Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Yesterday I posted about Sunshine Village and their handling of some controversy on their Facebook page. It turns out that I made a few mistakes.
Mr Doug Firby, Associate Director, Communications for Sunshine Village emailed me directly to point out some of the errors of my post. Some things I wrote about have not been proven as fact. So I should have used more words such as 'allegedly' and 'apparently'. For those possible misrepresentations, I publicly apologize to Sunshine Village and to Mr. Firby. At the bottom of this post I have cut and paste a portion of Mr. Firby's email which directly addresses his concerns about what I said. I believe that is fairest for me to do for Sunshine Village as it addresses the comments I made in his words, not in mine.
However, the real facts of the situation are not pertinent to this blog. I'm not here to discuss what actually happened. That is for those involved to sort out between themselves.
This blog is about mobile marketing, and by extension social media marketing. My commentary is about their handling of the event on their Facebook page. And nobody can disagree that it probably hasn't been handled in the best way.
In yesterday's post I mentioned that at no time did Sunshine Village hold up their hand to their Facebook audience and make a bold, pronouncing statement of what happened, what is happening and what is going to happen, in a way that assures consumers that the right steps are being taken. The sample message I wrote yesterday was "Yes, we know there are some challenges with our staffing right now, and we are working to resolve those issues. We are also sorry to inconvenience anybody who was planning to ski at Sunshine Village on January 19th."
Mr. Firby indicates (see his comments below) that there were numerous examples of Sunshine Village attempting to respond to comments on their Facebook page. I was wrong, he is correct.
However, responses that I saw were inside the comments. And many of them came from Mr. Firby himself, using his own Facebook ID. So it wasn't clear, from a consumer point of view, that he was responding on behalf of Sunshine Village. And while addressing the individual Facebook user comments can be important, this situation warranted something much bigger in the bold, pronouncing statement. In this case, a Facebook status update would be more appropriate, and the message should be written to assure the Facebook fans of Sunshine Village that appropriate steps were being taken to address the situation.
Although I have already apologized for some inaccuracies, it is important to note that all of my information was gathered from Sunshine Village's own Facebook page. While this doesn't exactly ensure its accuracy (much of it came from comments), it DOES represent what most people who follow the Facebook page will believe. And those beliefs (accurate or not) could lead to a negative image for Sunshine Village.
I also note that the worst part of the entire episode, the posting of a link to an article about bad behaviour on the internet, has now been removed. This is proper - it should never have been posted in the first place.
I don't believe this story has ended. Sunshine Village still has an opportunity to fix this, but it will take some work. Time will tell how this finishes.
See also: Even More Sunshine.
Here are Mr. Firby's comments copied from an email sent to me. Only the part of yesterday's post that had comments on it has been copied.