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Power of the Internet

United Airlines Breaks Guitars

The more people and businesses use the Internet, the more the Internet has power and influence. Stories, ideas, episodes, senarios, announcments and poor customer service can go viral in a matter of seconds. No one is immune and reputations can be damaged very quickly if you’re not paying attention to the impact the behavior of your business has on your community. Integrity is the key. Honoring your word at the highest level and making good on promises not kept will keep your reputation intact.

A few years ago a passenger on a United Airlines jet watched in horror as his guitar was being tossed around on the tarmack by the baggage handlers. The guitar was broken and repeated attempts to get satisfaction and reimbursement from the airlines were flatly rejected. This passenger decided it was time to play hardball and filmed a video of this incident (re-enacted), wrote a song about it, and posted it on You Tube. You can imagine the impact that this video had and the damage to United Airlines reputation around the world, impacted the stock performance.

You can read all about this and even watch the video which was created on the Huffington Post site. The link you can use is ‘United Breaks Guitars': Did It Really Cost The Airline $180 Million? and you can read the whole story. As you build out your website and develop your online presence using Social Media, remember this article and how pervasive and persuasive the Internet can be. Businesses, Politicians, the Media, the Government, Charities, and the entertainment industry are being scrutinized more than ever.

My advice is to think carefully about what you post, who is going to be reading it, who might be reading it as a result of someone passing it on, and how public things might become. Act responsibly and with integrity. Most importantly, don’t throw guitars around on the tarmac!

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