This week I have been thinking about the dark online world, after the death of Amanda Todd, and an exchange I had on Facebook this week with another blogger.
First with the other bloggers and the Facebook exchange, the argument was made that it is ok to be harsh, to call a person on the carpet online, where everything is around forever. A blogger had written about a mistake a guest made at after attending an event he hosted. His business is about building authentic relationships. The mistake made was that a business man added people to an email list without first asking them. I hate when someone does that but does that mean I need to put that name out there in a blog post? For me no.
Even one of my favorite bloggers was advocating that it is OK to be harsh, because they deserved it. I had to take a step back. Do I want to be part of a society that now thinks it is okay to be hard on someone cause they deserved it, because they screwed up, all in the name of protecting a brand image. When did a brand image become more important then a person?
Then Amanda Todd died, and we learned that those that bullied her lurked online, those that bullied her thought it was ok to attack even after this woman was trying to move on after making a big mistake.
Then I thought of of all the online attacks I have witnessed on Twitter and Facebook, and these aren’t just teens but adults calling each other vile names, ragging on each other, all in the name of accountability. But where in calling someone accountable did it become ok to become harsh, rude, vulgar? When you cross into harshness where does it stop?
What are we really modelling for our teens? our kids?
This online world can be dark, and Amanda was right about one thing, everything does stay around forever. Once it is out there it is out there.
So what are the lines? How do we hold each other accountable, but still be nice? kind? even generous. I think it can be done.
If someone screws up dm them, email them, call them. You do not need to post it where everyone can see it.
If the screw up affects your business send an email to those effected and explain things if you want to protect your brand image.
Now not that long ago ( like just over a year ago) I made a mistake on Twitter. I got more then called on the carpet for it. A fellow blogger even wrote a post that attacked me (thankfully she left my name off the post but I knew it was aimed at me). Little did those that attacked that day and the few days following that I was left in tears at this end of my computer screen. I learned that day I never again wanted to be unkind with any of my words online.
Kindness became my rule.It is my first rule. Treat others as you would if they were in front of you.
Yes you can get frustrated even with a brand, but remember at the end of that Twitter handle is a real person, behind the screen that person you type too is real, has a family..
Kindness matters to me. Does it matter to you?
Really I want to know what are your thoughts on this? Is it ok to be harsh, call a spade a spade as some say? or is it better to be kind? and what would you want to model for your teen or child?