It's a lovely Sunday afternoon and you just visited you favorite municipality's Facebook page. Unfortunately there's been a service interruption posted, so you are disappointed with the fact that you will have to wait until you can take your family for a wonderful afternoon at the local recreation facility. Big deal? For some, yes!
In the meantime, the backwaters of Facebook have been churning out some pretty nasty stuff not just about the service interruption but some of the staff that can't seem to satisfy everybody's recreational desires (at least on this afternoon). All of a sudden, the 40 foot giants with pseudonyms bark-out and call-out as many people as they can get their hands on. Geez. That's not nice, you think to yourself as you do your best to consider that "stuff happens" and for the most part your municipality does a great job of offering great services in so many different areas.
As the roving hoards converge on social media something very interesting starts to materialize. I call it self-policing behaviour. Just when you thought that rage couldn't get any greater more and more people pile-on in opposition to the invisible giants of social media. They defend the municipality's honour, they express an understanding that seems almost impossible. In the early days of the WWW and social media, some taught to immediately tear down any negative comments, but it's been proven that this is exactly the wrong thing to do because it breeds suspicion and reduces your organization's ability to be transparent through open debate (as hideous and vile as it may be).
In 24 hours, what initially felt like a dagger to the heart of a hard-working organization has been saved by the good guys that have the decency to jump-in and allow life to happen, even if it's not always perfect. While it sometimes makes you wanna scream, being patient is usually the best medicine to move everybody forward. (no spoons full of sugar required 😉