I’ve been reading Heather Armstrong for years, and I’m a big fan. Truly, it was the experience of reading both her posts and Jessamyn’s during their pregnancies several years ago that helped me start feeling like I was maybe possibly in theory just a tiny bit ready to have kids of my own. The realness of what they wrote about did a lot for me in terms of confronting a lot of vague fears; the palpable beauty and love in their words helped me in ways I find difficult to explain.

I think Heather’s a hell of a smart cookie for leveraging her website the way she has, and I believe she deserves every bit of recognition she gets. She’s got an audience that’s hard for me to fathom—over a million followers on Twitter alone. Even subtracting the spambots, that’s . . . intense. That’s, like, the entire population of Detroit. Can you imagine sharing the intimate details of your life with Detroit? I mean, not Detroit specifically, just—fuck it, you know what I mean.

Anyway, if you follow her on Twitter you may have seen some posts from her about Maytag. I don’t know the whole story, but it sounds like she bought a brand new washing machine, it broke, and subsequent attempts to have it fixed didn’t work out. She posted several frustrated-sounding Twitter updates that repeatedly included the phrase DO NOT BUY MAYTAG.

It sounded like Home Depot connected with her on Twitter, and eventually, Whirlpool (the parent company of Maytag). It wasn’t clear if anyone actually called her, or did anything to help resolve the broken washer situation, but from the perspective of Twitter-bystander it sounded like they were trying to help. But maybe not. It was hard to tell.

I don’t work for Maytag, nor am I a fan of sitting back and accepting bad customer service. When I was treated poorly by American Airlines a while back, I definitely complained about it. I think it’s a good thing to share these stories, both for consumers and for the businesses that are hopefully going to see them.

I think there’s a difference, though, between taking the time to explain what went wrong, and basically calling for a boycott of a company because of your own personal experience. “Do not buy Maytag” is a call to action, and it went out to over a million people. Does Heather have the right to use Twitter to vent about an annoying situation she’s dealing with? Absolutely. Is there an ethical issue in telling such a large audience not to give a company their business, without providing any backstory aside from a short-by-nature series of updates someone may or may not have read, depending on how frequently they’re checking Twitter? Maybe. That’s where I disagree with her choice to call Maytag out in such a public fashion—not because she doesn’t have the right to receive good service, but because it was less of a “Hey Maytag, here’s what’s going on, you are totally shitting the bed right now,” and more of a no-context brand-bash to her entire audience.

At my company we monitor Twitter mentions constantly. Our support team jumps on any issues we see out there and we do our best to make pissed off people happy again. I fully understand the impact one person can have when they’re unhappy with your service, and maybe part of where I’m coming from is imagining being on the marketing side of Maytag right now, trying to do damage control and—from the looks of things—learning about Twitter for the first time (note that Whirlpool has a total of 11 updates, 4 of which involve Dooce).

Does Maytag deserve this kind of bad PR? Well, I think my problem with the whole thing is that I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s a company-wide Maytag problem, a local Home Depot problem, a stupid service-person problem, or what. A non-working washing machine sucks, especially in a house with kids—believe me, I get it. But should I not buy a Maytag the next time I need a new appliance? Heather seems to think so. And while I won’t make my purchasing decision based on one anecdotal piece of information, here’s the thing: some people will. Maybe a LOT of people. All you have to do is search Twitter for the responses people sent to Whirlpool on Heather’s behalf to understand the power of her influence. Or hell, look at some of the messages sent my way after I publicly disagreed with her.

Marketers will be talking about this, how one blogger stirred up so much conversation over a broken washing machine. People will theorize about the role of social media and the consumer, and much will be made of how consumers now have a voice in the face of uncaring corporate entities.

This isn’t quite the right story, though. Yes, companies should be using social media if they want to listen to their customers. Yes, consumers have the right to share their experiences, good and bad, because we can all benefit from that. But this isn’t the average customer/company interaction. Heather’s Maytag posts don’t prove that bitching about a company on Twitter gets you anywhere, it’s an anomalous data point. After all, how many people have over a million people listening to what we have to say? At this point, Maytag can’t win PR-wise: if they don’t respond, she stays mad; if they do respond, their actions seem less genuine than they would have been if Heather had, say, 20 followers. I think the more relevant issue has to do with whether a larger voice leads to greater responsibilities. In this case, as much as it seems like Heather should be able to say what she wants because what the hell, it’s her Twitter account . . . I kind of think it does.

