Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Let's Make A Responsible Use Of Our Voice In Social Media

Our Social Media Voice.
A few weeks ago a video circulated over the Internet showing a professional soccer player, in fact one of those many call "a legend", a famous master, beat his girlfriend while he was, apparently, totally drunk.

The video in question quickly became popular, and got comments (both positive and negative) as it began to be shared over the internet and especially on social media, as it always happens in these situations.

But regardless of the comments the video generated, what really struck me was having the opportunity to confirm yet again how anyone equipped with a smartphone, a tablet or any similar device, and simply with an internet connection and any social media account, can become a broadcaster for all kind of situations, both true and false, real or invented.

And it’s something that all of us, and I really mean ALL of us, should take into consideration, whether or not we’re running a business: Any person with whom we interact, whether in a positive or negative way, on a professional or personal level, has complete capacity (if they want) to share their own opinions with the community who follows them, and can thus become either an "ambassador" for your company, in the best case; or your "worst nightmare."

It’s a decision that is exclusively on their hands. And that's the big risk (or the great opportunity) for your company’s reputation and even for yourself.

With great powers, come great responsibilities.

But today I want to focus not on your side as a business owner, but on that of the individual who buys things in businesses of all kinds, from that very same shop where you go to do your weekly grocery shopping, up to the workshop you take your car to for repairs.

The immense power that we have to share our opinions over social networks should be used very judiciously.

And even though I feel it’s great that all of us, as consumers and citizens, have the ability to share with the world what we don’t like, what we feel not to be fair, it also looks terrifying to me that any person, at any time and from anywhere in the world - and simply moved by an emotional outburst, or by sheer bad intentions, can put in jeopardy you business’ reputation and even your own reputation, both as a person and a professional.

It comes to my mind the moment when Jor-El tells his son Kal-el (if you’re not familiar with the names, I’m talking about Superman, the flying superhero) that the latter had great powers that no other human being had, nor could ever have, and because of that, those superpowers were to be used responsibly and only to make good things.

And as every time I make statements like these one, I will share with you a story I read about a while ago on an english written blog.

The case of the irritable passenger who was just having a very bad day.

As I said, some time ago I read an article in which a girl related what had happened to her one day she had arrived late to the airport for a flight she needed to take to another city.

Of course, when she finally made it to her flight’s gate, it was already closed. She then approached one of the officers at the ticket counter asking for help, because she really had to get on that plane in a hurry, but the agent told her there was nothing he could do at that time, because the flight was already closed.

The girl, on her frustration and urgency, lost control, got upset and began to complain. Think of the situation: The airline employee trying to respect and hold to his company’s policy, our frustrated girl trying to get on the plane, some things were said, some words were crossed, and it all exploded.

All stories always have two versions, yours and that of the other person involved.

It’s not my intention to judge either party (although I tend to favor the airline, considering that our lady was late for the flight), but the story ended with the lady not boarding the plane and having to book her flight with another airline.

At the end of the day, she got to her destination. But while on the plane, she wrote an article for a blog she was working with, in which she unloaded all her frustration and anger towards the airline and the agent who attended her, who denied her the opportunity to get on the flight and arrive on time to her destination, forcing her to go back and look for another air carrier.

I read her post, as well as many other guys like myself, and had the opportunity to watch her questioning the airline’s reputation, even though she had been fully responsible on her own disgrace, for arriving late to the airport.

The first thing we all need to put to good use is our common sense.

Please note that in the post I read, our lady instead of starting off by admitting she had been responsible for the incident (because she arrived late to the airport), she simply unloaded all her frustration as a customer who believes to deserve everything and blamed the airline and, in particular, the agent by not letting her get on the plane.

We are responsible for what we say, and the damage we inflict to others with what we say.

It’s important, very important, we all make an effort to responsibly use our voice in the digital environment. It’s no longer a simple matter of saying things just because we feel like it, but to always make sure we maintain our objectivity, use sound judgment and common sense while saying anything.

We must understand that, when we decide to complain about anything we consider unfair, or complain to any company for something we believe was not properly done or is simply just wrong, we assume all the consequences that such an act may have for us, whether positive or negative.

What would have happened if, upon reading her post, the airline decided to sue the girl for the damage she could have inflicted the company’s reputation? Which was going to be “our frustrated passenger’s” answer? That she forgot she had to arrive the airport on time to take the flight?

We must act responsibly and always using our common sense. In our hands we have a very powerful tool, both for good and evil, and we’re able to spread our opinion and reach many, many people in a very short time and with very little effort.

We can unite our voices in defense of really worthy causes around the world and make a great contribution to our society, or we can also use our voice irresponsibly and make us an echo of (whether willing or not) false accusations or disseminate uncertain information.

And that is not a positive contribution neither for you, nor for anybody.

I recommend you reading the following article in this post
When The Crisis Explodes, Don’t Focus Your Eyes On The Tip Of The Iceberg.

Picture Copyright: imagesbavaria / 123RF Stock Photo

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