I got yelled at on Twitter the other day because I retweeted some bad economic news. Well OK, she didn’t YELL at me but she did tell me publicly that it was wrong to tweet the negatives and discourage everyone. I explained my side–if we don’t know about it we can’t fix it. I truly saw it as just passing the news on that another major company was laying off employees. Someone had passed it onto me in the same fashion and I appreciated hearing about it. My follower said that sometimes she wonders if the reason “things are so bad” is because people keep passing on the bad news.
I messaged the person on Twitter and apologized for upsetting her–and thanked her for being passionate about what she believed in. And I explained my side of it and why I had tweeted it. We worked it out (agreeing to disagree) and she later mentioned that she lost a few followers after she had publicly confronted me.
I work in journalism as well as PR, and I wrote an article a few weeks ago that received a similar reaction from someone else. The whole article was pretty positive until I repeated some news from one store that their traffic was down for that day compared to the day last year.
In my eyes, it was “news” and I was reporting what I was told. I remain highly concerned about the world’s economy and I felt that, if they could, the public would ask how the economy was affecting sales. I certainly was curious. But for someone else, it was discouraging and “might affect” future sales.
I don’t think that the definition of news has changed. News is still news–both negative and positive. And part of my job at times is to report that (although granted, it is not part of my Twitter job description and please do know that my tweets on there are 90% positive ones). When I am reporting news, I am not providing PR services which yes, should always be positive. I am reporting as a journalist, and it is a completely different ballgame.
What I do think has changed is our ability to deal with all of the economic news. People who are discouraged about the economic situation are having a tougher time dealing with it and perhaps some people are even fighting to stay upbeat during this time. To them, a tweet about “even more bad news” can have a negative impact. It is important that we also understand that.
I will be very honest with you and tell you that it has affected me too-as well as every other business I know. I’ve lost some clients due to the economy and had other clients reduce services. It’s tougher right now to get new business as well. I suspect that it will only get worse. Yes, the full picture can be discouraging.
A friend and I were talking tonight about the subject and we agreed that we don’t know if the economy will (or even can) get better. And then we even spatted a little about our community needing a food bank. He doesn’t really believe we have a need here. I disagreed. And then I asked him to volunteer some hours there when we get it opened.
His reasoning? We have so much here in America compared to third world countries. Until we experience multiple families living in one room and a daily diet that consists of a couple of rice bowls only–we aren’t really starving like he feels it is portrayed But, in his opinion, we might well be headed that direction.
So I apologize to any that I have upset when I pass on bad news and understand that there are a variety of opinions. Please know that I am a “fixer”, as my friend called me tonight, and my to-do list of things “to fix” in my head is about a mile long. Vocalizing something is the first step in working together to get to that fix-whatever that might be. I certainly don’t mean to hurt you in the process.