I really do hope Heather’s washing machine gets fixed soon. And I hope that if the weird knocking sound in my dryer means my (non-Maytag) appliance is on its last legs, I can get it resolved. You know, on my own.

Comments

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Ian
Ian
12 years ago

You know what’s an awesome product?

Dyson. Customer service rocks too.

Discuss.

Laura
12 years ago

Sundry, I give you credit for articulating your position well, as you do most things. But I completely disagree.

Whether Dooce’s followers choose to buy a Maytag or not, choose to boycott a particular company, choose to buy a product she’s mentioned, whatever, is completely on them. They are not children. Their decisions are not her responsibility. This is really important – she is not responsible for their decisions. To put the onus on her is to completely infantilize her audience and their ability to make their own decisions. It’s the same issue I have when celebrities are chastised for their behavior because they are supposed to be “role models.” The behavior of others IS NOT HER PROBLEM.

Yes, she has more influence and a wider audience than the average person. But that does not make her liable for their decisions. She is one person, who has made it more than clear over the years that she is a normal person with problems and weaknesses and issues. To insist that she has some power over others, and that she must wield it in the way that you deem appropriate, is unfair to her and unfair to her audience.

Christina
12 years ago

Madness, I tell you, madness.

Also, WEEEEEEEEEEEEE… this is what it feels like to go down one of those hot plastic slides really fast. It fucking hurts for days!!! OUCH!

Linda, I think you are the best and I have tried to read Dooce’s blog off and on since she is referred to endlessly but she is not you and you are not her. That is what makes you groovy.

Wha? Oh my point? No point I just like your blog and I thought WTF why not add to the shit storm!

Karla
Karla
12 years ago

I have no problem with Dooce using her online forums to complain about Maytag. She doesn’t forfeit her right to express her opinion (or make a call to action) simply because she’s a megablogger/twitterer. Her followers aren’t sheep; they can decide for themselves if they have enough info on which to base their consumer choices. So many big corps are so indifferent about customer service – when did it become wrong to call them out on it – by whatever means are available?

kalisa
12 years ago

Oh Laura I disagree completely. A person with that amount of influence can not scream “DO NOT BUY MAYTAG” and then assume no responsibility when the people listening to her boycott Maytag.

gretchen
gretchen
12 years ago

Somehow, I can’t picture men having this argument. Advil makes mommies mad. Nikon makes mommies mad. Airplanes make mommies mad. Burger King makes mommies mad. Now Maytag makes mommies mad.

Then mommies get mad at other mommies for getting mad about getting mad.

It’s embarrassing.

Jonesy
Jonesy
12 years ago

Like you enjoy Free Speech, so should Dooce. Without strings. Regardless if she has 5 followers or 5 million – she’s an individual who’s personal opinion has garnered her some attention from her peers, and why should that opinion be censored because of the number of followers she has? Because YOU think so?

Maybe some of this “responsibility” should fall on the shoulders of her audience. You know, the responsibility to THINK for themselves. To make decisions based on research, not just a few tweets. This sort of unthinking following is what got Germany into trouble isn’t it? One man didn’t terrorize millions. And if they do listen to her without question and her “call to action” that has absolutely zero to do with her. Unless she’s also some kind of internet hypnotist – in that case, I’d agree with you 100%. But she’s not. So I don’t.

I think this whole debate is ludicrous – and exactly why mommybloggers get such bad names: they attack their own over petty matters. Over a corporation like MAYTAG – come on, there are more causes out there than defending a billion-dollar corporation for what actually seems like a legit gripe: a bum $1200 machine that needs several parts repaired, you can bet I’d be tweeting my ass off to think twice before giving your hard-earned money to said company. And you know why, because it’s my right! Ever heard the saying, “if Johnny jumped off a bridge, would you?”….maybe it’s time to revisit this sagacious idea of yore.

