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I don’t adore you, I pity you…

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Another Hero Has Fallen

I know that many of us have written or read posts begging for “niceness” in the blogsphere, and I am sure many of us are tired of hearing the constant rants regarding the big meanies that tend to live to trash other people. I’ve read yet another ill intended blog last night, and I’m frankly sick of it. I have yet to figure out what benefit an author of these type of posts receives. In this case, it was a writer who I have ignored their past attacks and concentrated on the positive contributions (which were many) that I’ve seen them articulate. They were the single author that I had followed on this particular blog, because the sum total of the other posts were usually, simply nefarious. It is inconsequential to you the reader, or to the blog itself; but I have promptly removed this last blog author from my reader.

If you only had a heart

In reading this latest blog I had to ask a question. Does the author of these hateful posts realize that the target of their insalubrious writings have families? They are people, who in most cases, are simply trying to provide lodging for their families and groceries for their children? In this case I haven’t a clue about whom the rant was and don’t care. I am curious as to when we, as blog writers, were knighted to ride the white horses and slaughter the heretics, who may not think as we do!?!?! Is there any consideration to why the feel they must emasculate another? There is no evident benefit to the author, other than attention for the obtuse individuals who comment on such posts in support. Why squander the gift that has been bestowed on you, to articulate thoughts into words or writings on such articles?

You are the sum total or your surroundings

We’ve heard the programming phrase ‘garbage in; garbage out’ frequently, but do you understand what that means? We are the sum total or our influences, in many cases. If I were to continue to surround myself with angry and nonconstructive writers and articles, I tend to believe them or at least to be influenced by them. I also tend to be judged with them. Guilt by association, so they say.

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Who influences you?

I am incredibly honored by my affiliation with AgentGenius.com. I feel that I am the least deserving of the other writers to able to post my musings in this venue, and daily learn to be and do better by reading this resource. However, if I found that the other contributors to this platform were able to use it as a venue to launch unprovoked personal attacks on any other person, I would readily (and quietly) retire from this group. (I am thankful that I have yet to see such behavior here.) There would be no loss from the great contributions made here, but I would not want to be related to the kind of rampant negativity found elsewhere. I am relatively young to this writing opportunity and don’t want to be over-reaching, but I wouldn’t want readers and friends to think that I supported the source of degradation that is allowed elsewhere. I think a village is made up of it’s citizens and I would challenge writers who try to contribute; yet remain separate from their platform, to realize that readers don’t recognize the difference.

Not just another plea

I know that I’ve used blogging as a platform to ask other writers to simply be nice, and this is not another plea to those writers. This is a recommendation to other readers to start spending your time reading and dwelling on blogs that actual benefit your career and take a stand that you will not support those who enjoy harming others. There is little value to be gained, even in the best post, to tolerate the school yard bully who terrorizes another and embarrass another in front of their friends and families just for the hope of increased comments and webtraffic. Is it really that important? Even if your flaming another because you don’t agree with their words, personal attacks are simply the result of one who typically can’t debate a greater issue. Surprisingly enough, many of the web-terrorists I’ve seen are much more capable and intellectual than their gutter based personal attacks. They could effectively debate issues, but they choose the easy road and simply attack the person.

Debate is a terrific benefit of communications; personal attacks are the unnecessary evil of the same venue…

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Written By

Matthew Rathbun is a Virginia Licensed Broker and Director of Professional Development for Coldwell Banker Elite, in Fredericksburg Virginia. He has opened and managed real estate firms, as well as coached and mentored agents and Brokers. As a Residential REALTOR®, Matthew was a high volume agent and past REALTOR® Rookie of the Year & Virginia Association Instructor of the Year. You can follow him on Twitter as "MattRathbun" and on Facebook. Matthew's blog is TheAgentTrainer.com.

22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Mariana Wagner

    April 12, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    A lesson I have had to teach my kids … You are judged not only by the people you choose to be around, but also by the people you choose NOT to be around.

  2. Matthew Rathbun

    April 12, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    Mariana,

    I think most of our parents teach this basic principal to us; I just think the “freedom” of growing older makes us forget those basic principals…

  3. Mark Daugherty

    April 12, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    My parents often told me that if I didn’t have something nice to say, I should say nothing at all. I usually heard that when I was bickering with my siblings. Your post reminds of their comments, and more importantly the intent of their comments. They were trying to teach me that negativity will only lead to more of the same. They were trying to teach me to offer solutions instead of complaints. You sound like my parents.

