Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
September 20, 2009 4:26 PM

Getting Called Out

It's easy to sit behind a keyboard and call out both individuals and brands. There's an argument for it and an argument against. So, is it worth doing? 

Let's preface my personal point of view with two thoughts:

  1. If you do call out both individuals and brands, you have every right to do so. It is your own Blog, Facebook page or Twitter feed. The opinions of others are simply that (and they are not rules).
  2. Calling out individuals and brands is an important (maybe even integral) part of our society. If we didn't do this, how could we ever right the wrongs for the betterment of society and civilization? The trick is in doing it in a fair and balanced way. Meaning, unbiased while describing the facts (or evidence) to back up a claim, and not just a personal attack.

Here are my thoughts on calling out brands and individuals in my online spaces:

  • I don't ever call anyone out - not individuals and not brands in a negative way. I used to (many years ago), but I stopped.
  • Naming anyone usually doesn't add that much more value to the story/conversation. Meaning, the Blog post or Podcast segment usually works just as well in terms of gathering thoughts and insights without calling anyone out.
  • I know by not calling anyone out, it probably makes this Blog just a little bit more boring than the rest. I'm willing to sacrifice the digital rubber-necking to elevate the conversation to the level of "the issue at hand" over the names of those involved. Besides, anyone smart enough/willing to dig a little bit can figure out who it is about.
  • Some people call individuals or brands out for personal retribution (to have their issue resolved). I believe those people are using our attention (their communities) for personal gain and that's not why I follow anyone.
  • I don't do it because you never know in life who you might wind up working with/for. I've heard many people say, "I wouldn't want to work with/for that company anyway!" Fair enough, but people switch jobs, etc... Imagine dissing one company and an individual from that company then moves to head up a company that is your biggest client. You never know if your contract might come up for review when that person realizes who you are.
  • You never know when you'll need a favour/help and who that person/brand is connected to. Remember, not everyone feels the way you do about life. Even if you're not trying to be confrontational or disparaging, the person/brand you are calling out might take it that way. In a world where we're all connected, it's hard to know how far/deep your criticism might run.

But, here's the biggest reason for not calling out individuals and brands...

I believe it keeps people and businesses who are on the fence about this digital space from not engaging. More often than not, they see this kind of action as very "high school". If we want these digital channels to be powerful and have merit, it is my belief that we have to rise the level of content above the bickering, name calling, troll-inducing content and finger-pointing.

Overall, I don't name names anymore. Your mileage may vary. It's your call. It's your reputation.

How do you feel about brands/individuals being called out online?

By Mitch Joel