In today's world where everything is about marketing (not necessarily telling the truth) there is a theory among the hucksters that all negative comments, criticism, and probing questions, should be avoided at all costs. They feel comfortable taking this tact, and referring to anyone who isn't in the "happy" box, as a "troll."
I'm therefore, a troll. I ask questions, I point out lies, puffery, and other marketing tactics that are nothing more than an attempt to make money the dishonest way.
I'm a problem. I literally, just won't just let things lie.
Well, here's another truth, avoiding the truth, avoiding answering questions that may knock a few points off your perceived "personal brand," just makes things worse.
Recently I was looking to book a hotel. I went to Trip Advisor. I love this site. I read the reviews. There's a couple things I look for. One, the number of positive reviews. I really don't care what they say after the first few, but the number is important.
Then I look at the negative reviews. I read more of those. I notice that mostly, the negative reviews come from people who ask for special accommodations. "We had a party of 35 and didn't all get to stay on the same floor like you said maybe, possibly, could happen." "We got in at 2 a.m. and there weren't 9 people at the desk to help up." Most negative reviews appear to be from people who will never be happy. Some, though, are relevant - the ones about noise, cleanliness, food quality, to name a few.
Finally, I look to see if anyone at the hotel responds to the reviews. If they do, they move up a notch with me.
But last week I noticed something interesting. I saw one hotel where the responses were only to the positive reviews. "Oh, thank you so much, we're so glad you love our wonderful hotel......." Every negative review was left without a response.
I won't stay there regardless of the positive reviews. I know a marketing huckster advised this hotel to only respond to positive comments, and ignore the "trolls."
So this troll won't be staying there.
This behavior is growing on the internet. Lies and deceit don't work well with questions and criticism, so it's ignored.
The next time you're online, watch how people ignore anything that makes them unhappy. Ask questions, and watch who responds, and who cowers.
There's a ton of posts on the internet about responding to negativity. Whatever they say, there is no substitute for taking criticism and questions head on.
It's what real lawyers do.
Non-anonymous comments welcome. Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. He is the author of I Got A Bar Complaint.