There has been a war going on in the Middle East. The good news is, there was a cease fire announced today. The bad news is, well, there was a war going on.
It has been written about in a number of places how this war has had a big Social Media component to it. The IDF has been all over Twitter posting real time updates, YouTube videos, and other information to keep the public informed. But like any good source of information, there has also been a lot of criticism about their efforts. I guess you can’t please everyone.
@idfspokesperson Our blessed hands will reach your leaders and soldiers wherever they are (You Opened Hell Gates on Yourselves)
— Alqassam Brigades (@AlqassamBrigade) November 14, 2012
Which is really what I want to talk about.
I would rather not get into who is right or wrong here. If you know me personally my opinion should be rather obvious but nevertheless this is not the forum for it. And in the event that someone posts hateful things on this, I will call the Cyber Police on you, and it will be deleted 🙂
How This Came About
During the whole war thing, something interesting happened. Truth is, I shouldn’t be terribly surprised, because it has happened to me before, but I ended up reconnecting with an old friend on Twitter. And he taught me a fantastic lesson about stupid people.
A Little Background
When I was a little boy, there was a kid I went to school with. This was maybe around 1st or 2nd grade, the exact time slips my mind. But around that time, his family picked up and moved away. To Israel. I vaguely remember a goodbye party in their backyard (I don’t know if I just made that up or not) and I wish I could remember if I even made an attempt to keep in touch. But I was young after all. So truthfully, I have no idea. But he was a great guy. I even remember having a sleepover there once.
Fast Forward to November 2012
A war breaks out in the Middle East, which totally sucks. I start following the IDF twitter handle and who should pop up? Captain Eytan Buchman.
Holy Sh*t! <spits coffee all over computer>.
I know that guy! I went to elementary school with him. Here I am, minding my own damn business and wasting precious time on Twitter and doing my SEO thing in Chicago, and speaking on behalf of the IDF, the Head of the North American Desk in the Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson’s Unit, is this kid I knew from way back when.
Clearly I became the more important one, right??? 😉
Needless to say, this has been a really busy time for him.
But I started following. And drinking up thirstily every word he wrote.
And when someone tweeted to him a bunch of expletives because of something he said, I wrote to him:
@aaronfriedman Perk of the job. I am going to write a book about them.
— Eytan Buchman (@EytanBuchman) November 21, 2012
Which basically birthed this post.
Extreme Example. Good Lesson
This is a bit of an extreme example because most of us day to day aren’t, well, fighting in a war (although in some ways it feels as though we are). The lesson nevertheless works.
I wrote a post a while ago about FedEx which I believed had handled a certain situation remarkably well. And there are hundreds if not THOUSANDS of posts with people speculating how a company should have handled a given situation.
Just Shut Up
Sometimes though, the best thing to do is just keep your mouth shut. Responding can – no, will- make the matter worse.
I am not saying that sometimes a response isn’t necessary. It is. But the key is to figure out when it’s appropriate, and when it will just make matters worse.
Fight Without Words
When fighting the war in social media, all you have are your words and nothing more. If used incorrectly, those words can be used against you. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to just shut up.
Here is to hoping that more people head that lesson.
(And Eytan, I REALLY hope that book comes out at some point 🙂 )