Saturday, July 11, 2009

Owning my opinion

I started this blog back in October last year. Whilst in London, I got to talking to a friend about all things online: online in the UK, in NZ, publishers, display, search, classifieds, SEO, sales reps, sites, all the things I love. He suggested that, since I was passionate about it, why not write about the world that I love, and so, OpinionAdded was born.

This blog, like most personal blogs, is all about me - my thoughts, my feelings, my likes and my dislikes. Throughout my posts you will note that I use the term ‘I’ a lot. I like, I don’t like, I think, I hope. If/when I am quoting a fact, I attribute where the information comes from. If I am writing about something I have found from another source, I attribute.

So the joy of a blog, and indeed most forms of social media (aside from the fact the tools to produce social media are available at little to no cost and the ease of access) is the immediacy of information and that the information can be altered almost instantaneously by comments or editing.

The instantaneous nature of social media can also be its downside. Something that I have heard over and over again is that when you step into the social media realm you have to accept that you lose control. Whether you are a company putting yourself out into this world, or if you haven’t chosen to be there yourself, but the wider public is talking about you, it is impossible to control what is being said. All you can do be aware it and possibly be willing to be in the space and have a conversation. Note that word. Conversation. This is 2 way, not one way.

The likes of Skittles, Vodafone (when the 3G guy took over the vodafoneNZ Twitter account) and most recently Weetbix, have all found out how quickly opinion spreads through social media, and the one thing all of them have done is acknowledge the opinions, and let their customers know that they hear them. All 3 companies know when their customers say something, the best thing to do is let them know that they have been heard, you don’t necessarily have to do anything about it (although all three companies above did).

Now, I am the first person to put my hand up and admit when I am wrong. I have never deleted a published post, or anyone’s comment. When someone has pointed out that something I have written is factually incorrect I have updated and claimed my mistake.

Similarly, I will not retract my opinion. Too many people just agree, go along with what others have to say, as it is easier. I’ve never been one to make life easy for myself. Without conflicting opinions it is harder for ideas/concepts/designs/anything to develop and evolve, if everyone agrees, boundaries are never pushed. Conflicting opinions allow us to challenge ourselves.

So obviously this has not come out of nowhere. This blog was going to be Internet focused, not so big on the personal life, however this post has crept slightly over the line. I had some feedback recently that someone was not happy about something I had written. For a range of reasons, which I am not going to detail, this frustrated me. So I stopped, thought about this person’s opinion and challenged myself to re-read my post, think about what I had written and whether I believed in it.

As it turns out, I do believe in what I wrote. I think if read with an objective eye, what I wrote was all-round positive. I did not make grand factual statements, simply stated my opinion and in the end, that is the point of OpinionAdded. I get to articulate my thoughts. If it sparks conversation, that’s great, otherwise it is simply my mental dumping ground. I have always had strong opinions and convictions, and I have always had the integrity to stand by them. While reading and talking to other people may influence my opinion sometimes, you can be certain that nothing I write has been passed off to be proofed, or sent to anyone for their approval. My opinions, my words, my responsibility.

I am sorry if some people don’t like what I have to say, but just like more traditional mediums, no one is being forced to consume what I am saying. In the end, it is each individual’s choice. Switch channels (I mean sites), I’m sure you can find something else which will tell you exactly what you want to hear. If that doesn’t work for you, and you would rather I absolutely didn’t write about something in particular, as it turns out, I am quite reasonable, please just email me (link to the right under the disclaimer) and I will be happy to oblige.


freitasm said...

Did you get accused of being bribed?

Did other people post in your comments' section saying you are always wrong iuf you disagree with them?

Did you get a phone call saying that company/person won't book ads on your site unless you take down posts they don't like?

You haven't seen the bad things companies do yet...

iChild said...

Things to look forward to then?

freitasm said...

The lesser your reach, nicer they are to you... When you write something bad about them, they will reply nicely.

(Yoda like) When more people you reaching, more aggresive they turn...