Taking time out between writing two books, the first one is already on the shelves and the other one is about to be published, which I have to say was really an engaging exercise in itself, I checked into WordPress recently for inspiration and had a look through some of my previous blog entries. Surprised to see it’s been a few months since my last post, I took time to read the one I posted back in July in which I commented on the then state of affairs with the French car maker Peugeot/PSA and how I thought that, by following its current strategy, Peugeot/PSA was shooting itself in the foot.
I won’t go down that road again, suffice to say that following one particularly strong reaction to my analysis, I starting looking at bloggers, writers and columnists in a new light, admiring certain prolific blog writers who consistently [have to] stand up and defend their opinions in the wake of negative comments from invariably disguised or anonymous senders. It’s not given to everyone to be able to consistently convey clarity and/or conviction of thought in such a regularly coherent way and any occasional sign of touchiness to unqualifiable criticism is understandable. Seeing how the more proficient bloggers show art and craft when expressing opinions leaves me wondering how I would fare up. The one time I ventured into the realm of publicizing an analytical opinion in a well-known Socio-professional network I got shot down in flames, not even objectively, in my opinion, for suggesting that Peugeot/PSA should boost trade by developing sales to so-called BRICS or 03rd world markets.
I could go on about my reaction to a reaction but that’s not the point. The point is readers have several ways of reacting to an opinion, for example: a) The “Supportive” way, b) the “Sardonic” way or c) the “Scathing” way, which depending on the antagonists (Trolls & Co) and if done intelligently, can be witty and instructive even if it is abrasive… and then it’s up to the writer, blogger, tweeter, whatever, to rethink the approach and when necessary, stand up for themselves (I’ll get back to that later). Crassly and churlishly dismissing, without substantiating, is not the answer, especially when the “Dismisser” shies away from the debate! Personally, I learnt from one mentor to think an article through at least twice before publishing and then anticipate questions but even then what solution for people who don’t or won’t see your angle and don’t always think before spontaneously reacting, is “think” and “spontaneously reacting” in the same phrase an oxymoron ?
Speaking of tweeting, I came across some words of wisdom from that bastion of British humour, Ricky Gervais. “If you don’t like what somebody’s saying [about you?] don’t go off in huff and have a moan in a blog or a forum, just disconnect from that person and get on with your life, in his case he was, I would say, reacting to a remark someone made about a comment he made on Twitter.
Now there I’m in 2 minds. Does simply disconnecting change the fact that you might have got it wrong? Sure you can disconnect and get on with your with your life but then you’d be closing the door on some potentially useful insight, albeit involuntarily given, on a matter from which you could just learn. Even those Robbin’ Hoods of the Net, the Trolls, who when they do it correctly, serve a purpose, namely that of ridding the “Neto-blogo-twittosphere” of pollution and, to those perceptive enough to exploit it, of putting a thought process back in its right track. No, this isn’t an “Apologia” for Trolls. They’re not all vigilant guardians of a cerebral web and certainly not untouchable as one Troll found out after systematically trashing one blogger, who getting so jacked off at being regularly and stupidly insulted decided to retaliate. The blogger, being sufficiently tech savvy decided to do some research, back tracked and subsequently found the Troll’s IP. He then contacted the Troll and sent him a “I know where you live” type of message, PSing it by saying he would come and pay the troll a “visit” should the trashing continue. This particular troll had stupidly transgressed two basic rules of trolling. Not only had he got caught but he had become just like the very rosewater “Dear diary” artists Trolls enjoy antagonizing, useless!
In all probability my initial reaction to go off and have a moan in a blog and then disconnect from the offending contact was basically wrong but a) I did leave the idea out there and b) it succeeded in raising the question of why I connected with this person, or another, in the first place if I have basically nothing in common with them? Is it antisocial [to want] to disconnect from someone if it transpires you have a fundamental disagreement with them? It also raises the point about who uses these Social Networks and why. If the idea is for people to link up and join groups then share thoughts, give feedback and get ideas it also brings to light the fact some join and connect because it has become the done thing to prove one’s sociability, collecting contacts like they collect reward points on a credit card. Then there’s a 03rd reason I see why people join and connect a Network. It’s an excellent social elevator for people with an agenda. To be honest the reason why I joined one particular socio-professional network was a mix of the above but then again if I’m publishing this I can’t be that egoist, now can I?