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Bringing the Conversation Home – Google Sidewiki Overview

The conversation on Google Sidewiki is heating up. Today we circulated some information at work that helps people understand its significance. The following snippet is edited for public consumption.

There has been a fair bit of discussion online over the last month about Google Sidewiki. This technology allows anyone with the current version of the Google Toolbar to leave comments on any Web site. Think of it as graffiti. Some people will try to beautify a site and make it better with their inputs. Others will try to defame the existing content. It could create a potentially polarized view from the communities of allies and adversaries that visit a Web site.

So what does this mean for communication professionals? As the guardians of reputations online and offline, we need to ensure that those policing the brand and concerned with reputation are aware of these types of developments. Sidewiki brings the conversation home. No longer do we need to just monitor the conversation in  social media venues. We need to monitor the conversation on our own site’s Sidewiki.

There are a number of things we can do to take control. This list is inspired by five steps (hover over links for quick summary – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) proposed by Tom Barnes earlier today on Twitter.

  1. Download the Google Toolbar with Sidewiki and check out your clients’ Web site(s). Is there any conversation there that they should be aware of?
  2. Learn about this new technology and its potential impact on online reputation management.
  3. Encourage the Web team to take ownership of your domain(s) and set up those responsible for reputation management as the Page owner.
  4. Once ownership is secured, insert a Page owner’s welcome message to set the tone and reinforce any terms, site usage standards or policies related to how conversation and interaction fits into the Web site. (see Ed Lee’s post linked below for some great recommendations)
  5. Update your reputation management plan to account for online threats and opportunities represented by evolving technology platforms and social media.If you don’t have a plan, develop one!
  6. Put the plan into action.

Here’s a good primer video from Google called Introducing Google Sidewiki.

Here are some other posts you may want to check out:

I hope you find this helpful.

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