Dear United Airlines:

You messed up big. You know it. There is no need for me to rehash it because it is all over the web, TV, name it. I’ve watched the video twice and even showed it to my husband last night, many days after my first viewing. I couldn’t help it.

The tune is actually catchy, the video funny and well, you really had it coming. The next time someone vows to (In Carroll’s words) l “write and produce three songs about my experience with United Airlines and make videos for each to be viewed online by anyone in the world” I think you should take them to heart.

What I talk about on my blog is community building and engagement and there is still hope for you if you’re willing to put in the work. Right now you are in heavy damage control mode and that is quite understandable. But if you can step back for a minute and think of ways to connect with people who are talking about you in droves right now, you can take this big bowl of lemons and start making lemonade. There was a post by Dan Greenfield earlier this week that chronicled your responses on YouTube and Twitter and compared them to the number of comments made by the public. They completely dwarf your numbers. That is somewhat understandable but you could probably do better.

The key here is that people are talking about you. It may not be in the best light but they are talking about you much more than they were before this happened. You will have to kowtow to Carroll a bit, but that should not be your only strategy. Try building community around all of this chatter.

Here are a few ideas I offer you, free of charge:

Ask people what you could have done better. Seriously. Start your own forum or Facebook page asking people what you could have done better in this case. Don’t worry about looking stupid. That has already happened. This could turn into a good thing.

Find Weird Al Yankovic and have him write a spoof to Carroll’s song on your behalf. Remember this rendition of Michael Jackson’s Beat It, coined “Eat it?” Why not get in on the action? I bet he can fit you into his schedule.

Ask Carroll if someone from your company can be in his next video. He may not be as mad at you by the time the third video is produced and if you keep giving him everything he asks for he may even start to like you again. Big maybe on that.

Read EVERY.SINGLE.COMMENT and reach out to bloggers. Get a team of people to read every single comment and blog connected to that video that you can. Comment heavily.

Create some cool sticker with the YouTube logo and Carroll’s face on music equipment reminding baggage handlers to be careful. You see where I’m going with this. Get your team together and start having fun with this thing.

Think long term and get people talking about how you handled all of this with a bit of humor, after the fact and cared enough about your reputation to let the world help you do better.

Yours truly..and good luck,

Angela Connor

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