My Blog is in the New York Times?!?!

mstory123 | September 17, 2008 in In the news,Online public relations | Comments (17)

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I had always hoped to be in the New York Times, but perhaps under somewhat different circumstances.

I wrote about it last week “I Was Wrong – Sorry Eve,” but the New York Times’ Marci Alboher picked up on the email blogging exchange that Eve Tahmincioglu and I had, which ended up with my feeling like a lunkhead.

Marci wrote a balanced, fair piece:

All this transparency and accountability led to a happy ending. Mr. Story did a follow-up post of his own, calling his original post a “cheap shot” against Eve (as support for this, he admitted that some of his own readers agreed with Eve’s original premise) and apologized to her. Eve included his apology in her follow-up post.

In addition to learning a few lessons about taking ownership for your words online, I also discovered a possible cure for social networking overload in Mr. Story’s original post — social networking aggregators, a new type of site that has sprung up to help people keep up with multiple social networking communities at once. Clearly, I have to get acquainted with these sites.

Thank you, Marci for providing balance and a measured tone — both of which would have served me well a couple of weeks back.

Mark


17 Responses to “My Blog is in the New York Times?!?!”

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  1. Comment by marci alboherSeptember 17, 2008 at 5:35 am  

    My pleasure, Mark. You handled yourself like a mensch and I think we can all learn from this exchange. Meantime, I’ll be checking in on your blog. I’m sure there’s a lot I can learn in here.

  2. Comment by Mame Croze — September 19, 2008 at 8:36 am  

    Great exchange – and something to be learned from it. I was completely impressed when I first read about the exchange by how politely and professionally Eve responded to your post.

    Sometimes, I feel people say things online that they would not say to a person face-to-face. I’ve received e-mails at work that I am sure the person would have never actually said to me, but the internet and the fact that I wasn’t immediately responding or looking at the person as they spoke to me made their exchange easy to write and say whatever they felt. (In a sense, getting carried away)

    This exchange is something many can learn from – not only did Eve respond with good character, Mark then apologized and in return, made a new friend! It took what could have been a horrible back and forth rant and made it a polite, professional discussion and I think both sides came out happy.

    I think the NYT put it right – accountability. We are in a day now that what you say online makes a difference and is part of your reputation.

  3. Comment by Adriana Gallegos — September 20, 2008 at 9:08 am  

    I agree with Mame in that we have to measure our words very carefully especially in the public relations field. Since we are constantly dealing with the public and the media anything we say can be twisted and get us into a lot of trouble. In this case Mark was able to save himself because the reporter was quite professional about the wole situation; it could have been worse.

    As for social media overload I have to agree with Eve just a little bit in that sometimes it is just too much. There are now websites for everything. I have facebook and linkedIn and sometimes it’s hard to keep up with them. It can also be quite impersonal to communicate with others through these social media websites because as Mame mentioned many times in the online world you say things that you might not tell a person face to face. We are getting too comfortable with this way of communication that soon face to face communication will become extinct.

  4. Comment by Anca Bilegan — September 20, 2008 at 10:21 am  

    Mark’s accountant says: “There’s no such thing as difficulties in doing your taxes because Microsoft Excel is easy to use”.
    The bottom line is that people specialized in a certain field find it easy to do what they do and sometimes they forget that what’s easy for one may difficult for another.
    Mark being an online strategist finds it easy to juggle with social networks. Eve’s article talks about those professionals that informed her they struggle to use all these social networks and for them, the multitude of options may become overwhelming.
    Being polite is one of the best strategies out there and Eve knows it. Her civilized response to Mark’s critique not only ended up in an apology but also generated respect.
    This exchange between Mark and Eve has a few positive outcomes:
    • People understood that when attacked, if you choose not to be rude in response you have better chances to have your opinion reevaluated;
    • The responsible email blogging exchange generated a balanced article in New York Times; and
    • Those facing social networking overload learned about a solution for this problem: social networking aggregators.

