When we come to a new place, one of our first queries is, “what are the rules of this place?” When my daughter and I go to a hotel pool, she reads the sign very closely to see what’s allowed and what’s not. (The last pool had a long rule about “no urinating, no expectorating, no drawing water into your mouth and making spouts.” My daughter is 7. The word “expectorating?” Really?)
What we call social media has no clear set of rules of the pool. When we see new people do it poorly, we roll our eyes, we sharpen our blog posts, we tweet them into submission. But why? How can we expect people to simply “get it” when we don’t even agree internally.
I break someone’s version of the rules of the pool daily. I believe in sponsored posts. Others don’t. I tweet too much. I follow back most everyone who follows me, so some say I’m inauthentic. I support affiliate programs (mostly just Brian Clark’s stuff) like Teaching Sells and Thesis WordPress theme, and some don’t like that. I believe it’s okay to earn a paycheck from my efforts in social media, which is somehow off-limits to some bloggers.
So if I can’t figure out your rules of the pool, how are we all getting our panties in a bunch over what companies can and can’t do when they visit our little watering hole? (And it is little. Don’t let the clear glass sides of our fishbowl fool you.)
Now, you might think I’m advocating for rules. Au contraire. I’m advocating that you stop looking at every perceived transgression of the rules as a company not getting it and doing it wrong.
Be helpful. It’s the first step to making things better.
photo credit joe shlabotnik