I recently came across a blog with thoughtful and useful posts called 'Naked PR'. Today I commented on their post regarding commenting policies . This is an interesting topic to me and it is one I often find myself discussing with clients and friends. I feel like we sometimes have a tendency to over-complicate this issue...I do myself anyways. It's as if because I am communicating online I am suddenly a different person, at least...in the past that's how I felt.
Today I have a tendency to stick to some simple, core ideals that seem to make it easier for me to stay out of trouble and help my clients do the same. Essentially the idea is, when it comes to communication, do online what you would do in the real world.
For instance, let's imagine I were in a crowded room with mixed company. Would I feel comfortably yelling out some obscenities and disparaging a specific group of people for no reason? Whatever the answer to this question is will help me decide what I should and should not say on my Facebook status...or my twitter account.
On a related note, if I were amongst friends...would I feel comfortable holding myself out as an expert on finances, politics or medicine? Probably not. This helps me to remember what I should and should not talk about in general. I stick to things I know...which applies to me commenting and blogging as well.
Another topic my clients often wrestle with is how they should handle negative comments on their sites. Surprisingly, more often than not the people I have met do not want to be the 'evil big brother' and erase comments. They will often leave comments alone which are clear, concise and make sense...even if they are negative. But, there is a fine line and although it may be unseen...It is clear as day to me.
For example, if my neighbor were to drop by and spray paint obscenities all over my house after that time I dumped trash on his car because he stole my parking spot in a snow storm, you can be sure, I would paint over it...Regardless of how justified his anger may or may not be. Thus, if he were to discover my blog and tell me today how he felt by leaving an angry comment on this post...I'd probably erase it...After I pointed out the inherit danger in removing a man's trash barrel from his carefully cleared parking spot after a blizzard in Cambridge...