Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Navigating the Rumour Mill

The rumour mill has always been difficult to deal with.  If you lived in a small town in particular, the effects could be devastating, but at least you usually heard the rumour and knew where it came from.  The bigger the place you live, the more likely you may not hear what is said about you.  It can affect both your business and the personal relationships you have available.

When I first started writing for Vancouver Fashion eZine, I would occasionally hear that negative things were being said about me at insider parties I didn't attend.  It was hurtful, but there really was nothing that could be done except keep working.   I decided not to start a little black book, to treat those people who "supposedly" made the comments with respect and see if things improved.  As a former hot-head this was really difficult for me, but in the long run it paid off. Things said at a private party when everyone is drinking don't always reflect someone's true character and we ALL have moments of indiscretion - I know I am guilty. It's also impossible to know if it was REALLY said, if it was taken out of context or if someone is just stirring up trouble.

As I got to know more people in the industry, I grew to have a great respect for most and to develop friendships with many. I know I'm not perfect and need to improve (just ask my family) so others shouldn't have to be perfect either!  My best advice to anyone in the industry -  let's have coffee, clear the air and find a way to move on.  Sometimes when you talk one-on-one and hear their side, you see it in a whole different light and it makes a lot more sense.

With the advent of Facebook, Twitter and other social medias, the rumour mill has taken on a life of it's own and can be devastating in a far larger capacity.   One person puts the information out through Twitter, etc., and off it goes around the world like a virus.  Many times the "expert" putting it out there has no real knowledge other than what they have gotten off the social media network.   It reminds me a bit of the old fashioned party game kids used to play called Telephone.

This recently hit home on a more personal note during my launch of the Vancouver Fashion eZine student incentive sales.  One brave student informed me they were told by a student from a different school that after last year's incentive sale finished, I did not follow through and publish the bios of those who met the challenge.  I am so grateful for that person who had the courage to let me know and can't thank them enough.  How do these rumours start and what does the perpetrator get out of it?  (For those who have heard this rumour and need confirmation, the bios are in the May 2010 edition - tab reads "From The Editor - 150 Word Bios.")

More than anything, this was a real reminder for me personally to not believe the things I hear and read without checking their validity. Information comes at us so quickly now and the world is changing constantly.  It's so very easy to just take it in without screening it first.  Somehow we all need to find the time to double check what appears to be fact and make sure the source is accurate. As much as possible, try not to be the perpetrators.  Check your facts before you send it on and try to talk with those you're upset with.  Most of all - "Do No Harm."

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