The sad thing is if people actually developed their critical thinking skills people like you and Dooce wouldn’t have as many followers.

PS – I don’t read Dooce, don’t care for her writing. Nor do I read any Mommybloggers. Just saw the brouhaha on twitter and had to exercise my personal, individual, divine right to Free Speech.

Miss Britt
12 years ago

I think the speaker and the listener both bear responsibility.

I don’t think the fact that you have stood up to discuss the speaker’s responsibility in this case is the same as removing all responsibility from the listener.

They are two, separate issues.

Laura
12 years ago

Also, re: this tweet of yours:

“Would now be a bad time to mention this weird noise our dryer is making? I think there might be a sense of entitlement stuck inside it.”

Would you please explain how expecting a brand new, $1000+ appliance to WORK FOR MORE THAN A WEEK equals a sense of entitlement? That seems really unnecessary.

Stephanie Parnell
12 years ago

I wish there had of been some research done before she purchased the dryer to begin with…if she had of seen all of the negative history behind Maytag that so many people (mostly Dude) pointed out I doubt she would have purchased the expensive and yet notibly crappy product. If I was going to spend $1300 on a dryer I would be reading consumer reports and making daggon sure that it was worth the money.
It’s like letting your dog crap on your front step and then when you step in it you kick the dog.

Karla
Karla
12 years ago

Oh, and Mommybloggers ARENT journalists so the First Amendment argument is moot, IMO.

Penny
12 years ago

God, I only wish I could have seen your tweets, Linda. Good for you for being harsh. You had an opinion and you let it fly. I hate that “let’s all be friends” mantra so many women try to advocate.

kalisa
12 years ago

Everyone touting Heather’s right to free speech is forgetting one thing: Heather is a PROFESSIONAL BLOGGER. She makes her living by writing on the internet. She is no different from a professional journalist who makes their living by writing for a newspaper. And are they allowed to say whatever the hell they want as a matter of “free speech”? Absolutely not!

Read Willikat’s comment above. If a journalist wrote what Dooce wrote w/out backing it up with facts – which is all Linda pointed out that Heather did – they would be sued. Free speech has nothing whatsoever to do with it.

webswinger
webswinger
12 years ago

You start your post by basically saying “I don’t have all the facts and I’m not really sure about a lot of what happened exactly ..” and then go on to write more than 10 paragraphs on the subject. Your point as stated above is basically “I disagree with her choice to call Maytag out in such a public fashion” but your entire blog post is about calling Heather out in you very own public fashion. Hello pot? Meet kettle.

And to all the commenters posting about how you have such big balls … really? Besides sounding really gauche, does it really take a lot of “balls” for someone on the internet to talk about someone else on the internet? So yeah, check out my big balls posting about Linda on her blog. Nelson Mandela is an effing wuss compared to you and I, Linda.

Gina
Gina
12 years ago

Kalisa (another mommy blogger),

Heather is not like a journalist at all! The terms blogger and journalist, ESPECIALLY in Heather’s case are completely different. Heather is a WRITER who writes about her life – she is not a journalist who needs to back her opinions up with facts (Besides, had she said “been broken 2 weeks, leaking, bad customer service, etc. would we still be having this discussion?…Probably).

BLOGGER is a relatively new term in the media world. They are NOT journalists. A journalist BLOGGING for a NEWS SITE is not a blogger. She does NOT have to justify anything!

Felicia
Felicia
12 years ago

Kalisa,
It is laughable that you are comparing Dooce to a professional journalist. Two different arenas, two different audiences, two different…everything.

You are giving bloggers, such as yourself, WAY TOO MUCH CREDIT.

cbrks12
cbrks12
12 years ago

Thanks Linda. Love your post.

kalisa
12 years ago

Nope, I disagree. When you become a professional it changes everything, no matter what line of work you’re in.

Kind of like a friend can help you move and not have any responsibility for the quality of your furniture. A professional mover is going to get insurance, because they are in fact responsible.

Anyone can post a video with copyrighted content and get away with it. A professional filmmaker would be sued for doing so.

You can pretty much come up with an example in any field.

