I often use Heather Armstrong’s tirades against her bosses as a conversation starter during my social media courses. Her rants never named her bosses nor the company for whom she worked.
That didn’t stop her from being sacked!
Compare that with Steve Yegge’s rant about his employer, Google. He not only names the company but also goes on to name the big bosses. If the reaction of most people who attend my courses are anything to go by he should be sacked. But that hasn’t happened.
Instead Yegge sought advice from Google’s internal PR department, then posted a retraction of sorts on Google+. He explains that the post was meant to be seen only by his team and not the public. Of course the damage – if you’d call it that – was already done. Others on G+ had already shared his post and it was summarised and shared further on other web sites.
In a sign of their maturity and tendency towards transparency Google allowed people to leave the post published in it’s entirety. And that takes a lot of corporate self-confidence.
Here’s some of what Yegge said about Google+.
Google+ is a knee-jerk reaction, a study in short-term thinking, predicated on the incorrect notion that Facebook is successful because they built a great product. But thats not why they are successful. Facebook is successful because they built an entire constellation of products by allowing other people to do the work. So Facebook is different for everyone. Some people spend all their time on Mafia Wars. Some spend all their time on Farmville. There are hundreds or maybe thousands of different high-quality time sinks available, so theres something there for everyone.