Raspberry ripples

Some non-network related thoughts in which I reflect on the self-inflicted social media disaster that all started with a blog post about a new Raspberry Pi staff team hire.

It all started when the company posted about a new team member, Toby Roberts. Toby is a former UK police officer with a specialism in surveillance. The announcement leant fairly heavily into this aspect of Toby’s life experience. Some people really didn’t like this.

The first I knew was when people I follow on Mastodon started complaining to the company. The comments I saw were calm, measured, explained the issue they had and why… all of these people were blocked by Raspberry Pi.

I, perhaps unwisely, also shared a comment about how this was being dealt with. I too was blocked and remain so.

Comments from Liz Upton of Raspberry Pi seem to suggest a belief this was a co-ordinated attack on the company’s social media presence, fomented on a discord server somewhere, and tied in to a general frustration with the company’s challenges sourcing components and supplying customers.

Whilst I have no evidence either way, I don’t think this is terribly likely. The criticism was focussed and entirely understandable. I watched it spread from concern over the initial blog post to much wider concern over how the company was responding.

I should say I don’t know Toby Roberts but I have absolutely no feelings about him being employed by the company. The problem is there are plenty of people who don’t like and distrust the police both in the UK, where Toby is based, and across the world. I’m not going to get into what is and is not reasonable in this regard, but suffice to say I agree there are legitimate reasons for law abiding people to have trust issues with the police here in the UK.

It’s for this reason the initial focus on Toby’s long and distinguished police background was, probably, unwise. But that isn’t where the problem is today.

The issue is much more serious and it’s about how the company, Raspberry Pi, responds to criticism and deals with its customers.

Valid concerns were dismissed with “just chill” and as far as I can see they literally blocked everybody who engaged in this discussion. Communications via their website are ignored and this brick wall has remained in place.

It’s a classic social media/PR screw up and it leaves a lot of people swearing never to purchase from them again. This is for a variety of reasons. In my own case it’s nothing to do with the history of who they employ but how they dealt with this situation and the attitude that it’s ok to just block all critics.

We all know what happens when the only thing you hear is “why, that’s the best idea in the world, bravo sir…”

For the record, my comment – I accept this was snark – for which I was blocked read:
“It seems @Raspberry_Pi have taken lessons on PR from elno, which is strange considering the first thing he does is sack all the PR people.”

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