  5. Comment by Emily Howard — September 21, 2008 at 3:47 pm  

    I am in the industry where I am expected to be savvy with social media and social networking. I do spend a lot of time trying to build my online network, but I think there are differences between the sites and it isn’t expected to be an expert on all of them. I use Facebook to keep in touch with friends and I used LinkedIn and twitter for professional networking. Even though I am in the in the industry, it is still hard to keep up to date with all of the sites so I can’t even imagine how overwhelmed people feel that aren’t expected to be savvy with these sites. I think the more people are starting to use them, the more important they are becoming.

    Regarding Mark’s original article, I don’t think he thought about the common professional and was just speaking from an online “gurus” perspective. He did handle himself well after the initial blog and I really like how Eve handled the situation.

  6. Comment by Lindsey Brothers — September 21, 2008 at 10:10 pm  

    Kudos to Mark for being an excellent example of how to retract and formally apologize for initial negative statements that were posted.

    I felt closely aligned to Eve’s blog post but agreed with Mark’s comment, “Overload only exists when you choose to let it.” This reinforces why I have slowly distanced myself from my profiles on sites such as Facebook, Linkedin, Meetup, and even cancelled my profile on MySpace. It’s too much to keep up with.

    In my opinion, Facebook and MySpace were too similar to worry about updating both. I realized that all my friends were on both so I cancelled the one I found to be too “noisy.” I recently got my 55-year-old Mom hooked on Facebook and now she asks if I’ve seen her status lately. She is proud (and I’m proud of her too).

    Eve made a good point by stating, “ It’s not going to help your career if you have a bunch of profiles, or pages on a bunch of sites, and no time to check all the connections and news happening everyday. It’s better to focus your efforts and building a solid network on one site.” I found there is a lot to like about Facebook and Linkedin, so when I have time, I log on to both.

    I looked into the type of sites Mark referred to when he wrote, “Aggregator sites put everything in one place.” The blog post, “20 Ways To Aggregate Your Social Networking Profiles” was a little overwhelming to read. In addition, I found the names of some of those sites to be…well…quite interesting. Both “explode.us” and “second brain” resonated well with me. After reading the article I think my brain was about to “explode” and just to comprehend it all a “second brain” would have been helpful.

    I did learn something new through all of this – that aggregator sites exist. Who would have guessed that social networking would have lead to such a thing. It definitely makes sense.

  7. Comment by Thira Sannikorn — September 22, 2008 at 12:55 pm  

    I have to say that I used to really enjoy social media. It allows me to keep in touch with everyone all around the world inexpensively. However,like Linsey, now I canceled some of social media network because I didn’t want to worry about updating both profile since those of them seems so similar. Therefore, I agrees with Eve in focusing on building one network site.

    However, when I read the blog, I start to think about face to face communication than social networks because of avoiding missing and misunderstanding messages. These happened most of the time and the results from these can be both positive and negative. The globalization in term of communications will make people starting to forget the way of face to face communications as it gave too advantage to people such as just only one click, people can get what they want. For me, it has both advantage and disadvantage, but it depends on what aspect we using social media.

    In this situation, I like the way that Eve responded to Mark in term of polite and respect and these created positive attitude from using media networks.

  8. Comment by Joe Osborne — September 22, 2008 at 3:54 pm  

    It’s almost hard to imagine how we got along without our social networks. In undergrad, facebook was the way to get class notes, publicize your orgs events, and find a date! I’ve become so cozy with facebook that I wouldn’t dare create another social profile. Like Emily, I use facebook for personal, Linkedin for professional, and I’m honestly not sure at all why I have a twitter account.

    Overall, I agree with Eve. For your average Joe (me) it is somewhat overwhelming. We like to be told what’s hot and new. But until the next ‘it’ site comes along with the perfect navigation, design, and appeal I will sit out on the social networking frenzy. We fell in love with Facebook because we needed it! Myspace was too trashy, spam sensitive, and html reliant for college students. Now, there are ten million sites for everything kind of network you can think of and I seem to be the only one out of my real friends who has a profile. I hope these site creators can just get back to the basics.

