Extortion has found its way into the blogosphere — and all for a pair of Crocs. A greedy “mommy blogger” at the recent BlogHer conference threatened to write something bad about the maker of Crocs if its representative didn’t find her a free pair of the comfy sandals.
No doubt about it, that’s low. As I see it, there would have been nothing wrong with said mommy blogger bemoaning her missed opportunity to get good swag at the conference. But threatening to go negative as a way to get a gift she clearly didn’t deserve is completely unethical.
The same is true for anyone who uses social media as a weapon. The blogosphere is an effective check against bad customer service, but customers who abuse it are as bad, or worse, than the companies who mistreat them.
The temptation to threaten bad press is strong. I’ve fought it myself many times, and even blogosphere bigwigs like Amanda Congdon of Sometimesdaily have fallen prey to the urge:
It’s also not a new temptation or exclusive to the new media world. There’s a reason that people remember Mark Twain for saying, “Never pick a fight with a man who buys ink by the barrel.” Publishers have been getting even with their enemies in print for centuries.
But the use of social media as a weapon — an utterly unsociable practice — is a potentially greater threat because anyone can be a publisher these days. Bloggers should roundly condemn such behavior whenever it surfaces because it will make all of them look bad.
Filed under: Blogging and Culture and Media