Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Remember The Golden Rule!

For those of you who are not on Twitter, or for those of you who had other things going on in your lives who were not on Twitter when this situation unfolded, here is a recap and then, my thoughts about it from The Golden Rule's perspective...

Yesterday, someone with a fairly sizable mom blog and Twitter following, who had read a part of a Facebook page from the company Melissa & Doug, decided that she did not like a marketing idea that this company had come up with, but instead of contacting Melissa & Doug directly to discuss her stand on their promotion, she instead took to her blog, blasted this company, and then, started to try to get others to either essentially boycott or petition Melissa & Doug.

Why was she so upset? This woman did not like it that Melissa & Doug had come up with a savvy promotional idea which was namely that a person could round up some followers, and then, that said person could get the opportunity to do a review for Melissa & Doug of one of their products. (The reviewer would also get to keep a nice toy after the review was implied in this post too...)
 This was not set up by Melissa & Doug as the ONLY way a person can review their products...it is ONE way...and I might add, a clever one at that...

Now, IMO, proposing this idea like Melissa & Doug did is a good thing, as essentially, it levels the playing field between big bloggers and little ones (or even maybe, possibly a person with a huge Facebook following or a huge circle of friends without a blog, although that idea was not specifically addressed by Melissa & Doug in their FB comments).

Think for a second about this same concept in a different context, a professional sports venue instead of a toy company:
Let's say that you are a baseball team owner and you find out that you have a few choice seats left in a fancy sky box somewhere...
Now, you could just give these said sky box tickets to a big donor who already probably has a sky box of their own, or instead, you could come up with a fun little contest for people to get the chance to come and check out the ball field and the sky box for themselves. Along with them getting to check out the sky box, you are going to give the winner an opportunity to watch a game and then, they will get to do a little write up that will appear in a local paper...not a huge sort of exposure like an article for Sports Illustrated, but a nice local paper that has a section about the pre-season...

So, you say to yourself as said sky box owner...Hmm...wouldn't it be fun if a HUGE fan of our team got the chance to win these tickets and the chance to do a review for us? 

You decide to level the playing field by opening it up to all people who meet the criteria that you set forth for this contest...the winner has to be able to get let's say 200 of his or her friends to do a shout out and say Tim sent me to your website! He loves your team practically more than life itself so please choose him as your winner!!!

Some guy who has spent much of his young adult life dying to get the chance to go to a game now has a chance to not only go to a game, but the chance to get to sit and take in the scenery of a sky box, as well as then, to get to do an awesome review that will get published!!!

Some will say, OMG, that is awesome!!!
They will start to round up old college buddies, neighbors, co-workers, Facebook and Twitter friends, friends from church and from their sons' t-ball team, you name it!!! They will go all out to show how much they want to win this opportunity! They realize that an opportunity does not come along every day for the average guy and they want to take a shot at winning!

Now, let's say that a sky box owner from a different sky box gets wind of this and thinks to themselves That is crazy! Why would anyone do such a thing just to get the so-called chance to get to write a review for a small local paper? That other sky box owner is ridiculous!
Not only do I disagree with said promo, I am going to out that person, as now, it is going to set a precedent that anyone with extra sky box tickets is going to have to do such a thing and I am perfectly comfortable with the way things are, as they already put me at a huge advantage over said "Average Joe" guy. 

So, then, this sky box owner goes wild and shoots off a huge post on his website and then, goes all out and starts tweeting and then, starts adding things on this other skybox owner's Facebook page. This other skybox owner who is perfectly content in a world that benefits him, then encourages others to do the same, to petition, boycott, and in general, wreck havoc on this other skybox owner...all in the name of "this is unacceptable and I am not going to stand for this marketing pitch"!!! when in reality, the reason that said person may be so rocked is because they do not want things to change for themselves that they now will have to do something similar!!!

But then, they add fake stuff like how they really like the other skybox owner, but feel a duty to slam the person anyway!!!

Then, along come others from the sky box club. They see that one of their own is up in arms about something that benefits them, so very blindly, without taking the time to research anything, or without having the decency to contact the person putting on the promo, they join up and go into attack mode too! They all start saying disparaging comments about how horrible this new-fangled pitch is and that they are totally opposed to it...all the while, not reading about it or finding out how excited some of the Joe Averages are about it!

This scenario would never take place in a sports setting, for many reasons that I won't go into...but hope that it makes things a little more clear as to how things played out yesterday:

Yesterday, someone who claimed to be on friendly terms with Melissa & Doug basically outed them because they came up with a promo that she did not care for, namely because it did not benefit her situation. She is already established, as are the many other bloggers / Twitter folks who jumped to the side of " Let's boycott and / or petition Melissa & Doug"...

