In graphic design and visual arts, artists use negative space to emphasize their subject. The same could be said of words, in particular stories where you leave enough to the reader’s imagination so they can enjoy the novel, essay, short story, or whatever it might be. I received this nugget of knowledge at WorldCon last August. Stina Leicht mentioned applying the negative space principle to words during a panel on how to write yourself out of a corner. Some writers will be quick to say negative space represents the show, don’t tell meme that is driven into every writer’s head who ever attends any sort of workshop. I’m not so sure I agree, though. While no one wants to read […]
Have you seen Jimmy Kimmel‘s Mean Tweets skit yet? I finally did when the NBA version came out a week ago (below). The tongue-in-cheek celebrity response to Twitter’s raucous social media culture pierces through a lot of hubris. Mean Tweets says what many of us involved in online community management feel. Life as an online community manager, blogger or personality today requires dealing with some idiotic nastiness that people spew on social media
Image by Rain So why do serial complainers lose credibility on and offline? We all know these people, the kvetch or worse, the troll, the person that always brings a storm cloud whenever they discuss an issue. Publicly everyone listens, privately they get dismissed on the back channel as a hater or worse. Eventually, people stop listening all together. The title alone is the answer, specifically, repeat complaining. In social communities the consistent malcontent becomes the equivalent of the boy who cried wolf. In fact, if the malcontent goes so far as to hurt others, they breed a form of reciprocity that no one really wants to see, vengeance. A German study from the Institute for the Study of Labor […]
Image by Spi-V In its Holiday Marketing Best Practices Guide, Amazon coaches online merchants to disregard negative comments until they reach a ratio of 5% of all comments: “Most sellers will eventually receive some negative feedback. When it happens to you, put it in perspective: a 0-2% negative feedback rate is great! If your negative feedback rate is greater than 5%, review your business practices to correct any operational problems that might affect a buyer’s experience.” Amazon has had its fair share of customer service issues over the years. But I agree with the online retailer’s guidance in principle, and use a similar barometer in coaching clients about negative commenting.
Image by Sabrintha Linda You know the old glass is half full metaphor. Well, that applies to the way we talk about and critique others. We can support the strong points someone offers, or we can tear them up. This is particularly true of teams, communities and other group activities. Harvard Business Review ran a great piece by Rosabeth Kanter a few months ago about creating a positive culture of respect. “Winners can maintain high aspirations and act generously toward others,” said Kanter. “Losers are more likely to blame others and disdain them as mediocre, creating a culture of finger-pointing and infighting.”