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Should I Post My Personal Opinions On The BlogWorld Twitter Account?

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Where to start with this one? How about the inspiration for this post? First, I sent out two apparently controversial tweets this morning:

surprise, all those iPad buyers are Mac Fanboys and girls http://bit.ly/bZt9y5 gotta give it to Apple they have a loyal community

and

LOL and a great follow up story, the ipad doesn’t work http://tcrn.ch/aGmSWy LOL suckers /ipad rant off

That set off a storm of comments from what I would like to think are supporters of our event. One of them actually unfollowed us/me because of it. I’m going to try and provide the time line in reverse chronological order here but please forgive me if I mess it up somehow:

victorcajiao

@blogworld I see. Maybe you should Mac hate under your own name. Many new media peopley use Macs, and we would (cont) http://tl.gd/oim80

donmcallister

@blogworld I’m sure the majority of us Mac users don’t know the back story but I’m with @victorcajiao on this one.

StefaanLesage

@victorcajiao @blogworld i would have to agree with victor. Pretty strange reading that from the official blogworld Twitter account

victorcajiao

@blogworld so that’s Blogworlds official position on us being loyal to Macs ? If so the count me out of supporting @blogworld.

BlogWorld (AKA me)

@victorcajiao no thats my official opinion and im surprised at your reaction i’m not free to share my opinion?

victorcajiao

@blogworld no you can share it. I don’t have to participate. Goodbye @blogworld

StefaanLesage

@blogworld yeah, but wonder what would happen if all mac users stay away from blogworld

johnfbraun

@blogworld @victorcajiao Probably best to separate personal opinion from official BlogWorld communication, which is what I though this was.

StefaanLesage

@blogworld @victorcajiao you are free to share personal opinions from your personal twitter account, be careful with branded / company acc

StefaanLesage

@johnfbraun @blogworld @victorcajiao i agree with my us colleagues. Create / use a personal Twitter acct.

GeekCred

Wow @blogworld, I’m not an Apple fanboy, but way to go and damage your brand by shamelessly disrespecting your customers. Fail… “sucker”!

PodcastHelper

@GeekCred @victorcajiao agreed, keep your personal opinion off your “official” conference feed, wrong fight to pick…@blogworld fail

donmcallister

@blogworld Before this blows out of proportion. I would not expect someones personal opinion on an event branded Twitter feed.

donmcallister

@blogworld esp calling a good portion of attendees and speakers losers ( albeit indirectly by association)

BlogWorld (AKA me)

@DonMcAllister wow no I didnt, putting up a blog post, this is far more than a twitter conversation

donmcallister

@blogworld Sorry, you didn’t say “losers” it was “LOL suckers” yes, that was it!

GeekCred

@blogworld That kind of personal opinion does’nt belong on an event branded Twitter account; totally unpnrofessional, undermines credibility

@GeekCred sorry I disagree. our event is all about personal credibility

StefaanLesage

@blogworld let me know when it’s online.

BlogWorld (AKA me)

@StefaanLesage will do typing as fast as I can

StefaanLesage

@donmcallister @blogworld I had the same feeling about this. Made me think it’s an official blogworld statement

BlogWorld (AKA me)

@StefaanLesage a statement about what? Did you read the posts I linked to? They were both interesting and informative

BlogWorld (AKA me)

@victorcajiao Did you actually unfollow me just now Victor? I wish you would reconsider after reading the post

donmcallister

@blogworld Rick, for the record, completely respect your opinion and personal credibility, just needs to be voiced via your personal twitter

psimac

@donmcallister @blogworld I’m with you, Don. Considering many laptops I saw at Blogworld featured glowing Apple logos, this is in poor form.

DaveHamilton

@DonMcAllister @victorcajiao Some of the Rick Calvert begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting (i.e. @blogworld) Mac-back-story on MGG 220. http://tmo.to/ecUo

DaveHamilton

@johnfbraun @blogworld @victorcajiao Agree with John 100% on this one: separate Twitter accounts for personal vs. corporate tweets.

and it is continuing.

There are so many points here. First off, did anyone responding to my tweets read any of the posts I linked to?

Like the one about Apple’s draconian PR tactics?

Or the TechCrunch story about all the complaints about the Ipads not geting WiFi reception?

Or the story showing how many ipad buyers were also iPhone and Mac owners?

But the largest point is: can I, Rick Calvert, share my personal opinions or jokes as my tweets clearly were on the BlogWorld twitter account?

Here is my @blogworld Twitter bio:

Tweets from Blogworld & New Media Expo, and its founder Rick Calvert

For the record, I have put up tons of personal opinions and thoughts in that twitter feed since I started the account Oct 31 2007.  Never, ever, have I received a reaction like today.  I did have one person complain about posting stuff other than directly related show information. I informed that person that its my account and my bio explained they were my tweets as well as company stuff.

Just two weeks ago Chris Brogan, me and several others had an interesting discussion about Twitter avatars. Chris told me I should change the @blogworld avatar to a picture of me because “you are blogworld”. I disagreed because I do see a distinction between a completely personal twitter account and a brand. But based on that discussion I just asked Dave(my partner) to create a new avatar for me/ @blogworld showing my face and the logo.

Today several people suggested I start my own personal twitter account to share my personal opinions. I am not going to do that.  First off because I started this event for me and content creators like me. I think offering a view of my thoughts and opinions is relevant to what our show is about. I do try to keep a balance between the personal and the official event stuff. I am very careful not to spam out “buy now” type messages. I try very hard to provide useful and relevant information to our community and my friends. I try to introduce and expose different friends and members of the community to each other who might not otherwise have met except for through our event.

That is what I think my / the @blogworld twitter account is for. Obviously some of you disagree. I do see the arguments for it but I am not convinced its the right thing to do particularly for BlogWorld and the type of event it is. I may change my mind and I hope others can make those arguments why I am wrong in the comments below or on their own blogs and podcasts.

Now lets talk about what personal opinions and what type of jokes are and are not allowed in a business context. Religion; I think everyone agrees that’s a no no in a business setting. Politics; I was a political blogger, that’s what inspired me to launch BlogWorld & New Media Expo in the first place. I killed off my political blog when we launched the event specifically to not offend people who might disagree with my politics. Are there any other third rails of polite business discussion?

