The Social Networking Boomerang Effect

On Sept. 11th, the 10th anniversary of the homocide bombing attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and likely either the White House or Congress, which left several thousand dead, tens of thousands injured and traumatized and the nation in a state of shock, I received a social networking newsletter with a shocking headline. The newsletter is one I have received for a couple of years now. It comes from a landscape company in southern California. I have always enjoyed the newsletter covering landscape issues, but this time I was just blown away.

The newsletter had a wikipedia link to the Vietnam era My Lai massacre of Vietnamese by a platoon to battalion size team of U.S. soldiers. This occurred during the 1968 Tet Offensive, in a war where our troops had poor understanding of the population and who was the enemy. But no excuses. The link provided by this So. California landscape company had the heading: “Equal time for American attrocities.” … with no further explanation.

My eyes rolled around in amazement that anyone could compare these two situations in equal light. On the one hand, was an event that happened in war time 53 years ago, in the pitch of battle. The soldiers were brought to trial by their own government. On the other hand a current international alliance of terrorists determined to attack western targets of symbolic significance, to severely damage the finance, security and government of the United States, while potentially killing 100,000 Americans of all religions and nationalities with the felling of two buildings.

The analogy was terrible, horrific and senseless. It would be like condemning the civil war union cause for liberty and freedom because Savannah was burned to the ground.

But returning to the purpose of this blog, I want simply to remind social bloggers that their content, while containing personal elements and passion, should stay on target. Social networking is by definition social. Social networking still must incorporate common sense. I could say many things about the ignorance or the lack of proper analysis by this social networker. But the lesson to be learned from this blogger is that while blogging, like any writing, will eventually get you friends and enemies, one should at least stay focused and present topics that are within the realm of the overall blog subject matter. When I blog about such diverse subjects as my world travellog, I do so such that I can entertain and bring in a diverse crowd of readers, while returning readers to the main topic: that is the people in the pest control industry and their impact both within and outside the industry.

I’m afraid this southern California landscape company simply alienated her fans, supporters and most importantly, her customers. So when you write your business blog, consider the boomerang effect, lest you get smacked up the head with your own shout outs.

2 Responses to The Social Networking Boomerang Effect

  1. We read the blogs in our industry for new ideas, to share experiences, and improve our industry. It’s best to avoid politics and voice opinions on sensitive issues. As you pointed out, it will not only alienate clients but prospects too. If you want to be seen as professional, conduct yourself as such.

  2. Gerry says:

    Thank you for sharing and adding to the discussion.

    Exactly. I’m not sure by your comment if you were in agreement with my statements or felt that it too was off base.

    This blog, about people and pest control is designed as a broad blog that examines what is right and wrong in the industry, with landscape being a portion thereof. How the business is conducted is a part of the analysis. That includes social networking, which is a major part of business advertising and marketing. The pest control industry is not exempt. How social networking should be used is now a major topic at our national pest control convention.

    From this perspective, it’s going to be important to discuss this question: What is a normative discussion in the industry? It’s not just entomology. Politics for its’ own sake… politics to relieve personal frustrations and that is not industry politics would be outside the boundary. Reviewing the non-normative opinion comparing the Vietnam War My Lai massacre to the World Trade Center bombing could not help any business… certainly not a good way for a business to use social networking as it could cause the boomerang effect.

    I have written one or two macro-economic posts, drilling down to what we can do as business owners in an awful economic environment. See my post called “Dominoes Gets Free Publicity” By taking a glimpse of macro-economics, I hope business owners can see their businesses through the difficult times to a better place a few years into the future. This year, as it unfolds, one can see how the debt of not only banks, but national banks, is impacting the ability of banks to lend to small businesses so that we can grow, hire and expand the economy from the bottom up.

    As an example, I really wanted to go to the national convention this year. There was a time when I went three years in a row. I know I’m missing out. But I decided that having been there and hearing some of the presentations in similar forms, it was best for me to take a more conservative view, save more and spend less, while still investing to grow the business.

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