And I totally think we would not be having this discussion had Heather posted any background information. That was, in fact, Linda’s complaint.

kalisa
12 years ago

Not bloggers such as myself, Felicia, PROFESSIONALS.

kalisa
12 years ago

Part of me is fascinated by what this all says about the power of social media. Part of me just enjoys the hell out of a good debate. Thanks, Linda.

Felicia
Felicia
12 years ago

Kalisa,

Professional what?

Ok, so there are bloggers, professional bloggers and journalists who are all professionals. Still, professional bloggers and professional journalists are not the same line of work, and do not owe the same responsibilities to society at large.

I guess you are saying that for a blogger to enter the realm of professional blogging is for their site to be endorsed by advertisers (the only way to do this is to have enough people enjoy your CANDIDNESS to visit your site often enough to get these advertisers’ attention). I don’t disagree with your definition of professional blogger. However, I stand by what I think is an obvious distinction between the responsibilities of a journalist vs. professional blogger.

At the end of the day, we are talking about a washing machine. How much detail does one have to go into about the failings of the washer? I think the average can decipher, from Heather’s tweets that the washer was defective and she couldn’t get help to fix it. BIG FREAKING DEAL!

Felicia
Felicia
12 years ago

Oops, sorry…it was a dryer.

Christine
12 years ago

Linda/Sundry, you are one of my favorite bloggers and I’ve been reading of you since before I even knew who Dooce was. In fact I started reading right after Riley was born! That said, I’m all for freedom of speech. Did she use her influence on the internet to get a better response? Maybe. Do I have a problem with it? No. Frankly, if I made my decisions based on what Dooce twittered, I would have way bigger problems in my life than my choice of appliance. ‘Na mean?

I totally understand the frustration between trying to diffuse bad PR and social media, especially since you come from marketing. It all comes down to personal responsibility and each person’s choice. I feel (and hooray! my overpriced law school education comes out!) that she has a right to say whatever the hell she wants. That’s all.

Still hope we can be imaginary internet friends and that you have a lovely weekend.

Jonesy
Jonesy
12 years ago

BLOGGERS ARE NOT JOURNALISTS. Anyone can blog!!!! Have you read most of the blogs out there?! Certainly not print worthy.

And if Dooce’s job is to blog, who are the employers? Advertisers, that’s who. And guess what people, advertisers don’t have to advertise on her site! Isn’t that incredible!

And moreover, by Dooce not censoring herself she probably alienated a pretty big potential advertiser, wouldn’t you say? I think it would be worse if she kept her shitty experience to herself in the hopes of retaining or snagging a few dollars in ad revenue.

GET A LIFE! THINK FOR YOURSELF! Woe’s the day when all the wittle sheep do everything their idols do. Seriously yo.

Michelle
Michelle
12 years ago

I love your blog! I read it all the time, but this post just left a bad taste in my mouth. Just a few weeks ago you made an emotional post in response to Heather’s birth story, so now it just feels like you are picking on her.

Also, I feel like she can twitter whatever she likes. If Maytag is not giving her good customer service they should be called out. If my friend or neighbor purchased a $1300 anything and didn’t receive good service I would want to know. Friends and acquaintances give each other product reviews all the time. I thought that was how companies gained customers and how they were held accountable.

lisa-marie
12 years ago

Beautifully put, Sundry!

Karen Lee
Karen Lee
12 years ago

I think the reason your comments got to Heather is because she respects you…..otherwise, she would have just let it go.

Andrea
Andrea
12 years ago

I think its weird that all responsibility is taken away from the readers/consumers in your view. Why do you assume that people are going to stop buying maytag because the dooce got mad at them? This isn’t some big responsibility she holds. This isn’t a critical issue she’s yelling about. Her damn washing maching broke and she got pissed and posted it on the internet. This is her entire job. She feeds her children by voicing her opinions and telling us stories about her life on the internet, but you want her to censor herself so people won’t run out and do everything she says? What are your feelings on her “Daily Style” postings? Does she have some huge responsibility to the makers of those products? what about all of the bath products and onesies she DOESN’T post about? Is she irresponsible for not representing them?
You took this way too seriously. Let maytag deal with the fallout. I guaran-damn-tee it won’t hurt their business in any significant way. And maybe they’ll have better customer service in the future.

