Can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen

“If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” Harry S. Truman.

It’s been a funny old week in social media. The natives are getting restless and angry. People are questioning more, and accepting less. This is a good thing.

When we accept for too long, we become immune to what’s right, or what could be right. We simply become drones, and wait for the next generic piece of news or advice to be fed to us.

Except we don’t see it as generic because – rightly or wrongly – we’ve elevated the speakers to the position of icons, or representatives.

It’s not too dissimilar to the fixation some people have on celebrities.

We buy magazines that compete for the juiciest story, the meatiest headline, because they know it’ll sell copies. It doesn’t matter if the story is a piece of crud or not – it sells because it fills our need for quick fixes.

Because of this fixation, we place celebrities into multi-million dollar lifestyles where they soon lose touch of who put them there, and complain that magazines are taking photographs and making money from them.

They complain of a loss of privacy, and why can’t people just love what they do.

To some points, they’re right. Just because you’re in the public eye doesn’t mean everything you do should come under scrutiny. But the public face of you? You chose that, and so should be answerable to it.

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

Bloggers are kind of like the Holywood celebrities, or at least the “top-tier bloggers” are. With subscriber numbers in the tens of thousands, social network followers in the six figures and book deals either past or upcoming, the name bloggers are the equivalent of our Hollywood crushes.

They lead the way because they’ve found their audience and written – successfully – for them. Nothing wrong with that at all.

But sometimes they’re questioned. Sometimes their point of view isn’t universally accepted as being the right one, and the comments after a particular post bear this out.

This is when we see if the blogger is an A-Lister and all that means (respect for critics as well as fans) or if they’re A-list only to those that placed them in that position.

Some “pass the test”, if you like. Some don’t, and prefer snark and offering a retort that’s quite clearly a jab at the person asking the question. Again, to each their own – if you want to come back snarky, that’s your choice.

But your response defines how others see you.

I unsubscribed from Chris Brogan’s blog a while back (though I’ll still pop over and read it) after he preferred snark over conversation with a bunch of his commenters. Funnily enough, I found new respect for Brian Clark after previously questioning his approach, after the way he handled himself in a few situations.

They both have enough readers not to care about one single new subscribe or unsubscribe. But that’s not the point.

We can all be snarky and respond with bite. But that can be reserved for the post itself. Duking it out with your readers just comes across wrong.

If you offer an opinion, have the balls to have people disagree and question you. After all, they’re the guys who put you where you are now. The least you could do is respect their opinions.

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

Note 23/11/10 – Chris addresses his criticisms in this post today.

image: Catfunt

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Danny Brown
Co-author Influence Marketing: How to Create, Manage and Measure Brand Influencers in Social Media Marketing. #1 marketing blog in world as per HubSpot. Husband. Father. Optimist. Pragmatist. Never says no to a good single malt. You can find me on Twitter - Google+ - LinkedIn.

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