Teaching Is Hard, So We Rant Instead

I was at a marketing meeting this morning for a whole bunch of local small businesses. It was supposed to be for “networking” and to learn about some advertising mediums like television and radio. I haven’t ventured into those mediums a whole lot so I decided to go and get me some learnin’. Toward the end of the meeting a “social media expert” was given the opportunity to pitch his company to all of the other businesses who were in attendance.

If I had a snake oil allergy I would have been dead on the spot.

As I sat and listened to him explain his business model I got uncomfortable in my chair. I wanted to yell out things like “his company is a fraud” or “he’s a witch,” but I held back to try and keep the level of awkward and insane asylum admittance to a minimum. I watched the looks on the faces of some of the other small business owners and they were eating up every word. This guy was going to solve all of their marketing woes with a measly investment of $500 and a Costco Gift Card.¬†We’re gonna be rich!

What the company does isn’t all that important. I can tell you that their model directly violates Facebook’s terms and they charge¬†exorbitant prices for the amount of work actually involved in what they do. The whole pitch rubbed me completely the wrong way. I could have started my morning by putting on a pair of underpants made of 80 grit sandpaper and it would have been more enjoyable. The thing that bothered me the most was how many people were walking up to him and getting more information after the meeting. I knew they were getting ready to throw their money into an endless pit of fire but what was I supposed to do? Walk up and call him a fraud right there in front of everyone?

I decided to take to Twitter instead.

As I was leaving the meeting I was ready to fire up Twitter on my phone and unload to my followers. It seemed like the logical thing to do. I mean, there are a lot of dishonest people on the internet, some of my followers would have been able to relate, right? But the more I thought about it the more I realized three things.

  1. 99.999% of my followers will never encounter this Joe Cool Facebook Guru.
  2. Instantaneous reactions are what cause 99.999% of “controversy” in social media and marketing world.
  3. The battery on my phone sucks and the energy needed to send the tweet wasn’t worth wasting my valuable resource.

What’s the percentage of daily tweets that are linked directly to complaints that could immediately be labeled with the #firstworldproblems hashtag? Yet, we complain about it anyway. I’m as guilty as the next guy, but I think we’re stumbling into dangerous territory when our first action is always a reaction.

Life’s too short to get pissed off about chicken sandwiches, six hour TV delays, or having to pack for a conference that somebody else is paying for (yes, I saw this just recently and yes they were serious).

If we spent half the time and energy listening that we do trying to be heard, we’d be able to get off that pesky blood pressure medication once and for all.

Even more effective would be to educate.

I can’t email everyone who was in that meeting this morning and tell them they’d be throwing their money away by working with Joe Cool marketer, but I probably can send them some information on WildFire apps for marketing or building a facebook page with very little coding knowledge. Not only does doing that promote learning and conversation, it also builds actual relationships that mean something.

Do people have the right to voice their opinions? Absofreakinglutely. I’d never want that taken away from anybody except for Jerry Sandusky and a few other horrible, awful people in this world. However, that doesn’t mean that people spouting off the first thing that comes to their brain is helpful or productive. In a lot of cases people do more to damage their voice or opinion when they try to force it on to others. I know I go straight into armadillo mode (ya know, defensive, curled up in the fetal position? It made sense in my mind. This parenthetical shouldn’t have made it into this post) when people start telling me I’m wrong or the way I think needs to change. I respond a whole heck of a lot better to thoughtful questions, good conversation, and bacon.

Educating and teaching take time, and we’re lazy so we rant instead. Here’s my plea to take a few minutes and try and have an attitude of helping out, instead of one of identifying what we believe are problems. Finding problems is easy if we’re looking for them. Heck, sometimes it’s easy to find them when we’re not.

Am I ranting about ranting? Your thoughts on our knee-jerk reaction society?

Comments

  1. says

    First off, your guy at the top scared the crap out of me. Thanks for that.

    Secondly, you’re absolutely right. Karen put something on Facebook the other day about how much time we spend on negative energy, and I think this is along those lines. I think a lot of times people feel entitled (to what, I don’t know) so someone should have to pay for them being wronged.

    Thirdly, I love your parenthetical.

    • ryan says

      1. You’re welcome. ;)
      2. Seriously, when did we start deserving stuff just for existing?
      3. Woohoo, that means it’s ok that it made it into the post! :)
  2. says

    I used to be the person that ranted first & thought about it later – lots of mistakes in my youth.. now, yes, I still rant, but I think first! ;-) Really, your point is well taken & negative energy sucks the life out of us…

  3. says

    This topic is very timely with politics being front and center this summer (election, Chik Fil A, you name it).

    There seems to be a trend going of “I’m right and you are stupid/ignorant.”

    I see this in social media in particular. A lot of people are tweeting things that I don’t think they would necessarily say to someone’s face.

    • ryan says

      I said the other day that Twitter is a lot less fun in a political year. It was kind of in jest. Kind of. One of the things that made me laugh about the uproar of #NBCFail is that their ratings this year for the Olympics are better than they’ve been for a long time. Even they were surprised. That’s mostly relevant because in our small social media space it seemed like such a huge deal, but in reality most of the rest of the world doesn’t even recognize it as an issue. It’s just how it is.

  4. nightrunner says

    I am an educator. Always have been and will until I am unable to – really see very little “need” for twitter, etc. and useless technology that further alienates people-especially those on the spectrum.

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