Many did it yesterday because other they were blindly led and followed the influence of a bigger blogger / Twitter personality, or else, because as a bigger blogger / Twitter personality, they did not like how this could affect them...how if other companies start to reach out to those with either small blogs or no blogs but loads of alternate friends and family who are willing to come on board to support a company, well then, this could upset the apple cart for them, couldn't it? 

All of a sudden, another company might come up with (Oh, No!!!) something creative that provides a smaller blogger a chance to compete with said big dogs of the big blogs...

Then, this blogger / Twitter woman who started all of this added that she really likes Melissa & Doug toys!

Ha! Seriously?!?

You like this company so much that you were willing to cut them to the core without ever contacting them privately to find out their take on this...
You were willing to nearly slam anyone who would actually want to be a part of this promo for a chance to get to do a review for Melissa & Doug, and at the Eleventh Hour, you are professing how much your love their product line, almost making it sound to some like you had no other viable option but to blast them a new one and then, fix the blast with a teeny-tiny bandage?!?

You have got to be kidding me!

Then, the other irony of the day was that one of the people who had the audacity to Tweet about how horrible she thought  it is of Melissa & Doug to do said promo participated in last night's  Melissa & Doug #mdparty Twitter party several hours later!

Talk about biting the hand that feeds you!

I could not sit back yesterday and watch people blast a company that I feel has integrity, a company that creates lovely toys for young children, a company that I personally know and admire, get blasted from all angles.

Many, many people stayed out and did nothing to show support for this excellent company, and that is their right, but to me, it is just as bad to neglect your duties to speak out when there is something happening that is going against The Golden Rule as it is to outright toss out The Golden Rule and in favor of self serving reasons, spewing hate and rage instead of love and compassion.

The person who did not like how her interpretation of the promo put forth by Melissa & Doug is completely entitled to her opinion...and is even entitled to free speech, provided that she do some fact checking, try to give the company a chance to privately explain things to her, etc. but she did none of those things...

This woman rallied the troops against a great company because it served her needs.
Am sure that she does not want the apple cart to be upset as she is established and would not want to have things change so that maybe she would have to feel like she would have to go and get follows for Melissa & Doug...

But she could have handled it in such a way that her opinion could have been heard privately and respectfully...she could have sent them a detailed, private email outlining her areas of concern instead of creating and promoting a debacle.

Hope that people who were at all a part of this yesterday and this morning, who are still either blindly following without reading or else are acting selfishly because this might threaten them as big bloggers / Twitter folks, will actually would take the time to do some introspection and really reflect upon The Golden Rule, regardless if they are Christian or not...

Am pretty certain that treating others as you would want them to treat you is universal, as everyone likes to be treated in a kind, respectful, compassionate way, regardless of their religious beliefs.

If people do not care for a company's new logo, new promo, new jingle, etc. they are more than welcome to contact said company and tell them their thoughts personally, but that does not mean that they should call for others to sign a petition and essentially boycott the company.

Melissa & Doug issued a Tweet that more or less said that they had changed the wording from their morning Facebook post and apologized for any upset it may have caused. Talk about turning the other cheek! They truly handled themselves in such a dignified, kind, decent way as a company yesterday.

Melissa & Doug added some verbage to explain exactly what their intentions were and to clear up any misconceptions (the misconceptions frankly came from people mis-reading their post, not from the post itself, as I read it and did not have a problem with it and actually, I liked the idea to have a neat promo that would let a person with an even smaller blog than mine to get the chance to get to do neat things with Melissa & Doug like I have had the chance to do!)...

Here is the link to this cool contest they have going on right now. 

Really hope that those who were either blindly led or those who were speaking out because said promo would not be advantageous to them personally will revamp their thinking and will reflect on how cool it is when someone who is a huge fan wins something!
If you were one of these people who spoke out yesterday, haven't you ever seen someone who is a huge fan and they get to go and meet their favorite personality, whether it is Paula Deen or Bobby Flay, Oprah or Ellen, Justin Bieber, or iCarly?
You feel so happy for this person! You are so excited for the winner and the winner's family get to spend the day at a taping or live show or just get to hang out with their favorite person.
Even if it is not a show you watch, or a personality that you follow, you feel a sense of happiness for the winner if you see a clip on television showing this person's overflowing joy at winning, right?
You don't feel the need to put down the person, the person's favorite personality, etc. or to start a boycott or petition because the contest that was held either does not interest you or you did not like the contest concept...

