What Being Drunk Can Teach You About Blogging

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I haven’t been properly steaming drunk for many years, but I still remember what it felt like to have the most amazing evening of my life, only to wake up in a mess hours later, fully clothed and with a hangover that lasted for about two days of misery.

While it was great fun at the time, the repercussions were always tough to deal with – it was about weighing up the pros and cons and deciding that a heavy night in the pub was worth paying for later. It never seemed like a good idea afterwards, but at the time, knowing what I would have to deal with, I still used to go out and do it!

Blogging can be a bit like that, too.

Often the temptation to use the blog for purposes other than serving our customers can be too good to resist – after all, what better platform do we have to vent frustrations, call people out for various things, or generally sound off?

As soon as we publish a post, we’re able to see the responses from people, and there is very little so gratifying as seeing our work being responded to for better or worse, online.

However, using our blogs like this is a bit like getting drunk.

What seemed like a fabulous idea when we were angry, frustrated or trying to achieve a certain outcome can become difficult in the cold light of morning when we have given our minds a chance to process everything and put things in to perspective. I’m going to tell you a story, and by the end of it you’ll know why I see drinking and bad blogging as being a very similar practice!

A colleague of mine was chafing at the bit for over six months after doing some services for a client. The client in question had commissioned work from him, and yet despite repeated efforts to gain payment through invoices, the client had for some reason decided not to bother paying. The job was worth hundreds of pounds, and my colleague (let’s call him Bob), was under immense pressure to regain the money from the time that had been invested.

Obviously, while Bob had been working on the job, he had not been earning through other customers, which meant he had fallen behind in his income generation for the couple of months it had taken to do the job to a good standard.

Now, Bob was losing sleep over this refusal to pay.

He ran a great blog which was popular, so he decided one evening after worrying about how to resolve the situation to use his blog to ‘out’ the non paying client. He dashed off a truly angry blog post and bombarded Twitter with tweets referencing the non-payer. He told the truth, avoided any bias, but turned his blog in to something other than a customer services platform. Instead, he used it to vent his anger and bring public shame to the non-paying customer.

Within days, the customer had settled up the outstanding account, but there was so much bad feeling on either side that they would never have the opportunity to patch things up.

It’s undeniable that it can really work, using your blog as a soap box to name and shame people who cross you in business. However, even though Bob got the desired result much more quickly than he would have by threatening court action, it didn’t feel good to him. He was left feeling that he had compromised his customers by airing a private work grievance in public, and it had brought out a side to him which he would rather, in retrospect, have kept offline.

So, this makes me think blogging and drinking have a whole lot in common.

It’s easy to go out and get drunk, only to suffer later, just as it is easy to post up angry articles shouting about other people’s professionalism. However, in the days that follow, you may regret your actions. Just as you can’t undo the last two shots of tequila from the night before, so it can be tough to delete posts that have already been read, responded to, and shared across the web.

What’s your view? Would you do the same as Bob?

Please share your views in the comments below.

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6 Responses to What Being Drunk Can Teach You About Blogging

  1. Barry Wheeler September 6, 2011 at 7:06 am #

    I read this a few times. It’s very easy to make that post and then regret it later. It’s a lot hard to repair the damaged relationships and damaged reputation on both sides.
    Barry Wheeler recently posted..Social Media is a Fad Right?My Profile

  2. Felicia September 10, 2011 at 7:52 am #

    Hi Andrew,
    I can totally relate to your experience – of being happily tipsy and then end up the next day having a splitting headache! On Bob’s story, I believe that he has the right to vent up his anger, but he didn’t have to mention everything in his blog. He can just name the non-payer (just so to warn others), tell us what exactly happened, and then move on. It is just a waste of time to ponder (or vent) on things that will not help us solve any of our problems in the end.
    Felicia recently posted..WPT Grand Prix de Paris: Seat draw for the final two tablesMy Profile

  3. fred
    Twitter:
    September 12, 2011 at 3:45 pm #

    LOL..I have done this so many times — Posted something at night, only to read it the next day in horror and erase it. “What was I thinking?!”
    Of course, this can happen from time to time when one comes home from the bar after being out with friends and you decide to hop on the ol’ internet… That’s where the real problem posts can come from! Some have suggested Facebook and Gmail include a breathalyzer feature for sending comments/posts….
    fred recently posted..Five Ways to Use Twitter for Social Media MarketingMy Profile

  4. Jane
    Twitter:
    September 25, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

    Writing something online can never be taken back. Even if we delete the post in our blogs, it would be already everywhere, given the hyperactive community in social media and bakclinks from other places.

    Venting our emotions on blog posts is not a great idea!
    Jane recently posted..The Buzz On New Apple iPhone 5My Profile

  5. Ana October 12, 2011 at 9:03 pm #

    I’d never do such a thing as Bob did. Although, it was a more efficient way to getting his money back, he is bringing a bad name to his blog. He makes himself “somebody who would do that”, and that is not something you want people to remember you by. Court should deal with that kind of stuff.
    Ana recently posted..Días Fértiles De La Mujer Para Quedar EmbarazadaMy Profile

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