Month: June 2008

Outages and the Power of Social Media

Lately, there have been outages for two large sites: Amazon and Facebook. Working for a company that monitors such things made me able to confirm the nature of the outages.  But how I became aware of them has had me thinking in new ways for the last few weeks.
I became aware of both of these outages through a combination of FriendFeed and Twitter within minutes of them starting. This information spread quickly. And, due to the nature of these new technologies, people were able to comment on the outages, and theorize about the cause of the problems these large online firms faced.
The question you are likely asking is “So what?”. Well, as anyone who has been paying attention for the last four years should know, while you cannot completely control the conversation, you can participate in it and help prevent the spread of negative or incorrect theories about what is happening on your site.
The technologies that people who come to your site use to comment when something goes wrong can be used to interact with the customers. The classic example of this is Zappos. If you look on Twitter, you will find a number of members of that organization who are using the service to interact with customers on a human level. And if you have a problem or question, you stand an excellent chance of getting a response from the CEO if you ask a question.
So, if your site experiences an issue or problem, how do you interact with customers? Or do you just hope they don’t notice?

Back in Alberta. Back with my Tribe.

My grandmother died a few months back, and while this was indeed a very sad day for all of us, she left on her own terms, and with her mind intact, facing the next adventure with grace and dignity.
What this sad event did is provide a focus for the entire Pierzchala clan to reconvene for the first time in more than a decade. Tomorrow, we will going to the ancestral heartland in the Crowsnest Pass to spread her ashes, and celebrate her life.
I am staying at my Aunt Heather’s home, someone I haven’t seen or spoken to in years. And tomorrow, I will see my aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, etc. and feel a part of the family that I had left behind.
I am sad that I couldn’t bring the rest of my family with me, to feel a part of this larger family, and understand just how many people they are related to, this is very important to me.
These are my people. My clan. My tribe.
And it is good to be among them again.

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