Think of this the next time you go to bash a company that comes up with some sort of promotional opportunity that you might not enjoy, but the next person might like to do.

When I go to Chick-fil-A, every once in a while, they have this promotion where if you dress like a cow, you can get a free meal. Some people think it is fun to dress up like a cow and go all out and earn a free sandwich. Other people, while they may admire those in costume, do not feel like dressing up, as they are shy and would feel funny in a " moo moo" in public...

But instead of the ones who don't wear costumes petitioning Chick-fil-A for this promotion, they get to watch and possibly live vicariously through the less shy / fully costumed folks, who are having a ball wearing black and white splotchy gear, complete with pink utters, eating their free meal, as they themselves pay for their nuggets and fries.

I am purposely mentioning Chick-fil-A not because I have any endorsements from them but because they do fun promotions and they get and live by The Golden Rule, much as I believe Melissa & Doug does, too...

If you believe in The Golden Rule and think that it was not right how things played out yesterday and again early this morning on Twitter, please pop over to either the Melissa & Doug website , their blog, their Facebook account, or Twitter account, @MelissaAndDoug and tell them how you feel.

I have had many personal dealings with this company, as a customer, a reviewer, a Twitter party host, and a Twitter party attendee, so in some ways, it was difficult for me to see how quickly people were to back them when my experience with them has been very positive...
Everyone at Melissa & Doug treat those around them like family or dear friends.
They get The Golden Rule and really live by that in their company's mission and vision.


Gingermommy said...

In my opinion it is up to the company who they want to review their products and that is why they quite often ask for stats. I too could not sit by and say nothing. I really dislike when people use social media in a negative way. I have been burned by companies, bloggers etc, but I am not going to openly slander them. There are always 3 sides to a story his, hers and the truth.
Another thing I was surprised by is if I was a PR rep and I saw how these bloggers quickly could turn, I would not want to work with them at all. I have had great opportunities come from my blog. Everyone deserves a chance or two :) I hope that everyone that jumped on the band wagon publicly is excluded from further Melissa & Doug opps. Emails and private messages would be more apropriate in my opinion.

Denise said...

WOW! You are definitely a loyal friend:) I admire your willingness to stand up and be counted. It sounds like a sad situation. Fortunately for me, I don't have a clue(other than your post) what happened. It really stinks when ppl don't "play nice"! Not that I am perfect but I do try to be considerate. Btw, You were featured as the "Homeschooling Bloggers Haven" Blog of the Day. I'm new to the hs journey myself--we'll be starting our 1st "term" next month. We are Flordians, too{{{grin}}}
Happy Tuesday

Honey said...

Och but you've made my heart happy! It irritates me to see injustice but angers me to see others ignore the injustice but ENRAGES me for others to hop on the bandwagon when they've no idea where it's going. I wonder how many of those who were snotty even knew what it was they were fighting for...how many of them would benefit?

It's sad that people get so caught up in the numbers. It seems that blogs are the new "Jones". Some have allowed it to become just another way to measure their self-worth, popularity, etc. What has happened to make folks think that a large group of followers means you don't need to work. Why do so many people believe they're entitled?

I love how all your hard work has paid off. How gracious you are and especially what a great momma, friend & teacher you are.


Anonymous said...

Zoikes! I am not on Twitter, and I missed all of this. You definitely did the right thing, and it is so sad that someone could use their blog in such a negative way.

Hang in there. You and your blog are fabulous!


Montessori Print Shop said...

You are 'simply the best'. I love how you stay true to yourself and stand up for those who deserve it. Bravo!

Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas said...

well said! I missed all the posts - only getting the "story" later from other teets, etc and put it all together. It was unfortunate how it played out on Twitter like that but M&D handled themselves very well in response from what I saw and read and that spoke volumes as to the nature of the company.

Hopefully they got to see - those, like you, that are valuable and true and those that turn in an instant. It was eye opener for sure.

Bravo - for taking a stand for what you believe in.


Mommy Moment said...

Way to go for standing up for what you believe!
I have a pretty good Twitter following, and I was actually quite shocked how many people on Twitter (with large followings) got involved in a negative way. It made me so sad. I tried to use my influence to sway the conversation, but sadly the negative people seem to get more attention. Some other big companies noticed my efforts though, and actually commended me so I am sure they noticed the negative Tweeps too!
I admire Melissa and Doug for how they handled the situation.

Great post Colleen!

Jody AKA @mommymomentblog

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