The irony of Ranty Friday this week being about online etiquette and of people ranting online is not lost on me this week.
I just want to get this out in the open right at the start. I think my point about online etiquette is that whilst I love a damn good rant, what I don’t like is people being abusive online. And that is my point this week in Ranty Friday.
Recently I have seen a very well known blogger being abusive on Twitter to other people on Twitter, calling them names, swearing and just being generally nasty. That got me thinking about whether or not that kind of behaviour is acceptable. Is it? Should we be able to say what we like on Twitter to other people? I don’t mean in the extreme like we read about in the paper when people are subjected to rape threats etc, nobody could ever believe that was acceptable or within somebody’s right to free speech.
No, I am talking about a reply to a perfectly reasonable question that ends with “well you are just a dickhead”.
Now, my stance is that if you are just using Twitter as a form of social media and that is how you want to conduct your affairs, crack on. I don’t like it, personally, I unfollow people who use the C word (and I don’t mean cake) but what really gets to me is bloggers and brands doing it.
If you represented a brand would you be happy if somebody you worked with, or wanted to work with in the future, made a habit of swearing and being abusive to other people on Twitter? Would you see that as then reflecting on you if you worked with them?
I remember a while ago another blogger who was apoplectic on twitter about a particular company and let everybody know about it. Actually now I come to think of it I can think of several bloggers that have done this. Raging, properly full on raging so that all their followers can see, tagging in the company in question, and generally getting more and more wound up by a situation.
Well there’s the question. I am not really sure it serves any real purpose and I could wax lyrical for hours about the damage it can have on a company’s reputation if the raging and accusations are not true. Companies will rarely retaliate in a similar fashion.
But as bloggers should we be more guarded and measured with our approach on line? I really think we should.
I love working with brands and I am proud to be working with some amazing companies at the moment. If I were to tweet that I was spectacularly peed off with a particular company because the product they had sent me was effing useless or had broken after one bleeping month what would that say to the other companies?
To my mind that is likely to put other companies off working with me, surely?
A case in point is that I recently placed an order online for a birthday present for somebody Mr B was going to see in January. Ordered on 12th Jan, dispatched on 19th, party was 24th. Nothing arrived. And nothing has ever arrived. I have called the company and their policy is they will not offer me a refund until it has been missing for 15 days since dispatch.
I questioned that on the phone with them and was told “well your agreed to our Ts and Cs”. My point was “I know that is in your Ts and Cs but you don’t have to stick to it, do you? You are choosing to. You are choosing to not refund me earlier”. She hung up.
I then tweeted my anger but was very careful not to tag them in it. And actually half an hour later I deleted the tweet altogether. I am seeking sponsorship from companies for my Danceathon efforts, if they look to my twitter feed is that really the tweet I want them to read?
I am not saying my twitter feed is all sweetness and light, of course it isn’t. I do swear, I do say things I shouldn’t but not specifically to somebody. I would never tell somebody they are a dickhead. Well except Katie Hopkins, maybe. I would never be abusive towards a company. Heated, possibly, but abusive? That’s a step too far.
I asked the question on Twitter to see if I was alone in my thinking, seems I am not.
As bloggers we are often told to think of ourselves as a brand, I know that sounds a bit poncey but I do believe that it is true. And as a brand why would a company want to work with us, send us their products, sponsor us for events, pay us to for posts if in the next breath we are being obnoxious? We should be constantly thinking about how we conduct ourselves on line.
And the more I see bloggers with what can only be described as an over inflated sense of entitlement that causes them to be abusive towards others on line the more I cringe and think it is tantamount to hitting the self destruct button.
Photo of cyber bullying courtesy of Shutterstock