A Blogging Community- Why it's Important to Have OneIn a couple of weeks, I am keynoting Social Capital in Ottawa (love my Canadians!) and my topic is Blogging, Community, and Making it Work.

As I begin to think about what I’ll present during that hour, I’ve been thinking about our community here and how proud I am of each and every one of you.

Last week, we had a situation where you came to the rescue. I hope she doesn’t mind my telling this story.

A Little Story

Yvette Pistorio – who is one of the very brightest colleagues I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with – had her turn here on the blog. Her topic?  Why introverts make great community managers.

It’s not a new topic. Whenever a business leader asks me who they should put in charge of social media, I always tell them to find the most introverted person in their organization.

Social media allows the human interaction we all need, but for introverts, it removes the awkwardness we feel the first time we meet someone. By the time we finally meet someone in person, we already know them and that ice breaker isn’t necessary.

It’s also something I’ve blogged about many times, which is easy to find if you do a search here for “introverts.”

If you spend any amount of time here, you also know we’re extremely ethical – ethical to a fault, I’m sometimes told.

Plagiarism is a Fireable Offense

So you can imagine our surprise when Yvette was publicly accused of stealing someone else’s blog post in the comments of her own.

Plagiarism is a fireable offense here. I won’t stand for it, nor do I want our clients to have to endure what the UPS Store did when they outsourced their content development.

We took the accusation very seriously internally.

So we dug into it and we lined up all the facts to see if the accusation – even accidentally – could be true.

What we discovered, though, is not only did Yvette not plagiarize the guy’s content, she’d never even heard of him or his blog.

In fact, if you do a search for “introverts as community managers,” his blog doesn’t come up at all. If you do a search for “introverts in social media,” his blog comes up at the end of page two.

Face Your Accuser

We counseled Yvette to publicly face her accuser and be honest in how she got to her content. Then Allen Mireles stepped in and explained she had helped Yvette with the blog post and didn’t find an impropriety.

The guy said he didn’t buy it and went on flaming her.

That’s when I stepped in. I carefully, and professionally, took apart his argument and explained why we believed she did nothing of the sort.

Why a Blogging Community is Important

But here is where the magic happened: The rest of you stepped in. You took him to task in the comments, you tweeted at him, and you made him feel very uncomfortable.

That’s when he began copying and pasting his original statement to the top of the comments. And you kept pushing those duplicate comments down with your own comments.

It was a beautiful thing to watch.

Poor Yvette, though, was left reeling and feeling scared to write anything. I told her during our one-to-one meeting yesterday that the good news is she struck a chord. The bad news, of course, is dealing with the aftermath of striking that chord. It’s pretty easy to say not to let it bother you, but it bothers you. We are, after all, just human.

I counseled her, instead, to focus on how the community came to her rescue and how all of these people were willing to go to bat for her, even though they’d never met her.

That, my friends, is community. I’m very proud of each and every one of you who stood up for her and who had her back.

Thank you.

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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