A little while ago, I attempted to join the Awareness, Inc. webinar, with Chris Brogan as the featured speaker. Chris was going to discuss Trust Agents, among other topics (I presume). I was looking forward to it, as were many others. I dialed in a few minutes early and fired up the WebEx client. I also opened up TweetDeck, started a search on the #awarenessinc hash tag, and began conversing with others in anticipation.
For brevity’s sake, things did not go well for the Awareness crew. But not because of anything on their end; rather, it was a technical glitch on WebEx’s end. Some people could dial in, some couldn’t. Some could hear audio, some couldn’t. Specifics aside, what ensued was very strange. For the next 30 or so minutes, the Twitter back channel was afire with disappointment and even a little bit of pissandvinegar! Comments were made about how much the seminar sucked, or failed, or was a let-down, or unprofessional.
I was a bit surprised. Was I disappointed? Yeah. I had booked time on my calendar for this webinar and to interact with Chris and the rest of those attending (frankly, the best part of these webinars). I spent 30 minutes of time with seemingly nothing in return. Other people were really upset (again, in the Twitter back channel) that the webinar hadn’t started. Me? I multi-tasked. I did other stuff while waiting. I didn’t really lose 30 minutes.
The comments that really stuck out in my mind were things like “FAIL” and uncalled for and hugely unprofessional (I’m not calling out anyone in particular, but rather the overall sentiment of many of the tweets). This was a WebEx fail, if at all, and not an Awareness Fail. It wasn’t hugely unprofessional. Folks from Awareness were in the WebEx chat window letting people know there were glitches occurring, and that they were trying to fix it. People in the Twitter backchannel who could see this were relaying the message to others. In terms of communication, it was probably the best that could have happened, given the circumstances. After it was determined that they couldn’t salvage it, Awareness cancelled the webinar, apologized, and planned for a re-schedule. Short of actually hosting the webinar as planned, what else could they have done? I don’t know.
What moved from ‘stuck in my mind’ to ‘irritating’ were the really negative comments, like Awareness FAIL. What, exactly, did they FAIL at? Let’s all remember that this is a FREE webinar that we’re attending by our OWN choice (opt in) for a really good speaker. OK, so it didn’t go as planned. Their reaction: they’re going to re-schedule. I suspect that most or all of us will attend that new date and time (as in, we’re not so turned off by this that we’re boycotting Awareness Webinars, a la Whole Foods). So, when factoring all of that in, my response is, “Oh, well – that’s too bad.” And I moved on.
I think it’s great that we live in a society where we are hyper-connected and feel as if we can reach out to tweet/blog/vlog/write/scribe/text about company injustices and the like, and hope that not only are our voices heard, but that something is done about it. What’s to be done here, though? I think WebEx got the feedback loud ‘n clear that something like this shouldn’t happen again. They heard it through the Twitter backchannel, and they probably heard it through Awareness!. We aren’t “owed” anything above the apology that Awareness gave us. Period. Yeah, it would’ve been great if it all worked out. And you know what? It’s going to – just not on August 26th.
So enough with the FAILs. This isn’t United breaks guitars. This was (and will be) a free service from a widely-admired speaker that Awareness is providing for FREE. I’ll patiently wait for that.
I’d love to read what you think about this.
p.s.: I have no affiliation with Awareness, Inc., and this is not a sponsored message. There is zero incentive for me to write this, in case anyone is curious.
image courtesy of flickr.com/photos/fireflythegreat