Are Macs, the iPad, Iphone, and all Apple products untouchable for conversation and in particular dissent and mockery?

I didn’t think so but I guess I was wrong. Microsoft now that’s a fair target. Everybody hates them right?

Apple can base their entire ad campaign on mocking PC users (most computer users in the world) and that’s ok but bash a Mac and the world comes crashing down?

I’m sorry guys, I find that weird. I like the PC guy in those commercials. I was just having fun at the expense of some of my friends who maybe love their macs a little too much. I never meant to offend you and certainly didn’t mean to hurt your feelings so if I did I sincerely apologize for that but come on people make fun of me for my PC all the time.

As @victorjaio pointed out lots of new media content creators are Mac users. I know that, I get that. I know many Mac products are new media friendly, many of my friends are mac users, but seriously Apple is not a new media friendly company, guys. They are not all that supportive of their community and they know there is a certain percentage of their community that will buy anything they sell even if its phone that doesn’t work, or its on the worst mobile carrier in the country.

That’s my problem with Mac’s and Apple. Can we be friends again or have I crossed the Rubicon on this one?

***update 4.8.10****

I just found out that I am a “Hipster New Media Douchebag”

At least according to John C. Welsh. And all this time I thought I was just a fat guy in a Harley shirt.

***

Rick is the CEO & Co-Founder of BlogWorld & New Media Expo. He lives in Canyon Lake with his wife and two dogs Abby and Thor.


Feedback

44
  • Victor Cajiao

    My point was this. If Rick hates Apple or wants to say anything at all then Rick should have his own Twitter account. If you tweet stuff like this under the Blogworld account then “Blogworld” in my opinion is calling all of us “Apple fanboyz” suckers. Maybe you are right,but I’m not a big enough sucker to support a conference that makes statements about any group of people just because we are “loyal.” You could have twittered that opinion as Rick and maybe continued to have my loyalty. You didn’t, so you won’t.

  • Corinne

    Thanks for the post.

    I can identify as an iPad fangirl, iPhone hater, iPod user, loyal Dell/PC longtime user… Yes, I’m probably in the minority… Anyway. I did read the other links you posted on the blogworld Twitter feed. I’m not that bad of a media consumer to not see what else you may have posted to prior to your knee-jerk reactions of the iPad.

    Actually, I was probably more irked at you for lumping me, a PC user into Apple fanboys. I’m not saying that the iPad is a perfect device, but it has exceeded my expectations of what i wanted to use it for.

    I’m not going to unfollow you. Silly people who do.

    I do believe and realize that apple is a fallible company with imperfect products. And I’d just like to say that i really dislike them for lack of a manual and the solution for me to buy an iPhone and a Mac because I can’t sync photos from my pc onto this iPad thing.

    – Corinne/xcori (Twitter)

  • Corinne

    @victor would it have been easier if Rick had added a disclaimer to his tweet? Even if he still posted from the blogworld accept? You know, show some accountability.

    Imw not saying your reaction is incorrect, but I am curious as to what might alleviate a reaction like this in the future.

  • Victor Cajiao

    Corinne yes it would have helped, but not as much as tweeting ad Rick. If I’m silly for unfolding so be it. I can’t support blogworld at tis point. Maybe it’s cause I’m a “sucker” (grin)

  • Rick

    I only included you Corinne because you had replied to the tweets as well. I wasn’t trying to label you as pro or anti mac.

    Victor,

    You are the person who appears to be the most upset about this and the person I am most concerned about. You and I have exchanged emails, DM’s and phone calls and you know that you in particular and the community you represent are important to me personally. I was not trying to offend you. I was making a joke. I apologize for offending you.

    I’m not sure if you will even accept my apology and I think you are taking this far to literal. Did you even read your own words?

    “You could have twittered that opinion as Rick and maybe

      continued to have my loyalty. You didn’t, so you won’t.”

      So even if I had said the same thing to you in person, or in a rick calvert twitter account you might not support the show?

      Don’t you think you are taking this too far?

  • Stefaan Lesage

    Hi Rick,

    First of all, I had no idea at all that the @blogworld twitter account was a personal twitter account, even after reading the bio it isn’t clear that it is. I know that in my case I followed the @blogworld account to stay up to date with the conference, and had no idea at all it was used for ‘personal’ stuff.

    You, just like me and everyone else, are free to share your own opinions an thoughts, but you should be careful when doing so using a branded twitter account. To me, it gave the impression that the things said and mentioned were the opinion of @blogworld, the conference.

    Personally, I can vent on anything I want using my personal twitter account. And if people are interested in that, they are free to follow me. But using my professional / branded twitter account I have to be a bit more careful.

    Using my personal twitter account, nobody will have any troubles with my hating certain brands. But saying so using my professional / branded twitter account could lead to a number of disappointed customers, and that’s something you should be careful with.

    Regards,

    Stefaan

    • Rick

      I agree with your larger point Stefaan but are you saying that Mac users are so sensitive that joking about apple products is so offensive to them that we should be concerned about offending our attendees?

      If so doesn’t that make my point about Mac Fanboys?

      Which my larger point is that Mac fans, who are in many cases pro apple media have an inherent bias towards any and every product apple makes. That makes it very hard to decipher who is objective and who is not. Imo most are not. Every time Apple releases a new product Techmeme explodes into a “we love apple” fan fest. Thats not journalism and it certainly isn’t new media.

      We are a new media event, Not a pro or anti Apple, Microsoft, PC, Google, or any other company event. We represent independent content creators sharing their unfiltered opinions, and journalism.

      Honestly the reaction to my tweets is shocking and exactly counter to everything our event and new media stands for.

      “be careful not to offend Mac, or Mac users”. That’s not new media. That’s weird.

  • Corinne

    @Rick – got it. Still, good post.

    @Victor – I hadnt seen your comment before I posted mine. I see where you’re coming from, even though I dont agree with it.

