasons for this discrepancy but the main one is obvious. The unknown musician made a charming video about his ordeal while the somewhat known Azula just bitched.
As a creative director and blogger, I empathize with Andy. I, too, have wanted retribution for one thing or another. I like having a forum, albeit minuscule. However, having learned the hard way, I also recognize the potential for self-made sparks to ignite online. Certain topics and/or the way we communicate them… We think we are being insightful but we are perceived as inciting. We think we are being provocative but we are only provoking. Andy must have crossed a line.
I’m as sensitive to barrages of criticism as the next guy. I don’t like it. Yet my best advice for Azula is to take it on the chin. He got the letter out of his system. Now it lives on drawing ire. Let it go, my longhaired buddy. Fighting Internet snipers is even harder than taking on an airline!
At the time of this writing, the Zappos RFP fiasco was breaking. Here, the creative director at small shop, Ignited took out his frustration online with regard to being unfairly dismissed by Zappos unwieldy pitch process. Once again, the trade blogs reported it and the trolls feasted. Much debate about these issues could and should be had. Lord knows pitching new business has become ridiculous, with lots of blame to go around. But are social networks the place to have it?