On May 31, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman lambasted General Motors on the Times’ op-ed page. Likening GM to a “crack dealer” feeding Americans’ addictions to SUVs, he concluded that GM is “more dangerous to America’s future” than any other company. The day after the Friedman column ran, GM communications executive Steven Harris posted a nearly 1,000-word rebuttal on the company’s Fastlane blog, refuting the Friedman column.
And that’s not all. The story has been covered in dozens of mainstream news media and is still generating daily coverage worldwide. Hundreds of people have posted comments on GM’s corporate blog. BlogPulse and Technorati both count about 100 posts from bloggers on their own sites.
The blogosphere may be buzzing about this for months. By taking its case to the Web instead of the Times’ editorial page, GM generated more buzz and awareness for its fuel-economy efforts than it ever would have created in print.
Today, online social networks provide a powerful means to spread information by virtual word-of-mouth. You can’t control the process, but if you can get the right people to read what you say, your message can propagate with breathtaking speed!