Image of a publish button In reply to the What Blogging Tutorials Don’t Tell You About Blogging post,  Daniel’s comment brought up an interesting point.

He shared how he had a bad experience with a customer service representative and in trying to resolve the issue, he said, in part (to the customer service representative),

…. its up to you what I’m going to tell all my blogging buddies “about the great guy that helped me out …..when he didn’t have to” or “the total jerk who probably wouldn’t lift a finger for his dying mother even if his job depended on it.” Its up to you, what do you want?

He went on to say,

Amazingly, all of a sudden he found a way to help me out. Just with the threat of being blogged about…..

Today’s Lesson

Daniel mentioned blogging has power. And it does.

If we choose to, we can blog about anything that happens in our life, including negative experiences. Some people name names, not only of the person who did them wrong, but even the name of a business.

Granted, there can be repercussions or even the possibility of a lawsuit if we share  negativity, however once the “publish” button is pressed, the damage is done. For a business, this is the worse type of publicity even if they eventually get the post(s) taken down.

And what about our family members, friends or acquaintances?

What if we blogged about them? What if we shared in detail how “John Doe [fictitious name] was a jerk”. Or how “Jane Doe [fictitious name] scammed us out of money”.

What if we shared how a blogging buddy promised “xyz” in their e-book, but the e-book was a total sham. A waste of money. That the author is NOT and expert in their field and is selling a book full of “fluff”.

With a blog we could name names, share what we believe is the truth about someone else, and attempt to destroy their reputation.

Although most of us don’t, with a blog we can.

Blogs do have power.

How are you using yours?

Today’s Assignment

Do you blog about bad experiences? If so, do you name names?

If you read a blog post and the author states how they had a negative experience with a person or business, are you apt to stay clear of that person or business, as well?

What would you do if someone blogged something negative about you, even if it was true?

Care to share?

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P.S. In my travels through the blogosphere, I see how blogs being used mostly to share positive experiences. I like that. :)

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  2. Blogging really does have power especially if you are known for it. It’s like not only businesses get reviewed through the newspapers anymore. The internet is a powerful thing but I hope even if the CS rep was not threatened, they would do their job in the right way. Why did he go into CS if he doesn’t do it well.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Emily,

      That’s true. Online anyone (person or business) can be reviewed.

      I wonder if the CS representative didn’t do his job well because he didn’t like his job or because he wasn’t trained properly.

  3. Hi Barbara,
    I like how bloggers share the positive stuff too! But yes I have come across the negative types too…and I dont really mind if its a “reviews” kind of blog whose sole purpose is to either review a restaurant, a movie, be a food critic etc….but other than that, I dont like it. Its kind of a misuse of power according to me…kind of a “blogging blackmail”. Not cool according to me.
    I personally dont name names and even if I have …its always to share the positive stuff. I think there is enough negativity in the newspapers and News itself…why should blogs be about the same thing?
    Anyways..that my two cents…I might be overstating it…but I await to read the comment that follow to see how many agree or disagree with me..and what more I can learn. Who knows there might be a loop hole I didnt know about ;)
    Lots of love,
    Z~
    Check out Zeenat{Positive Provocations}’s awesome post.Nurture Your Love GardenMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Zeenat,

      Yes. It could be viewed as a misuse of power if that’s all bloggers use their blog for – to slam those who they come in contact with. For the sites which review products or services, like you, I can understand some negativity, but it’s nice if they share what’s positive, too.

  4. Kelvin KaoNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t know. I am fully aware of how easy it is to have a blog, and how many blogs out there are buried deep or not even among search results. If you sound like you are just making empty threats, I will call your bluff.

    And wow, I make a lousy service rep.

    I don’t really complain about people on my blog. Well, in general, I am someone that just doesn’t complain all that much. I also consider everything I posted public (which it is), so for anything I write, if ever asked, I am totally ready to say “Yes, that is EXACTLY what I think”. So I am not going to say anything I wouldn’t say straight to your face. And if I have something to complain about, I would usually just tell that person.
    Check out Kelvin Kao’s awesome post.Theatre Puppetry Workshop Beginning- Week 3My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Kelvin,

      I know what you’re saying. I don’t complain too much either, and like you, I’d prefer to take a matter up “behind closed doors”.

  5. suzenNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara! I love how Daniel shared his experience and how he handled the CS person. I find it can be totally exasperating dealing with people who just don’t seem to give a flip about their job responsibilities. I’m not the type of person to threaten people into action, but on the other hand, sometimes my patience bites me in my own butt – like I Should have spoken up!