  • Amy Phillips

    DEAR GOD! DO APPLE FANBOYS NOT HAVE A LIFE?! All of this because you pointed our the fact the apple made ANOTHER crappy 1G product. I’m a new media user and I don’t have a MAC. I love windows (and my iPod in the interest of full disclosure) but do I fly off in a frenzy when you mention the shortcomings of Windows newest product. No, no I don’t. Cause I respect the fact the other people can have opinions, even if it is an ‘official’ stream. And WTF does that mean anyway. It’s GODDAMN TWITTER people, not a PR statement. In fact, it would have been odd had @blogworld NOT commented on the iPad. Just because he didn’t take the ‘rainbows and unicorns’ fly out Steve Job’s ass position, you wanna ‘quit’ blogword? Good, hipsters like you give me a headache. See how this works out FOR ME??

  • Jennifer

    Great discussion! I’m going to use it for a class. Perhaps a big difference is the growth of blogWorld and people seeing it separately from youself now.

    • Rick

      That is a very good point Jennifer. As any brand scales other issues come in to play. Personally I don’t think we have reached a level where our brand and Dave and my personal lives are separate. I live and breath the BlogWorld brand 24/7. It has literally taken over my life.

  • Aaron Hockley

    Rick, you said:
    > “be careful not to offend Mac, or Mac users”. That’s not new media. That’s weird.

    If you phrase it as “Be careful not to offend a sizable portion of the people who come to your conference” I don’t see it being so weird.

    • Rick

      If you change the phrase it loses all context and meaning Aaron. Being sensitive about ones religion or life and death issues like politics should be expected and is legitimate. Being sensitive about what brand of computer and electronic devices you buy is not.

      Where do we draw the line? At cats vs. Dogs? Ford vs. GM (Ford is a blogworld sponsor btw), Marvel Vs. DC? (im a DC)

      So the question is, is Apple as a company or their products so untouchable of a topic?

      Honestly I don’t think so and they certainly aren’t for me.

  • Corinne

    “be careful not to offend Mac, or Mac users”. That’s not new media. That’s weird.

    SO TRUE. Yay for brand loyalty, but having everything Apple is not the solution to everyone’s tech needs.

    And I’ll still admit happily I bought my iPad on launch day at about 10am. And I won’t buy from Apple again for at least another 2-3 years. I really do kind of hate the brand with a passion. Not because of the products, but because of the rabid fanboy/fangirls it produces. Mob mentality, perhaps?

    Ok… I’m done. I think.

  • John F. Braun

    My personal opinion is that one should create separation between a brand and an individual. Especially in the world of Twitter, if one sees a tweet from an account identifying itself as @blogworld, I don’t think many would take the time to examine the profile (though perhaps they should) and see it is a combination of tweets by both the brand and the current CEO of the event, and take it as the position of the brand alone.

    Sure, you could argue that some shouldn’t be so sensitive when terms like “fanboy/girl” or “sucker” are used when editorializing a post from another source, but why take the risk? Is it worth sticking to your guns, with the potential that you may damage the brand or cause people to not attend the show if they view you as insulting their choice of platform? I guess only Rick can answer this question. Plus, at some point in the future, the brand and the person may part ways, and there may be baggage that the new owner of @blogworld may not want to deal with.

    In my world, I do use @johnfbraun as a personal account, and will on occasion make comments that may have a religious or political view that not everyone will like or agree with. Which is why we have a @macgeekgab and @macobserver feed, since I think the brand represents more than the views of a single individual.

    • Rick

      John,

      Lots of people have made that argument and I respect it. As I have said before, for a company of our size I think the leadership and the brand are interconnected. I honestly cannot comprehend anyone who would be offended about my comments on their favorite brand of electronics, or coffee maker, or soap. Particularly when the company in question; Apple has a very dubious history when it comes to social media which is what our event is about. To say commenting on that brand is off limits or that only positive comments can be made about that brand is unreasonable imo.

      Maybe I am the one who is in the wrong here and have just never found a corporate entity that I could love in that way.

      Thank you Bryan,

      I think you said it much better than I did.

  • Bryan Curry

    I read the tweets and I read the articles from the links you posted. I am a hybrid, I use a Mac and a PC depending on what I am working on, wait, I am a suped-up hybrid because sometimes I run windows on my mac. Either way I thought the tweet was funny, the articles were interesting and was glad that blogworld had passed along the information. I wasn’t offended, truthfully the losers comment kind of evaporated from memory as soon as I read it. Seems like a lot of people are over-reacting.
    As far as whether or not you should separate the blogworld twitter from your personal twitter, I don’t see any reason to. Even if the majority of people assume that the blogworld account is a brand representation (I did) why can’t a brand representation have an opinion, especially if the opinions are from the founder? Why does a brand have to be neutral on everything? Can’t a company have an opinion that is controversial? Are we as a society so narrow minded that we are going to approve or disapprove of something they tweet and therefore withdraw support from that country? That’s crazy, sad and hilarious all at the same time.
    I think this is going to be great for Blog World because Rick is sure to land on Larry King to talk about the Twitter Controversy sweeping the nation, Apple is going to throw all kinds of free merch at him to try and convert him. Having an opinion and being willing to be honest and share it is what social media is about, and will be good for Blogworld in the long run.
    Oh and by the way, thanks for linking the articles, I had a friend how had his ipad arrive over the weekend and I passed along the information about his potential wifi problems and told him that if he had an issue, he wasn’t alone and didn’t need to spend hours troubleshooting his home network. So thanks Blogworld for be honest with me and telling me what you think instead of mindlessly linking to articles.

  • Deb Ng

    Rick – Your point is a good one too. I have both my own personal account and a branded account. Like you, I live and breathe my brand. Followers tell me they prefer to follow Deb Ng rather than my blog’s branded account because it’s more personal and they still receive updates. I’m actually considering closing the branded one.

    I know BlogWorld is you, Rick. I know I’ll get your personal views as well as updates. I never felt you should separate the personal and professional brand because Rick Calvert is BlogWorld. To separate the two means you’re taking a little of the heart and soul out of it. I prefer to have a little personality mixed in with the professional tweets.

    Just my opinion, for what it’s worth.

