Amybeth Hale – Research Goddess

Virtual Balls
August 31, 2009, 8:00 am
Filed under: Networking/Social Media, Rants

I was moody all last week. A colleague suggested that it’s due to me missing the joys of the experiences I had while I was in Nicaragua earlier this month. I would agree with that, but there’s more to it than just that….

Several years ago, my brother shared a phrase with me that has stuck in my mind, and I’ve used it several times to describe some rather crass behavior that I, and I am sure you, have observed online since this whole social media thing really started becoming popular:

On Thursday of last week, I asked a simple question via LinkedIn Answers, inquiring about the Facebook app use of college students. I initially only received 2 responses, one of which was incredibly patronizing from a guy I’ll call Bruce:

“Have you tried GOOGLE?… Are you aware that this is LINKEDIN, a professional website with a totally different target market than that of FB?”

Gee thanks there buddy. I appreciate the condescending tone.

  1. I am well aware of the platform in which I am presenting this question. It’s an online network, like Facebook. My assumption was that some of the folks who use LinkedIn just might also use Facebook. Anyone else agree with this theory?
  2. If Mr. Bruce had bothered to look at my profile, he’d have noticed that I’ve got a little experience doing research, so yeah I’ve heard of that thing called “Google”. One thing I’ve learned through my experience is that to get the best research, you have to use several different sources. And – sometimes the best information is gathered from end users, NOT the company pushing the product… i.e. the college students I was targeting with my question.

My guess is that if I had asked this question in person, Brucey here would not have used that kind of implied pompous tone in his response. But because he’s sitting there behind his computer screen, he feels comfortable puffing out his chest and responding with this air of arrogance that unfortunately seems to be a common occurrence these days. He’s got some virtual balls. Anyone else noticing this? People saying things online that they’d absolutely never say to someone’s face? What’s up with that?

My mother taught me a lesson when I was a little girl: Treat others as you’d want them to treat you. I think that’s in the Bible in some form somewhere, as well 🙂 If someone’s asking a question, try to play nice in the sandbox and don’t respond with a jerky, snarky response. Or don’t respond at all.

My thoughts on this topic are:

  • If you wouldn’t say it to their face, don’t send it in an email, post it in a forum, or text it to their phone.
  • Pick up the phone once in awhile to have a real conversation instead of texting.
  • Remember that just because you’re not in front of them doesn’t give you license to be a complete jerk.

Sidenote: if your LinkedIn profile is written in 3rd person, you might be a narcissist.

So for full disclosure, I did send a private response to ol’ Brucey (though posting it here I guess doesn’t really make it private anymore now does it!) thanking him for his advice. Don’t worry; if I ever have the pleasure of meeting him in person, I’d have no problem saying this to him:

“Thank you for that helpful advice and kind tone, Bruce. I guess I shouldn’t have assumed that those who are connected in some degree with me, a professional researcher, here on LinkedIn (an online network), would also be users of Facebook (also an online network) and might therefore be able to offer up a useful response. Silly me!”


8 Comments so far
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Amen! I experience this all the time! Especially when I’ve done some news story and people assume they know all kinds of things about me. My personal favorite is when people start insulting my kids as ‘fatties’ because coupons are only for junk food. Or so they think. Seriously, they need to meet my nine year old who is twenty pounds UNDERweight. He can’t keep pounds on–they just make idiotic comments sometimes. Part of the online world I guess…

Comment by Littlemissknowitall

AmyBeth, did you see good ole’ Brucey’s other answers on LI? It seems you aren’t the only victim of his patronizing…

Comment by Vanessa

Love it. I run in to those people everywhere even IN person. I just have fun with their apparent issues. Nicely, of course. Perfect and well articulated response by the way, in my opinion.

Comment by Christina Baita

Thank you! This is right on target.

Comment by Lana

I particularly like his final sentence on his profile: “I am a great connector and try to help out those in my network when and where I can. Please pay it forward. Thank you. :)” Yeah, sure you are…

Comment by jillsommer

Looks like his favorite quote is “Google is your friend.”

Maybe he needs a friend?

Comment by MN Headhunter | Paul DeBettignies

Some people are jerks no matter what. I think Bruce fails to realize that there are many interns (college students) on LinkedIn that could provide you with great feedback. Maybe he was never taught how to play nice in the sandbox. Keep up the great work.

Comment by Caryn Ewald

LOL Amybeth!

HMMMmmm . . . How bout Luke 6:31 or Matthew 7:12 for you . . . and here is one just for “Brucey” Galatians 3:3. LOL?

All the Best . . . Always!


Comment by Ray "Who-da-Guy?" Towle

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