More Tales of Frenemies

Drudge If you have a good eye for bias, I recommend reading Jeff Jarvis’ latest post on Hilary Clinton’s less than visible relationship with the Drudge Report, who just so happens to be running a picture today of Hilary that makes her look like a vampire (is it Monday again already?). While Jeff tends to focus on the hypocrisy of criticizing Hilary for it, citing how normal it would be for someone like McCain to feed stories to the New York Times, I think the bigger message is how some people still think that you shouldn’t engage with detractors.

While working on a closed invite-only community based campaign for a major American auto manufacturer, we encountered the question of who do we invite. It’s easy to engage brand enthusiasts, they’re practically begging for opportunities to get into a dialogue with the companies they love. Then it dawned on us…have you ever really read an engaging discussion thread where everyone basically agreed?

We eventually decided to invite some of the company’s most outspoken critics off the various auto blogs. We only invited the ones that publicly listed their personal blog or email address, since we figured we’d respect the rights of the anonymous thread flamers.

The result was much as we anticipated. At first the detractors joined the community just to pick fights and provide counterpoints to all the gushing. Sure enough, after a while the detractors became personalities within the community that not only made the discussion more lively but provided a better platform for engaging with the brand than long comment threads on blog posts. Over time the detractors became more and more neutral and were posting less negative comments about the brand in public places since they felt like their words had more weight and a greater level of access in the community.

Any chance we could get Giuliani to do an interview with the TPM?