The Bad Boing Follow-up

A little while ago I wrote about how I dealt with bad publicity on Boing Boing at my current place of work. Now that that situation is more-or-less finished, I can give some more details about how everything turned out.

The basic answer is “well.” The first post in response to the posting, which acknowledged the issue and solicited feedback for an updated list, became one of the most-read articles of the week, and the most commented-upon article as well.

The feedback was, not surprisingly, a mixed bag. Some of it was quite insightful, while some was the same kind of anti-internet statements that inspired the original list (and ultimately created this situation).

Reader comments directly inspired six entries in a follow-up list, which recast the issue in a more positive and, I think, lasting way: 10 ways the profession matters in a digital age (The original: 10 ways the internet can’t possibly replace the profession. In the 10 years since it’s publication, many of those impossibilities have come to pass.)

My colleagues and I came up with four more entries, bringing the new list up to ten to make it parallel with the original. It became the most-read article on the site the week we published it, and one of the most-commented-upon. The e-mail newsletter that promotes new content also pointed to my original posting, giving it a big bump in readership as well—it was somewhere in or near the top 10 of a couple hundred links.

For the most part, readers were complimentary of the new list. One thought that it was still too negative toward the internet, which I don’t see, but to each his own. Our readership is, frankly, much more apt to speak when they have something critical to say, rather than complimentary, so the response is still notably more positive than typical.

It’s possible that the list will appear in print; that depends on a number of factors that I’m not too concerned about. For the most part, it’s done, and I think it turned out to be a good model for similar situations in the future.

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