Hopefully this is the chapter you’ll never need. So I’ll make it short!

image Imagine the scenario.

You have been blogging for a while, and you have the support and encouragement of other people in your school/local authority. Things are looking good. What could possibly go wrong?

One of the common things is that somebody somewhere says something inappropriate online, and then somebody in your school comes along and says “Well, you’re an expert in the Internet, can you fix it?”. It could be something like a comment on a YouTube video, or Facebook, or even a comment on your blog. Or somebody else writes a blog post referring to yours, and saying what a half-wit you are.

What do you do?

AirForce Blog AsessmentFortunately, official help is at hand. Instead of having to spend hours/days/weeks explaining to your head teacher why you can’t block YouTube/Facebook across the whole country – or having to defend your blogging - then how about using this flow chart from the US Air Force?

It deals with the steps in responding (or not) to a negative blog posting about them. I have found also that it is incredibly useful to use when talking to people who don’t yet fully understand the implications of social media, and the community habits. After all, if an organisation as big and hierarchical as USAF can deal with online communities with a simple flow chart, then it makes an effective point.

It starts with “Has someone discovered a blog post about your organisation?” and walks through scenarios of people, which it refers to as:

  • Trolls
  • Rager
  • Misguided
  • Unhappy Customer

It then provides common sense advice for dealing with each situation. As a set of rules of engagement, it’s simple to understand and clear to work through.


The diagram is self explanatory – and ideal to share with colleagues. You can download a PDF of the Air Force Blog Assessment.

If you’re interested in reading more about the USAF’s social media interactions, then read WebInkNow’s article about it, or take a look at the US Air Force Live blog