Earlier this month, something happened that increased my respect for the city newspaper. Actually, the paper itself did nothing unusual. Rather, one of its loyal employees did something worthy of commendation.
What did he do? Well, he talked to me. He engaged me in a conversation. That’s it. Simple, yet profound.
Let me explain why I found that to be so significant.
Two days after the World Series ended, I noticed that the newspaper including Game 6 in its TV listings. On my Facebook status I wrote, “If anyone at the paper watched TV, they’d know the series ended a couple days ago.” I also made a snide remark about the “dead tree” medium, using a broad brush to make a fine point. That elicited a few comments, including two from Facebook friends who are former newspaper journalists.
That night, long after I’d gone to bed, another Facebook friend wrote something I found quite profound. He said, “The section where TV listings are located prints early, but point taken. As someone who still loves to read the ‘dead tree’ and who also is marketing the media company that makes it, what advice would you share?”
Why was his two-sentence comment commendable? Here are six reasons I valued his response:
- He did not ignore my negative comment. Instead, he talked to me. He listened and responded.
- He communicated with me on the same social media platform I originally used. He did not redirect me, suggesting that I call customer service or write a letter to the editor.
- He did not take my negative comment personally. He responded in a sincere, professional manner.
- He provided additional information that helped me to see things from a different perspective.
- He responded person-to-person. I knew I was not getting a formal, canned reply from a faceless corporate entity. I was talking to a real person, a Facebook friend who also happened to work at the company.
- He asked a question, implying that he valued what I had to say. His question also indicating his willingness to keep the conversation going.
I admire the way my friend handled this situation. He taught me some valuable lessons on how to respond to a negative comment in the social media.
I work at the American Red Cross. If someone says something negative about my organization, I hope to respond in a similar, positive manner. As a reminder to myself, and also as a suggestion to others swimming here in this murky social media pool, I hold up my Facebook friend as an example of someone who is doing things right in this evolving 2.0 world in which we live.