This is really off the topic of photography directly, but it's so relevant to social media. All of our communication in social media is through the printed word. We can't hear the tone in somebody's voice or see the expression on their face or any emotion in their eyes. There's no body language to help us further define the importance or sincerity of what somebody is saying...just the printed word.
This morning I got an email from a member of a forum I co-administrate telling me our "moderators suck and are deleting people at a whim." There are only two moderators in this forum, me and my partner. I haven't been told I suck in a lot of years, but with 17,000 members in the forum, I've accepted we can't keep everybody happy.
My point is, neither of us have ever deleted anybody at a whim. However, we have deleted people who love to be trolls, have attacked other members outside the forum because they disagreed, posted material completely irrelevant to the members of the forum and in short, just want to write their own rule book. We even had a member leave angry phone messages on another forum member's business line! That's why God made the delete button and we only do it when it's appropriate.
We all live a real world scenario of a Verizon commercial, "Can you hear me now?" We draw bad assumptions every day. We do it in business and in our personal lives. I have a whole collection of family members who live on their assumptions and thrive on them, never asking for clarification before they pass judgement.
Here's the bottom line...before you write off another photographer, project, workshop, event, vendor or manufacturer because of something you heard, read or think you witnessed, pick up the phone and call them. Find a way to get clarification. Don't assume the rumor you heard was true. Don't assume somebody's lack of response to an email you sent means they don't care - your email might be sitting in their spam folder. Take your time and don't rush to draw the wrong assumptions.
This an amazing industry and we've all got a chance to raise the bar on the quality of our images, business, communication and relationships if we can just talk more to each other.
The importance of the art of conversation isn't dead. In fact, it has more purpose today than ever before.
Illustration Credit: © Marek - Fotolia.com
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