Friday, May 08, 2009

Series: Are We Overcommunicating Online? Part 3

In my last 2 posts, I wrote about the overapologizing marketer and the overly personal e-news editorial (cue cyberwince) that distracts the reader and could potentially cost customers and confuse brand and image. For Part 3 of this series, I am highlighting how we write about our experiences with others. I started out this series writing about the great keynote I attended at the Web 2.0 Conference, and how John Maeda, president of the Rhode Island School of Design, started out saying: "I'm going to talk about what I've been thinking about lately."

This statement inspired me to think a lot about the difference between talking and thinking, and how there is a delicate balance between thinking what we say, and saying what we think. In many cases, we might even be thinking one thing and saying another, and no one would ever know. But typically, we are going to assume that the writer stands by what he or she is writing, and because of this, we need to be careful when we vocalize our thoughts. This leads me to...

Scenario 3 -This (substitute ethnic group) is the Best...Yipes!
It is completely inappropriate to isolate a particular ethnic group in society, for being one particular way or another, even if you intent is to say something good. So here's what happened...

I had participated in a very informative webinar about public relations, which featured a key speaker who had a 20-year career in public relations and marketing. I was enthusiastic about learning more about her, and when the session was over, I followed her on Twitter, reviewed her web site, reviewed her blog, and was just about to subscribe, when I read her most recent blog post, which discussed how she came to hire a recent web designer she had used to redo her site. Of course, there is nothing wrong with the subject in theory, but she specifically mentioned that it was suggested to her that "......"s (substitute ethnic group) make excellent web designers, and have reasonable rates, to boot." She went on to discuss how she in fact found this ethnic trait to be true in her interactions, and the various experiences she had. I found myself shaking in my Uggs. OK, I don't have Uggs, but you get the idea. I lost a lot of respect for this person upon reading this, and needless to say, did not subscribe. I am sure she did not intend for the blog post to read the way it did, but I was surprised that a public relations specialist would have been so insensitive. Even if she had had these thoughts in her own mind, she should have stuck to the criteria she had for a good designer and left it at that.

So, this concludes my 3-part series on "Are We Overcommunicating Online?" I hope you enjoyed it, and look forward to your comments and experiences as well. Blog on!

Note: of course, writing this series has led me to my next series idea...."Are We Undercommunicating Online?" I'll be working on examples of this....

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