I have been really chewing on this post for a few days now. There are just so many good lessons here for bloggers in general, but especially for the small business blog or even the entrepreneur’s blog.
Blogging got such a great B-6 shot in the arm this past Sunday with an awesome spotlight on CBS’ Sunday Morning (can I get an Amen, Srinivas Rao – he’s 5:58 into this video), I found it hard to let the week go by without bringing to light some very important lessons learned from a seemingly Syrian Lesbian blogger and a completely clueless Congressman.
Are You Kidding Me? You’re Not a Syrian?
It started when said Congressman used his Twitter account to send out a very special photo to someone who was not his wife. Apparently, he needed more “exposure” and went about sending a few “raw” photos out to some of his “key” constituents. When the photo hit, and Weiner became “exposed”, he of course felt violated and said his account had been hacked. We all know how this story ends, or rather how it might end.
Fast forward a week and we hear about a Syrian Lesbian blogger who has been kidnapped. She was forcibly taken from her home and her fans were of course rightly worried and starting to form campaigns for her release. Very quickly the world realizes that Amina is really Tom and Paula, with whom Amina conversed quite a bit and who was also a Lesbian blogger, was in actuality Bill, a retired US Air Force Pilot from Ohio.
Tom McMasters is a grad student living in Scotland, but originally from the US. His main motivation for this incredible hoax? Vanity. He wanted people to tell him that he was a good writer. He wanted to develop his writing skills; posing as a Syrian Lesbian really pushed him.
“I also had the thing that I like to write, and my own vanity is … if you want to compliment me, tell you like my writing … That’s how to make me happy.”
Vanity and Other Reasons NOT to Blog
If you’re going to blog for your business, please know and understand your motivations and make sure they line up with your overall business goals. I think I write this or say this statement almost daily. In both of these examples, one Twitter and the other a blog, both ‘owners’ of their space acted out of vanity.
They did not act based on the needs of their ‘constituents’ or ‘followers’. They were purely and simply motivated by vanity. However, their colossal failures offer some great parameters for small business owners or community managers tasked with blogging and social engagement:
- Be who you say you are. No one wants to be duped. NO ONE.
- What are your client’s issues? When you know those, go about the business of finding solutions or options for them. Write about that.
- When you engage with your customers, clients or followers, do it as if you’re face to face with them. Use your manners. Don’t drop your pants, or take off your shirt to show off your ‘pecs’, or lie to them. It’s a turn off.
- Speak for yourself. We may all support the plight of others or want to help in some small way. Join a tweet-a-thon, highlight the cause in a blog post, but don’t pretend to be the very person you’re trying to help. Use your voice to help, not theirs.
- Know what you know and be who you are. Don’t pretend to know more than you do about a topic. Your clients will get so much more excited about your true breadth of knowledge than the pretend one that doesn’t get them anywhere.
- When you go on holiday, please just put a sign on the door or ask for guest posters from your community of followers and commenters. Don’t have yourself kidnapped. It’s just so messy to clean up.
- Start your blog for the right reasons, not for vanity.