Social media’s dark side – badmouthing just because you can

Heard about Unvarnished?

Tech Crunch’s Evelyn Rusli has a great analysis of taking our ability to trash anyone online to a logical conclusion. I thought this was a very powerful statement about a new

“My guess is that many will be seduced by the dark powers of the internet (the power to hammer an adversary under the guise of anonymity).”

Unvarnished is still in Beta so unless we try out the service we won’t know what it entails. Maybe it is not another site that attracts dirty linen basket cases. Maybe they do have a great idea, based on their description: That it is going to be “community-contributed, business-focused assessments” about “building, managing, and researching professional reputation” and “professional reviews.” They do advice being fair and balanced.

“However, with the right to share candid opinions comes the responsibility to do so in a balanced way. Be honest, but be fair. Only review people you have a professional relationship with. Only discuss business-related topics. And remember, reviewers earn an authority rating over time, based on how others rate their reviews, so it is in the best interest of reviewers and the community to leave helpful reviews.”

But it brings up a point I have always wanted to talk about. Beside the power to say things under a false identity, the ‘dark side’ to me is how easy it is to use (misuse) our channels and our tools to say things just because we can.

  • It’s so easy to trash a brand because we have a network
  • It’s way too easy to make our bad experience with a product seem like it is an universal problem, when the truth is we may have bought a lemon, which yes, needs to be replaced
  • It’s easy to spread an idea we didn’t originate when the premise may be flawed

As you can see, I am not prepared to support Techcrunch’s view of Unvarnished, until I have tried it out.

Have to say I have, in the past, often used a social platform as a soap box. Now I think thrice before I do so. Often it is only after repeated attempts to use the traditional fix-it channels.

On the other hand, I know of plenty of examples where someone using a tweet has had a better, immediate response than a call to the 1-800 number. Maybe Twitter is the new 1800 customer complaint number staffed by real people. I know of someone who now has what amounts his own ‘concierge service’ and a good friend at a service company only because he used Twitter to not just bitterly complain but to start a conversation.

It’s darn too easy to stack your dirty linen baskets, rather than do a bit of work, turn a few knobs and engage the ‘machine’ to clean them up.

Whatever happened to positive feedback?

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