  • JD Carr

    Hi Rick,

    I am personally a recent Apple convert (I love my Mac Book Pro btw 🙂 and although I don’t agree with you on this post (I intend to get an iPad), I CERTAINLY can appreciate your opinion/viewpoint and wouldn’t follow you if you tweeted anything else. I use Twitter just as you do, to promote my own company while at the same time using it to express my own opinions on things. Whether right or wrong, this is what I choose to do and it works for me. I recently made a mistake of re-tweeting a follower that included his personal views on the recent healthcare debate. OMG the responses I got…you would’ve thought I had criticized the entire U.S. As someone mentioned above, religion/politics often will lead to harsh reactions and perhaps they are justified. They likely have no place within a company’s social profile anywhere. That being said, I agree with the notion that technology shouldn’t be “off-limits”.

    The main concern I have with the direction some are taking Twitter and other social media (as evidenced by this post) – many are trying to dictate what is and is not “discussion worthy”. This is a larger concern in my eyes vs. whether people should keep personal and business accounts separate. Social media by its’ very nature is SOCIAL. It’s supposed to be used to express opinions and to create conversations. Many either don’t get this, have forgotten it, or never got it at all. From an organizational standpoint, I feel that you’re doing it right. I mean if you don’t express your views/opinions/etc., than the BWE social presence simply becomes an advertisement. None of us wants that and if you did it, you’d be accused of simply “being a logo” vs. an organization led by thought leaders in your space that actually want to interact with your audience. We can get BWE updates via the website or any number of places. We get to know you and your team via social media. That’s how it’s all SUPPOSED to work. You have every right to express your views and I applaud you for doing so. I follow BWE on Twitter because I want to “get to know” the people behind the event as well as others that attend/support the event…not to get updates on the show. This is my first year to exhibit (we’re launching at BWE). It’s because of your posts on Twitter that I’ve come to the conclusion that BWE is the right show for our launch. I feel that I understand what the BWE team stands for and this comes across in your posts on Twitter, on this blog, etc. If it weren’t for these conversations, BWE would just be another tech show to me and I may not have known the benefits the show brings to all parties involved. You’ve won a devout supporter and more importantly, a customer through your posts…therefore what you’re doing can’t be all bad right?

    Don’t let a few individuals dissuade you from doing what is right for you or your organization. You can’t make everyone happy and trying to do so is a fruitless endeavor. Keep doing your thing and keep the conversations coming. Those of us that support your team and BWE are all looking forward to the show in October and I assure you will be just as passionate and vocal in our support as any of those that criticize you for sharing your opinions.

  • Ray Ortega

    I think the whole point of everything that has happened, the fallout from one single tweet, is totally being missed by most. This really has nothing to do with what company you support or which product you think is good or if you are easily offended or not. This is about professional responsibility.

    When it comes to twitter I have always been on the side of say anything you want because it is an opt in, opt out system. But until today, I hadn’t really thought of it in terms of a larger organization or brand based twitter account.

    Stephan makes a great point about why he followed @blogworld in the first place, because he wanted and expected (rightly so) to get updates about the Blogworld conference. This is the perception that almost anyone following that account is going to have, it certainly is mine.

    I think the response you witnessed to this personal tweet, the strong reaction is not based on anything that has to do with apple, macs, fanboys/girls and the like. It has to do completely with the surprise that most people experienced when they saw the tweet. It was unexpected to get that type of content from a conference feed and quite honestly, fairly unprofessional.

    Rick is clearly not going to give up the ghost on this one because, especially now, he feels backed into a corner and must defend his position. This might be OK and of course if this is your twitter feed then you are free to do with it as you like but honestly it seems juvenile to not be able to see that maybe, maybe you are going about it the wrong or not the best way.

    Certainly, in my opinion the best route is to have your own account and express all the opinions you like there. But Rick seems unwilling to do that and you can’t claim its too much work because with tools like tweetdeck it couldn’t be any easier to manage multiple accounts which in fact I do because I know many of my followers from one feed have no interest in being bombarded with content from my other.

    In the end, the choice is yours but you are definitely damaging Blogworld’s professional appearance by insisting to make it personal and pushing onto people content which they almost certainly didn’t sign up for when they pressed the follow button. After all it is the official Blogworld twitter account, not the Rick account (regardless how you want to make it look in the profile) which you most certainly could create;)

    And whether you think its right or wrong, it certainly doesn’t seem worth it to get in a traditional Internet thread battle with the same people who pay for or might want to attend your conference. When it comes to a brand, most of the time, the customer is always right and make no mistake here, we are talking about your brand and not you.

    Thanks for listening,

    Ray

  • JayG

    Rick,
    OK, put your picture on the avatar. But your bio better say “Blogworld Fanboy”. 😉

    Seriously, I have anguished over this myself, and my personal choice is to distinguish not just between the “personal” vs. “professional”, but also the “official”. Sorry if that ruins the fun. You can either build the Rick Calvert brand or you can build the Blogworld brand…imho (emphasis on “h”).

    As much as you would like to be “Blogworld”, anything posted on the official Blogworld Twitter account is an official statement. Many questions are begging: Are you speaking on behalf of everyone else who helps run Blogworld? What if your employees don’t agree with you? What if Dave, your partner, disagrees with you? How is it that “you are Blogworld”, but he is not, even though he’s a partner. What if *you* sold Blogworld to News Corporation and retired? Do the official words of Blogworld support the collective consciousness that you intend for speakers, attendees, and other participants?

    I disagree with Chris Brogan. Actually, I’m surprised he recommended you put your photo on the Blogworld avatar. I wouldn’t expect Chris to put his photo on the Sony, Microsoft, SAS or other Twitter avatars. Maybe that’s an absurd reduction, but again, I would recommend you start your own separate Twitter account.

    Please notice that some of the comments from people are not about Apple, they are about your *comments* about Apple. There is a difference. Apple and Microsoft are not off limits. If you said the same thing about Microsoft, people would have the same reaction. Go ahead and try it — I got your back. 😉

    This is my personal opinion. Ironically, I found about the controversy in my pursuit of you for more information about exhibiting at Blogworld…for my company which purely by coincidence happens to make Mac/iPhone/iPad software. And I intend to continue that pursuit — as a Mac/iPhone/iPad company, god knows we sure could use some attention!