  9. Comment by Mike — September 22, 2008 at 6:37 pm  

    I think you should have stuck to your guns and drove a ton more traffic your way for a few weeks then posted a big sappy apology.

    But seriously. Have a few kids – three in my case – and this will eliminate a lot of the free time to update and try to keep up with all your profiles. Try to call and meet-up with some of these so-called “friends.” It’s a network, yes, and we thank them for bringing everyone back together again, but it doesn’t always have to be the meeting place.

  10. Comment by Aimee S. — September 22, 2008 at 8:32 pm  

    Taking media responsibility either offline or online is lacking in this world as well as respect amongst the media community. It takes a big person to admit you are wrong but a much bigger person to apologize publicly. Historically, this can be a great example of a best practice within the media community going forward. I would have to add this to my list of ethical practices and ways to keep the mudslinging off the front page and on the backburner. We, the media, need to focus on getting the word out and not outing each other with words.

  11. Comment by Claire C — September 23, 2008 at 6:30 am  

    Not trying to be a saboteur or something, I’m just wondering if Mark would still apologize if Eve didn’t comment with such nice attitude or didn’t even comment at all?! No matter what, internet is such great tool for information and opinion exchange. It blocked certain awkwardness and inevitable confrontations, creating a different way of communication, better or worse.
    With less and less bloggers or “online commenters” taking responsibility of what they say online, Mark represents a good example of “coming back” after a relatively more “emotional” subjective shoutout, from an online strategist’s perspective who probably eagerly wanted to protect these online “friends”. I dont belong to common professionals nor online gurus, so I could only state as a common folk who likes to go online and enjoy using certain social media. I’ve never used other professional social media besides the common networking ones like facebook and myspace. I used to love myspace because of the convenience to connect to various music artists. However, in my opinion, aside from this feature, myspace’s functions have began to be replaced by facebook. At least, that’s what most of my friends did: switching myspace to facebook.
    So I agree with Eve that it’s easier and probably more efficient also to focus making only of your social media tools up-to-date. Though, for many users, social media IS overloaded; however, for the online marketers, it’ll never be. The competitiveness between these social media would always be there and I’m guessing many of the “incoming” sites are waiting for their chances of becoming the next facebook. (In this sense, I mean being the site that would replace another similar-functional site that’s currently the biggest in the market.)
    Social media is awesome. And I’m pretty sure only users themselves, of various fields, can decide the most useful and efficient way for them to achieve the purpose they hope to reach through social media.

  12. Comment by Heather Lovett — September 23, 2008 at 8:57 pm  

    I have to say I am also impressed with how this played out. As Mame pointed out, you feel more comfortable using your words when it’s not face-to-face. Kind of like road rage, I’m completely comfortable waving the finger if I deem it necessary, but if the person pulled over for a confrontation I would retreat and come up with an excuse for getting something out of my eye.

    I do not believe there is a social media overload. No one is being forced to sign up for these sites. Although it’s a nice thought that people use these sites to benefit their careers, I would venture to say that most people do it for entertainment value.

  13. Comment by Shilpika Das — September 24, 2008 at 8:07 am  

    First of all, congratulations, Mark! You made it to the New York Times!

    I think the exchange between Mark and Eve is a rarity. A rather pleasant surprise. If you’re like me and head straight for the comments section of any post, you know these exchanges can get vitriolic, to say the least. I think Eve handled the situation with a lot of grace and dignity instead of bombarding Mark with angry accusations.

    And, what could have quickly spiraled into a hostile online confrontation was nipped in the bud by a simple and sincere apology. I think Mark’s apology – both private and public – and his effort to take responsibility were appreciated, which is why it made it to NYT!

