Ignore social media

Here’s an idea: ignore social media chatter altogether. See how you get by for a week.

Would the world stop turning? Would things stop working?

There are benefits to ‘spreading the word’ quickly, no question. Apparently they are too good to be ignored. And the drawbacks that go with it? Worth the price, perhaps.

Or perhaps not. In the office last week we were talking about how wound up and worried some people are (or were) about ‘what people are saying on social media.’ These were community leader types who surely must have better things to do. Can they afford to ignore this stuff?

On the other hand, can they afford to pay attention to it? Public feedback is important and has its place. But if it’s being delivered irresponsibly, disrespectfully and rudely – it richly deserves to be ignored. There’s such a thing as civil discourse and a line needs to be drawn and recognized by community leaders. This much we will take seriously; beyond this line we don’t have time for. Leadership surely involves both things: listening to ‘the people’ and deciding when it’s time to lead before you get bogged down by the rabble rousers and naysayers. Because they are certainly out there, suspicious of everything, expecting the worst and therefore finding it everywhere.

So listen first, by all means; then go ahead and act. As long as you’re doing it within the bounds of accepted practice, good sense, in the spirit of public service and fiscal prudence, things are probably going to work out okay in the end.

If you are taking all your cues from the chatterers on social media, not only are you going to be upset and worried all the time, you aren’t going to get anything useful accomplished.

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