Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Monitored By Pearson Post: Thank You and an Apology

I've had some constructive input regarding my comments about Pearson monitoring students on Social Media. This is a follow up to apologise for any offense that the post may have caused and to thank Sarah Nagel (@sprout_sarah) for her input.

Last night I received some feedback regarding my previous post Monitored byPearson: Business Bias in Education. The feedback was from Sarah Nagel, someone who's views and opinion I have a lot of respect for. 

Sarah works at Sprout Social (@SproutSocial), an organisation that knows a thing or two about the issue in question: social media analytics as they help brands with listening to the chatter on social media, and have loads of advice for brands on how to effectively manage their social media presence. Sarah also helps out with #Cmgrhangout, which I attend and learn loads from.

Sarah questioned how I handled the situation and felt that the post was biased. So, how do I react to this feedback? And how do I fix any issues with this post and mimimize any damage or further repercussions? 

The Delete Dilemma
I only have two other occasions where I've had constructive criticism about social media/questionable content on my blog, which is a good thing (Unless no one is reading... or worse, not letting me know about any social media faux pas that I make!). But this also means that I lack experience with handling these situations, so I find it tricky knowing how to deal with them.

Should I just delete the post?
I did write these things and a lot of experienced Community Managers recommend that you should try not to delete Tweets, comments and posts if possible, as this can send the wrong message and do more harm than good.

Should I review and amend?
I was considering this option. But the post has proved to be quite popular, what would I do about the hundreds of people who have already read it?

Get defensive?
Maybe I could get all defensive with Sarah? I could try to come up with a raft of excuses regarding her advice, try to construct an argument on how and why I disagree with the input.

But Sarah made the comment "Not sure the right way to handle" in her initial Tweet, and I asked if she could elaborate, and she kindly offered some further comments.

These comments were critical, which is OK, I can handle that... But I'm not comfortable about how to deal with fixing the issue. What are my options to avoid this discomfort? Ah yes! Got it! Get all defensive with the person offering the advice! Great strategy, right? 

What a way to thank someone for being helpful, don't you think? ...More like a sure fire way of never getting any constructive comments from that person ever again! 

If I wanted to be all defensive I would highlight some of the posts where I have written in support of educators and am being just as critical of some business practices within the education sector.

HOWEVER, instead of citing previous posts as part any defensive stance for the person giving this valuable input... I think that this is the problem here, it's probably my knowledge that these other posts exist.

The Curse of Knowledge
After reflecting on this feedback, I think it's safe to say that I have been affected by "The Curse of Knowledge." I have made the assumption that everyone who reads this post will have read some of my others. 

Taken collectively (I would hope) that people would see there is the kind of balance that this one lacks... In one post I might question if some of the current business practices that suppliers use are as effective and efficient as they could be; in another I might question if and how educators could be doing more to help companies develop products that deliver value. 

But of course this may be the first post that some people have read... and it's perhaps not been the best introduction to my blog.

Digital Learner
Like most people, I'm still finding my feet with social media and content, so I'm going to get things wrong from time to time. I wanted the piece to be thought provoking, and to highlight some of the complexities and challenges that businesses can face when engaging educators. 

I have certainly experienced some of issues I mention in the post... But equally, as many educators know, I am also able to cite some some fantastic of examples of collaboration too.

Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word...
So, after weighing up all the options I've decided to take the advice from one of the best books I've ever read about working with people. In Marshall Goldsmith's (@CoachGoldsmith) book, "What Got you Here Won't Get You There" his advice when you get feedback like this is to;

1) Thank the person who gave you the input, and

2) Apologise

If I've missed the mark with post, or if the tone and content is not quite right... then I apologise.

Sarah thank you so much again for this valuable feedback! To any educators who have read this and felt it was an unfair or biased post, I apologise that the post has missed it's intended mark or has been in any way controversial.

I have learned from this experience and from following the discussion on the #Pearson hashtag.

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