    I appreciate it when a blog post cautions (via experience) of some questionable business or practice. I tuck that away for future reference. I also think there is a line. Too MUCH complaining about everything is tiresome reading. Name calling is just not the “done” thing in my book.

    When I read a post where someone is frothing with anger about what has happened to them, I always tend to wonder if this is just THEIR side of it? Did they do something to provoke the situation? (however, not so much in Daniel’s case as I’ve had similar CS people who clearly are in the wrong profession!) Airing personal dirty laundry though, and naming names crosses that line.

    Thanks for another (continual) interesting blog post!
    hugs
    suZen
    Check out suzen’s awesome post.Boy Oh Boy- What About SoyMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Suzen,

      That’s true. If a blogger alerts us to poor quality products or service from a particular source, it’s worth remembering that in the event we may consider buying from them in the future.

      Yes. When we only hear one side of an argument, we do need to remember there’s the other side too, and without hearing that, it’s hard to say who’s right or who’s wrong.

  6. I do blog about bad experiences, but I don’t name names. We live in a litigious society – it’s just not worth it.
    Check out vered | blogger for hire’s awesome post.25 Beauty Lies We Tell Ourselves Or Choose To BelieveMy Profile

  7. AnnaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi, Barbara. As most people here, I do write about my bad experience but I prefer staying away from names as I don’t want to be personal. I believe that after reading the article the person who it was intended to will understand the idea.
    But I sometimes write bad experience without saying that it was my own experience. Like “Once a friend of mine …”. It also helps me in expressing my ideas.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Anna,

      Naming names could get us in trouble, however, like you said, if we do share an experience, it alerts others to beware, as well.

  8. Hi Barbara – We’ve blogged about our Adventures in Customer Service (http://passingthru.com/category/adventures-in-cust-svc/) intermittently over the last couple of years, but only when a situation is so egregious that we’re appalled. I think in today’s climate, customer service professionals know they’ve got to step up their game. I’ve been gratified by the responses from other individuals in the organizations we’ve mentioned who realize this and state their intentions to make improvements. We view it as a way to effect a positive outcome from a negative situation.
    Check out Betsy Wuebker’s awesome post.Dennis Wuebker- RIPMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Betsy,

      I remember your posts. And you’re right. Sometimes it gets to a point where writing about it is the only resolution. In that case, it usually gets the other parties’ attention and opens their eyes to where they can improve. It’s sad though, that it has to get to that point.

  9. RichardNo Gravatar says:

    I try to keep things in a positive light, both on my blog and in my life. I thing it’s really just more of a drain on my energy and resources to be negative than positive.

    So, whenever I see a negative comment on my, I try to connect with that person in a positive way and see if I can win them over. However, if I feel that I’m being wrongly accused, I will speak up in a mature manner to stand up for myself. Even then, I try to stay away from inflammatory language, as I don’t want to start flame wars.

    For the most part, I just remain positive.
    Check out Richard’s awesome post.Earning Viral Profits with Blog EngageMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Richard,

      I hear you. Negativity can be draining. What I do when someone leaves a negative comment is to thank them for sharing their viewpoint and then just move on. Oftentimes they’re hoping we’ll over react so they can keep the flames burning.

      It reminds me of the phrase, “Don’t feed the trolls”. :)

  10. George AngusNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara,

    I think we have a lot more power than we realize. I try to keep that in mind whenever I hit the publish button.

    I do think that for the most part, we need to carefully consider our actions before using our blog as a weapon.

    George

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi George,

      You’re right. As much as we could use our blog as a weapon, it’s in our best interest to blog responsibly.

  11. kirstenNo Gravatar says:

    If I write anything negative it is usually against a system/organisation/policy, and not against a person. So I don’t really name names because it’s unnecessary, especially if the person is an employee – it might not actually be their fault!

    But I don’t believe I write anything that negative a lot of the time, unless it’s a response to someone else’s article or something.
    Check out kirsten’s awesome post.Learning from EgyptMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Kirsten,

      That’s a good example of when a negative remark can be constructive. If a system /organization/or policy isn’t working, oftentimes we can use that as an example of what we can do to make it better. i.e. “I tried this method, however, it needs improvement with regard to “xyz”, thus I did “this” and it worked.”

  12. What an important responsibility we have as stewards of the written word. There are other ways and means of dealing with people, places or things that cause our inner critic to rile and boil.

    As a reader of blogs, I am repelled by negativity. It hits my mental, emotional and spiritual well-being with a ping that vibrates me into consciousness.

    The question I ask: How would I feel if the person I’m writing about was me?

