Know When to Hold 'Em; Know When to Fold 'Em - 2.0 Style

Here is an insight to the Web 2.0 World:
  • One of the best 'features' of Web 2.0 is that it allows you to instantly react to what others are saying.
  • One of the worst 'features' of Web 2.0 is that it allows you to instantly react to what others are saying.
The trick seems to be knowing when to react, and when to ignore. I'll give you two good examples that I've seen recently where a company (AT&T) and a law firm (Holland & Knight) played a great hand at handling rumors.
Over the weekend, there were rumors spread by the 2.0 crowd (you know, blogs, tweets, facebook, friendfeeds and the other bazillion 2.0 tools out there) that AT&T would charge an extra $55.00 per month if you tethered your brand new iPhone 3GS. AT&T, to its credit, took this rumor by the horns - 2.0 Style - and used its Facebook page to quell the rumors and let everyone know that it would not cost an extra $55.00 to tether the phone to your laptop. That is once AT&T actually fixes the problem with its tethering capability with the new 3GS (which no one seems to know when that is.)
Holland & Knight
I almost hate to mention this one because I don't like giving any popularity to whoever is behind this effort to bad mouth (bad tweet?) a firm on a continual rotating basis. But, here I go anyway. Holland & Knight has itself a Twittergeist that originally grabbed the name @hklaw (which is Holland & Knight's URL name) and now goes by @hklawtwits - and has over 2,600 followers. This person apparently knows a couple of lines of web script and has created what seems to be a rotating montage of old news stories that link to "bad press" articles, and also gives some... shall we say "expanded" commentary (also know as "half-truths") about the story within the tweet itself.
I usually don't care if someone has a bone to pick with a firm (in fact, I usually encourage such behavior), but this one seems a little hell-bent, and there is one particular tweet that hits the rotation about a H&K Secretary that was murdered that seems to show this person doesn't really have a good social filter to know when to draw the line on what's fair game and what is just a tragedy that doesn't need to be used as leverage against a firm that he or she so despises.
So, what does Holland & Knight do to quell these rumors?? - Apparently, absolutely nothing. And, unlike some of my peers out there, I think this is the right approach. Just because you can react, doesn't mean you need to react. I think that the PR people over at H&K are probably monitoring this person and the tweets, but don't really have a need to react publicly to the rumors that are being spread. Sometimes it is better to know when to stay silent and resist those knee-jerk reactions than it is to follow your gut and go after every rumor that is placed in the 2.0 world.

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