Thursday, February 26, 2009

Social Networking may be your downfall...

This is a true story, for the most part, but I'm changing some names because it could blow up in my face really easily. But it's something that I need to say, because it's going to bug me for a long, long time.

Martha (not her real name) has a blog. She's a pretty accomplished knitter, so not only does she have a blog, she sells sweater patterns through some of the big yarn shops and has a book out, with another one about to be released. Then Martha makes a big boo boo.

Martha decides to host a giveaway on her blog. She gives folks 24 hours to put their reply to the blog post in, and she'll pick a winner. Martha has a lot of readers, so the replies come pouring in. Practically hidden among them is a reply from a young mother who (and I quote loosely) makes a *suggestion* that when Martha runs contests like these, to maybe add more time so that busy folks have a chance too.

Was this rude of the young woman? No, I don't think so. Phrased as a suggestion, and put forth in polite terms, she was well within her rights to make the comment. Martha didn't have to follow it, she didn't even have to read it or take it seriously. She could have ignored it, or possibly explained that the giveaways on her blog are for her loyal, rabid followers who can't wait to hang on her every word.

Did Martha do this? Oh, no... she did not. Instead, Martha moved over to a social networking site, Plurk. It's much like Twitter, but with a more generous character count in postings, a timeline, and threaded replies. On Plurk, Martha complained about this comment. The resulting replies from her followers can only be described as a rabid, catty display of ugliness. The "F" word was used repeatedly as a verb. I can only hope that this poor woman who commented on the blog post was NOT also a follower on her Plurks, because if it had been me, I would have been crying.

As a result, I have decided to stop following Martha's Plurks, stop following her blog, and although I own several of her patterns, I won't be buying any more of them in the future. Nor will I purchase the new book when it comes out.

Was Martha within her rights to not extend her deadlines? Certainly. I have no problem with that. It was the catty, vicious, behind-the-back shredding of one of her readers that offended me.

As a blogger, I feel that each one of my readers is precious. These people choose to listen to my ramblings. It's damn hard to find someone to *listen* to you these days. So to semi-publicly humiliate them would be a horrific mistake. I may not be a published designer, and I may not have the following that Martha does, but I hope that if I ever *am* in that position, I will still appreciate each and every one of you.

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