Isn’t it a wonderful thing that most of us live in a world where free speech is taken for granted?
We can generally say whatever we want about whomsoever we want with absolute impunity.
And, oh, don’t so many of love to take advantage of this freedom.
Now with the proliferation of social media we also have more opportunity to make our feelings and thoughts known to the world like no generation before us.
Think it. Say it. Post it to the world.
I am a huge fan of social media and I love the way it gives the potential to communicate with people all over the world with just a few keystrokes.
But it can be misused.
People, the world over, use social media to be cruel, to snipe at others, to be hurtful, to score personal points, to make bitchy remarks and to spread their own particular brand of poison throughout the internet.
The playground bully has now found a new way of spreading unpleasantness as the world looks on.
So let me give you an example of what I mean here.
Many of you in the internet marketing community will either know Jon Olson or at least have heard of him.
In fact it would be surprising if anyone who has spent more than five minutes in the traffic exchange industry did not know The TE Guy.
So Jon is a marketer, a partner in Tim Tech, an outspoken voice in the traffic exchange world, a figure of hate for some, a person who inspires others and a voice of authority in this niche.
But he is also a human being with faults, and failings and fears and needs and aspirations and dreams and hopes for the future.
As of last week I know a lot more about the Jon Olson the person (as opposed to Jon Olson the marketer) than I did previously because he has taken the bold move to bare his soul on the internet.
He has just launched the Jon Olson Project – an intensely personal blog which is about his journey of self-improvement, personal development and his quest to confront his fears, failings and aspirations for the future.
I am not sure I would have the courage to post anything quite so deeply personal as this on the internet.
In his first video post on the new blog Jon said:
“This is about my personal development and my personal challenge to eat better, to get healthier, to get closer to God and to make myself a better human being.”
In his first post he wrote:
“I’ve been pretty rotten…
“Something about analyzing your life and looking back on how you have hurt so many people, ticked off your customers and clients and stopped contacting your family and friends…All because you thought you were ok!
“I mean come on, look at me…A successful business owner. Owns his own house, his own car…On the outside looking in, it’s seems pretty sweet!
“But the problem I have always had, and what made me think about doing this blog is that I have always blamed others for my own downfalls…
“I’ve never said…Hey Jon, you are over weight because you eat pizzas 7 days a week…
“I never said…Hey Jon, all your friends and family and loved ones aren’t communicating with you because your attitude has generally sucked the past few years.
“I always thought God would just show up at my doorstep when I needed him the most…I never thought I may actually have to go find him….
“So here is The Jon Olson Project…my life needs this big time. It’s about change. It’s about committing to myself and actually following through on what I told myself I would do…”
It is all pretty clear I would have thought.
There is no advertising on the site, no references to TimTech, no affiliate links, no hyperlinks to special offers at I Love Hits or StartXchange or AdKreator. No commercial aspect anywhere.
So how utterly disgraceful it is that within hours of this site going live, Jon should have to defend himself on Facebook from a vigorous verbal onslaught into his honesty, motives and character from one particular individual.
Jon, to use his own words “pours his heart out on a blog” and is first accused of using the blog as a sales pitch and then is lambasted by the same person for not having any adverts on the blog.
Where is the logic in that?
Angry Facebook Guy reads Jon’s blog and then posts:
“Seems more like a sales pitch! But a good one.”
Where is the sales pitch? What is Jon selling here? Anyone got any clues because I didn’t see any sales message?
Then Angry Facebook Guy has a go at the lack of adverts on Jon’s ‘sales pitch’ blog.
“As a marketer you should be ashamed not to sell this. Get real! Your a marketer you market. Don’t fool around with peoples minds! I’m not saying you’re a bad guy. Just stating what is obvious.”
Then when Jon asks if Angry Facebook Guy could give him a little respect and leave him alone he is met with this barrage of abuse:
“Gimme a break Jon. Thought you were a grown up. Do you really hate it that I don’t want surfers to be “misguided”? Or is it a personal matter since I’m challenging the almighty TimTech?
“And you just don’t want to give me the respect I deserve as a fellow marketer. Then you hit the all time low Jon!
“To take and to recieve criticism and to politely answer to it is the right way. To say “leave me alone” is hiding something. Conspiracy? You can hear it everyday at my rear end.”
Oh how I love well-constructed, well-reasoned arguments but Angry Facebook Guy is not done yet and continues:
“Get a good life Jon! But then tell me what the true goal is.”
And, then somewhat bizarrely:
“Man! I’m not slamming you! I’m supporting your better health! I wish you all the best in your struggles but it was you how started to be aggressive. Nuff said! Good luck Jon!”
Then he finds just a little more to add into the mix:
“Well since your friends and colleagues made it clear that you are not to be criticized I will kindly back off! Must be nice to be untouchable! And a nice way to earn more money too. Congrats Jon! Keep the faith!”
Finally and about one hour after all the abuse began this rather bizarre man inquires whether Jon would be willing to hook up with him on Skype to continue the conversation further.
I have not made the last but up.
Look for yourself:
“If you want further input on this be a man and add me to Skype instead of blocking me. I think we have a lot to talk about that is for the benefit of our business. Why must you take everything so damned personal?”
Somehow I think that is one invitation that Jon may be inclined to pass up on.
So yes free speech is a wonderful thing but just because you can shoot your mouth off on Facebook or Twitter does that mean you really have to?
I wish Jon well on his journey of personal development.
As we head into 2012 I think we should all be prepared to reflect a little on our own lives and see how we can also take more personal responsibility for our faults and failings.
It is only when we actually get that aspect of our lives right that we can truly be able to celebrate our successes and achievements too.