Jess
12 years ago

OK. I’ve been reading these comments since they started flowing in and I was not going to jump into this. I absolutely see both sides of this issue. I see why Heather did what she did and I don’t fault her for it. At the same time, I totally see why you took issue with the way she handled the situation. I think it’s great that we’re having a (for the most part) civil conversation about this, and while it may some silly to get into all this over someone’s washing machine, I agree that this is really a larger discussion about the power of social media and the responsibility that individual users have to watch what they say.

But here’s what confuses me. The problem as you state it in your post is not that Heather complained publicly about Maytag–it’s that she did so on Twitter, without providing in-depth context.

But then, in your response to Jon’s comment on this post, you tell him that no matter what Heather’s ultimate post on the subject says, you won’t change your mind on this. That you can envision that it was a crappy scenario but that doesn’t justify the way she handled it on Twitter.

What that tells me is that Heather did provide enough context on Twitter. Her tweets told you everything you needed to know–there was a shitty situation with a broken washing machine, and Maytag didn’t handle it well, and as a result Heather would not recommend working with Maytag. You knew that from her tweets. You might not have known the exact details of how Maytag blew it, and we all had to wait for her post to find that out–but you know enough to know what to expect.

That seems like enough context to me. Anyone who might be relying on Dooce to help them make informed decisions about what washing machine to purchase, unless they were planning to run out that same day to make that purchase, could easily wait a day or two for the detailed post to find out if the details of Heather’s experience merited the level of concern that her Tweets expressed.

In the meantime, I actually think she chose a good approach. Instead of writing a blog post that ended in fury and anger and no resolution, leaving it in her archives to be accessed by anyone Googling “Maytag” for years in the future, she tweeted about it to give the company one last chance to resolve it, and then she wrote a nicer, friendlier, and more complete entry about the situation once it was resolved. I find that quite fair.

Susan
Susan
12 years ago

My 2 cents after reading Heather’s post:

It would have been irresponsible of Heather to tweet what she did had she not already gone through proper channels and given Maytag a chance to fix the situation. She gave them that chance and they basically told her to suck it, so they get to reap what they sow.

rosalicious
12 years ago

I think if Dooce used Twitter more regularly and was more a part of the Twitter community, then maybe the whole Maytag sitch wouldn’t be so bad. But from what I can tell, she doesn’t regularly post, participate, RT, follow or whatever (I’m sure for good reason, but still).

I don’t think I would have had any problem with the way she voiced her opinions had they been on her blog. But coming on to Twitter, which she rarely uses, to voice her strongly-capitalized opinion about Maytag, well, that just screamed I’M GOING TO GET YOU MAYTAG REVENGE, not a simple passing Twitter “complaint.”

I don’t care who you are: vengeful doesn’t look good on anyone.

Bridget
Bridget
12 years ago

Hm. I appreciate your post, Sundry, but, hm. You accused Dooce of slandering! Big deal. And as soon as she responded to this, you backed way down. Together with the fact that you, as well as many other bloggers, owe your existence to Dooce paving the way in this field, well…

I totally appreciate criticism where it’s due, but it’s hard to take it seriously when it’s just “rant rant rant” without any constructive outcome. MommyMelee was also annoyed with Dooce’s tweets, but she suggested something positive, even if her suggestion was made while she was feeling angry.

It’s easy to knock on someone else. It’s a lot harder to constructively solve a problem or make a positive change.

Jennie
Jennie
12 years ago

I’m a reader of Dooce’s website but not a follower on Twitter, so I only became aware of this yesterday with her somewhat cryptic comments, and then today with the more complete story. The whole thing is sort of an eye-opener. I had no idea that Twitter was apparently taken so seriously by people. It’s TWITTER. Emphasis on the “twit”. The idea that people are expected to show an excessive level of responsibility while tweeting, or that it’s even possible to be irresponsible on Twitter – it’s all news to me. The idea that there is apparently some Dooce army out there taking orders from Heather Armstrong? Would be troubling if it was at all credible. A comment above references Dooce’s “hissyfit” – what the hell is Twitter for if not hissyfits? Jeez, I’m scared to see that there are so many people who seem to view fucking TWITTER as second only to the King James Bible as some sort of source for truth and enlightenment.

