PDA: Public Displays of Antagonism

28 05 2009

As a practitioner, I try to follow the people within the industry that have their acts together – so that I can stay abreast of topics and practices that are gaining acceptance in the community. This is something that I would recommend anyone do, regardless of their profession. But sometimes it can be a disconcerting affair when those people have very public debates that start to go south.

The professionals will remain unnamed – I shall refer to them as PR-A and PR-B. PR-A has a beef with PR-B about how he manages his business. PR-B defends his practice to PR-B – and the exchange goes back and forth. The ultimate outcome is what I would call a stalemate: neither party proved or disproved the other’s points.

Why do I bother with writing about this scenario – especially after a long hiatus? I felt as if I was watching my two grandmothers fighting: grandmothers because I respect both parties opinions and the insights that they provide on a myriad of topics and I couldn’t take sides – only sit and watch completely stupefied. I look at this very public exchange and call to mind something that Scott Stratten has said in his tweets – and I am paraphrasing: do not tweet anything that you wouldn’t want on a billboard with your business’s name tied to it. Another gem from my 10-year old – though she doesn’t know how true it is regarding the Internet: tap-tap no take back.

As I sat and watched the exchange, I wanted to poke my head in and tell them to S-T-O-P. I didn’t for fear of the wrath that could potentially rain down on me. As things wrapped up, I thought about the reputation management aspects of what I had just witnessed. Would the people that read the kerfuffle between these two professionals pick a side or sit dumbfounded as I did? Would there be a fall-out from this very public display of antagonism?

Here is my perspective: if you want to have a debate, have at it; but be aware of the audience watching. That is the reason that I do not offer critiques of other practitioners, their events, campaigns or business practices. We all play in the same sandbox and it isn’t that big. Your competition today could be your boss tomorrow. Tomorrow’s client could ‘stumble” on your post and take their business somewhere else.

And lastly: Tap Tap NO Take Back…

Marketing Virtuously,

C

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