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Why Reputation Management is Like Bird Flu

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to chat with Andrew Warner about the topic of reputation management. We spent about an hour discussing the ins and outs of reputation management, including the difficulty of monitoring conversations that take place deep within a web forum thread.

Here’s how I explained my strategy for managing negativity in closed forums or message boards:

You need to focus in on monitoring just the ones that are influential. Because message boards are complex and deep in the web, chances are the others aren’t not going to bubble up outside of that web community.

The moment something does, it’s almost like when a virus jumps from an animal to a human. We don’t care as much all the while it’s confined to a bird or pig. It’s when it first occurs in a human that we act.

All the while that negative sentiment is bubbling in a small forum, we don’t care. The moment someone takes that and puts it on a blog or mentions it on Twitter or puts it on their MySpace page, that’s when it’s got a potential to hurt us. That’s when we take action.

There’s a brief video segment over at Andrew’s Mixergy blog, but it looks like the video’s somewhat choppy, so you’ll probably prefer to listen to the audio version anyway.