The conversations we have on the social web are no different to conversations we have in the real world. Except that once they are out there, they are truly ‘out there’, so it’s even more important to conduct ourselves in the best way as we can, even when faced with negativity.
It’s important to recognise though that we’re not all perfect in real life, we all make slip ups, say what we don’t mean, lash out and react to unfair criticism and negativity. We all need a ‘sanity check’ now and again, something to remind us of what’s really important and what will help us stay on track and on this mission of creating stronger unions between our brands and our consumers.
So with this in mind, we have decided to put together a charter to help guide us in how we conduct ourselves on the social web when faced with negativity.
Here’s a starter for ten:
- Don’t be afraid of criticism. Be curious about it. There is always a reason behind it. By getting to the bottom of it, we are best equipped to deal with it. Make like a doctor who suppresses an emotional reaction to clear their minds to best understand and diagnose the problem.
- Criticism can come in many forms – fair, unfair, fairly put, snidely put, constructive, unconstructive, wrong, right, right but put in a ‘school yard’ way and so on. But if we stay consistent in our approach we can soon weed out the bad from the good, convince the sceptics and learn from the constructive critics, and our reputation for being decent and consistent will see others come to our support when we really are being unfairly attacked or misunderstood.
- Negativity presents opportunity. An opportunity to learn and grow from constructive criticism, an opportunity to explore and understand unfair criticism to get to the point where you can give your side to the story that they may not be aware of, to turn around sceptics in the same way, or to not rise to ‘trolls’ and see them scuttle away (due to not getting the equally troll like reaction they were hoping for).
- Don’t be afraid of debate. But be clear on the line between debate and argument. Argument is unconstructive and alienating, debate is healthily challenging and exciting. Debate is based on only after listening, understanding and acknowledging another’s viewpoint putting forth your own viewpoint, argument is based on emotional reaction and failing to look beyond your own rationale.
- Don’t be afraid of mistakes made – practice makes perfect as they say, and no truer than in finding the way of conducting yourself in the world and now the new online world. If you make mistakes, if you react in a way you’re not proud of, hold your hands up, put them right – you will be respected for your honestly, braveness and awareness of your own failings.
- Get on with it, react fast – fresh and honest beats ‘too late and carefully contrived’.
- And finally, keep in mind all the time the ‘8 magical philosophies’ of conducting yourself generally online (and real life too!) that we like to hark on about at NM:
- be authentic
- be transparent
- be helpful
- be remarkable
- pull, don’t push
- be open
- act fast
- be brave
Can you think of anything else that should be included on this list?