I learnt a HUGE lesson about social media this week. Scary, actually. And it’s kind of embarrassing to admit I’ve been so slow on the uptake.
Now is not the time to be complacent
On Monday I received an email from a prospective client asking me to contact her about the possibility of rewriting the website of the company where she worked. The email said something about getting my name from Linkedin. “That’s nice”, I thought, and went back to the jobs in hand (keep the existing clients happy before you get too excited about possible new ones).
On Tuesday I thought “better get back to that lady about her website.” Read her email more closely. It said something about being recommended as “an outstanding copywriter” on the Bath & Bristol Marketing Network Group – even nicer.
I then logged on to the group, and realized she’d put up a post asking for people to recommend a copywriter – a week ago. A lot of respondents recommended themselves, while others recommended those that they had worked with. I was delighted to get four recommendations – and a bit humbled.
It hit me like a ton of bricks that in today’s environment, when social media is so powerful, that you really, really have to work hard at doing a good job, being nice, going the extra mile, exceeding expectations (add your own cliché) – because if you don’t, life is going to get hard (and it’s hard enough already!).
How not to do it
I was in Starbucks this morning, being nice to people who do a lot of social networking (!). One of them told me about the “Road rage in Bath video goes viral” saga. I’ve discovered that it has had over 67,000 hits on Youtube (so far), and been featured in both The Guardian and The Sun (amongst others), so if you’ve heard about it, my apologies.
The gist of it is that a woman parked her Audi in the middle of roadworks at what is possibly Bath’s busiest junction, making life very frustrating for hundreds of other motorists. A passing pedestrian filmed the tailbacks on his phone. The woman then returned to her car, but, instead of moving it, started harassing the pedestrian. She demanded he delete the footage. When he refused she harassed and harangued him. Then her husband joined in. The video, and sound, were still being recorded.
At one point the woman threatened to call the police, and say the pedestrian had assaulted her (!). He walks off, with the woman walking beside him and verbally abusing him. Then I think a scuffle breaks out between the woman, the husband and the pedestrian (hard to see/hear – you draw your own conclusions).
Anyway, it ends up on Youtube, and the woman is identified by many viewers as a local shopkeeper. Large numbers of people in Bath have been posting less than complimentary comments about her and her business, and it has been the talk of the town.
Moral of the story
There’s a really good book entitled “Secrets of super achievers“ (it’s better than the name suggests) by Philip Baker. On the first page he suggests that “character seems to be the forgotten word of our generation”. He then quotes D.L. Moody (who?) who defines character as “who you are when nobody is looking” and adds himself that “when we think no one is watching, our true character displays itself.”
The book was written in 1997, before we had Youtube and social media. If character was important back then it’s hugely more so now, when people can video, post, tweet, recommend, like and share on a truly massive scale.
So I’ve had two object lessons this week in why it pays to do your very best, and be considerate, at all times!