Negatweeting, it is our right, nay duty…

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Editor’s note: forgive me reader for I have not blogged in nearly three weeks… it’s planning season, sorry folks

First, some background on why –

However snobbish or passé (perhaps even condescending) the term Foodie may seem to some, I consider myself one; I’m a foodie with my restaurants, my menu picks, my ingredients, my home cooking, my books, my TV choices… I just am, and not that there is anything wrong with that. Even though I babble about food and restaurants all the time, the one thing I refrain from doing is talk negatively about the service of a restaurant.

To me the food and the chefs are the stars, so why bias people about décor or service if the meal is great… that is until recently when my mom, brother, wife and I were at Fig and Olive (Fifth Avenue location, the ‘new’ one; bottom line: I recommend the uptown location, food is the same) and had one of the worst services. So I decided to enact the age-old marketing perspective: negative experience = 10 people told vs. good experience = 3 people… I went to town, and told all who’d listen about it in addition to those I usually babble about food with.

The next day my frustration was met with an interesting read from the Chicago Sun-Times about a Horizon Group Management LLC lawsuit against a tenant’s ‘slanderous tweets’… then as if on cue, I started catching up on the Sam Sethi/TechCrunch libel suit over published ‘slanderous articles’ (see more TC coverage: here, here and here) this week… hm, I thought “the power of words you say?”

So, a new Tword is born–

The other day I came up with (per search results) a cute term… Negatweeting, seemed to just roll off the tongue, quite self explanatory given the recent occurrences around me.

Now that I work a lot with corporate reputations and though I’m young, I can seriously say (with a straight face) that I remember when people only had to worry about reputations in print and on TV. All of us, my current clients included, aren’t so lucky… we have to counter and encounter the public head on; the virtual soapbox of social networking and social media mandates us. If we don’t engage and define ourselves, someone else will or already is. Oh, if I had a dollar for every time I heard that phrase recently (again, planning season)…

I take the side of Amanda Bonnen (obviously) as well as that of Michael Arrington in these cases, and frankly everyone else that took a stand. It is the power of free speech, if not consumer power through preference and opinion, which is the foundation of American society… hence Michael Arrington wanting his case tried here and not in the UK, as it is now. And that perhaps is the problem with such outrage as my own at the legal system hamstringing free speech online… the internet, though democratization at it’s finest, is not a democracy.

Recent Exhibits:
a)      Google’s power to ban sites
b)      Marines banning social networking
c – e) Iran, China, Russia

And so on… internet is not a democracy, it is a powerful populous tool that is used to spread information and opinion, but there will always be those who control the switch… and yes, there is a switch. Again, do I even need to link to yesterday’s Twitter/Facebook hacker slowdown/deny of service attacks? Seems quite reasonable of an argument to me.

Thus, I decree: onward with your negatweeting my masses, go forth with your opinions and free speech consumerism. Use social networking and social media to bunch up and grow your numbers. Have your cake and eat it too, until they take away the fork.

So go on, exercise the right to express dissatisfaction with things and make yourself heard through tools available… because if we don’t engage and define ourselves, someone else will or already is.



12 Responses

  1. Alex,

    I have to tell you that I really like this post. It’s insightful and I agree with you.

    For example, I am a beauty blogger on top of being a PR one. So when I find great products and not so great ones – you better believe I have nothing bad to say.

    If I don’t like a particular powder or foundation because it doesn’t match my skin tone – I’ll say that it doesn’t match my skin tone, however, XYZ company makes amazing eye shadows for every skin tone. I don’t think it’s negativity as much as honesty and integrity. Needless to say, I believe in karma and transparency. You don’t need to be malicious to be honest.

    I mean, on that same example, I’m currently reviewing a set of makeup…and the eyeshadows are amazing, no lie. But I can’t use the foundation or the powder the company sent me…but, my mom can. And it makes her look at least 10 years younger and she LOVES it. So, in my review, believe me that’ll be something I’ll point out.

    However, that being said – if someone is going to complain about her apartment because it has mold – good for her! I don’t think she should be sued, much less, the property owners winning. To me, that is outrageous and it takes a stab at freedom of speech.

    It’s because of people like her, that people like us found out about the Iranian election controversy via Twitter and forced CNN to cover it.

    Obviously, these two cases are on two different sides of the extreme – but still. I know I wouldn’t want to buy a property or rent one with a mold problem. But I would rent from that SAME “mold” company, if I read on their website that they fixed the issue and were working positively with the renter etc., Though would it really have escalated that far? I highly doubt it… in the case of the renter and the property mangers…she has less than 100 follows/followings – therefore, I ask, really? Seriously? Come on.

    I’m not a fan of censorship and I believe everyone has a right to their opinion. When we see cases like the Marines, ESPN and the mold girl – I think that it’ll be soon enough when the times Any Rand warned us about and societal dystopia will emerge in stealth.

    No one will know, until the laws are cemented and we think of how it used to be.

    Extreme? Probably. Possible? Of course. Probable? Well, maybe.

    Good post!
    – Sasha

    • Thanks for the comment, i can’t agree more… Negatweeting doesn’t have to be malicious, it’s all in the perception. Your take on this is right on, honesty is the way to better results for all. Though the truth hurts sometimes, but alas it has to be said.

      Also, all of us PR folk have to be mindful of the balance of honesty and ‘the job’ which as we know… is a hard balance, and twitter/blogs/facebook account don’t help the cause. There is so much i want to say about so many things, but have to refrain, because it’s business.


  2. Great post and a sentiment I try to tweet by.

    Love the expressions “counter and encounter” and “powerful populous tool” I may end stealing them…(feel free to use “barely honest” 🙂 ).

    • Indeed i will. You know, you and me definitely have all that in common (and the over use of ‘…’) … as do most PR folk. As i said in my inaugural post, i like to make words dance, that’s why i do what i do.

      Counter and encounter was new one, also rolled off the tongue. one day we’ll exchange our dictionaries, maybe even publish them.

      Thanks for the comment secret sir, appreciate it!

  3. Interesting post. Negatweeters Unite!


  4. Great post ~ Love the line: Thus, I decree: onward with your negatweeting my masses, go forth with your opinions and free speech consumerism. Use social networking and social media to bunch up and grow your numbers. Have your cake and eat it too, until they take away the fork. Could be made into a T-shirt that you can tweet that I owe you royalties.

  5. What about the polarity? What does negatweeting have to offer that positweeting (or just regular tweeting) does not?

    You allude to the fact that freedom of speech in cyberspace is neither a right nor a priviledge… It is an assumption. Unfortunately, we will also have to assume that the targets of our anonymous negativity have the freedom to react. They, according to “our” (meaning the mob’s) laws, will never have the right, right?

    Playing the 1st amendment game is fun, but, where I believe many miss the point, is that we live in a world of rules. Where the rules don’t apply, you expect courtesy. Where courtesy doesn’t apply, we expect lawsuits.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am just as guilty as anyone else, and should also be sued over these “nothings” many times over. I chalk it up to a bit of luck, and a lot of swallowed pride.

    To parody the proverb; The flipside of the coin is always shinier. But then, that’s where innocent tenants get in trouble. Positively speaking, of course. Best just to stay positive.

  6. Ive been reading a few posts and really and enjoy your writing. Im just starting up my own blog and only hope that I can write as well and give the reader so much insight.

  7. I really like the fresh perpective you did on the issue. Really was not expecting that when I started off studying. Your concepts were easy to understand that I wondered why I never looked at it before. Glad to know that there’s an individual out there that definitely understands what he’s discussing. Great job

  8. Please, keep up the excellent work and continue to post topics like this. I am really fan of your blog.

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