Saturday, February 20, 2010

“Golden Rule” Lessons of Criticism!

I read a couple of tweets this afternoon that really got me fired up.  They were from someone who was very critical of the hashtag community”#Eventprofs.”  I believe criticism, when delivered constructively, and accompanied with proposed solutions, is healthy.

Here are the tweets (without User’s name) … you decide if they were appropriate or not:

First Tweet:  “#eventprofs tag makes me cringe. It used to be cool but now all I see is RT & FF spam from self-promoting suits. I’m not learning anymore”

Second Tweet:   “….but now #eventprofs is just used to advertise events themselves & promote useless tweeps who RT each other’s useless articles & quotes.”

While I don’t take these comments personally, I am an active member of the Eventprofs community, so I gotta say, I am not feeling the love here!!  :)  In response to this person my two questions (via tweets) were:

  • Why (do you feel the way you do?)
  • Are you contributing?

I believe those are fair questions.  Those of us connected to the Eventprofs community (myself included) are always interested in learning and getting better at what we do… that has always been the spirit of the group.  And, when I hear someone say they are not learning anymore, I tend to wonder whether they are making any effort themselves. Hmmm…. what do you think?

So, really, I have three thoughts to share here, based upon my own perspective and experiences.

  • If a person is  interested in building relationships with other people and growing their sphere of quality contacts, it will really serve them well to treat others in the manner they would like to be treated.   Yes… the good ole fashioned “Golden Rule”  I learned that simple truth  long ago and it appears to be timeless in its meaning!
  • Criticism is a good thing, as long as its delivered with dignity, and with solutions.
  • I believe a person receives value from an opportunity proportionate to the effort they put into it.  For example, if I spend positive energy and reasonable effort into my interactive experiences on Twitter, then most likely I will receive the same type of response headed back my way from those I am communicating with.

You can refer to this as “good Karma,” you can label it “considerate behavior” …  I just call it “Common Sense.”  What’s your opinion?

Follow Michael McCurry on Twitter

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenise Fryatt February 20, 2010 at 5:40 pm

Well Mike those tweets got me going too. I really started thinking as I’ve tweeted back and forth with the poster in the past, but when I tried to DM her found she’s no longer following me.

I SO appreciate your post and agree that the tweets were not very constructive. I would, for instance, like to know what she thinks are “useless RT and FF spam.” And what she considers self promotion because I so RARELY see anything that I would consider self-promoting spam on #eventprofs.

But I also tried to think what would tick someone off like that and a couple of things came to mind:

1 – The person who posted the comments lives very far from the US and experiences the stream a little differently because most of us are asleep or soon will be when she is tweeting.

2 – Because of the time difference, she can’t partake in the chats

3 – I think that maybe some #eventprofs who didn’t attend #EC10 virtually or physically are noticing a different vibe in the stream that they may feel disconnected from.

4 – There are a LOT more people using the #eventprofs hashtag now (which I think is a good thing but does change it.)

Because of this, I looked at how I tweet and tried to consider what I can do to adjust and ensure that I’m enriching the #eventprofs Twitter stream. I’ll be posting about that on my blog tomorrow.

But I think that as #eventprofs grows, there will continue to be growing pains such as this. (I just saw a tweet from someone else saying how much she agreed with the person who complained.)

I think it’s important for us all to discuss this stuff, and always consider what can be done to improve the experience for all.

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Michael M McCurry CMP February 20, 2010 at 6:16 pm

@Jenise Fryatt,

Great comments and insights here Jenise!

I look forward to your blog post… should be very cool!

I really hope that our friend to the south will respond with some constructive feedback, as that would be awesome. I am the first person to agree that criticism is a good thing, as it only helps you to be better.

I just get frustrated when ppl throw eggs at you, without any further dialogue. That, to me is lame.

You are right … there is a special bond with those that attended #EC10, either Virtual or F2F, but I think we are very open to everyone that wants to contribute and participate.

Thanks for contributing to the discussion.

Mike

@michaelmccurry

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Dave Lutz February 20, 2010 at 6:01 pm

Mike, you know what? I wouldn’t worry about it. We all know that #eventprofs are the smartest, most journalistic capable, passionate, self organized group in our industry. At times we might error a bit by being fans of each other, but that’s what gives a community the gas it needs to go further and faster.

