Art of Being Subtle Part II

Brendan has a great post about the way some people online treat newcomers to online communities:

Over the past while I have witnessed several individuals and companies being dressed down by leading members of Ireland’s online community. These are individuals and companies that have broken the rules of the community.

He goes on:

The misdemeanour could range from the way they set up their blog, taking advertising on their personal website, to sending unsolicited emails to large numbers of people. Individuals are named and shamed, and often rightly so.

He points out that businesses are probably afraid to come online and interact when they see that kind of aggression. Very wild west! Where are the Pinkertons? 🙂

I’ve given out when people set their blog up on blogspot, which I call catpissspot. I’ve given out when people dress lies up as advertising and I’m constantly giving out about businesses spamming people. It’s frequently pointed out to me that I’m very ratty on this blog. Certainly when it comes to spamming, I wouldn’t shed a single tear when a business infringes on my privacy and blames it on a simple mistake and then gets hammered. If we had a competent Data Privacy Commissioner I think this would happen less. It’s like the excuse those headcases give when they microwave their dogs. They didn’t know. They were never informed. That was never written down. No get out of jail card there from me. Anyway, back to the point.

How subtle!
Photo owned by faeryboots (cc)

I’ve previously mentioned the art of being subtle and of observing and I left a comment advocating the same on Brendan’s blog post. The trouble is that it seems companies now hire consultants to quickly tell them what the rules and nuances of this online game are and the companies jump straight in with their rulebook learned off by heart. They still need to observe. What’s with the rush?

What do you think? Should we attempt to turn the other cheek and not get so enraged? Leave a comment over there. Brendan is the chair of the IIA Social Media Working Group and I’m sure would enjoy as much constructive feedback and different viewpoints as possible.

5 Responses to “Art of Being Subtle Part II”

  1. I think Brendan is on about communications at its core level. In my world as a blow-in to Ireland, I learned–and have to relearn–that one’s demeanor can stifle conversation, shed friendships, reduce effectiveness and damage communications. I have learned to be attentive to “stop tactics”, things that stop the flow of meaningful dialogue. In a multi-cultural setting, “stop words” can totally throttle academic learning. In an online environment, it’s just as stifling. People do more than stop listening to you. They don’t just unsubscribe. They can redline your initiatives or play a part in a whispering campaign that closes doors before they’re announced as open. We talk about these issues in several third level modules, hoping the next generation climbing aboard the Irish internet is truly interested in building a community and sharing knowledge.

  2. Brendan says:

    “The trouble is that it seems companies now hire consultants to quickly tell them what the rules and nuances of this online game are…”

    This is perhaps one of the biggest problems. Social media is a brand new way for businesses to interact with customers. Many simply don’t get that it is different to advertising. You can’t simply pay others to do it for you. Community is built on conversation as Bernie says, and that takes effort. Effort from within the company to listen and engage meaningfully and authentically.

  3. Damien says:

    Many simply don’t get that it is different to advertising

    That’s it! I wonder is that the most important point?

  4. The most important point is that social media or online community building is normally funded from a company’s marketing and advertising budget. Then the companies try to apply the same metric when jumping into this evolving space.

  5. […] Brendan Hughes writes an interesting piece on how it can be offputting for new companies to get involved in new media because they witness other companies getting a good old fashioned dressing down online if they put a foot wrong (thanks to Damien for pointing it out). […]