It all started with David Siteman Garland’s recent interview of Seth Godin. About eight minutes in, David asks Seth about his blog and why he turned comments off. In a world of social media best practices, not accepting comments on your blog is practically a cardinal sin. Seth gives a very convincing reason why he turned them off, and why it has worked so well for him over the years (hit play below to hear the reason).
I was then interested in getting a steak. I saw an ad for the 1904 Steakhouse at River City Casino, which is actually closer to my house than I had ever imagined. I looked up their Yelp reviews and it was pretty mixed, and mixed in that mix were some reviews with biting, negative language. In fact, I wonder if Yelp encourages such prose, as you can rate individual reviews as “funny” or “cool.” The inner food critic is unleashed in all of us.
Well, I thought to myself, “This is a casino steakhouse; why are you surprised it might not be good?” So to reestablish a baseline of what a set of generally positive reviews might sound like, I went to Robust Wine Bar’s Yelp page. (full disclosure: yes, I’m a huge fan of Robust. You probably knew that already. I don’t own a part of Robust, nor do I work for them. I just love them). Their average score was indeed higher than the casino steakhouse, and yet there were still some negative reviews. This should not have been surprising to me, as it is impossible to please everyone. I know this – the people at Robust want to please everyone. They really do care. Those negative reviews may have been deserved – it’s entire plausible that great restaurants have off nights, or that particular servers have off nights. But those reviews bother Robust. Reading them makes it a lousy day for the owners. I hope they don’t mind me saying, but this should not be surprising to you: WE’RE HUMAN.
Which led me to consider a continuum of engagement. On the one extreme, you have Seth Godin, who rarely engages. Watch the entire interview with David – he really doesn’t use Twitter, doesn’t allow comments on his blog, and generally turns down all coffee/lunch/pick-your-brain invites. On the other side are heavy engagers that lay everything out on the line every day, engage directly with those that choose to disagree with them, and generally expose themselves for consumption by the general public (not that kind of expose, get your head out of the gutter.)
Where do I fall on this continuum? Where should I fall? Where should my clients fall? As I reveal in this podcast, when I “get into it” with someone online or off, it ends up pretty much ruining my day. Confrontation is not fun for me. And yet, I do allow comments on my blog, I do public speaking when time allows, I do debate when the topic is dear to me, I do go to networking events and have coffee with people. I do leave myself exposed to criticism (not in some heroic way – just sayin). Maybe I should be more like Seth. Maybe I would be less afraid to take chances, and more apt to get the important stuff done.
In 2013, I want to better understand this continuum and where I should be falling on it. Should I gravitate more towards the Seth-like cocoon?
What do you think? Please leave a comment below.