Who dissed my cheese? or The Importance of Listening Online

Snacks for Blogging for People Who ShouldOne of the unexpected joys of running the weeknight workshop series “Blogging for People Who Should” is getting to sample some fun cheeses. On my way to work on workshop days, I walk through Kensington Market and pick up some snacks for the session: fresh organic veggies, dips, olives, cookies, crackers and best of all, cheese.

If you don’t offer some kind of food at workshops that start right after the workday ends, people have to scramble to grab something quick (and invariably crappy) or go hungry. And it’s fun to try a few new cheeses each week.

I am a fan of Global Cheese, on Kensington Avenue, a big friendly place where the staff behind the counter constantly offer you sample slices to taste. Aside from being a good business tactic, it’s always a lot of fun to shop there.So imagine how surprised I was when I googled “Global Cheese” and found that, on a local Toronto blog, several people were really vociferous about NOT liking Global Cheese.

Pushy service….switching your order to cheese you didn’t want….selling you over-the-hill cheese….poor grades on health inspections…etc.

There seemed to be a bit of a ping-pong of opinions, pro and con, back and forth on all things Global Cheese, until I came to this comment from the site’s editors.

Editor's note from blog.to page for Global Cheese in Kensington. Who dissed my cheese? Oh, another store did.

It seems that someone had been dissing the cheese (and the service, and the cleanliness) at Global Cheese, while talking up another store on the site. Luckily a vigilant editor at the blog put a stop to this vicious smear campaign, and a good cheese shop won’t lose any customers.

I think this episode illustrates nicely the importance of listening to what people are discussing online. In this case, a simple Google Alert for “Global Cheese Toronto” would have sent an email to alert the staff at Global that they were being talked about, and they could have defended themselves. It’s a clear illustration of the benefit of listening to online conversations, something we cover in the second session of the workshop (Download the notes here)

Do you have any Google alerts running? Have you found out any useful information from them lately?

(Cross-posted from www.bloggingforpeoplewhoshould.com a  site for a blogging workshop I run at 215 Spadina Ave.)

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