The Misplaced Apostrophe

You may have noticed I’ve been a little absent from my blog the past week or so. I needed some time to regain my sanity after an incident with a misplaced apostrophe.

A few weeks ago, I committed the cardinal sin of community managers: a grammar mistake. Bad grammar may not seem as terrible as, say, a broken link (which also happened to me during the ‘apostrophe week’ as I’m affectionately calling it). But it is. Oh, it is.

The reason it’s worse is because it makes you hate your job. At least mine did. Let’s back track a bit and explain the situation. I had scheduled a post for a holiday on a Friday before the holiday weekend. In my haste, I probably wasn’t being as thorough as I should have with my copy. I was feeling burnt out and tired and just wanted to disconnect.

After a refreshing weekend, I came back on Tuesday to something along these lines:

“Please have someone literate check your copy before post. No apostrophe – it’s a simple plural. This is 4th grade English and a major company just ought to know better. Time to go buy another brand…”

Really, dude? My first reaction was to bitch this lady out for all her grammar mistakes (which I didn’t include for privacy reasons). The fact that I couldn’t do that just made things worse. I had to swallow my pride and apologize for the mistake. And actually thank her for pointing it out.

For the rest of the day I completely despised my job. I didn’t want to write. I didn’t want to pull analytics. I didn’t want to moderate. I wanted to flip every single one of our fans the bird and call it a day.

Unfortunately, I can’t do that if I want to keep my job and reputation. So I had to address a question many community managers face too often: how do you deal with community backlash on a personal level?

First off, give yourself a break. Step away from the community and the situation and take some time for yourself. Spend time writing something personal – a blog, part of your soon to be released romance novel, whatever – to get your mind off how much people can suck.

Second, tell a friend who is not a community manager about the situation. They will ( if they are a rational, normal person) laugh hysterically at the situation and give you some perspective on just how ridiculous the user who gave you crap about an apostrophe is. This will remind you that there is a world outside of social media and you shouldn’t let it bring you down.

Lastly, remember: it’s just a job. As CM’s we tend to become freaskishly attached and invested to our community. It’s necessary to be a good CM. But it’s just as necessary to know that this is only a job, not who you are. And users’ responses to your CM identity is not a response to you as a person. Because if the real me had responded that apostrophe bitch this would be an entirely different blog post about my epic firing.

Now go crack open a bottle of two-buck Chuck, turn on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and and enjoy the real you, who no user can get to.

How do you deal with community backlash? Share your advice and save me from future personal breakdowns in the comments.


Why recent changes won’t help Facebook

I can’t believe I am actually posting about the changes being made to Facebook. And, more importantly, that I’m going to complain about them. I’m usually of the mindset that the bitching is unnecessary because in two months you will still be checking Facebook freakishly often.I felt the need to write this post because of an interesting article I read yesterday on The Next Web. It’s a short article about what Facebook needs to do in order to start getting users to flock to their new “Subscribe” feature, which, at the time, I knew very little about. I wanted to write a blog discussing some of the key points.

But instead of writing last night, I decided to watch my DVR recording of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. It seemed like the best decision at the time!

Fast forward to this morning: I get online this to start writing and what do I find? The entire Facebook landscape has changed overnight. And people are freaking out (duh). And “Subscribes” are the least of their worries.

So after some more thinking (but only 4 hours because I don’t want this post to become completely irrelevant) I’m standing by the opinion I would have given you last night if not for my addiction to trashy reality TV with a few minor tweaks. Facebook’s subscriptions new updates won’t help them beat Google+. And here’s why:

– My main qualm with the latest updates is that they are doing too much, too fast. And they are just trying to become G+, instead of trying to be themselves, but better.

Facebook isn’t focusing on what has made them great – creating personal connections. A Facebook profile is a look into who someone is. Or, at the very least, who they want to be. It’s transparent and honest. And you can find out a whole lot of info from it (have you ever heard of Twitter stalking? I thought not).- Another big issue I have is why? I don’t think G+ is a huge competitor with Facebook – at least not in the form it is now. I personally think G+ is more like Twitter. I find myself spending the time I would usually be on Twitter on G+. I’m still on Facebook just as much.

I don’t want to figure out who subscribe to. I’ve already spent time figuring out who to “follow” on Twitter. And who to “add to circles” on G+. Friending someone or “Liking” a brand has been enough for me. And I don’t want to rate the importance of my friends’ updates, either (Gmail “important” filter much?). Social media has already become overwhelming to people. These changes are just adding to the clutter. And now Facebook is more like Twitter. Is that what anyone wanted? It’s not what I had in mind.

– And lastly, the changes don’t focus on what their users wanted.

I wanted was a way to organize my friends more into groups that I could consume information from quickly and easily. In this day in age, I have actual friends, frenemies, coworkers, parents, grandparents, cousins, bosses and crazy ex-boyfriend stalkers all on Facebook. I don’t want all those groups to see everything I post.

Facebook did address this with the creation of “Lists.” I would have liked to have seen this rolled out first. And alone. Now I can look at my top friends, favorite brands, fashion blogs, and social media experts without getting lost in a bunch of cruddy other content.

Everything else is just “meh” to me. But check back in two months. I’m sure I’ll be singing Facebook’s praises.