As the group grows and the combined voice gets louder, we’re not going to be for everyone. That’s OK. We all are just going to have to keep putting the effort out there and know that we’re doing good things for our industry. Instead of throwing rocks, our beloved Tweeter should either stop following or give constructive advice. Heck, I’d even appreciate a blog comment or two when we’re not hitting the mark. Her choice to make. That’s the beauty of transparency 2.0 mate!

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Michael M McCurry CMP February 20, 2010 at 6:21 pm

@Dave Lutz,

You know, Dave, there is a lot of love going around in the #Eventprofs community. But, the amazing thing is the community is not Cliquish, we are always open to new ppl engaging with us.

I agree that our tribe is not for everyone… but I stand by my assertion that if a person is going to be critical then they would be way more effective if they are factual and solution oriented. That is the spirit by which we will grow and become better.

Alas, I know that not all people get that, but my personality forces me to call it out when I see something not right.

Thanks for contributing, as always Dave!

Mike

@michaelmccurry

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Eric Lukazewsmi February 20, 2010 at 6:22 pm

I saw the same tweets Mike, and actually had a brief dialogue with the user. I can’t say that I agree with him/her, but undertstand a general assumption and concern that as this community grows, there will likely be more noise and tweets assigned the #eventprofs hashtag that may be misguided attempts at trying to increase visibility. The @eventprofs profile had over 2k followers the last time I looked and it’s probably safe to assume that this hashtag will get noisier and noisier. I’ve noticed a larger amount of tweets in the channel in the past couple months and it will only continue to increase. I feel that this is a problem that comes with increased content and increased community growth and should not be viewed negatively.

My only advice to this user is to set up proper filters, list and participate in chats and discussions with these users to connect with those that are, in fact, contributing.

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Eric Lukazewski February 20, 2010 at 6:24 pm

@Eric Lukazewsmi,
…and I spelled my own name wrong. Brilliant

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Michael M McCurry CMP February 20, 2010 at 6:27 pm

@Eric Lukazewski,

hahahahhaha … good one Eric

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Michael M McCurry CMP February 20, 2010 at 6:26 pm

@Eric Lukazewsmi,

Great comments and suggestions Eric,

I am glad you were able to connect with the “user”, I tried, but to no avail, probably because of time difference.

My gut tells me the comments that were made were done without much forethought and pretty much “knee-jerk” reactions to something that happened.

I really hope our Twitter colleague responds with some feedback.

Mike

@michaelmccurry

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Eric Lukazewski February 20, 2010 at 7:03 pm

@Michael M McCurry CMP,

Giving this a big more thought, I may have been more forgiving to this user than I should be. Hopefully, as you pointed out Mike, this is a “knee jerk” to what I have observed as a growing community that has had a larger volume of content. It’s the age old question with Twitter that as you follow more users and increase networks, you’ll naturally need to filter out a manageable amount of content for your liking. To that I say, join the club. If there’s too much noise or self promoters, simply ignore it.

If this group appears ‘cliquish’, I will have to rigidly disagree. #eventprofs just turned 1 year old, yet my involvement with the group has been less than 4 months. It took a single chat to feel like I had been a part of the group from the start. This is the warmest, most open group of individuals I’ve ever come across. Not once have I witnessed information or dialogue being withheld. I come from the school of thinking, “you get out what you put in.” If you feel like you’re not receiving personal attention, chances are you aren’t reaching out with your own contributions.

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Adrian Segar February 20, 2010 at 7:50 pm

I discovered the #eventprofs stream just 10 weeks ago.

For me, a review of the #eventprofs Tweets turns up a lot more than “RT & FF spam from self promoting suits.” I see substantive, interesting posts from people who are progressive leaders in the events industry. And having been lucky enough to meet many of them f2f at Event Camp 2010, I know that they are some of the nicest and most welcoming folks to newbies like me that I’ve ever met.

As far as RTs & FFs go, #eventprofs has grown substantially and the very nature of Twitter means that the proportion of these kinds of tweets will increase as the size of the community grows. Would our friend want us to pass interesting tweets on to our followers without attribution?

If s/he is “not learning anymore”, like Mike I’d appreciate some constructive, specific criticism about what would make a difference.

Looking at the most recent ~100 tweets of our critic, I didn’t see a single substantive post about event management. If you have valuable ideas or comments, please share them with us, we’ll appreciate them. Otherwise it seems churlish to complain without making contributions yourself.

