Despite the popular belief of Buggles (non-bloggers), blogging isn’t some mythical fantasy land, in fact truth be told it’s like every day life but online. General etiquette applies in both, you know the sorts of things; being nice to people, being polite, helping others if you can and respecting your community.
Occasionally in blogging, to use a well-know-if-not-a-tad-crude phrase – ‘shit happens’, someone says something hurtful, treats some else unfairly, spreads rumours, the kind of school playground stuff of the 80′s only more up to date. People get upset, things sometimes get heated, often folk forget that Twitter isn’t the best place to vent their opinions (I’m guilty of that myself). And these occurrences happen throughout blogging , not just with ‘well know’ established bloggers but of course those are the spats that tend to reach more people due to the followings of the people in question.
If we are honest most of us have been there, we’ve seen a discussion on Twitter or in a Facebook Group that we dare not comment on yet dare not look away from. But when do you stand up and say ‘I don’t agree with that’, ‘That’s unnecessarily mean’ or ‘Nooooo step away from the computer for the love of jeebers!’ ? Is a nice private email to the person involved a solution often neglected? Sometimes things go a step too far, the humiliation of someone is too public, too harsh to be swept under the carpet. Today is one of those days, sorry about this, in advance.
It’s Social Media Week this week and one presentation ‘Effective Blogger Outreach in 10 Easy Steps’ has caused quite the stir in some blogging circles. You see the blogger running the presentation, a Masterclass for PR’s, in the position of a trusted and trustworthy professional, is also one who prides herself on ‘doing things the right way’, so imagine the disbelief when she used an example of a bloggers grumble at a PR from a private, closed Facebook group.
I do feel that I need to add a little bit at this point about bloggers grumbling about PR approaches in Facebook groups – it happens, of course it happens, have I done it myself? Many times. It’s like in real life, if someone upsets you, or a parcel arrives all squished – you grumble to people. I’m not a PR but I can only assume that the same things happen in PR circles. Here’s a random example: A blogger receives a couple of hundred pounds worth of clothes for an awards ceremony but receives no mention from the blogger in return, as agreed would be the case, I suspect they would grumble to their colleagues. Bottom line, people talk. If you don’t treat people well then they may complain to others and that’s your brand being given a bad reputation, be it a big household named brand or your blogs brand. PS. Bloggers also gossip about good PR approaches and who they have enjoyed and recommend others to work with, so Facebook Groups are far from bottomless pits of negativity.
You can see the post in question being read out as an example here, skip to around the 6 minute 33 second mark. I have read the post with my own eyes and I have spoken to the group admins, permission was not given by anyone to use the posting as an example.
From a closed Facebook Group. Now I am not naive, I work on theory that what I type in anywhere on the internet it will never be truly private. But this isn’t a case of one person telling another and having a little gossip, this is it being used as an example in Social Media Week in a presentation being shared with a lot of people. Ethical? I think not. Nice? Nope. Not being asked if your post could be used as an example, watching it be used in such a negative way and yes I’d go so far as saying being humiliated in front of the other members of the group who have been watching and recognized the example.
But that’s not enough of a humiliation, if you want to ‘do things the right way’, she then goes on to seemingly poo-poo the bloggers Page Rank of 2 with a minor condescending snigger thrown in, just in case you all haven’t fully grasped what a crock of shit she presumably thinks a Page Rank of Two is . The story ends on the factually incorrect point that the PR was sacked from the company, when she was not.
Now that’s not breaking news, in fact lots of you already know about it. It’s not life-changing or a crime against humanity. But it’s not the actions of a trustworthy professional, it’s unethical, not very nice and really did upset someone.
At a time when the phrase ‘Don’t Feed the Trolls’ is being debated, maybe it’s time we all asked ourselves how we deal with the things they see going on around them – silence is not always golden .