Tree
Tree
12 years ago

I have to disagree with you here as well. I am not, in particular, a fan of “Dooce,” but I cannot agree with your assertion that she acted irresponsibly.

A blogger, is, in my opinion, a writer. A writer is an artist. An artist has no responsibility to the public. You can criticize her work based on its form, but how can you criticize its function? There is no function. Art for the sake of art.

Still more baffling to me is the comment by Kalisa, that Dooce has increased responsibility because she is “professional.” She is compensated, true. But she is her own employer– meaning her only professional responsibility is to herself. If an artist sells a painting, does the patron also purchase the right to dictate what the next painting will be? Does the entire community get to dictate what the next painting will be just because the artist is now “professional”? Nope. If Dooce worked for Maytag, perhaps then her professional status would raise issues.

In any case, what disturbs me about this whole discussion is that it smacks of anxiety about power. Anxiety about how much power Dooce has, specifically. Why should she use her power differently than others? Why should her power be more regulated and constrained? Because she is a mom? A woman? Because too many people will see her doing it? Is she being unladylike?

Super yuck. You seem smart and cool, Linda, and I wish you success with your writing but I’m not hanging this particular work of art on my wall.

Jules
Jules
12 years ago

I’ve been reading your blog for over a year and hers for a short time. I continue to read yours faithfully for the bold and lively way you approach your subject matters. This is no exception. Keep up the honest and creative way you write. It’s much needed in this ever changing world we live in. Bravo!

Michelle
Michelle
12 years ago

Beautifully written reply – thoroughly classy and spot-on.

I think it is a rare person, indeed, who could retain a true sense of humility in the face of the adulation that Ms. Armstrong receives. The most compassionate thing anyone could do for her, IMO, would be to ignore her and her site altogether. I genuinely believe it would do her and her family a world of good to come down from #26!!! and back to reality. I was a regular reader of Ms. Armstrong’s blog some years ago, but her pervasive air of cooler-than-thou became too much for a thoroughly uncool Midwestern woman like myself. Am I envious of her success or her personally? Not in the least. I freely admit that I could never withstand that level of quasi-celebrity with any semblance of grace, and apparently, neither can she.

I am especially disheartened to hear someone malign an American business – especially one based in Michigan (my home state). If you think times are tough in your area of our fair country, you ought to feel what it’s like here in the Great Lakes state. Was it irresponsible to make a blanket statement to boycott the company, given the following she has? You bet your sweet bippy it was.

I, too, had trouble with a Maytag washer some years ago. (But then, I’ve also had trouble with my current Fisher & Paykel.) I am notorious for being a customer service stickler, so I have no shortage of sympathy for Ms. Armstrong, there. But when I had trouble, I dealt with it through the appropriate channels as best I could. It’s unfortunate that Ms. Armstrong’s line of work (“Everything that happens to me is BREAKING NEWS!”) combined with her ego led her away from those reasonable methods.

Liz
Liz
12 years ago

I really like both of you and frankly don’t give a whit about the whole Maytag thing but, I find it in extremely bad taste that you went so far out of your way to call out another blogger like that. I mean, agree or disagree w/ what she says, and us to you.

I know by calling you out on calling people out it’s kind of hypocritical but it’s just so petty.

Like I said, I really like your blog, but this kind of soured my stomach. As “classy” as the other readers here want to call your argument, you kind of picked it, no? And there’s nothing classy about that.

ilva
ilva
12 years ago

So you still can’t get over Dooce’s birth story,I see..I think this is the only reason that made you react this uncharacteristically and irrationally. I love reading you both, but this one clearly goes to Heather..

Lesley
Lesley
12 years ago

Yeah, Liz, you’ve wagged your finger several times in the comment thread already about an blog post you couldn’t be bothered reading.

Yawn.

For someone who claims she couldn’t get past the second paragraph and finds the whole thing a waste of time, shouldn’t you shut your pie hole and find something else to be a busybody about?