    Did I mention that this is a personal opinion, and in no way reflects that of my employer? 🙂

  • Giovanni Gallucci

    OK folks, before we assume I’m a Mac hater, I’m not. Own several of them today every since I got my first (A IIc) and my second (a Performa) so many years ago that I don’t want to mention. I’m even have a macbook pro running windows 7 on it. So, that’s settled.

    So let’s get at it, Gordon Ramsey style, yes? Are you people stupid? Rick can’t have a freaking opinion without us getting out the virtual torches and pitch forks? God I’m getting so tired of these fake dramas. I’m constantly amazed at how thin skinned we are in the tech community.

    If anyone’s paying attention, Rick was talking about a brand that is famous for treating their consumers and developers poorly. Not just poorly, but with disdain and disrespect on a level that no other brand would ever dare if it wanted to survive. But we take it and anytime anyone dares to chip away at the facade, we’re there to defend out abusive partner, enabling their behavior and encouraging more. …and we in social media wonder why it’s so hard to get others to take us seriously.

    “The conversation” my ass. You people are just lurking out there waiting for the next witch hunt. Makes us look like a joke. Thanks for pushing us two steps backwards ever time we take one step forwards.

    I’d recommend going out side and getting some sunshine. Maybe a enema? Or, you coule read the paper (the NYT on your iPad counts) and put your lives in context related to our brothers and sisters in Haiti, Afghanistan, Iraq, or any 2nd – 4th world country for that matter. Makes me scratch my head and wonder where the eff our priorities are. Who gives a rat’s ass if Rick or blogworld has a negative opinion of an Apple product?

    I’ve never been to blogworld but I’m sure as hell going this year. So Rick, you lose one, you gain one. 🙂

  • Dave

    Wow. I was off the computer for a single day, and I missed the entire Mac VS PC carnage on Twitter. Would’ve enjoyed mixing it up with you all, lol! 🙂

    As co-founder of BlogWorld, and a self-taught, proudly-bucked-the-system Mac user since MacOS ran on floppies (I switched from DOS/IBM 286 to MacOS/MacII+ and SE in 1987), I have to tell you the initial perception of some thinking Mac community members may possibly be unvalued or unwelcome at BlogWorld via Rick’s joking comment gave me a chuckle. I won’t even argue the Mac VS PC point, Rick and I spend plenty of time hashing over this in our spare time. It’s a non-issue. PC’s are cheaper for a reason. Case closed.

    I keed, I keed… 😀

    Apple has cultivated a zealous cult following, without a doubt. But sensitivity to unpopular Mac commentary today (please, we must keep our senses of humor, it’s one of the more vital senses we humans possess) gave rise to the key issue: judgment of protocol and discretion in a corporate Twitter account. This can hatch a great many questions, and it’s totally relevant to our industry and event…

    Should a corporate, consumer-facing social media account feature personal opinions or occasional humor? Is it important to feature safe, filtered content which has little chance of countering perspective of any audience members? Is a corporate social media account such as one on Twitter simply a new channel for publishing company news or advertising in a dry format, or is personifying the brand an important goal for companies adopting social media? And if personifying the brand is a key objective, what are the ground rules? There are many, many other questions to weave into this discussion, and certainly the answers depend highly on the individual goals of each company.

    This is a very important time we’re participating in. A time when brands are adopting a two-way conduit to communicate with their marketplaces with unprecedented access and fluidity. Is this an opportunity to simply deliver traditional content through a new channel? I certainly hope not. I hope companies look at this as an opportunity to personify their brands with unique content, perspective, humor, idea exchange, careful listening…and the net will be this–companies and customers will get to know one another better. What a valuable opportunity, for both, indeed. The substantive exchanges will lead to clarity of brand character and company ethos, sharpen understanding of customer needs, and lay the groundwork for a mutually-beneficial relationship. This is a time to build understanding, and through that, value.

    Rick has been tweeting with personal opinions mixed in with event news all along. He’s personally involved with this event, this company, and if you’ve attended and networked with other people face-to-face, and with Rick, the experience will surely have left you with a feeling of involvement too. A personal one.

    I tweet about the BlogWorld event at times, and other times personal content or humor. If I didn’t, I’d only be advertising, and I don’t know about you but I tend to tune out most advertising these days. 😉

    @dave_blogworld

  • Stefaan Lesage

    Hi Rick,

    You have some valid points here, but in my humble opinion the whole Web2.0 thing isn’t about you or the size of your company, but more about the size of your audience. It doesn’t matter if you’re only a 2 man company … it does matter if you have 10.000 + followers though.

    Any no, us ‘Apple Fanboys’ arn’t more sensible than others, at least I am not. But if you have 10.000 followers it’s a lot easier to offend a few of them, and I had the impression that the Apple Fanboys might be a pretty large part of your audience.

    If your twitter account would have been @rick_blogworld I don’t think anyone would have cared, but the twitter account it came from was @blogworld which made it look like an official blogworld thingie, and thats probably the basis of this miscommunication.

    For me, the thing has been settled, as now I do know the @blogworld account is used for personal stuff as well, but still … you should remember …

    It’s not about you, nor the size of your company, it’s about the size of your audience. With 10.000+ it’s a lot easier to offend a few of them.

    Regards,

    Stefaan

  • Dave Hamilton

    Thanks, Rick. Nice post. To be clear, I (personally) wasn’t offended by the links (they were informative) or your brief “suckers” commentary (it was inflammatizing! :-)). My goal was to simply shed light on the easily-confused personal/branded/business/twitter account. Clearly that light has been shed… 😉

  • Chris Brogan...

    Holy cats.

    First off, I must’ve lost my copy of the Twitter rule book. (Google “you’re doing it wrong.”)

    You can do what you want with your account. It’s kind of weird for the righteous to show up and complain that you have an opinion. So you don’t like Macs. I don’t read political blogs and we’re still friends. See? Kinda silly.

    I trip this little wire all the time. People somehow mistake me having an opinion as being an affront to their own opinion.

    So Rick doesn’t like Macs or iPads. Who cares? He’s somehow less of a blogger? I gave back my iPhone to get the Droid. Does that make me less cool?

    I’ll take, “get a life” for $300, Alec.

