Friday, 11 July 2008

Reputation, Racism & The Reality Of Search Results

Louis Gray twittered asking the question as to why Techmeme didn't post anything about the ongoing racism conversation that is happening in the Blogosphere and places like friend feed. (To have a look link here to the friendfeed debate).

Techmemer, Gabe Rivera made his comment saying:

"So, what's the story here? Some anonymous losers said nasty racist things in some chat area (which happens all the time), and then Louis Gray noted how bad that is? Hmm...if you're going to suggest that an omission on Techmeme is wrong, you're gonna need to find something more uncontestably newsworthy than that."

What I found interesting was that I was sure I had seen a number of discussions tracing the original debate that started this all (Complaints about techvideo comedienne/commentator Loren Feldman's Verizon deal due to a parady he created a year called TechNigga - read Mathew Ingram's post here)
So rather than searching by subject, I typed in Loren Feldman's name and what I got was this below (and a bunch of posts on the entire puppet debacle)...

Now I've got a pretty balanced view when it comes to this type of stuff. I personally don't think Feldman is a racist although I do think the video was stupid, insensitive and not particularly funny. But the truth is, regardless of his intent, when you so grossly cross a line (that he had to have known he was crossing unless he's lived under a rock for the last ten years), you have to be prepared for the consequences.

In the technologically networked world that we live in, the repercussions are that the majority of the network will end up discussing their opinion of you and what you've done. You can certainly comment if you want on friendfeed or on your own blog. But search engines aren't built to tell two sides of the story and at some point you have to look at the power of technology over reputation and concede that what you meant to do and what Google says about you are two different things.

Mea Culpa in such situations, may not only be the RIGHT thing to do but it's also the smart thing to do and something that Feldman finally did yesterday. Corporate brands are learning the need for speed and vigor with which they have to respond to these type of PR disasters a while ago and it's something that personal blogging micro-brands might like to pay some attention to as well.

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