Gone with the Wind was one of my favorite movies growing up. I liked the movie so much, I actually waded through all of Margaret Mitchell’s novel as well (and the sequel by Alexandra Ripley, which in my opinion, was better than most people gave it credit for.)
It was “mealymouthed” Melanie Wilkes.
I found myself remembering the scene at the dance in Atlanta, when all the society matrons were angsting about whether or not it was acceptable to “sell” dances to raise money. When one of the Old Guard ladies announced “If Melanie Wilkes says it’s alright, then it’s alright,” it was a sign that they all accepted Melanie’s judgment as the final authority.
Scarlett was very good at attracting attention. But Melanie had influence.
In blogging and social media, it can be very tempting to pursue attention. And attention is not in itself a bad thing–in fact, a certain amount of attention, particularly from the right people, is necessary to obtain influence.
But attracting attention by creating artificial drama, stirring up unnecessary controversy, and throwing needless personal jibes at colleagues and competitors is a pretty short-sighted strategy. It’s certainly a lot faster and easier than creating genuinely original, thought-provoking, authoritative content.
Of course, some times in the middle of honestly trying to earn influence with outstanding content, you inadvertently fall into a hornet’s nest, and the unwelcome spotlight of attention that comes with it. When that happens, you generally fall only as far as your previous credibility will let you.
In other words, only Melanie Wilkes can meet with Belle Watling in the middle of the public street without fear for her reputation. People may complain about the “teflon reputations” of others, but the fact is, in this day and age, (and most definitely in the field of online marketing, which sadly has a somewhat sketchy reputation) you have to earn the benefit of the doubt by acting with impeccable integrity.
img courtesy familylife on sxc