Merideth
Merideth
12 years ago

Team Sundry, just because she’s a much better writer. Heather doesn’t have much to say if she’s not feeling sorry for herself or bragging about herself. It’s kind of gross.

Anyone ever wonder what Heather would do if she had to actually spend real physical time with her legions of fans?

She and Jon would make fun of 95 percent of them, I’m sure. Yeah, that’s right, Dooce fans. You’ve built the empire of two people who mock you endlessly behind your back.

Jen
Jen
12 years ago

Heh, I actually found your post on this via another post agreeing with you on Rancid Raves.

But I gotta say…it’s TWITTER! It’s not exactly where I turn for my penetrating news insights or in-depth product reviews. It’s where people make funny or stupid or quirky or ranty wee posts.

How many of the “1M followers” were actually at that moment poised on the brink of buying a Maytag? I’ve got to bet it’s a mighty small number. If there were others poised on the brink of thinking about getting one? Well, gosh, maybe they’ll google “Maytag washers” and see what the rest of the internets have to say.

Or maybe it’s hard for me to imagine the “power” of an individual blogger/tweeter to a big old company.

Kate (one of several, apparently)
Kate (one of several, apparently)
12 years ago

I think it’s pretty telling that Heather and Linda have both refrained from the ugly comments we’re seeing from some of their readers. It makes me sad and angry on both their behalfs; there’s just no need for it. This was simply a disagreement between two people, however public, it’s not like Linda set fire to Heather’s house, for God’s sake.

Fortunately, this will blow over, and that’s what I’m looking forward to–particularly for your sake, Linda, since you seem to be getting the brunt of the vitriol.

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

I disagree.

And you even point out why…

“I decided to expand on what I wrote on Twitter simply because I felt like I wanted to express more than 140 characters would allow me to do.”

Twitter (much like FB) doesn’t appear to be DESIGNED for “the whole story”. The whole story was days, weeks, months worth of bad experience culminating into those short simple twitter updates. Did she bash them MONTHS ago? No! She gave them time to step up and make it right.

And if anyone is going to take her simple twitter update of… don’t buy Maytag… and acting upon ONLY that info is crazy. Will it happen? Possible. But in a matter of a short time ALL the details were explained. Any why shouldn’t people know about their experience?

Honestly – after all the details were out there – I’d come to the same conclusion. Don’t buy Maytag! If that is how they take care of their customers, I don’t want to be one. For this exact same reason (personal experience) I won’t buy Samsung again! Customer service goes a long LONG way.

moojoose
12 years ago

Boy…if I didn’t love your writing before all of this, I do now. I hate reading comment after comment of everyone bashing Sundry and Team Sundry and Eat That, Sundry and so forth. I feel protective of my favorite blogger (Is that stalker-y and inappropriate? Probably.) and sincerely hope the flamewars stop soon.

I have read you both, but always enjoyed you more and this whole thing clearly illuminated why: HUMANITY.

You, Linda, you write as a person and with such honesty that sometimes it brings tears to my eyes. You don’t turn your humanity into a brand and churn out identical sounding posts and let your writing blur the lines and make it impossible to know how to continue being human.

Hang in there and keep writing just as you only can do. It’s so great that your thoughts made everyone (for awhile at least) stop and use those things we usually have crammed up our respective sphincters.

honeybecke
honeybecke
12 years ago

jesus christ that was a lot of comments! my eyeballs hurt. interesting stuff.

Maria
12 years ago

Joking around on Twitter about Team Dooce and Team Sundry is now, literally, my biggest regret since blogging in this community. I don’t think Dooce deserves an apology for any of the ways I’ve expressed my opinion about the way I perceived the situation.

However, you deserve an apology. I’m really, unbelievably sorry for the couple of tweets mentioning your “throw down” with Heather. I had no idea people would take it literally, but I should have realized that.

(I doubt my tweets actually contributed to the personal attacks / yucky doocedefending you’re experiencing, but I still feel gross.)

(So, there.)

(MAN I feel like a stalker for obsessing about this.)

I’ve been blogging since 2002, so you’d think I’d permanently learn stuff about fandom/wank/etc. I guess I’m overly optimistic. Blown away that an adult can’t express her negative opinion about a public/pop culture figure (in a funny, witty way) without getting personally attacked.