  • Tia

    1. No, I don’t think you need a separate corporate account that is “neutral” especially in this example. Companies have loyalties and opinions, too. People rant about their hosting providers, their cell phone carries, flight carries – all used for company reasons.

    2. My personal opinion is that people need to lighten up.

    The point of social media is to blur the lines between company and personal a bit. In any case, that clearly isn’t happening among bloggers. We obviously have some catching up to do! Oy vei.

  • Jeff Mello

    I believe you can tweet for a company and still have your personality shine through. Actually you must let your personality show in your tweets or why else would someone be interested enough in what you have to say to stay connected.

    As with any communication it comes down to understanding your audience. For example…if the majority of the people you connect with on Twitter are Mac fans then you probably should stay away from Mac jokes:)

    We are in an age of Communication when consumers want to connect with their favorite brands on a personal level which is very advantageous for brands if they know how to communicate back to those consumers. We are in the Communication era of Engagement.

  • Dave Hamilton

    For the sake of clarity for those of you joining in and completely misinterpreting everything:

    As I saw it unfold, the catalyst for all of this isn’t because of Rick’s personal preferences about Macs, iPads, gays, lesbians, republicans, cancer patients, hemophiliacs, democrats, or the hydrocephalic.

    The catalyst was simply the surprise when the “@blogworld” Twitter account suddenly called a sizable group of people “suckers”. Many people were confused as to whether this was an official BlogWorldExpo account/opinion or simply a tweet by Rick Calvert.

    The ensuing discussion here *should* be about whether that confusion matters… or not.

    Hopefully I’ve offended everyone… equally. 😉 After all, everyone deserves a trophy, right? 😉

  • Lisa Barone

    Two quick thoughts:

    Rick and BlogWorld should absolutely be two different entities on Twitter. Obviously there will be some content overlap, but creating a second account will also allow you, Rick, to be “Rick” and put a stronger face onto the BlogWorld conference series.

    Second, just because Macs are a cult, doesn’t make them a religion. 😉 We could all stand to lighten up a bit. It’s a tweet. He didn’t kick anyone. I don’t think @blogworld was out of line to make an innocent joke, but perhaps that stuff is better left on a personal Twitter account. My company @outspokenmedia has a separate Twitter account solely for communication with the company/announcements/blog posts. When I’m looking to be funny or offend people I use the @lisabarone account. That’s why it’s there and people follow that account knowing I’ll probably say stupid stuff. We have an agreement. We don’t have that same agreement with the Outspoken account.

  • Rohit

    Great debate – I’m sorry I only stumbled onto it late. Apple is an interesting one and I have had this struggle before too. Like Rick, I am NOT a fan of their PR policies or their closed approach to social media. But as a marketer, I LOVE their marketing and have used them as a case study for how to inspire loyalty many times. I don’t use an iPhone or a Mac, but also LOVE my iPod and still consider it probably one of the best products I’ve ever bought. Does that make me a fanboy or not? Apple isn’t a religion people, it’s a consumer electronics company. It’s ok to like one product and not like the other. No one suggests that your addiction to Krispy Kreme donuts (if you had one) means that you need to defend everything the company has ever done.

    Interestingly, I have posted jokes about Apple in the past and actually lost followers on Twitter as a result too. If someone is following me just because of my opinions of Apple, that will happen and I’m ok with it. The people I really care about are the ones that I know and who I interact with because of our shared passion on marketing or some other subject.

    The bigger point which I think is interesting is the separation between personal and corporate accounts. I have had that debate in the past as well, when sometimes I am creating content (transparently) for a client, or posting on the Ogilvy blog (where I work). The one suggestion I’d have for Rick and Blogworld is to make it clearer who the person is behind the content you create. For example, on this post – it doesn’t say that it is Rick writing it at the top, so I thought it might be Deb until I read further and figured it out. On a Twitter account, using a simple tag at the end of each post like “^RC” (for Rick Calvert) or “^DN” (for Deb Ng) can help people to know who is behind each tweet and is a format we use quite often where there are corporate accounts managed by more than one person.

    As long as people know who the individual is behind a corporate account, you are being as transparent as you can be.

  • Dana C

    Well, ultimately he IS free to post whatever he likes to his Twitter account. But that freedom, and the choices he makes with it have consequences. You don’t like Apple, Macs, or all things “i”? Great. Calling people who do “suckers” in a public forum on an account associated w/ BWE seems short-sighted and rude. If a large segment of your target audience (I.e. Potential Expo attendees) are Mac users or “fan boys” then such remarks are just dumb. They can choose to reward or punish such behavior with their dollars. Doesn’t make good business sense to me to deride ANY subset of your attendees in one tweet, then attempt to woo them in another. It has nothing to do with the Mac thing. It has EVERYTHING to do with having the good taste to not call your customers names.

  • Chris

    FWIW, I use @blogworld interchangably with the hashtag – to me the Twitter account == Blogworld, so I can understand others being confused as I am adding to the confusion.

    This would make a great panel discussion – there is no RIGHT answer here, but I think there is a lesson for all of us.

    I think organisations need some personality, and that will inevitably create a deeper connection with some while offending others. It does seem us Mac users are a sensitive bunch, even if we do get the same Apple-bashing comments every frikkin day 😉

    Who is betting day 1 of Blogworld Rick gets covered in Apple stickers? 😛

  • John C. Welch

    Speaking as someone who spends not a small amount of time making sure his personal and professional work are properly separated…

    If you’re tweeting as @blogworld, everything coming from that account is going to be considered to be the opinion of blogworld as an entity, and every tweet from that account will be considered to be ‘blessed’ by blogworld. You don’t have to like it, but you do have to accept that it will happen that way, with or without your approval.

    When you tweet as @blogworld, simply put, you have to ask yourself ‘will this reflect well on blogworld? will this send the right message?’ Is that fair? absolutely not, but that’s immaterial. @blogworld is not Rick. @blogworld is blogworld. It is even less fair to expect everyone who reads that feed to have to guess “is this rick? is this blogworld?”

    If you want to bag on mac users, great, get a personal twitter account and bag away. but unless you want Mac users to decide “Why should I spend time and money going to a conference whose staff sees me as a sucker for using something from Apple”, you really need to think more before you post as @blogworld.