    At the risk of offending Thumper: If my statement cannot come from a place of love, I need to let it soak in my heart until it does.
    Check out Amy@ Soul Dipper’s awesome post.It’s Right Under Our NosesMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Amy,

      I like your idea. If we look at a situation from the other person’s point of view, we will most likely write with more care.

      You’re quote is beautiful. “If my statement cannot come from a place of love, I need to let it soak in my heart until it does.” Thank you for sharing your words of wisdom.

  13. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    I have always had to be careful about what I say and how I say it – and still lots of folks have misinterpreted what I was trying to say. I just try to blog as carefully and respectfully as I can.

    One of the last Presidential Candidates is someone who I think is a sham of a person and I had to work with him for several years in the area of cleft palate repair – health care. The fellow has adopted a child with a CP and so signed on to represent these folks in the Senate – Now the Senate has very good health care and so he could not be flexible and understand other people – as a matter of fact the fellow was obscene on the phone several times to me as my State’s Representative. I could have written lots about this man, but I chose not to, because people are so polarized they would read all sorts of their own perspective into the words and ideas.

    As Gandhi said (In my own words) all tyrants are revealed and the truth becomes known – sometimes not until a great many individuals are hurt or maimed by the experience.

    One must be very careful what one says and what one writes – it is surprising how powerful something can become.
    Check out Patricia’s awesome post.Love Poem to a Glorious MorningMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Patricia,

      That’s true. When we blog, our words can easily be misconstrued; especially since our words are all a reader has to go by. Like you mentioned, showing care and respect is considering how we wouldn’t want someone to be hurt unintentionally by what we said.

  14. Katrina KaifNo Gravatar says:

    I always check my post twice before publishing it, because often, any one requires just one mistake to spoil his reputation in entirety. Even when I write some confusing statements, I always edit them to make them more clear.
    Check out Katrina Kaif’s awesome post.Katrina Kaif Wallpaper – Most BeautifulMy Profile

  15. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Katrina,

    That’s a great idea. If we stop to carefully read what we plan to publish, BEFORE we hit the publish button, we less apt to send out an unintended message.

  16. Blogging does have power, which is why any business that hasn’t gotten around to it is missing out on customer engagement.
    Check out MicroSourcing’s awesome post.Valentines Day at MicroSourcingMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi MicroSourcing,

      Good point! Businesses can lose ground if they’re not using blogs to engage customers.

  17. StuNo Gravatar says:

    I think I’m more likely to steer clear of something that is poorly reviewed if it is written in a certain style. A flaming post doesn’t quite do as much for me as a clear point-by-point description of how the person was wronged by a particular company. It’s pretty obvious when someone is just mad and isn’t making much of a point beyond that. So I think it depends. I’m sure others wouldn’t be as soft as my approach though.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Stu,

      I agree. When someone is just ranting, their words don’t hold as much weight as someone who takes the time to provide details of a product or situation and why they wouldn’t buy it/recommend it.

  18. Thanks for the great tip…I’ve never thought about that, but it does make sense. Companies know that 1 bad review about them from a trusted source with carry much more weight than 20 company-sponsored commercials.

    Like you stated at the end, though; blogging should be attempted to be kept positive.
    Check out fishing organizations’s awesome post.Fishing Rod Holders For CatfishingMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Fishing Organizations,

      That’s true, isn’t it? One bad review can wipe out all of the money and efforts a company has invested in commercials. And like you said, if the review comes from a trusted source, that hurts even more.

  19. Hi Barbara,

    That’s a nice story about the customer service representative! It’s possible the CSR was warned about negative online publicity through their boss. There are lots of horror stories about it around. : )

    Thanks!

    Pete @ Pure FX
    Check out Pete @ Pure FX’s awesome post.Clever currency servicesMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Pete,

      Yes. The CSR could have been warned, but if they weren’t, maybe they should be. Businesses are in a very vulnerable position now that customers are voicing their opinions so freely, not only on blogs but on Twitter and Facebook, as well.

  20. SaraNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara,

    I must confess that I have used my blog a few times to vent my anger at a service, but I don’t feel very good about those posts.

    I have a lot of difficulty with the idea that what we write can stay in the blogosphere for who knows how long and it can be very damaging to people.

    Like any power, I think it should be used with great caution. Whatever anger I might feel for someone or some service will pass, but the words I write about that anger may not.

