I can’t believe I have to even say that! But looking around at the state of the Human Condition… I suppose I have to.
Criticism doesn’t necessarily *HAVE* to be nice to be constructive.
In whatever people chose to do on the web, whether it’s to write, be an artist, create content, sell a product or service… it is a continual struggle to perfect your craft. Or at least it should be. This is how you become really good at what you do.
I was watching a local show the other day where a panel of web gurus were on and the topic was “What do you do to control the negative opinions of the public on your website?”
Webmaster: “You set guidelines early on as to what is acceptable on your site and warn people that unacceptable comments and behavior will lead to removal and/or expulsion”.
Internet Lawyer: “You don’t want to stifle free speech on your site. This will make your site look too ‘controlled’ and ‘phony’ and you run the risk of losing all your visitors.”
Marketing/Consultant: “You hide nothing! You take whatever negativity you get and turn it into a strength. Be honest about your flaws and respond back kindly and professionally. Most of the time, these critics feel they are screaming into a vacuum, and when you respond, they come back shocked with ‘Wow, I didn’t realize anyone even reads this… I’m sorry for being so harsh’, and you are on your way to converting a new loyal customer.”
Needless to say, I was most impressed with the Marketing Guru’s answers. The public can spot a phony a mile away… especially on the web. Why attempt to control the uncontrollable, when you can accept that you now have the god-like gift of being everywhere and seeing people’s innermost thoughts?
He’s 100% right too. And this doesn’t just apply to a political/e-commerce site, this applies to any blog/website where the owner/author is seen as “Larger than Life”, and the commenter doesn’t realize that the owner puts on their pants one leg at a time just like everyone else.
Let me offer a few examples…
(*Screen gets all squiggly as you go back in time*)
I sat in several business meetings at a company where I managed their websites. They had me run a survey, and reviewing the results they felt they got nothing out of it… they called on two more surveys from outside sources after that…
… still nothing!
……….. or was there…?
I got everything I needed to know from the first survey. The public was trying to tell them that certain days the newspaper was worth buying (circulars, weekend guides, coupons), and certain days they weren’t… and certainly not worth paying a full subscription for that. The next two surveys said the same exact thing…
Why did they feel they didn’t get any useful answers?
They weren’t listening. They only heard what they wanted to hear. They were looking for praise on certain products and how to build on that, instead of working on their weaknesses… they were given a goldmine of information, but missed it because they were looking for diamonds instead.
The Corporate mind… UGH.
And you wonder why the public is disgusted at the thought of bailing incompetent companies out?
Here’s another one…
(*Squiggles again, you know the drill*)
I got this Guestbook entry about a year ago….
Joe Blow says:
I really don’t see any point in this website. It’s outdated for one thing and hard to navigate. but what do I know. I’m Joe Blow.
OUCH! Yeah that stung for a little bit.
Now can you imagine the reactions of some bloggers here getting this? I can. And it would go something like this…
Blogger#1: “Oh you’re just jealous because I am soooooo popular! HMPH!”
Blogger#2: “Oh that’s it! IT IS ON!” *Writes a Drama Blog for all the loyal readers to tear that person apart and blow sunshine up the author’s keyster*
Blogger #3: “OMG! No one should see this!!!” *DELETE!*
Blogger#4: “Well since you can’t say it under your real name, I don’t see any reason why I should even care about your opinion!”
What did I do?
I listened… this person just gave me VALUABLE information, and whatever their motivation behind it really was, it meant more to me than the pages of “Wow! Great site!” comments I received before and after it.
- It told me:
- The site needs to be updated more often.
- A new design that is more up with the current look is in order.
- The navigation needs to be simplified.
And I like to think with my new redesign, I addressed those issues. It needs more work, and I have a big long “To Do” List, but at any rate, I want EricBrooks.Com to be the best it can be….
This doesn’t just apply to the web, it goes with real life as well. Sometimes your harshest critics can hand you valuable information to better yourself and improve your craft. Stop taking things so personal. READ! LISTEN! SHUT UP!
Think of the old prospectors during the gold rush… how many tons of dirt and mud they sifted through, and every so often, they found a gold nugget in there?
Why do YOU think you have two eyes, two ears and only ONE mouth?