14 December 2007

The Art of Saying Sorry - Openly

Interesting piece in Forbes about CEOs learning to eat crow and enjoy it. Take Facebook's Zuckerberg, for example:

When Zuckerberg's apology surfaced, the protest's 70,000 or so privacy advocates still represented a relatively small seed of revolt--less than .2% of Facebook's 50 million plus members. Facebook's apology and changes to Beacon seem to have appeased that angry minority before it could swallow up the site.

That such a small group could pull a contrite message out of a chief executive also shows just how the Web can channel consumers' anger. And tech companies may be especially prone to those backlashes: Not only are tech customers particularly Web savvy, but the tech industry itself frequently sails into uncharted and--from a PR perspective--dangerous waters, says Waggener Edstrom's Neptune.

I think that much of this is due to the Internet culture, which is pretty much the same as that of the free software world. It's one that requires transparency and accountability; and when either of those is missing, it also requires apologies. Remember:

The people are the heroes now, behemoth pulls the peasants’ plow

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