    I agree with others have said, write it out, but don’t publish it. Let the anger pass and then with a more reasonable mind frame, make a decision.
    Check out Sara’s awesome post.Story Photo- Box of LoveMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Sara,

      Yes. In anger we can easily write about our frustrations and without thinking, press the “publish” button. A blog, or any social networking site does give us a lot of power, but like you said, even though the anger passes, the words can stay online for a long time (even if we delete the entries).

  21. LeoNo Gravatar says:

    I guess it all depends on how much of a jerk the person was, or how much money was involved.

    On the low end of the scale, one (or multiple) Tweets will be sent to the Twittersphere ; in the middle you can get a blog post out ; on the other end of the scale, buy a domain name and optimize it for the person/company that had done you wrong.

    The web is a platform that gave some powers back to consumers (review sites are multiplying this) – as long as you know how / where to use them… “with great powers comes great responsibility” as they say.
    Check out Leo’s awesome post.Are you talking to me 6 reasons why using an auto DM to thank a new follower is a BAD ideaMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Leo,

      That’s true. The internet has given some of the power back to the consumer. In the past, we could write a letter and “hope” to have a problem resolved, but now in the matter of seconds we’re able to spread the word. Although it does make for a more even playing field, like you mentioned, “with great powers comes great responsibility”.

      P.S. I like you new avatar. It’s great to put a face to a name. :)

  22. CarlaNo Gravatar says:

    One day i was writing about a bad experience and i named the company who threat me “not so nice”. Most of the people appreciated me for that and i was happy because my blog, my words have some power. This will make company to be affraid! We blogging, be careful!

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Carla,

      That is one good thing about blogs. We can share experiences when we’re not treated very well. A post is a great way to share that information, and hopefully those who have been written about, show up and try to resolve the problem.

  23. AmberNo Gravatar says:

    I used to write about negative things that happened at my work (always taking care to not reveal the companies) in public posts, but not anymore. I even stopped writing about the downsides of a now-past relationship in a locked online journal, just because someone was afraid it’d make them look bad to offline friends even though no one he knew read it. I’ve moved into semi-anonymity for the most part in my online endeavors.
    Check out Amber’s awesome post.GotoMeeting Promo CodeMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Amber,

      The written word can haunt us no matter where we share it, so I understand why you’ve chosen to be semi-anonymous for your online activities.

  24. Jewel AllenNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara! I know, it’s been a while…

    I do think blogs have a lot of power. In fact, I think there was an article or radio piece recently that said more people now get their news from blogs than traditional media. Amazing, isn’t it?

    I sometimes will talk about difficult experiences on my blog, but usually put a positive spin on it at the end of what I learned, or what I could do better. As for blogging about family, I’m more circumspect in many ways (esp. in the advent of Facebook linking to my blog) :-).

    I’m glad things seem to be going well for you!

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jewel,

      It’s great seeing you. I hope all is well in your world.

      With more people getting their news from blogs versus traditional media, that’s all the more reason we need to blog responsibly. What I’ve also seen is how someone will land on a blog and assume it’s a credible site only because it’s “online”.

      Good point. When we’re linking to our blogs on Facebook, we certainly don’t want to be venting about a friend or family member and have them unknowingly reading it. Yikes!!!!

  25. KimNo Gravatar says:

    Blogs are the most practical source of information one can get. Even if the blogs are supposed to be for the purpose of marketing, there would still be some info about products/services. I love to read blogs based on personal experiences in life, which instill inspiration or compassion.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Kim,

      That’s true. Blogs give us information first hand – from the user or consumer, and if what’s written isn’t a paid review, it’s more likely to be honest.

  26. Over the years I’ve read countless blog stories (some of which ended up making the headlines on the TV news) about bad service and scams. One of the more recent ones I read involved a young girl living in New York who ended up getting ripped off by a call out locksmith, she blogged about it, it made local headline and unfortunately in that case the locksmith didn’t refund any of her money. I have also read a lot of cases with a happy ending.

    So, yes, I believe firmly that blogging harnesses a power for the individual and is a great “soap box” to be heard from.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Alison,

      Yes. Our blogs are very much like a soapbox. We can use them for good news as well as bad. Hopefully, like you said, our stories all have happy endings. :)

  27. RyanNo Gravatar says:

    This is a good post because it is very true. Blogs do have a lot of power especially if you have a good sized audience, and you sometimes do need to watch what you say.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Ryan,

      I agree. The larger the audience (of the blog), the more power the blog author has. Kind of scary, hey?

  28. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara .. I don’t think I’d print up anything negative – I might like to .. but it gets too personal and the negativity overload kicks in .. I am careful too about family – as their lives are not mine & they might not want to be (& don’t) included in my blogging life.