Also, was anyone else watching Twitter that afternoon? Sheesh. I saw dozens of twets like “someone buy that bitch a washer so she shuts the fuck up.” Wher’s the army after them?

(Oh yeah, they were called out in the middle of a tweet in an obvious, deliberate attempt to drive hateful traffic toward them.)

Stupid twitter.

I hope this all blows over soon, and I’m glad to see you already just continuing to do your thing.

The baby just bit the crap out of me. I think he’s trying to tell me to stop vomiting in your comments box. Again.

erin
12 years ago

Well said post. I don’t do Twitter, so I’m not up on the whole controversy, but your post was enough for me to figure out what was going on. And you said it well.

Krissa
Krissa
12 years ago

I’m always fascinated when this kind of thing happens.

A few months ago, you linked to a comment on a blog from Twitter – a comment, not the blog itself. And then some of your readers went over there, and oh the mean! The terrible, horrible, nasty, no good, very awful things they said to this blogger were astounding. I can only imagine the kind of email she got from that. And with the situation at hand now – a lot of comments about “who would do something based on a Tweet? Too far!” when clearly, many people will.

I’ve enjoyed having the whole story now on Dooce’s site. In looking back, though, how different would this have been if she’d posted the first half of the story on her blog, up to the point on the phone with the stupid girl where she told her, “I’m taking this to Twitter,” and THEN tweeted about it? Which is what happened in real time, but the viewing audience over here in the sticks first got the Tweets, and then the story. A little bit of a cart, running down the road before the horse. (Please note, this is a metaphor and I am not in fact calling Dooce a horse.)
I love that she consciously used her influence to get what she needed – and, I think, was entitled to. A brand new appliance that works is something we’re all entitled to if we bought it! It seems like she even purposefully blew the tweets out of proportion to get a calculated response. I love that she is using social media in such a way, with a purpose.

But I agree with your stance. The contextless state in which the tweets went out were *my* problem with the whole thing. Of course there is a back story – but I would’ve liked the back story first, and then the fanning of the flames to get the job done. I love a good fire, when I know it’s burning.

stacy
12 years ago

You make a good point about being careful about what we Twitter/post/blog about etc …. but I’m not sure this post was entirely deserved without knowing the whole story first hand, Heather’s side of the story that is.

It’s actually this kind of back and forth stuff that often times gets misinterpreted that is making me reconsider being a part of this blogging community.

That said, I have never purchased a new washing machine, never had one break (knock on wood, although mine makes strange noises, a lot), nor have I worked in marketing.

I am glad to know that marketing departments are monitoring Twitter and social media outlets, it’s high time that customers get the service response they deserve.

KB
KB
12 years ago

This entire epic adventure has definitely turned me off from Twitter entirely. I thought it was meant to be a positive form of social media, and a quick transport for information? Anyway, a majority of the commenters have touched on many of the things I’ve felt having been drawn into the eye of this tornado yesterday while absentmindedly internet browsing at the office. So instead of saying more of the same, I want to shout out to my friendly, patient and kind folks at Apple for their recent round of amazing customer service. I purchased a product of theirs, couldn’t get it to work per the book’s instructions, scheduled a phone appointment for the next night and an Apple rep called me promptly at the time I scheduled, proceeding to spend an hour on the phone with me until my issues were resolved. I do realize there is a membership fee after a certain length of time to continue to access this service, but this was one night after my purchase so my call was free. Other corporate giants should be as effective if they wish to maintain continued success. And additionally, this outrage has definitely turned me off to dooce. Several years ago I loved, loved, loved reading her. She is such a clever writer. But lately, she rarely posts anything that interests me. And when I click on her page, before it loads I just wonder if I’m going to read about a)another dirty diaper, b)more money she’s spent on some housewares luxury or another or c)how she never sleeps. I agree with poster Merideth in that Heather wouldn’t mix well with many of her readers. In speaking for myself only, I doubt I’m interesting enough to keep her entertained!*I do like this blog. This is the first time I’ve read it, but will plan a revisit.