Empathetic Complaining 101

There was an intriguing article in the 12/7/2017 edition of Capacity Interactive’s blog about how to handle negative social media comments. It includes some thoughtful Q&A from a trio of arts marketers and by and large, it’s a very useful post.

Adaptistration People 055About 2/3 of the way through the article, it dawned on me how fantastic it would have been to hear from someone on the other side of those social media exchanges. Specifically, Mr./Ms. Negative Commenter.

It would be fascinating to drill down into this topic by taking a retroactive look at how social media managers and negative commenters processed their respective exchanges and how it impacted their decisions at the time.

It’s not uncommon for some of an organization’s most supportive patrons to express negative feedback during something like a contentious labor dispute or a PR crisis. Conducting a post-mortem in a public setting has several potential benefits, not the least of which is hearing from patron stakeholders on whether efforts to process and respond to their negative feedback stuck the intended landing.

I don’t recall encountering anything over the years along these lines, but I would be fascinated to learn more about it if you have. If so, please take a moment to leave a comment with more information. In the meantime, I suppose we’ll have to wait until the next labor dispute or PR crisis to see if an opportunity presents itself for this sort of retrospective analysis.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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