  4. Vicki Moore

    April 12, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    When you lie with dogs you get fleas.

    Occasionally when heated conversations get out of hand disparaging comments are made. Unfortunately lately it seems to be more common than not. We all may need to take a deep breath and give ourselves five minutes’ timeout before we spew or respond to it.

  5. Matthew Rathbun

    April 12, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    Mark, I hope you like your parents, they sound like great people 🙂 I do tend to sound paternal when I write.

    Vickie, you struck me, in your writing, as a peace maker. The taking a deep breath has been a personal failing for years. I tend to want to use my God given quick wit to pound the other person. All that ever results from those quick responses are more battles and people getting upset with me.

  6. Russell Shaw

    April 12, 2008 at 11:45 pm

    Sorry to disappoint you. I do understand how you feel. My goal was not to upset decent people.

  7. Matthew Rathbun

    April 13, 2008 at 5:50 am

    Russell,

    The words of a song “You’re so vane, I bet you think this song is about you, don’t you” ring in my head 🙂

    I tried to be as non-direct as I could, but you’re actually one of THREE this week that I have read and felt that they were better than their post.

    I (better than most) know how much I wish to articulate my displeasure with someone who has offended me, and my zeal for righteousness may become overwhelming. It occurred to me that this very post wasn’t much different than your own. I think it was more piercing because of the talent you’ve shown in so many other writings, and my encouragement of others to read you.

    However, I am just waiting for some writer who is more creative and smarter than I, to use their blog as a platform to eviscerate Matthew Rathbun, for something that someone didn’t agree with. I don’t want my three daughters to stumble on it while on-line, I want to maintain respect from my wife and certainly don’t want my career harmed.

    I’ve made my mistakes, and changed greatly over time. Everyone says or does something unpalatable in their lives. We need to learn (myself very much included) how to be constructive and engage in healthy debate and separate the person from their mislead opinions.

    Now, I am off to church to ask for forgiveness for all the many stupid things I’ve done this week to hurt others….

  8. Greg Cremia

    April 13, 2008 at 7:31 am

    I don’t know about the blog you are talking about but some of the mean blog posts are written as “link bait.” The idea being that people will link to the blog which helps in rankings.

  9. Broker Bryant

    April 13, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    Mathew, All of us have had one get away from us. I try to look at the larger picture and take in the writers true personality. Some are just always “out to get” others and some just slip up, myself included. We know it’s wrong, we fight the urge and then in a moment of weakness BAM! it’s out there for the world to see.

  10. Matthew Rathbun

    April 13, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    Bryant,

    I actually had a interaction with someone today and gave me a different view of this topic and of it’s author. I agree that I should be using more grace in my own white horse ventures. My own post and comments have certainly ran off on their own in the past. Great comments!

  11. Heath Coker

    April 13, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    Another version of Mariana’s saying is, “You are judged not only by the people you choose to be around, but also by the person you choose to be.”

  12. ines

    April 13, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    I will never understand personal attacks – but I can understand when these are meant to be funny……although the “inside joke” is often lost in translation.

    I will tell you one thing, I much rather see a negative post about me, than a coward going behind my back trying to ruin my reputation with anonymous spamming and trying to blacklist my domain.

  13. Larry Yatkowsky

    April 13, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    Even the nicest, most decent dog when in a pack, can turn and exhibit a fierce disposition. It’s an unfortunate event for there is little chance of post-pack rehabilitation.

  14. Genuine Chris Johnson

    April 14, 2008 at 5:17 am

    The problem with a lot of the RE net is it’s sterile and purile.

    It becomes a popularity contest, in lieu of a place to submit ideas.

    There are a lot of bad ideas floating on the RE net. And to call them out is to educate people. But people have a wafer thin sense of proportion, and think a disagreement is the same thing as an insult.

    Hard to do.

  15. Larry Yatkowsky

    April 14, 2008 at 9:45 am

    Genuine,

    In this business of real estate after a few years you get a pretty thick skin – you acclimatize to accept a lot of things. But this form/style of the calling out is untenable. I see it as disrespectful, sensationalistic sabre rattling. It is counter productive in educating for the goal is lost in the vitriole. Reflect if you will, on the impression the message left with you. How were you educated?

