Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Respect and A Difference of Opinion

I have been on Twitter now for about 4 months.

Back in March I wrote about my initial thoughts
of the environment
, and was met with a variety of

I have come to carve out my own experience
of the site. For starters, I took on being myself,
regardless of what the "repercussions" would be.

Apparently I am not doing too badly. Somehow
I have managed to have 3000+ people follow me
at the time of this writing.

In addition, of those that I communicate with
regularly, they seem to be of a similar mold as
I am - sarcastic, tweet a lot (sending out lots of
messages), chatty, have a similar sense of humor
(or at least can appreciate mine) etc.

It's difficult to know where to draw lines in the
Twitter world. Some come on with blatant money
driving guns blasting. Others are more subtle.
Some have no economic interest at all in being
on Twitter.

There are people I follow who I don't really
know, and are all about selling their product or
service. It's OK. If I am not interested, I don't
do anything about the information. I just pay
attention to the things of interest.

If I really didn't like it, or it was a problem, I
would just unfollow (which means I would no
longer see their information) and be on my
merry way. No big deal. No flourish. Just a
click of a button. Done.

I never object to the *commercial* tweets in part
because everyone has to make a living. It
really is THAT SIMPLE in my mind.

However, having said that, I must say that I
would say that EVERYTHING in one way or
another is commercial.

You recommend a food product, talk about a
commercial, drive a certain car, recommend
news is ALL a commercial of some sort.
As a matter of fact, many companies love the
word of mouth advertising.

Somehow, it seems that the minute it gets
"personal," the minute that it is "obvious," the
minute that it is clear that someone is promoting
something that means you might be spending
money with them, people get up in arms! It
seems OK for the Wal-Marts and Pepsis of the
world to have commercials, but not for an
individual. Even if it's not OK, per se, they
don't seem to get the same treatment as an
individual who is promoting him/herself.

I am writing this today because one of my
followers told me that when they shared about
one of my recordings, there were several people
who unfollowed, and wrote a DM (a private
message in the world of Twitter) that was
mean spirited because the follower of mine
was pitching another person's product - never
mind the fact that this follower apparently
felt that it was worthy to share, and might be
helpful for others.

It is obvious they have a different opinion than
I do, and if they were to read this they would
likely disagree with my perspective.

The point for me in all of this, is the same point
that underlies much of how I look at life. Why
can't we respect other's perspectives? There
is plenty of room on Twitter for all types of
perspectives. If someone doesn't like something
they can just move on. If you don't like what a
store is selling, do you go inside and rudely tell
them that, and then leave? No. you just walk
on by.

Even if you went inside, if you saw what was
there, and it didn't fit you or your style, would
you tell them in some rude way? I don't think
it very likely. Instead, you would just leave.

What is it about the Internet (or about life in
general) that has people acting with a total lack of
respect or regard for others? If the situation was
reversed, I seriously doubt that they would
appreciate the approach.

There are people behind the words and messages,
many just doing the best that they can. We can
all fake being someone we're not (most are quite
good at it - but that is a whole other conversation).
However, I have to give credit to those who are
true to themselves, and do the things that feel
right to them.

To my follower who got the rude treatment, I
thank you, and apologize for what you got as a
result. I always say people should be true to
themselves, but never to the detriment of another.
So while I give credit to the people who spoke
their mind, I personally take issue with the way
they did it.

There always have been and always will be
differences of opinion. Wars have been waged,
relationships ended or never begun, money
lost or gained, and countless other circumstances
and results, all because of what people did as
a result of their differences of opinion.

Some of the results have forwarded our lives
and others haven't been so positive. In the end,
opinions feed the world, and it's good to have
different ones so that there can be perspective
and growth. However, it isn't so much the
opinion that matters as much as how we
interact with those of differing opinions.

The world is hurting now, and it is the interactions
that we have with each other that will ultimately save
or destroy us. And before you think me dramatic,
and even perhaps overly so, let me just say that
destruction comes in many forms - even if it is
"just" an email with a negative message.

I would dare say our interactions say a lot more
about us than our opinions do.

Last, but not least, might I be so bold as to suggest
that there be some consideration given to the idea
that perhaps we'd all benefit from respect of another's
perspective when communicating about our difference
of opinion?


Mac said...

Thanks for taking the time to write your article. Interesting perspective on Twitter and advertising. I think the grey area tends to be in the scenario where accounts with a focus on promoting their services are disguised as "regular users". If you follow Wal-Mart, expect the yellow smiley tweetting about rolled back prices, but when you follow someone expecting a social experience and instead get a sales pitch it can be discouraging.

I try to keep my tweets light hearted and not business oriented, but I agree about everyone's right to spread the word about their own endeavors.

PS - congrats on your 3000+ followers you just picked up another :)


Luna said...

