So, I woke up this morning, bright eyed and bushytailed…I have a tail in the mornings, part of a lifelong curse. Anyway…I was awake. Being the savvy Social Media NinGuDi (that’s Ninja/Guru/Jedi all mixed in together…you can use it. You know you want to) that I am, I decided I’d check in to the new and exciting world of Google Plus while my coffee was brewing. You know, Google Plus, that place where everything is bright and shiny and new and different.
So, I was scrolling along and there was a post by Chris Brogan regarding a webinar he’ll be offering soon covering Google+. I scanned through the numerous comments and saw that there were a handful of people who were using their time to take absolutely pointless little picky shots at Chris Brogan.
Yep, you can’t see that on any other social media platform. Wait, this just in…you can see that anywhere in the online world.
So, before you roll your eyes and say, “Oh geeze, another person saying that big names can’t be criticized,” understand that you should read the rest of the post. Because I’m not saying that anyone is perfect. Personally, I agree with the idea that it might be a bit too soon to roll out a webinar about Google+. Then again, I haven’t been at the top of the social media game for like, a decade.
The issue I have with these exchanges is that they kind of make me nauseous, and I really don’t appreciate that. How can I enjoy my delicious summer salad if I feel sick? And the reason these exchanges make me feel sick is because the criticizers are not really talking constructively about the concept. They’re taking personal shots at another person. It makes THEM look bad. Then the big name responds, because no one likes being insulted, and that makes the big name look jerky too. So you end up with a big pile of people who aren’t really jerks but who kind of seem like it.
I have a few thoughts on why these conversations roll out the way they do, whether it’s in a blog post, on Twitter, on Google Plus, or anywhere else. Do any of these resonate with you?
1. People are tired of the same folks getting all of the attention, so they think, “Aha, I will jump into this person’s face, thus be on their radar, and thus get tasty gravy drippings of the attention they get.”
2. People have a legitimate reason to doubt something someone is saying, but they were not successful in “Good Manners 101” and thus they aren’t able to frame their concerns as anything other than poor-mannered blegh.
3. People know that if they are mean enough, they’ll draw attention to themselves and then turn on the charm to show people what they’re really like.
4. And then of course there’s the ole green monster. No, not boogers. Jealousy. Some people are just plain jealous that folks are better-known than them. It eats at them day and night like that flesh-eating virus that LaForge got in that one episode of Star Trek Next Generation. And that just isn’t good.
Excepting the spam bots, we’re all people here in the online world. You’re bound to say something at some point that I disagree with. You might even say something that makes me cock my head to the side and say, “What on EARTH are you talking about?” That’s ok. If we can converse about it, we both might learn something. We both might gain a new perspective. Note, for example, the different emotions that these two sentiments stir within you:
a) You are a dumb (take your pick here…jerk, a-hole…)
b) I disagree with what you’re saying there. In my experience….
I can’t speak for everyone (unfortunately), but for me, this is how it lays out. If you’re a jerk to someone, whether on the offense or on the defense, it affects how I think about you. There is no reason to be a jerk online. It’s irresponsible. It sends a bad message. And if you’re online for business, guess who I don’t want to do business with because I view them as emotionally unstable?
Nooo, not that person. You.
“I’m protecting the world by dissing these guys”
I realize that because my avatar picture shows me with a binky in my mouth that you think I’m an infant who needs to be protected from the big bad sexy big names. And I appreciate that. I really do. But you know what? If I think something smells icky, I won’t go pick it up and say, “Hey, what’s this?” I’ll walk the other way. I can decide for myself what’s garbage and what isn’t. And here’s the real kick in that place you don’t want to be kicked in – we might disagree sometimes about what’s garbage and what isn’t.
Lord have mercy.
But really, there’s plenty of room for civil disagreement in the online world. I became friends with Tommy Walker because we started talking based on something we disagreed about (no idea what now). And if you think you can’t disagree civilly in conversation, write a blog post ABOUT WHAT YOU CAN OFFER!
That’s what will make me want to learn more about you. What’s your story? What can you offer? I can get doses of jerkdom in all kinds of places. If you exhibit that behavior, don’t need ya. If you show me something new and positive and really bright and shiny, I’ll be much more enticed (again, just speaking for myself here).
And if you think that something someone is doing is stupid, do something better. Do something you feel is better than that. Then we all win.
Can you consider that?
This is post #88 in the Engagement Series. I thank you for stopping by!
Image Credit: http://www.sxc.hu/profile/smswigart