I have a running joke with myself regarding those “creative types” we all know. You know, the ones that the movie “Art & Copy” talked about. I like to call them “delicate flowers” because, most of the time, conditions must be just right for them to be creative, and they can be very sensitive when it comes to what their work entails. I have several creative type friends that I joke around about this with. I feel like you need that background for what I’m about to say, because despite my sarcasm regarding the delicate flowers, they need to be looked after, cared for, and given the opportunity to grow.
I was talking with a friend of mine yesterday who isn’t someone I would describe as the “creative type”. He/she is an PR Coordinator/Assistant Account Manger and feels as if they are suffocating in their career because of lack of opportunity to advance in the company, lack of direction in the company itself, and a lack of input into how their daily duties are performed.
This isn’t about questioning your boss’s directions. It’s about the boss, specifically the CEO, giving employees enough room to put their own individual stamp on a project. Because on the inside, we’re all delicate flowers, and for a firm to grow, the delicate flowers must be allowed to flourish. That means allowing them the time, and space, and conditions to grow.
Allowing others to give their thoughts and ideas on projects is rarely a bad thing. Of course, there are times when things need to be done a certain way, and that is understood. However, if you set parameters on projects that must be respected, and you trust your employees, why not let them find their own way to the finish line? It may not be the way you would have done it, and there may be better ways to do it, but the employee doesn’t know that. And the path they take may end up paying more dividends in the long run that are immediately apparent.
Allowing the people who work for you enough room to breathe and enjoy their job cultivates the delicate flower inside each of us. It gives a sense of ownership of the project, and by extension, the company. If you attempt to control every minutia of every project, you’ll not only drive people away from your business, or burn them out; making them useless to you, you’ll be turning your employees morale and desire to make you successful. You’ll be killing the delicate flowers.
I hold a rather unpopular opinion currently. It’s my opinion that it is in Facebook’s best interests to make as much of your information public as possible. Facebook is a for-profit corporation that trades in the information of its clients; namely, you and me. The only information they have to trade on though, is what we give them.
The expectation of privacy on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr, Tumblr, Blogger, WordPress, or whatever other social media or Internet site you use is a fallacy. ANYTHING you post online should be considered public information. Updating your Twitter feed or Facebook status is exactly the same as issuing a press release, or even turning your microphone on at a radio station.
Facebook started out with strict guidelines on the privacy of its users. That was when Mark Zuckerberg was in college, just starting his company. He’s now 26-years old, a multi-millionaire, and interested in growing his company. Protecting the privacy of his clients is not in the best interests of his company, so why would you expect him to do that?
By now, you’ll have guessed that I believe the cross is yours to bear. Maybe it’s because I was in the public eye as a reporter for several years that I treat what I consider “private” differs from most people. My birthday? Readily available (and gifts are always welcome). The city I live in? Readily available. Who I work for? Also, readily available. I’ve made the mistake of posting my home address online, and that’s available too if you know what to Google.
Is it any of those site’s fault that I listed my information? No. I did that, and I’ll have to live with the spam and junk mail that comes my way as a result. I’m willing to stand up and take responsibility for what I post online. In America, we have a great distrust of large corporations. Was anyone REALLY surprised when we learned that Toyota was putting profits ahead of customer safety? Or that BP didn’t have the best safety mechanisms in place in the Gulf? Why would it be any different with a large corporation like Facebook?
Mark Zuckerberg wants to make money, and frankly I find it difficult to blame him. That’s what this country is all about. Building the best, smartest, quickest, widget to meet a need and/or desire. Facebook is his widget. And you’re complaining about a service that costs you nary a dime, assuming you don’t advertise on Facebook.
Don’t shirk your responsibility of protecting your privacy. The onus is not on Mark Zuckerberg. It’s on you and me.
I have a pretty confident personality, bordering on brash, and I’m afraid cocky, from time to time. As such, it is important to me to confess when I’ve been had. It helps keep me grounded and cuts my ego down to size from time to time. As my wonderful mother says, “We all can use a good humbling now and then.” So true. Well, I’ve been humbled today. I bought into Toyota’s message after its recall saga earlier this year. After seeing this, I’m forced to conclude that Toyota is a bunch of lying liars.