    If I was considered an expert in something then I might put the other side of the story – but that doesn’t apply for now.

    I might post about something symbolically to get a point across – possibly only a general idea .. such as blogging etiquette .. just to highlight something I feel strongly about.

    However – I’d like to think I’m careful and don’t want to upset anyone, or upset myself because I’ve pointed something out negatively ..

    Care = Blogger Beware! Cheers Hilary
    Check out Hilary’s awesome post.Spring – the season of new growth- abundant change My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Hilary,

      You’ve raised a good point. We do need to be careful not to blog about friends and family and their lives. If they want to share the information, it’s their prerogative.

      I like your idea of writing about “the other side” of a story as it helps to open our minds to the whole picture.

      • HilaryNo Gravatar says:

        Hi Barbara .. thanks – people often react (write) too quickly and don’t think round the subject .. we all think we’re experts and have opinions .. but so often we’re the least informed!

        I’ve learnt that – stand back and think .. before doing anything ..

        Hope you will have a cup of keeping-awake-coffee on your graveyard shift and watch the film – you’ll be off to the airport instead of finishing your shift .. cheers H
        Check out Hilary’s awesome post.Content is King – is it not How about Passion My Profile

        • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

          Hi Hilary,

          Yes. It pays to stop and think.

          My shift has ended and I’m off the blog for tonight. Weather looks good, plus I’m getting over a head cold so am concentrating on getting plenty of rest. Will watch your video soon. :)

  29. ClaireNo Gravatar says:

    Was just wondering what would happen to a corporate if some a rival company raises an ugly & false issue through a blog and spread things which tarnishes the company’s image for a long time. If the blog gets more followers, more comments and maybe the media steps in, how long will it take for the innocent company to come clear. Yes, today a blog has power and can be utilized in a wrongful manner too!

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Claire,

      That’s true. A blogger could write a fictitious article about a rival, however they risk being faced with a law suit if the information can’t be substantiated. All the more reason to blog responsibly.

  30. I’ve outed a few bad companies or individuals via my blog and I don’t regret it nor fear a lawsuit ’cause I’ve proof to back it all up. Daniel made the right move letting the guy know that he could potentially ruin business for him using his computer and website ;-)
    Check out Udegbunam Chukwudi’s awesome post.My Experience With MTN TalkOn and HappyLink BundleMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Udegbunam Chukwudi,

      That’s a good point. If we have proof of someone who has “done us wrong”, writing about it can be powerful. That said, if we don’t have information to back up what we’re writing, that’s when we could get ourselves in hot water.

  31. Couldn’t agree more. It all boils down to the power of word of mouth even before the Web.

    If someone has a great experience they will tell a few people. If someone has an awful experience they will tell everyone they know.

    In the blogging age, awful reviews can damage a company’s brand overtime and cause other disgruntled customers to avoid the company altogether.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Los Gatos Chiropractor,

      I agree. Word of mouth is VERY powerful and with the internet, blogs and comments, we often see readers voicing their concerns, dissatisfaction with service and talk of inferior products, as well.

  32. RyanNo Gravatar says:

    Blogs let you quickly gather information from lots and lots of sources. Do blogs have power? They certainly distribute power, which is great because newspapers had too much anyway.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Ryan,

      Good point. Blogs do distribute some of the power newspapers have had in the past. And with newspaper sales declining, blogs are becoming the “go to” source for many.

  33. Tech LooserNo Gravatar says:

    I dont think i have ever blogged about a bad experience. I guess if i did i would feel like a cry baby :)
    Check out Tech Looser’s awesome post.Get Online Using IPv6 Even Without Native IPv6 ConnectivityMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Tech Looser,

      That’s one way of looking at it. For myself, I like to take the issue up with a company behind the scenes, via a letter or email. Hopefully the problem can be resolved quickly and then I have no need to broadcast it to the world.

  34. Barbara, I do blog about bad experiences especially if I know that people can get lessons out of it. I don’t name names, though and I think that’s ethical. I’d rather disgrace myself than put down other people even if they’ve wronged me. I think that’s how life works- you try something, didn’t work out, then you share such experience so that others won’t choose that path as you did. It follows the notion that ‘no man is an island’. Blog is composed of words and words are powerful. Thus, better use it in a way to have other benefit from it and not to get worse because of it.
    Check out charlene @ no annual fee credit cards’s awesome post.American Express Vs VisaMy Profile

  35. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Charlene,

    Yes. If others can learn from our mistakes and know not to do what we did, then we’ve done a good job at sharing our experiences.

    Words are powerful, indeed.