    While your position “to call them out is to educate” is a reasonable premise and one I accept as valid, the scholarly difference being made in the above comments is that this style of “calling out” has properties similar to getting your head smacked with a baseball bat.

    The sweet spot is that the messager has power if you choose to listen. Should you choose to disconnect, you destroy the power. I’m unplugged!

  16. Gabe Sumner

    April 14, 2008 at 9:56 am

    This post intentionally omits details which makes it hard to put in context.

    However, any blog author who addresses a moderately-sized audience learns what all other authors learn…people are critical. Sometimes cruelly critical. The Internet allows this even more than ever.

    I had a past post of mine make it to the lead page of large social networking web site. I had around 5,000 viewers in 1 day and was called a lot of names.

    I suppose I didn’t really think much of it though. Some of those people had some legitimate points buried in their rants. Others had nothing valuable to offer at all. For me, this comes with the territory. If I don’t want to deal with this, then I shouldn’t publicly state my opinions.

    If you’re blogging then you must feel a need to be “read” or “considered”. That’s why we do this right? I understand that in an ideal world you would qualify your readers and any feedback would be civil and polite. However, we don’t have that luxury. This is “all” or “nothing”.

    Straight to the point; if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.

  17. Jay Thompson

    April 14, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    Anyone that has done this long enough has likely fired off a post or comment they later regretted. But when a particular writer, blog, or group blog consistently spews vitriol, it gets old. Fast.

    I’ve removed said blogs and writers from my feed reader. At first I thought I might miss something doing that.

    I’ve missed nothing, and gained a lot.

  18. Genuine Chris Johnson

    April 14, 2008 at 10:40 pm

    Larry-

    Calling out a person is one thing; saying “You are stupid” is a big deal

    Saying, “Most agents don’t sell three houses a year–that is stupid” is something you can vet and understand.

    Saying–also: “A lot of mortgage loan officers were complicit in fraud,” Again, calling out.

    People (even RE netters) are asleep;. You have to cut through the fog. Making ad hominem attacks isn’t cool, but letting people off the hook for muddy or dishonest thinking isn’t cool either.

    So what’s a guy to do?

  19. Larry Yatkowsky

    April 14, 2008 at 11:37 pm

    Genuine:

    “What’s a guy to do?”

    At all times maintain decorum, good taste, fairness and reasoned consideration in your word-smithing. Little civility remains in this world! The challenge to us all is to accomplish our goals of communicating with something other than a gun. The power of the English language and the nuance of its words is incredible. Use it to your very best ability. Blogs are a wonderful forum that is unprecidented and unique in allowing us all to aim high to be our very best amongst our peers. They are for the most part unfailingly forgiving of our indiscretions when we slip – and we all slip! I sense that within the Genius community there is not one amongst the many who would not stoop to help should you be in need.

  20. Bill Lublin

    April 15, 2008 at 3:52 am

    Matthew – Always take the high rode- and I know you do

    Gabe- Sorry I disagree with you – taking an action on my part (blogging) does not excuse bad behavior on the part of another – Nor is the anonymity of the web an excuse for being a bully or a racist, or a hate monger of any sort – that’s just bad- and it demeans the room when those bad actions are taken

    Larry – Well said – well thought, my only regret is that you said it before I could (though I would not have said it as well) 🙂

  21. Gabe Sumner

    April 15, 2008 at 10:14 am

    Hey Bill,

    I’m not saying it’s right; I’m simply saying encountering “ugly behavior ” is a side-effect of posting public material.

    It’s fine to have a philisophical discussion about polite conduct, but you will never be able to fully qualify your audience or their reactions. So again, I’m not “excusing bad behavior”, I’m merely stating the obvious; the obvious being that “ugly reactions” are a natural side-effect when you gain a sizable audience. If you can’t stomach this, you shouldn’t stand on a public stage.

    I also believe it is important to trust your audience. If someone is making an ass of themselves, I assume other readers can see it. In most cases, it isn’t necessary to intervene. Ugly behavior has a way of turning in on & destroying itself. You just have to give it time.

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