The other night, a girl was passed out in my laundry room. I had a few choices. I could totally freak out about the alcohol that was covertly brought into my house by her. That’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to ground every teenager that was sitting in my basement glued to RockBand. I didn’t do that either.
I wanted to bitch to high heaven about how stupid it was to not tell the parents that a kid brought gin to the house. All the kids who were invited wanted to do was play Rock Band and hang out with my sons. Yet, here was a teenager, passed out in my laundry room. Eric and I were calm; making sure everyone was safe. We spoke with all the parents and above all, had many talks with all the kids about the events that happened that night. There were several stories about who did and did not drink, who was protecting whom, and each kid made choices. It was interesting to see who did what. My son knows he now has another choice if presented with an unruly guest. He can ask for support from his parents.
Today, a friend wrote an article called What Are the Important Social Marketing Values? that sparked my curiosity because social marketers have spent the past few years testing the public to see what works. All manner of outlets are used to sell online, from fake avatars on social networking sites to link bait stories created for hype and hysteria. Little by little, trust between company, product and consumer has whittled away so that what exists now is a battle of who can write the better tale and sound believable.
A good marketing campaign stands out because the product, service, or company are interesting. They capture our attention in a positive way, through different principals, such as “same-ness” (Use this product to look like her”) to humor (lizards, ducks, cavemen, turtles) to informative (infomericals, health). Services and products that make people happy do well. However, if just one person has a complaint, they can bitch online and bring down a hailstorm of hell for people and companies with no facts, no proof, no witnesses, and nothing to back up their claims.
When bitching about someone or a company, I look for clues that the person has listened to all sides of a story, obtained evidence and can show proof of expertise or experience to back up their claims. When they can’t, then it’s their opinion and while they’re welcome to it, an opinion is not the whole story.
When the girl who passed out in my laundry room awoke the next morning, she proceeded to find the ingredients in my kitchen and made french toast for everyone in the house.
There was more to her story. There was something to learn by everyone who shared in the events that led up to her being in my house. I could have passed judgment. I could have raised hell. I could have bitched about deceit. I could have jumped to conclusions and not waited for more of the stories to come forth by the kids involved. I could have scared all the parents rather than making sure each kid was safe first.
It’s what I would hope for us as we continue to use the Internet for shopping, socializing and education. That we respect each other. That we allow room for choices and growth. That if we have to bitch, we do it with grace and fairness.
That if we ask for dignity, we have dignity as well.