    If you’re interested in reading how riled up readers and bloggers can get, take a look at this posting: Houston Chronicle Columnist Richard Justice Unfairly Attacks Alex Gibbs…and Then Me? (http://budurl.com/c6e7)

    These instances only reinforce the fact that you have to think twice before posting to the web. In today’s digital age, NOTHING goes unnoticed. So once you hit the seemingly harmless “post” button, you better be accountable for your words and brace yourself for critique – because opinions come cheap and people have many.

    Like blogger Stephanie Stradley put it: “I can’t imagine that many people like their work criticized, but if you are writing opinions for the world at large to read, you should expect that. And perhaps embrace that if you are interested in learning others’ points of view.”

    Amen.

  14. Comment by Mamie L. — September 24, 2008 at 10:31 am  

    This series of blog posts and responses has shown the true essence, and speed, of the internet. Mark and Eve have shown what happens when we respond quickly without thought, driven by emotion and what happens when we stop to think and analyze, and take the time to construct a response. I think the lesson learned from this is that it is important to take the time to craft an appropriate response, to recognize the intended audience, and to research if needed. Taking responsibility for comments that are said either out-of-context, out-of-line, or are just wrong is important and shows a sense of “social responsibility”, especially in the online world.

    I agree with both Mark and Eve. For someone who isn’t tech-savvy or a “propeller-head”, the large mass of social networking opportunities can be overwhelming because they don’t know what is important, what can be passed over, and what tools exist to put it all together. But for those that are knowledgeable on all the tools that are out there, our lives are simpler and there is no “information overload”. I agree with Mark on the issue that social overload, or information overload, exists by choice and is not forced upon anyone. I enjoy social media and networking and find it useful for both the professional and social aspects of my life, but I decide which sites I am on and would benefit me the most.

    I found Claire’s post interesting though. Mark, would you have responded, and apologized, had Eve not responded to your post?

  15. Comment by Becky Richardson — September 24, 2008 at 10:53 am  

    I learned a lot from both Mark and Eve here. Winston Churchill once said, “The price of greatness is responsibility.” Bravo to Mark for taking responsibility and achieving greatness. I’m not blowing smoke here…I was truly impressed by Mark’s example. Mark wrote from his perspective in response to Eve’s article about social media overload. As Jonathan Trenn said, Mark is “an online strategist, a PR pro, a social media practitioner.” This is Mark’s domain. Clearly, Eve Tahmincioglu was writing from a different perspective—a perspective voiced by many (as Eve made reference to, the Marcia Brady overexposure moment). Mark recognized Eve’s point, accepted responsibility and apologized publicly. And kudos to Eve…to her great credit, she was cool-tempered, humble (“…I’m open to any criticism if I can learn from it and get better at what I do.”), courageous (“There are many schools of thought on how you should respond to negative info about you on a blog. Some worry that you may be goading a blogger into write even more bad stuff about you if you take the blogger to task.”) and gracious. This is a great story—two class acts being classy. As Marci Alboher (NYT) said, “All this transparency and accountability led to a happy ending.” Very cool.

  16. Comment by PaulinaSeptember 24, 2008 at 12:35 pm  

    Social media overload? I guess I would be out of a job if that happens since I am in the social media business. Most of my time is spent working on creating a network of professionals in the microfinance industry and I do this via networking sites and using aggregators (I guess that is what Mark tried to implied when he talked about overload?). Users need to learn that each social networking site has a different approach and use. We don’t use high heels to run, but we use sneakers. Each site has its own purpose and it is up to the user to figure out what use they want to give to each social networking tool.

  17. Comment by Carol — September 24, 2008 at 1:00 pm  

    Kudos! It is always honorable to take responsibility for ones actions. Not only in our field but all around. As a positive outcome, like in Mark’s case, gain a friend. Now that world is very involved with the internet;like blogs. These words are on paper and can’t be taken back; it’s for everyone to see. Especially being in this field, it is very important to choose our words carefully.

    As for social media we can’t help ourselves but to get involved. Not only for networking but it is also used as a free source to advertise.