Jeremy Zawodny recently posted that he’s going to be speaking about blogging at the Direct Marketing Association’s annual conference, and asked his readers what he should tell those folks.
Many people, understandably, responded that he should basically tell them to drop dead. Given the DMA’s, ahem, relationship-challenged practices in the past (e.g., supporting opt-out, rather than opt-in e-mail lists), that’s hardly surprising.
With that said, though, I figured it’d be worth it to suggest a few more friendly guidelines for the DMA folks, at least those genuinely interested in communicating decently and effectively with others online. Specifically, here’s what I commented on Jeremy’s blog:
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Tell them to ask themselves this before they ever post anything on a blog:
“If you were out having a beer with someone you’ve recently become friends with, would you say this to their face?”
For instance, when you’re (appropriately) talking a friend, you generally don’t:
– use fear
You do (or should), however:
– Talk like a human
– Listen some more
– Respond appropriately
– Be sincere. No, *really* sincere, not faux sincere.
– Know your relationship-type. You don’t hug and kiss a new friend and say “You’re my best friend EVER!!!”
And the hardest, but IMHO most important:
Know yourself, know your limitations, and don’t pretend to be someone you aren’t. If you’re a 300 pound frumpy housewife, you don’t show up at a bar in a miniskirt and halter top to meet a friend. You’ll embarrass yourself, you’ll embarrass your friend, and no one will want to be seen with you, much less listen to you. For companies, this means that you shouldn’t sweep who you are and what your history is under a rug; if you’ve had problems with a product or customer relationships, enter into a conversation humbly or even with an appropriate apologetic introduction. “We realize we haven’t always worked with our customers in a way that would make our founder proud. Here’s what we’re doing to change that… and why we respectfully ask you to give us another chance.”
Humility, thoughtfulness, subtlety, humanity. All attributes that the spam-defending DMA, sadly, seems to have in very short supply.
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– Blogger Don’ts [from the consumer-side of blogging]