One Big Web 2.0 Influence Mistake That Will Ruin Your Reputation


On Friday, I tweeted a statistic Tony Robbins revealed while being interviewed by one of Success Magazine’s writers.  The statistic is related to the number of people who won’t follow through on the resolutions aka goals they set on New Year’s Day.  Tony said, “98% of the people who set resolutions will give up within six weeks.”

As you may imagine, I tweeted Tony’s comment because it seemed like useful information to share.  What happened afterward was absolutely mind blowing!  A guy retweeted my tweet but added a link to it without my approval.  I was displeased with this twitter user’s blatant disregard of etiquette, and I immediately tweeted a message politely requesting that he refrain from such behavior.

Seconds after tweeting my message to him, two other twitter users retweeted his message of my tweet with the link.  I sent the same message requesting that they not retweet my message with a link that I didn’t approve.  Both of them quickly deleted the message and apologized.

However, the original perpetrator didn’t delete the message. Instead he retweeted my request with the question, “How would I know?” My question is this, “How would he not know?”  I sent him a message letting him know my tweet didn’t have a link in it.

Then he tweeted a  message that read, “I don’t add links when I retweet. Is your posture what you teach your clients?”(sic) I was shocked and began to feel angry!

My next message informed him that he did add a link and I would be showing a screen shot of it on my blog.  In a split second, he tweeted a message to me that read, “ahh I added a link because the quote associated with which is not yours one was liked.(sic) I apologize you are correct.”(sic) But wait!  The story doesn’t end there.

A few seconds later I tweeted a message agreeing with the fact that the quote wasn’t my own.  My message read, “right.  i quoted tony robbins.” He retweeted this message and added, “…And I’m saying that [insert link] is about reversing those stats.”

So the message read, “RT @Ron_Hudson: right. i quoted tony robbins.  And I am saying that [insert link] is about reversing those stats.”

If you had seen that retweeted message, would you have concluded that the entire message came from me?  I’m sure most people did.  So, in response, he made the situation much worse from my perspective, not better.  He had now connected my name to a link of which I had not approved… twice!

Moving on.

Initially, I thought about blogging about this incident the day after it happened.  Obviously I decided to put off taking that action because I felt it unwise to act out of anger.  I also decided against posting the screen shots for four reasons:

  1. It may appear retaliatory.
  2. It would, once again, publish the link he was promoting by attempting to borrow my credibility.
  3. Regardless of his behavior, I don’t harbor any hard feelings and I don’t want to ruin his reputation, although I did stop following his twitter updates and blocked him to avoid a similar situation.
  4. Generally I give people the benefit of the doubt and believe that no harm was meant by their action(s).

During the course of this interaction several people tweeted and direct-messaged me regarding the inappropriate actions of this twitter user.  Most were bothered.  One was outraged, as was I.  Thanks to those of you who offered your advice and kind words.

Let me conclude this post by restating the obvious…  It’s a big mistake to use another person’s credibility to drive traffic to your site, without their permission, on twitter or otherwise.  This is similar to stealing a person’s identity or brand.  There are many things that can ruin a person’s reputation and, I would have to say, this is one of them.

With your success in mind,

Ron

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