What is the saying – you know you love someone when you keep seeing their face everywhere? Well, I think you can also say that when you love an idea you see examples of it everywhere. During the Social Fresh Nashville Conference which I wrote about in my last post, the word that stuck with me was “community.” While that is still with me, the word that is now in the forefront of my mind is “truth.” They seem to go hand in hand, right? It’s all well and good to join in a community or even start one yourself, but in the end what does that get you if you aren’t truthful while you are there? Furthermore, what is real truth? Is it just talking about things that are true? We all can do that by just spouting off facts about ourselves that are true especially the good ones like, “I give back to the community” or “Look at all this stuff I’ve accomplished.” I don’t know about you, but when I meet someone and some of their first conversation pieces toot their own horn, I immediately bow out of the situation. Humility is pure genius in conversation. Think about a fight you’ve had with someone. Doesn’t it make you angrier when the other won’t admit their own mistake or keep blaming it on someone else? Then think about what happens to your mood when the other acts calmly, taking up the shrouds of humility accepting blame. You become calm. You stop questioning the other or the motives behind their actions. You seem to care less because you’re not angry anymore.
Couldn’t we say the same is true with online communities? It seems the more we think about how we interact with others on a daily basis, the better understanding we have on how businesses should interact with their customers. We’ve all heard the “cocktail example” highlighting that you don’t just walk up to a conversation and start talking. Well, let’s take that a step further. What about when you should talk about something? Let’s say you’ve been standing there a few minutes, and it naturally falls to you to say something. If you know the group and the conversation, you’re going to know what they are waiting on you to say. If there’s a particular topic at hand, don’t you usually just join into that topic? If you really want to be open, honest, and truthful with them, do you skirt around the topic and try to change the subject? If you do that, then chances are over time or even instantly, they will become seriously bored with you.
It seems that public figures who are catching on to this truthful concept the best lately are late night talk show hosts. David Letterman immediately came out with an apology and rendering of his side of the extramarital affair story when it broke the headlines. So then everybody stopped talking about it. Or if they did talk, they usually say, “Eh, all in a day. At least he admitted it.” Tiger Woods on the other hand took forever to finally say something, and when he did he did it in writing, not a more personal venue like video. We all were still just sitting saying, “Um, so like, what happened with the Cadillac?” I would say most probably didn’t care that he had an affair, we just wanted to know what happened with the Cadillac during the first few days. Why was it so secret? Our imaginations always make things so much worse. Seriously, does anyone know what really happened with the crash that night?
Now let’s take the recent “Tonight Show” situation. It seems like NBC is screwing around with both Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien. Rather than skirt around the ugly situation, both have come out with exactly what they’re thinking, and they’re doing it in a funny way by poking fun at NBC. Click here for Jay’s recent dignified, yet funny comment on the situation. If you’ve been watching Conan lately, you would start thinking to yourself or out loud, “So why in the world is NBC letting Conan bash them like he is? Poke fun at them?” To me as “truth” hangs around in my mind, I can’t help but think that NBC has caught on to something here or at least the hosts. We all expect for NBC to totally think about our beloved programming in the form of dollars and cents – well ratings for that matter. If our favorite show isn’t bringing in the money, it’s gone. So when a situation arises that points to a business trying to make money, like NBC moving everyone around to help the ratings, why not poke fun at it? We’re all going to do it anyway, why not host the fun poking? Then people are like, “Well that’s not so bad. I mean everybody’s gotta make a dollar, right?” Let people talk about you, poke fun at you. Laughing is much better than angry shouting. I think Jay and Conan understand the importance of “truth” with their audiences.
So what about you? What instances of public truth have you seen lately – even when it may have been a bit messy? Did the situation get better?