One Post, One Comment, One Click Can Decide It All
Our reputations hang by the flimsiest of threads. We see it in the real world all the time....you say BP, I think Gulf oil spill, you say Exxon, I think Valdez. You say Zebra, well you may not want to know what I think. The mental associations are almost impossible to break. Years, decades go by and there may be forgiveness, but we don't have to forget.
As we wander in the Rain, we don't stick to only our Subscribed list. Now that collection of bloggers produces some excellent work and we could quite comfortably spend all our Rain time just with them, but then we'd be missing out on a lot.....great work, business tips, laughs, thought provoking. A chance to add someone new to our day.
So we go on a virtual walkabout, maybe just the blog roll, maybe the Feature posts, and there's obviously a wide variety of styles and topics. What may be forgotten by some is that our entire reputation may be formed off of just a single post, comment or click. You can spend months or years developing the most sparkling of reputations, and shatter it in moments with an ill-advised choice of post or reaction.
If a particular post or comment was the ONLY source for someone to decide what type person you are, what's their judgment of you? Positive or negative? There's often no second chance, both here and with the consumers. Cross the line and there's no examination of your collective body of work, but a microscopic focus on that one deed. It's pass/fail.
Because no matter how valid the message, delivery matters. No matter how valid your point, the message can be lost in the ensuing actions. How you treat others who agree and disagree is decisive in determining if they'll ever return.
Ridiculing those who don't fall in line damages a reputation. Why intentionally submit ourselves to unprovoked abuse when there's so much positive to be easily found?
And deleted comments? If the dissenting comment is civil, a rational attempt at dialog....IMO deleting comments is the refuge of the weak. If your position isn't tenable nor defensible to the point that your only response is eradication of the opposition, perhaps it's time to rethink your position? And if you can't do that, you've demonstrated that spending precious time with you is NOT good for present or future.
Why should our online interaction be that much different than what we practice in the "real world"? We routinely bite our tongues when dealing with the public because we know our reputations matter. We're selective in our phone conversations, emails, Facebook, Twitter and blog, carefully controlling our reputation. Do you think there aren't plenty of times we wouldn't love to say what we're REALLY thinking? But that's not the way we do business.
So before you hit submit on that post, the comment, that delete button, it might be worth taking a few seconds to think just a bit more. Your call, it's YOUR reputation, not mine.
Keep on Blogging,
Liz and Bill aka BLiz