There was a time there when I thought the Shrek movies were just the most innovative movies around. I thought that until they did about two sequels too many, in fact. The movies are sort of geared at children, but they are highly amusing for us grown-up types, plus they’re charming and they offer positive messages. What more can you ask for from a movie these days?
There are a lot of lessons one can learn from Shrek, and a lot of the lessons are big, over-arching life lessons like “Don’t judge people.” But there’s one particular lesson I’m thinking about that relates particularly well to Social Media. Are you ready?
In the second Shrek movie (if you haven’t seen it), Shrek the Ogre and his little talking donkey friend take a magical formula and become, in a word, stud-muffins. Donkey becomes a gorgeous white stallion and Shrek gains a “cute button nose and a tight, round buttocks.” Shrek’s wife, Fiona, who is also an ogre most of the time, is also affected, and goes back to being a beautiful, red-headed princess. At the end of the movie, Fiona can decide if she and Shrek will stay in their human forms forever or whether they will go back to their ogre selves. Donky is not part of the conversation, but he is ultimately deeply affected by what the loving couple decide.
When you engage with people in the online world, you are often in the same position as Donkey. If you really come out and support a person, you are staking your credibility on how they will act. If they decide to do a total goofball thing, your credibility, along with theirs, will be affected. If they get into really hot water because they do something wrong, you are also going to receive raised eyebrows because, after all, you suggested to a ton of people that this person is a great find, a great blogger, a great…whatever.
Of course, there’s another side to this coin. For everyone with whom you engage, you’re in the position of Shrek, and everything you do can impact how the members of your community will be received elsewhere in the online world.
At its heart, Social Media engagement is about taking a leap of faith. It’s saying, “I hope, if given the choice, you’ll let me stay a stallion instead of making me turn into a donkey.” In a big way, your online fate is in my hands, and mine is in yours.
Does that, or should that, influence how you act? How you speak? What do you think?
This is post #92 in the Engagement Series. If you are worried about missing posts, please feel free to hit the subscribe button. Thank you!
Image by Damián Martinez. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/amilcarxl