Shutting Down the Whinery


It’s a fact of life that (1) we don’t always get what we want and (2) it’s only natural to want to kvetch about it. Consider, for instance:

  • The book publisher who rants that all of her authors are back-stabbing her.
  • The graphic designer who laments that the cute guy from Starbucks with whom she had a perfect first date hasn’t called her back for a second one.
  • The small business owner who trashes his competition for holding a sale two days ahead of his.

These individuals are entitled to be paranoid, weepy, angry, disappointed, or even confused about the hand they have been dealt. Catharsis, as they say, is good for the soul. Unfortunately, it can be detrimental to your brand and to your reputation if you take your venting to the cyber-highway without considering potential consequences. This is especially critical for the self-employed (many of whom operate without any formal media policies) wherein the zeal for instant and widespread visibility oftentimes overrides good judgment. Even if you’re sensitive to such issues yourself, is discretion the watchword of everyone on your team? As an example, a colleague is currently dealing with the fall-out of an intern whose FB post – “I hope I get a cool job out of the merger” – precipitated the corporate news being made public.

As of this writing, the United States Census Bureau estimates that Planet Earth is now inhabited by over 7 billion people. Research further supports that over 25 percent of these people have access to the Internet. Staggering numbers, yes, but really not that hard to absorb. On any given day, I’m pretty sure that at least half the content wafting into my personal and business email accounts is generated by entrepreneurial spammers promising to share their inheritance, get me in on a ground-floor investment, or turbo-charge my sex life. While our mailboxes – both the traditional and the electronic versions – have always been subject to unsolicited intrusions, the accessibility of today’s social media networks has created a ‘global scattergun’ approach to sharing information, not all of which is necessarily welcome, useful or even appropriate.

The inability to separate personal content from business content is illustrative of a growing belief that there’s no such thing as TMI. And it’s not just today’s youth who are guilty of being immature; the trio of individuals referenced at the beginning of this blog are all over 40 and, frankly, should know better. The fact that social media sites are figuring so prominently in employee background checks, online shopping and story research by reporters should be a prevalent red flag if you’re ever tempted to uncork all of your woes and those bottled up emotions and splash them all over a public forum.

At the end of the day, would you really trust someone to handle your company’s needs/secrets/finances – or, for that matter, to even show up for a live interview – if s/he has such an open-book history of recurring meltdowns, vitriolic ramblings or anxieties about self-esteem? Your public persona – the one that relies on sales, favorable PR and customer goodwill in order for you to make a living – calls for an artfully scripted approach that doesn’t deviate from the bottom-line message and skill sets for which you want to be admired, trusted and respected.


Here’s the lineup of this month’s blogs by my guest contributors:

Communicating with Color – by Jeanette Chasworth

Five Strategies to Succeed as a Green Business – by Shel Horowitz

Warning: Old Fashioned Fundraising Methods Can Kill Your Non-Profit – by Amandah Blackwell

Finding the One – by Nicole Reaney