Occasionally things happen when you're running your own business that, initially, can be upsetting. They can even progress to being vexing, but eventually mellow to a humorous anecdote with a side order of food for thought.
Ezinegate started when someone that I've worked with sent around their monthly E-Newsletter. (No names, no pack drill!) They made some comments about a number of businesses - other than their own - which were less than flattering.
My company specialises in Social Media. This was one area that was targeted thus:
"Then we have the social Media experts who are usually broke, but have thousands of friends on Facebook of followers on Twitter. They are all about building relationships, but struggle to offer something and ask for the sale."
At first - I'll be honest - I couldn't help but take the comments personally. I soon got over that as I know that this person is not daft enough to make a personal attack on anybody! Whatever I may now think of them, they run their business effectively.
Then I was vexed at what the networks we had in common would think. Now, it's become a something to laugh at and the negative emotion is long since spent.
It has, however, made me think about how Social Media is perceived by businesses that have yet to take the plunge. It has also made me think of what assumptions are made about companies and people that offer Social Media services.
People who meet me (yes, I do go out of the house!) are quickly disabused of the code bashing hermit stereotype. I'm not a pale, ghostly figure chained to a keyboard - social media is as much about people as any other sort of networking. The fact that it uses technology as a way of facilitating interaction can be misconstrued.
So - what did I learn from Ezinegate?
I think that there is a need to actively challenge the negative assumptions made about social media and the people that use it. It's a mainstream business tool, not a minority curiosity. We're clawing our way out of a recession and every inch of advantage needs to be fought for and held on to. If I need to change the view of business one person at a time I'll do it!
Will you join me...?