Over in my Legal Marketers Extraordinaire group on Facebook* we’re discussing the LinkedIn rejection letter that has gone viral, as well as the founder of the latest pay-to-play on-line network for lawyers. She’s a peach. I’d link to a story about her, but, if you do your own Googling, you’ll understand why I won’t.
* message me via The Legal Watercooler page the email you use for Facebook for an invite
I suppose time will answer a new age-old question to rival the chicken and the egg:
Which came first, the a**h*** or social media?
Right now I have to go with a**h***s.
Crappy, rude, abhorrent behaviors have been around since the beginning of time. Voice mail, then e-mail, and now social media just amplify their a**h***ness.
Which means you need to be careful of not just what you put in writing publicly, but privately.
I am about to start a leadership institute program. My first assignment was to write my personal biography. For those who don’t know me well, I don’t drink. I haven’t had a drink in more than 25 years.
As the biography I wrote is private and for a small group, I was very revealing about this. I can’t explain how I became me today, along with my philosophies behind my leadership skills, without discussing how I overcame my drinking problem.
Speaking to my spiritual guide about this, she asked would I be okay if somehow this paper I wrote leaked out to the world? I said yes. She then cautioned me again that I must live by the principles of my spiritual path, in all areas of my life, as if this has already occurred because I am an example.
How true that is. And not just for your spiritual principles, but for your work, your family, your team, your professional association, etc.
Am I perfect? Far from it. I definitely have my days. And when those days come, I shut my door and try not to engage with others until I am confident I can do so without taking my mood out on others. And when I mess up in that regard I am able to make an amends.
To make amends is not the same as to apologize. It is to mend, to make things right, and you can’t do that without changing the behavior.
An apology means nothing if you keep doing the same thing over and over again.
And that is what I am gleaming from the two examples above. This isn’t new behavior. It was just dormant.
In today’s world, you might be able to send something down to page 10 of a Google search result, but it’s never really gone.
And like a dog with a bone, the Internet gives us lots of places where we can dig up more dirt.
In today’s connected world we must always be more cautious of what we put in writing in a “private” message, or what we say at a podium at at “private” event, or in an e-mail, or a voice mail lest we become the fodder for the day.
We mere legal industry professionals do not have the same benefits of a celebrity or politician who can hold a press conference or get a magazine cover as they head off to whatever “rehab” they are headed to until the heat dies down, and then off to Ellen or Oprah for their tearful apology. We normal a**h***s just don’t have that luxury.
So don’t be an asshole.