    • Rick

      First off, thank you to everyone for the great comments. Several people who were upset by those two tweets or commented on those two tweets during the heat of the moment have since commented that they were only pointing out that they believe our company account, and my personal opinions should be two separate things. I am sorry folks but I have to say that’s simply not true. It was absolutely about the specific topic that people took issue with, not the fact that I had an opinion. Otherwise I would have received these complaints at some point over the last three years. I have been posting personal opinions, making jokes and taking jibes at various people and entities from the day this account started. United Airlines is a great example. I have slammed them numerous times in my twitter feed. I did so because they deserved it. No one ever complained. In fact on at least two occasions others chimed in with their own “United hating”.

      So let’s be perfectly clear a certain segment of Mac users are a unique breed of consumer. They are in my opinion overly sensitive to criticism of Apple.

      Many of you have suggested we/I should take care not to offend our customers. I agree. That’s why I don’t post about politics, or religion. Apple as a brand is not an untouchable subject for me or our event. Our customers are new media content creators, business owners and executives interested in using social media for their business. You don’t come to our event or follow our twitter feed to get pumped up about Apple. If you do then yes you are following the wrong feed and coming to the wrong show. We have no sacred cows here.

      If you want to learn and discuss how to create, distribute and monetize content, then you are in the right place. The iPad is a content distribution device. Discussion and opinions about that device and Apple as a company are relevant to our brand, our event and our community. We/I will continue to link to relevant content and have our own comments on that topic.

      Let’s look at some techblogs for an example. Specifically one of the posts I linked to just the other day from Boing Boing. In that post Corey Doctorow wrote a detailed explanation of why he was not buying an iPad and encouraging others to follow his lead. Should people stop reading Boing Boing?

      There are several examples of tech blogs being critical of Apple. Maybe they lose readers every time they do. Personally they earn my respect because they are showing integrity and objectivity when they do so.

      Should people who love Toyota cars quit reading their newspapers, or watching TV stations when they report on the recent debacle going on with Toyota? Obviously not.

      One more note on the larger question, should brands inject personality as Rohit famously put it in his best selling book and in his comment below?
      I say yes. I could be wrong.

      As Chris Brogan says and I am paraphrasing here we are tired of being treated like a number, people want to do business with people not faceless corporate entities run by automatons.

      As Chris also said there are no rules to this. This conversation is exactly what our event is about. Those two tweets brought that to light better than any marketing we could have ever done.

  • John C. Welch

    Rick, you didn’t tweet a specific criticism of Apple or it’s products. You called, point blank, everyone buying an iPad a sucker. Let’s review:

    “LOL and a great follow up story, the ipad doesn’t work http://tcrn.ch/aGmSWy LOL suckers /ipad rant off”

    Exactly what part of calling people “suckers” shouldn’t annoy/piss them off? I’m curious about that, because i can’t see too many ways to take that other than as a personal shot. the fact that Apple customers are quite often oversensitive doesn’t make your statement anything other than a personal shot.

    Bringing up other blogs that aren’t calling people suckers for buying an iPad is an attempt to distract. Even if they *are* calling people suckers, that still doesn’t justify you doing it, or, as i would explain to a small child attempting to use that logic to get out of trouble: “No billy, stevie kicking a puppy doesn’t make it okay for you to kick a puppy too. you’re both just as wrong.” I say “small child”, because that’s the normal age group where that logic makes sense.

    Secondly, bringing up Cory’s boingboing article is rather silly, since cory isn’t representing boingboing, he’s not a member of the boingboing staff as near as i can tell, and most importantly, *Cory didn’t insult people who buy iPads*. Really. Read his article again, he doesn’t do what you did. I disagree with Cory, but he’s not making personal attacks against people who buy iPads as the ‘official’ voice of BoingBoing.

    You, as the ‘official’ voice of BlogWorld, did in fact, insult everyone who has, is going to, or may ever buy an iPad.

    Your Toyota example is just as bad for the same reasons. If the local news is calling people who bought Toyotas “suckers”, then yes, that news station’s viewers *should* complain, and if they get the same reaction as you’re giving here, consider boycotting that news show.

    As far as this bit of martyrdom goes:

    “As Chris Brogan says and I am paraphrasing here we are tired of being treated like a number, people want to do business with people not faceless corporate entities run by automatons. ”

    It’s pretty obvious that what you want is not the ability to be something besides a faceless entity.

    It’s that you want the ability to say whatever you want, even when it’s insulting, or a personal attack, and face no criticism or negative reaction whatsoever. That’s simply ridiculous, yet your response here shows that you cannot imagine why you’re receiving any criticism whatsoever.

    • Rick

      John,

      You make some good points John but lets clarify a few things. I didn’t make a personal attack against anyone. That would be me saying “you John are a sucker”. I didn’t and wouldn’t do that.

      it is difficult to express a comprehensive thought such as my criticisms of Apple and the weird cult like following they have in 140 characters so you have to include the post I linked to in order to understand the context of the tweet.

      I did not insult everyone who has ever or will ever buy an iPad. Any person who took it as such needs to get a sense of humor. I thought I had subsequently explained why I said what I said, and what I meant by it so anyone joining the conversation now should have a clear understanding of my intent to jest.

      Furthermore this is the blogosphere and snark is expected.

      I wasn’t using what anyone else did to justify what I did. I was pointing out that doing so was objective writing vs. the sycophantic pap that is seen on many tech blogs when it comes to all things Apple.

      I am pretty sure Cory was a founder of Boing Boing and to quote the post I linked to “I’ve spent ten years now on Boing Boing”.

      I am certainly not a martyr and am not attempting to gain any sympathy here. I love a good debate / argument. Call it whatever you like. This is what drew me do the blogosphere to begin with and I absolutely love this discussion and see exactly where people fall on this issue.

      No I do not believe I should be able to say “whatever I like” without repercussion and I have stated as such in my blog post and several times in this comment thread. There are certain topics you don’t discuss in polite company. I don’t think Apple or even Apple fan boys are one of those topics. Shoot me, unfollow me, do what you will.

