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December 29, 2009
HP Steers Across Social Media Terrain

Hewlett Packard's response to a viral YouTube video alleging (somewhat tongue in cheek) that its computers are racist provides an example of heads-up social media monitoring and response. Hubspot rates HP a B+ overall for its response on its The Next Bench blog. Considering this is a new kind of "crisis" situation for businesses, HP deserves due credit for taking social media seriously and monitoring its presence.

We like the notion of dividing "Next Bench" into communities reflecting given consumer interests, though, in the present context, the Voodoo Community (high tech) might not be ideally named. PR and marketing practitioners can judge whether HP's response to the critique of the facial-tracking software it uses on its laptops was ideally handled. That it even exists is an example of the online terrain unfolding in this social media era. HP certainly deserves credit for taking an alert approach to the folks who were having some fun with one of their products, while making a challenging point in the process.

HP kept its cool with a tactful response. Whether it could have been handled differently will make for a seminar discussion. There are likely to be many such seminars as the digital age moves forward.  

The first requirement is for businesses to be "out there," doing the social media monitoring and having the awareness and response capacity that HP demonstrated. 


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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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