Wow !! The old saying about Opinions and everyone having them comes to mind.
I came to Twitter in Jan/09 and have come here everyday, it has become my new TV, an interactive TV where I choose who I want to interact with, what I want to see, and hear..If there is something I don't like I will just not go is the same if life. There are things all around us, NOT FOR US and we walk away from them without making a big fuss so why should twitter be any different. I have unfollwed all sorts of things selling things if it wasn't something I didnt' like, or didn't believe in.
The first thing you do on Twitter is find someone, see who they say they are and what they do and decided 'is this someone I think is cool, interesting, intrigues me or I get a really great vibe from'
If you spend time on the things that bother you, you give those things more of your energy and thus they effect your life.
You don't like the guy selling his buisness constantly, don't follow or block.
We each have total control over 1 thing, our own lives.
Life is a recommend...
from our parents, 'I recommend you don't do that'
to bosses, 'I recommend you sell some more product this month'

so go ahead, tell me who you are and what you do, have an oppinion about it, but don't be mean..
Not everything is for everyone,
smile graciously and move on, unless something goes against every moral fiber in your being well then you'd have to say something.

I can say that I've been a follower for months and I don't think I've found any negative thoughts around me :)
You are a positive energy source, and radiate fabulous energy back.

See you out there,
and don't forget to show me
what you got :)

I would promote my catsitting, housesitting services but most of the people I'm connected to are all over the world.

Elizabeth Alraune said...

Dear "Mac" - Thanks for your comment. I agree that there are lots of grey areas when it comes to stuff like "social" media. With the way that things are changing in terms of work, I think things may get grayer still. However I totally understand where there could be disappointment, and where there could be distinct differences of opinion. All I can ever ask, or hope for, is just some R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Have a good one, thanks for stopping by, and thanks for the follow :-)

Elizabeth Alraune said...

Dear Luna;

Thanks for stopping by, and commenting. The situation with my follower really got to me (can you tell? LOL). I had to say something, and I know that not everyone agrees - but there is no where that everyone does agree on everything. I think the most important thing is to gain - my favorite word - PERSPECTIVE. A little perspective goes a long way...There are many similarities in life to the Twitter world, and vice versa, the biggest of which is everyone wanting to have a say. My hope is that it is never at the cost of those involved/affected. Be well, and feel free to give me any info about what you offer on Twitter - you never know who knows someone in your area that can use what you offer. I am happy to share!

Saint Elk said...

I really like your take on the whole situation. I have been on twitter for a few months now and appreciate the fact that there are many. many reasons for being on Twitter. Each person comes with different expectations and a different mindset.

I personally like it that there are so many people trying to make money in so many different ways and although I am not here to sell anything other than perhaps myself, I am constantly amazed by the entrepreneurial spirit that is alive on Twitter.

This is the ultimate democracy though. People can vote by following or not following. There is no reason to make it nasty.

Stheryl Troxell said...

I too am a person of perspectives. I believe in everyone can have an opinion. It is only an opinion and it would be a pretty boring world if we all thought the same. I find it very interesting when reading diffences and apply them to think bank. Another words, it lets me see both side of the fence. Thanks for writing about someting that others need to take into perspective.

Rocky said...


Very nicely written. I am also relatively new to Twitter and social media for that matter, and I have riden the roller coaster of emotion that tends to run through these forms of communication.

There is just nothing better than old fashioned one on one talking and more important listening to the other person, but in this fast paced turbo communication, one can quickly receive mixed messages. Sometimes even when no harm or malice is intended. My Grandfather always used to say, "It's not what you say, it's how you say it."

And I think there is a growing number of souls out there just like yourself, and I am proud to be one of them as well, that really care genuinely about people. With our combined energies and action, and last but not least, words, we shall overcome the trivial and rise to be once again an intelligent life form that can not only create Another Day in Paradise but share it with all who have open hearts and open minds. Respect, you have and always will, and please keep the fire burning:)
Hope to see ya one day on the Tweet-Side of Life!


Elizabeth Alraune said...

Hello "Saint Elk"

I love that you said you were "not here [Twitter] to sell anything other than perhaps myself."

It occurred to me tonight, as I try to write my next blog entry, that whether or not someone is selling something with a monetary value, they are indeed selling something, as no one ever gets on Twitter to be there in isolation. It's when a dollar value is attached that people get in a whole different space about it.

It would seem that many have their approaches and opinions, and find their way to what works for them- just like you and I have. I was told early on my approach would change, and it has. Likely it will change again.

I always tell people in all parts of life (as a coach) to be true to themselves. It more than applies here, just as it does anywhere.

When you are who you are, those who appreciate you will find you. When you do what works for you it is amazing how well it works!

Thanks for your visit, comment, and appreciation. I would love to know who you are on Twitter, if you feel inclined to reveal yourself.

Have a great night!

Elizabeth Alraune said...

Hello Stheryl Troxell!

Seeing both sides of the fence is good, how else would we know when the grass was greener?

Seriously, though, I believe that too many times words are left unsaid. People aren't happy, and are confused, and stay that way because they stay silent.

We need to talk about things more - and sometimes it means taking a risk.

Thanks for dropping by and being a part of the conversation.

Elizabeth Alraune said...

Hello Rocky!

"I have riden the roller coaster of emotion that tends to run through these forms of communication" - OMG! You ain't kidding! I remember my "early" days, LOL. I still occasionally "ride", though.

However, what I have found is that moments of doubt can lead to great moments of clarity, as it forces "you" to look at something in a way that compels you to "take a side."

Thanks for stopping by, and please say hey in the Land o'Twitter.