As the economy started its recent downward slide, the overall mood of the country (and the Internet) has turned dark, too. This is only to be expected, of course, but it can bring about an even more insidious problem. It can cause your most important lessons and messages to be buried beneath the weight of negativity. In most cases, you might not recognize this is occurring, but your audience most certainly will.
The danger of continued negativity was brought home this week when I noticed that two of my favorite tech info sources seemed to be falling into a deep hole. Their blog posts and Twitter messages took on a darker and cynical tone. Nothing, it seemed, pleased them. Sure, there was an occasional gem buried among the doom and gloom, but it was becoming difficult to find the insight among the complaining. Even worse, I was wondering if it was even worth the trouble of looking for them.
…when you are addressing an issue, you must try to provide some possible solutions. Otherwise you’re simply complaining.
Let me be clear. I don’t recommend putting on a Pollyanna face and pretending all is sunshine and lollipops. Facing issues is the only way to solve them. Rather, when you are addressing an issue, you must try to provide some possible solutions. Otherwise you’re simply complaining. Further, these solutions should be a the forefront of your writing, posting or Twittering. Dwelling on an issue and then throwing out a possible solution at the end has little effect, even if your solution is top notch. It can’t counter the overwhelming bad feeling you have established.
On a related note, it is important to monitor the tone of your micro-blogging, using services like Twitter and Pownce. When quickly dashing off message after message, you can miss the overall town you are giving to your readers and followers. It is very easy to develop a reputation for cynicism, or downright meanness, as people start to see your messages as part of a whole. You might only think of them as small, individual message, but anyone reviewing a page of your posts sees the overall tone. If you want to gain a better understanding of how your are presenting yourself, you need to look back over your archived messages and view them as someone who had never heard from you before. What would they think of the person, and the message, related in those posts?
Problems, errors and omissions need to be addressed, but if you aren’t providing solutions…if your messages aren’t providing hope above scorn…you are likely to be branded as a simple curmudgeon. This damages you, your message and limits the impact we so all desire.