I actually feel a little guilty about writing this post. It’s after three in the morning and, while I’ve been working all night, I also have a busy day tomorrow. I’ve got stories from my Kansas trip that still need telling. I made it through a few items on my to-do list today but not nearly enough to justify the rant that I know I’m about to dive into helter-skelter. But here I am, setting myself up for a 4am bedtime because this is something that’s been bothering me for long enough to warrant giving up an hour or two of sleep.
So let’s dive right in. I am mystified by the two-faced behavior in the social media world. I have heard person after person complain about person after person, and next thing I know they’re hosting an event together, or retweeting each other, or liking the status of and encouraging someone they think is the “used car salesperson of social media”.
Social Media is, inherently, social. We talk. If you say something bad about me I will inevitably hear it. If I say something bad about you, the same holds true. And I think that’s what mystifies me about all of the back-room backstabbing and front parlor handshaking. With our proliferation of tools for communication Joe can hear just what a schmuck Bob thinks he truly is within a matter of seconds. It’s gone on for centuries before we sent messages in bits and bytes, probably as long as people have been communicating and creating alliances, but now Joe knows as fast as it takes him to spell B-o-b.
So why does this age-old behavior bother me?
Because I can’t do it!
That’s not an indictment against myself. It’s not that I want to become comfortable with deception. Frankly, it baffles me because I don’t understand how people can be so duplicitous. And I wonder how they can continue to work with people who have spoken poorly about them and THEY KNOW IT.
It’s not just a question of egos and fragile psyches. It is a question of integrity. Why would you choose to work with someone who doesn’t respect you? Why would you want to represent someone that you speak poorly about when they’re not present?
Simple answer: don’t.
The reality, however, isn’t that simple. This is social media, after all. You cut ties and people know; people take sides. If you decide you won’t work with someone because they don’t represent the same values that you hold for yourself personally and for your brand, you may also lose people who do have loyalties to that person/company/brand.
That’s a decision that each person and company has to make individually. If you feel that what you’re doing is right, then stand by it. I’ve personally cut ties (more publicly than I’d hoped!) and it is not fun. But, it’s what needed to be done and I’ve been reinforced in that decision several times. Do what you know is right. Be honest; be transparent; it makes life a whole lot simpler.