There’s been a lot of talk and controversy recently within our online media realm and specifically with one, Chris Brogan. He came under heavy fire from a sponsored post he did on his Dad-O-Matic group blog on behalf of Kmart, which seemingly only caught wind after Jeremiah Owyang posted this tweet over the weekend. It undoubtedly yielded a flurry of responses (good and bad) on Twitter that led to people questioning his authenticity and trust (which is absurd to begin with if you know anything about Chris and his contributions to his community). I won’t get too deep into the controversy as you can get a better understanding of it from Chris’ post and recent interview with Mitch Joel, along with several other great responses.
The issue that’s really bugging me here is the mob-like mentality that Twitter seem to get when a disagreement comes into play. We’ve seen this before with Motrin and their ‘controversial video’ that mommy bloggers created uproar over. Now with Chris’ recent episode, Twitterers began questioning his transparency and trust, all from this weekend – a solid WEEK after he originally posted on Dad-O-Matic. Do we as Twitter users feel we’re being held on a higher ground than everyone else and should question every little bit that goes on in our digital media world? It certainly seems so.
Social Media, Twitter, Blogging – they’re all for transparency and allows us to voice our opinions for the world to see, regardless of any reputation we may or may not have. As Geoff noted in his post:
There’s an increasing lack of common sense and a mad rush to bury people online.
Is that what Twitter’s becoming? Because we have the ability to knock down brands or people’s choices that some of us may not agree with – we do so without understanding the entire situation? We preach conversation and transparency on a daily basis but we have to remain vigilant and take responsibility of having such power in our voices as well and not jump on every bandwagon that comes into town. Chris was upfront from the get go and has the facts/links to show for it. Motrin might not have had an ear to social media but did that mean we had to massacre their campaign because a dozen or so mommy bloggers led the charge?
I understand that we feel social media is sacred ground and that ‘everyone’ needs to understand it but lambasting big brands and especially a proven thought leader that’s leading the charge within this industry of ours, is not the way. These are separate cases but at the heart of it remain the same issue. We want to see social media grow and evolve into a viable business strategy but not at the expense of jumping on the back of every little controversy. What kind of example is that going to show businesses weary of social media and looking for case studies and rather, see negative spats like these? Instead, let’s talk to that person or brand and learn from one another instead of spewing out negative rants about the person or brand.
We’re all learning from one another every day, as this industry is constantly evolving, so why not continue educating and learning w/o the mobs? We need to get a grip on reality and step down from our social media pedestal and realize that the conversations we have and the tools we utilize, in the end, are not there to tear one another down, but about bettering business and bettering one another.