This isn’t to come down hard on Toyota (even though I just called them a bunch of lying liars). I can say that there is much to be learned from the mistakes that company has made. Here’s three things PR pros can take away from this and apply towards our own clients and businesses:
1 – If you make a mistake, fess up…and don’t do it again. If you read that ABC News report I linked to above, you’ll recall that Toyota (allegedly) knew about the steering column defects as early as sometime in 2004, possibly even earlier than that. It didn’t issue a recall in the U.S. until late 2005; even while issuing a recall for the same problem in Japan in October of 2004. See the problem here? Toyota didn’t learn its lesson from that escapade, instead trying to minimize the importance of the recalls earlier this year rather than coming clean immediately and fixing the problem. When you have a crisis situation where a defect in your product can potentially kill someone, your customers want to know they can trust you to fix the problem. I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I will never consider buying a Toyota product in the future.
2 – Be proactive. Cars are incredibly dangerous things. We expect them to hurtle down the interstate at speeds of 70 mph or better in all kinds of weather, on smooth roads, on bumpy roads, on gravel roads, and keep us alive as we drive in (at least) a quarter-ton of steel and glass. Toyota (and frankly, EVERY auto company) has had issues with its products in the past, and the public will understand. We don’t expect perfection from our car companies, though we do expect them to fix the issues they know about as soon as they become aware of them. That’s all. When Toyota, Chevy, GM, Ford, Nissan, or whomever find out they have a defective part in one of their vehicles, issue the recall immediately. It all goes back to the issue of trust. Do you trust Toyota to put a safe product on the road?
3- Don’t play semantics. People hate it when you split hairs when their lives are at stake. Admit the problem, fix it, work to ensure it doesn’t happen in the future.
What else can we learn from this situation? Am I way off base? Tell me in the comments!
Sam Ogborn and I, the co-creators of #cookchat, have decided to move it to a monthly chat for the time being. You can read Sam’s announcement of that here. I won’t speak for Sam, but I can personally say that hosting a chat is far more time-consuming than I ever dreamed it would be. With Sam graduating from MU (congrats!) this upcoming weekend, then moving back to Chicago to start her new job the following weekend, and me having commitments seemingly every weekend through June, we thought it wise to make the move to a monthly chat now. “That’s great Matt! Though, we couldn’t care less how busy you guys are, when do we get more #cookchat?”
An excellent question. Sunday, June 6th will be the next installment of #cookchat, at 8 pm central. Because summer schedules are filled with holiday weekends, we haven’t laid out any recurring dates just yet, so don’t assume it’ll be the first Sunday of each month. We agree that having a #cookchat over the July 4th holiday weekend would be a futile endeavor. The point is to get as many people as possible to participate, not just to have a chat. For our thoughts on growing #cookchat, and our plans for it…read Sam’s post. She’s far more eloquent than I could ever hope to be.
I do want to impress upon you our need for YOUR participation though. Without you submitting questions to us, Sam and I don’t believe #cookchat can fully realize its potential. The slow food movement has tripped my interest lately, so if left to me, many questions would be about that. I know you don’t want to talk about slow food for an hour once a month. If you did, someone would have created a #slowfoodchat already. Tell us what you want to talk about, it makes it easier on us and more interesting for you.
So, email us.
DM or @ reply us on Twitter:
#cookchat is much more about you than it is about Sam and I. Help us make it something Mary Poppins would sing about:
But don’t worry, it’s a diet that is meant to fatten us up. My partner in deliciousness Sam Ogborn has a post on the new details about #cookchat going to a monthly schedule rather than weekly on her blog here. Or you can just read it below where I’ve C&P’d it:
Matt and I have decided (after much deliberation) to move our fabulous foodie and chef #cookchat from weekly to monthly. We’ve been talking about this switch for some time now, and while Sundays still work, our schedules currently don’t permit the attention this chat deserves on a weekly basis.
But don’t fret – we have lots of plans in the works to ensure that when this chat goes monthly, it’s better than ever. We’re looking to talk and pitch to food bloggers, critics, and networks to see how we can grow. We want to engage with them and tell them what we’re all about.
Matt and I also have ideas to make #cookchat more interactive. One way we plan on doing this is by working to increase the participant count. We want everyone to walk away with fresh perspectives, new recipes, and ideas after every chat.
Not to mention, Matt and I have always talked about making sure that everyone’s voices are heard. We want to know what you’re looking for, what you’d like to recommend, and what questions you have. The hashtag #cookchat is always meant to be used, even when it’s not during the hour-long monthly chat. Read an interesting article you’d like to share? Have a question for the next chat? Don’t be afraid to tweet it and use our hashtag, or email Matt or I. We prefer to use your questions. After all, we are just moderators looking to guide this foodie conversation, not control it.
Feel free to email Matt and I anytime!
Sam’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Matt’s email: email@example.com
We look forward to announcing the date of the next #cookchat soon, so make sure to check out the hashtag on Twitter!