      You are correct I cannot comprehend why anyone would be so upset about a joke made about bits and bites a corporate entity and the cult of personality surrounding said entity. Again maybe I am the crazy one here but I don’t think so.

      Victor,

      That depends on how well we knew each other. If my partner Dave had waited in line all night to buy an iPad I most certainly would call him a sucker to his face and ridicule him to no end. If as a stranger the topic of your ipad came up and apple in general I would be happy to share in depth with you my thoughts on the brand, its cult, and how I came to my opinions. Of course if you started to get a crazy look in your eye, I would also explain how much of that bluster is tongue in cheek.

      George,

      I am actually 12 and live in my parent’s attic.

  • Giovanni Gallucci

    OMG – PEOPLE – Go outside and play. There are SO many things more worthy of your time than this. Go back and read through this thread. We are officially taking ourselves too seriously.

    Walk your dog, play with your kids, sit in the grass and just sit there. I’ll see you all at blogworld.

  • Victor Agreda Jr

    How about just say what you want to say but say it in a way that isn’t so childish? If we met in person and I had my iPad and it met my needs would you call me a sucker to my face?

    You don’t see an antivirus company tweeting “LULZ Windoze gets hax0rd agin :P” do you? IMO this is a bit overblown but blogging under the entity known as blogworldexpo, at least to consumers, will imply a certain level of professionalism. Opinions are fine, just try to be a little more eloquent, perhaps.

  • George

    It’s not so much that it was about Apple as it’s the fact that most people think that tweets that sound like an angry 13 year old in their parents’ basement coming from a “corporate” twitter account are a bit odd.

  • John C. Welch

    “You make some good points John but lets clarify a few things. I didn’t make a personal attack against anyone. That would be me saying “you John are a sucker”. I didn’t and wouldn’t do that.”

    If you really believe that calling every single iPad customer a sucker isn’t a personal attack *solely* because you didn’t name every iPad customer by name, then i doubt it is possible to actually talk to you about this, because i’m not going to try to find the goal posts every time you dig them up and re-bury them in the next town.

    If i said that everyone running Blogworld Expo was a narcissistic blogtard, that would be a mass personal attack against everyone running Blogworld Expo. If you cannot understand that, then I am not sure what world you’re actually living in.

    “it is difficult to express a comprehensive thought such as my criticisms of Apple and the weird cult like following they have in 140 characters so you have to include the post I linked to in order to understand the context of the tweet.”

    then maybe you should think harder about how you communicate actual criticism, instead of calling every iPad customer a sucker, and hiding behind the limitations of twitter as a defense. I assume you understand the limitations placed on context in 140 characters, and that you’d be aware of how, without other context, calling 300,000+ people ‘suckers’ could be taken as cheap shot/personal attack. If not, perhaps you should run such things by someone with a better awareness of language and communications before you let loose with an attempt at a humorous jibe.

    “I did not insult everyone who has ever or will ever buy an iPad. Any person who took it as such needs to get a sense of humor. I thought I had subsequently explained why I said what I said, and what I meant by it so anyone joining the conversation now should have a clear understanding of my intent to jest.”

    Ah, the classic non-apology. “I said something rude, and now that you’re calling me on it, it is obviously your fault for not understanding the joke that i now explain the original comment really was.”

    What excuse will you provide the people who don’t feel like wading through all your backpedaling?

    Here. try this:

    “Wow. I really forgot how easy it is to come across harsher than I intended in 140 characters. I really didn’t mean to say that everyone who bought an iPad is a sucker, and it’s my fault for not thinking a bit more about the limitations of Twitter before I posted. It was also something that I shouldn’t have posted on the official blogworld expo twitter account, and i apologize for any bad light my words shed on the show.”

    Or, you can blame everyone else, because it’s un-possible that you bear any blame here.

    “Furthermore this is the blogosphere and snark is expected.”

    Everyone else is kicking a puppy, why am I wrong for doing it too?

    funny how Macworld Expo managed to avoid those little issues on their twitter accounts, even while fighting quite the uphill PR battle this year. Ah well, i suppose professionalism and maturity are old world media?

    “I wasn’t using what anyone else did to justify what I did. I was pointing out that doing so was objective writing vs. the sycophantic pap that is seen on many tech blogs when it comes to all things Apple.”

    Galileo gambit. fail.

    “I am certainly not a martyr and am not attempting to gain any sympathy here. I love a good debate / argument. Call it whatever you like. This is what drew me do the blogosphere to begin with and I absolutely love this discussion and see exactly where people fall on this issue.”

    I fall on the “any interest i had in that show is gone, because it’s obviously not a place i want to be.” I have a teenager at home already, i don’t need to go to a show run by them.

    “No I do not believe I should be able to say “whatever I like” without repercussion and I have stated as such in my blog post and several times in this comment thread. There are certain topics you don’t discuss in polite company. I don’t think Apple or even Apple fan boys are one of those topics. Shoot me, unfollow me, do what you will.”

    And yet, you cannot bring yourself to admit that maybe your words were poorly chosen. I guess your ego is cushioning that corner quite well.

    “You are correct I cannot comprehend why anyone would be so upset about a joke made about bits and bites a corporate entity and the cult of personality surrounding said entity. Again maybe I am the crazy one here but I don’t think so.”

    Because 300,000 people aren’t your friend, don’t know you, and in 140 characters, you showed that the staff of Blogworld expo is largely composed of hipster New Media Douchebag’s confusing lame attempts at irony with incisive commentary? that seems to work well too.

    but i’m sure you bear no blame at all. it’s all our fault for not being able to comprehend your sly, dry, subtle wit.

    you’re never to blame, are you.

  • Rick Calvert

    Ok John we disagree. You think I insulted 300,000 people.You are wrong. I am responsible for my own actions and words and accept the consequences.

    “you showed that the staff of Blogworld expo is largely composed of hipster New Media Douchebag’s confusing lame attempts at irony with incisive commentary?”

    Do I look like a hipster to you? http://www.flickr.com/photos/chiropractic/4287829333/

    I’m the fat guy in the Harley shirt.

  • John C. Welch

    See, as agile as you are at missing point after point, i’d have guessed you to be rail-thin.

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