A more serious post on negative engagement

I recently posted “On negative engagement” to the blog for my consulting company Bredemarket. It’s an amusing post…well, at least amusing to me…about a negative reaction to a Facebook ad that I ran on Bredemarket’s behalf. The reaction was admittedly minor in the scheme of things, but I thought it worthwhile to explore the topic of negative engagement on a more serious level.

So I consulted an Aleida Brink post entitled “How to deal with negative engagement o social media.” Again, Brink is dealing with more serious issues than a guy posting a picture of poop, but any company is going to have a determine how to react to negative engagement, whether the negative comments are justified or not.

I would like to comment on one of the tips that Brink provided: “Move complaints out of the spotlight.” While Brink notes that the complaint should be acknowledged publicly, she then says that it is “usually” best (note the word “usually”) to move the conversation out of the limelight: for example, by asking the complainer to move the conversation to a private forum such as direct messaging.

I have seen examples of this that were NOT executed well. For example, if you complain on Twitter that you had a terrible problem with a Widgets Inc. product, and the Widgets Inc. Twitter account immediately and abruptly asks you to take the conversation to DM, you may think that Widgets Inc. is attempting to cover something up.

But this can be executed correctly, as long as both parties in the conversation behave respectfully.

Two nights ago, I tried using Google Assistant to play the radio feed from a particular radio station. Normally this works fine, but I had been having problems over the last few days, and that evening I encountered the problem again. So I went to my Twitter non-professional account (a/k/a my amateur account) and posted a tweet; not a tirade, but a respectful question.

Anyone else having a problem using @google (or @googlenest ) Assistant to access @AM570LASports ? The @iHeartRadio app works fine.


As you can see, I tagged four Twitter accounts that could potentially help me. One of them, @googlenest, responded. We engaged in Twitter conversation for a while, with Nest asking diagnostic questions and I providing responses.

After several of these message exchanges, Nest posted this.

Great troubleshooting so far! Thanks for sharing the screenshots. We’d like to dig deeper into this. Could you send us a DM and let’s continue the conversation there?


I don’t know why Nest chose to take the conversation private at that particular time, and not before or after, but I was happy to do so.

We continued to exchange information privately. After several other suggestions didn’t work, it became apparent that the problem wasn’t with the Nest hardware (I could duplicate the same issue on the Google Assistant app on my iPhone). So Nest suggested that I follow up with iHeart Radio to see if the problem was on their end. It was already getting late, so I told the Nest person that I’d follow up with iHeart the next day and thanked the Nest person for his/her assistance.

The next evening, before I had a chance to follow up with iHeart Radio, I tried using a Google Assistant voice command to listen to AM 570…and the command now worked. I tried the other two stations that caused me problems, and they worked also. I still don’t know where the glitch was taking place, but the important thing was that the problem was solved.

For me, it was important to close the loop with Google Nest and with the Twitter public; from the perspective of the latter, Google Assistant and iHeart Radio were having problems. So I added two tweets to the existing Twitter thread explaining the conversation that Nest and I had in private, and letting everyone know that the glitch was fixed. I also added a DM to the DM thread that I had going with Nest.

This also gave Nest the chance to respond to me, both publicly and privately. Here’s Nest’s public response.

Awesome! Thanks again for reaching out. Send us a DM if you need more help.


So all’s well that ends well, right?

Actually, it didn’t end well. I was now able to listen to AM 570…but the Dodgers lost the game and (as I write this) are close to being eliminated from World Series contention.

But Google Nest, iHeart Radio, and AM 570 have no control over that.

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