Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Influence

I've been re-reading the Ender's Shadow series by Orson Scott Card.  One of the things I had a hard time buying into the first time I read it was the influence that Peter Wiggin and Valentine Wiggin had simply by posting information on the Internet.  These were kids and teens who posted essays on the Internet pointing out actions that different nations were taking, were it could lead, and calls to action to make change.  I just couldn't get to believe that with all the billions of pages on the Internet anyone would find and listen to one post.  I clearly failed to recognize how Internet searching would improve.

I've written a couple different posts reviewing, commenting or venting about different companies.  In almost every instance, within a day or two, I'll get a response from someone at the company.  My Red Gate post got a response from both a developer and a customer service representative.

Just the other day I posted about a pretty bad experience I had at Cheeburger Cheeburger.  Again, I want to make sure that it's clear I've previously had great experience there, just this one time was disappointing.  In any case, I just received an incredibly good e-mail from the general manager of the store we were at offering a free meal, apologizing for the service, and thanking me for even leaving a tip.  An example of the e-mail was this comment:

I take customer service in my restaurant very seriously and am very sorry that you and your family had such a poor time Saturday night.  It is my desire to provide a good meal at a good price for a family to enjoy themselves for a short time.  We accomplished none of that for you and your family. You gave us so many opportunities to take care of you and we never did.

We're definitely going to be calling and going back.  I've always enjoyed their food and service.  I'm sure the meal will be excellent.  And I still plan to bring as many idiots (er... teens) with me who are willing to scarf down a pounder burger (actually 20 ounces).

These responses to my posts just amaze me.  First that they came so quickly, but also that it's clear each person read the entire post and is genuinely interested in giving feedback.  The Cheeburger Cheeburger manager went so far as to track down my IM name (not hard) and e-mail me at that address, talk about follow-through.  I was especially impressed that they even figured out which restaurant I went to, though I did leave vague hints.

It's clear that just as the Internet has grown, it's also become really, really small.  When you write on something that interests someone, they'll find it.  More than that, they'll read it and act on it.

Influence. 

Who would have thought any one of us can have it? 

How will you use it?

Peace,
+Tom

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