And FWIW, I haven’t worn a suit for years.

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Michael M McCurry CMP February 20, 2010 at 9:13 pm

@Adrian Segar,

Nice set of comments Adrian…well put.

I am hopeful our fellow tweeter will speak up and share with us what is really top of mind. Interesting stats you shared at the end of your comments. I guess that answered the question at the end of my article.

Thanks for contributing to the discussion and it really was great to meet and spend time with you in New York during Event Camp. Hope our paths cross again soon!

Mike

@michaelmccurry

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mike mcallen February 23, 2010 at 10:20 am

Great post Mike—

I also saw these negative tweets. I do think they have some merit. The now old adage Twitter is like a cocktail party- you listen first and then talk. Not walk into the room and blurt out stuff– This is really the thing that this person did. Twitter isnt for everyone and it is just a tool like all these social media sites and applications. I do liek we are defensive of our community but we should listen to the idea behind it. We produced some elements for an event yesterday. It was a foundation and I was amazed at the fireworks in the general session. Heated debates which honestly from producing so many internal meetings for corporations I had never seen this type of dialogue. But I found it refreshing and they made headway as a group. I do think these tweets should make us think about what we retweet and not just retweet industry leaders stuff just because someone we respect the tweeter. I know I am guilty of passing on Kim Kardashion tweets to my followers. :)
I like that this person spoke up and said something against the grain. Though if they do it again we should consider hunting them down and changing there mind. Maybe an invite to the next eventcamp to actually meet the community?

Mike
(please RT)

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Michael M McCurry CMP February 23, 2010 at 3:19 pm

@mike mcallen,

Thanks for the comments Mike,

I completely agree with you that it is good to go against the grain, god knows I do it all the time :)

The problem I have here is someone was critical, without offering any constructive input to help us correct whatever is on her mind. Furthermore, several people reached out to her on Twitter, including myself, asking her:

1. To explain what is making her feel the way she does;
2. To please dialogue with us to share how we could improve the situation as we value opinions and want to improved

Unfortunately,to date, no response. So, I guess we move on.

We did plead with her, by the way, to join us for an #Eventprofs chat, which I know is almost impossible, given her location in the world.

Anyways, thanks for your contributions to the conversation and onward we march!!!

Mike

@michaelmccurry

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Liz King February 23, 2010 at 3:43 pm

I don’t feel I have much to add since everyone has already expressed the way I feel to a “T”. I just wanted to say thanks to you for writing this post and putting it out there. I have had such a great experience with the #eventprofs group and I’m so excited to see the way it continues to grow. It can be a lot to keep up with, but the value is definitely there if you put in as much as you hope to take away. I wish “the” tweeter would pipe up and be a little more specific about where they could see improvements. I’m always open to good criticism if it helps to better our experiences.

I will say that I have noticed one thing (which I am guilty of myself) and that is that our group tends to RT a lot of information & hold back-to-back convos while keeping the #eventprofs tag. While I see the value in it, I do see our stream get filled with 20+ RTs of the same article over and over. Maybe it would cut down on the noise if we tried to use the tag a little more strategically and more of a base than a constant piece of every part of our conversations and back and forths. Just a thought!

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Michael M McCurry CMP February 23, 2010 at 4:27 pm

@Liz King,

As you stated, it would be nice if we heard from our fellow Twitter colleague.

We perhaps ought to talk about this subject at an #Eventprofs chat session to collaboratively figure out how we cut down on the “noise” … meaning repetition of Rt’s and so forth. That is a great suggestion..

Thanks for contributing to the conversation, and your insights are always appreciated.

Mike

@michaelmccurry

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Kevin Richardson February 23, 2010 at 9:28 pm

@Michael M McCurry CMP,

Great discussion on #eventprofs chat tonight around topic. I am pleased that the mood of the group is: (1) open to discuss feedback and (2) willing to look internally to ensure we continue to meet the needs of a growing group. This is a testament to the people behind the handles. Most of all I encourage us to continue to model the new social norm: practice listening, offer to include and respond to needs, be open to change and, be transparent all along the way.

View the tweets in question in this post not as negative feedback but rather one person’s feedback. We can listen, but should they choose not to engage we can’t force it. Good has come from the exchange because of the way this group is handling it.

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