How do you respond when someone questions your authority?
I know I would be frustrated when someone did.
Still I was surprised when I asked one of the people I follow on twitter why she was retweeting a commercial tweet like “follow @… retweet and win …”.
This was just a tweet promoting a brand without actually promoting the service they deliver. Obviously they wanted their fans (and prize-afficionadoes) to spread the word as quickly as possible and gather a big following as quickly as possible.
Yet I didn’t know whether this person retweeted this because she wanted to win the prize or because she loved the brand. And I was curious about how far people thought they could go with forwarding these messages, just for the sake of forwarding.
So I asked her
– “Why spreading commercial tweets just to get gifts and spread content when the content obviously doesn’t matter?”
– “How far could one go with this? What’s your opinion on this?”
Turns out she loves both the brand and she wanted to win the dvds as well.
And she definitely didn’t want me to question her motives for sending this tweet to her peeps.
“I’m a satisfied customer from …, I love to watch movies and all the hip kids are doing it. What’s wrong with that?”, she replied.
Followed by: “I didn’t know I was to be held accountable for my tweets. Good to know though.”
Sure, no one can tell you what to tweet or not. That’s totally up to you.
And if somebody doesn’t like what you tweet, they can always unfollow you. That’s all true.
But why then did these replies sound so defensive?
Nobody likes it when their integrity is called into question. And frankly, when I reread my questions I – unintentially but nonetheless – did question the girl’s integrity.
But as I have written before, every form of criticism is an invitation. And the worst thing you can do is question the authority of your critic in turn.
It makes you appear untouchable while the whole social networking thing is about being in reach, being touchable.
Making yourself untouchable goes against everything social media stand for.
On the other hand, making yourself touchable implies that you invite every one who gets in touch with you to be respectful and honest.
It’s a delicate balance, don’t you think?