Friday, September 05, 2008

How To Agree, Disagree And Remain Friends On Twitter: 3 Unique Perspectives

Now you might wonder what all this has to do with packaging, but the point is that the discussion errupted over the issue of green or environmentally friendly packaging. I was defending packaging as an industry and pointed out the environmental pitfalls and consumer misperceptions. The story goes on from there......

How To Agree, Disagree And Remain Friends On Twitter: 3 Unique Perspectives

This is a rather long post but well worth the read. As we all discover the benefits of social networking there are some dangers to recognize too. Please learn from our experiences and incorporate our mistakes into your own social networking repertoire. We hope you will share this will colleagues and fellow Twitters and feel free to tweet us your thoughts and feelings.

JoAnn PackagingDiva's perspective on how to agree, disagree and remain friends on Twitter.

Regina, Michelle and I learned a lesson this week: Some things you just can't discuss on Twitter. It started innocently enough two colleagues with like minded interests discussing a common topic the environment. It seems like such an easy issue to cover with pithy insightful comments but we soon learned it was more difficult to express our opinions with clarity than we first thought. To make matters worse third parties were weighing in with additional commentary on our dialog so following the conversation thread became quite convoluted.

As I'm sure you are all aware anything to do with the environment is a very complicated and touchy issue. As we tweeted innocently our dialogue escalated and became "touchy" before we even realized that each was misunderstanding the others thought processes and intentions. Fortunately we are both savvy people and recognized that we couldn't resolve our discussions or explain our thinking in 140 characters allowed on Twitter.

We agreed amicably to move the discussion to a different forum more private and that allows for more one on one interaction as well as unlimited expression of ones thoughts.

I love Twitter, I use it faithfully every day, its garnered me friends and gotten me business too. But it has its limits as we found out today. Twitter is fun, exciting and very intense. If it's serious discussion you want you need a different forum. The important thing is to recognize that now all issues are "Twitter worthy." Either they are too complicated, too involved or too private to tweet about at length. A hot button issue like the environment is very emotional to everyone so If I had to do it over I would not delve so far into the topic.

Lessons learned:
Don't monopolize the bandwidth with your private discussions;
Think before you tweet on topics that are sensitive;
Always keep the door open no matter how heated the discussion might become;
When discussions become too intense move them to a different forum;
Lastly think before you tweet where your discussion thread might ultimately lead.

You are tweeting with purpose so agree, disagree but always remain friends with your Twitter buddies.

Happy Twittering from your Twitter friends saravsoap, drflower and packagingdiva.

Happy Packaging!
JoAnn Hines
Packaging Diva
All Packaging All Of The Time

I package people, products and services. Get started in the right direction by visiting any one of my web sites for free advice, articles or just plain help. You can ask a question to a packaging expert too, list your packaging request, subscribe to my complimentary newsletter Packaging News You Can Use or just visit my web site to ask me your packaging question. I *will* find your perfect packaging solution!

Personal Web site:
Corporate Web site:
Packaging Help:

Michelle sarvasoap's perspective on how to agree, disagree and remain friends on Twitter

We're all using Twitter to achieve our goals. Camaraderie, networking, and promotion are the top three for me. From my perspective, camaraderie must come first. If we don't have that, how are the other two even possible?

We all come from different backgrounds, believe in different things, have different areas of expertise as well as inexperience. But we all are working diligently--much of our work utterly invisible to the Twittersphere--on things we only have 140 characters to "plug". Tweets need to pack a punch in order to get noticed.

I'm a meditation instructor and yoga therapist; as such, I watch my thoughts a lot. This was a fabulous opportunity to see how my mind, emotions, and nervous system got involved in the unfolding events. With such enticing tweets flying by, there was plenty of room for me to insert my own interpretation into whatever I read! And I did indeed react quite negatively a few times. Ultimately I took my ball and stomped home!

sarvasoap NOW I am crawling back under my minority freak rock. Oh this stuff frustrates me. Off to focus my energies in a healthy way. The environment is a topic of deep passion for many people, myself included. Nonetheless, when we're only fed bites of someone else's entire experience, more information is needed before we try to engage in truly meaningful interaction. This isn't a time to react. It's a time to RESPOND.

In situations like today's, I'm reminded of the early discussions of Netiquette. Perhaps Twitter needs its own rules of conduct.

Here are my ideas:
1. As JoAnn and Regina say, take it off Twitter. Exchange email addresses or find another means of interaction.
2. Stop for a second: Is the tweet really the meat of the topic, or is it a "news headline" DESIGNED to get a reaction from you?
3. Know yourself. Are you having a bad day? Reactionary to the topic at hand? Then cool off first.
4. Don't publicly tweet anything you wouldn't say to that person's face at a dinner party.
5. Don't publicly tweet anything you wouldn't want to receive yourself.
6. Make sure you have all the facts before you respond. Remember these are just snippets, not the full story.
7. If you tweet publicly about a heated topic, ask, "will this benefit the greater good or just scratch an itch I have?"
8. Keep your goal in mind. Why are you tweeting? While Regina feels she may have butted in, I personally was happy to see someone else jump in and add to the conversation. I was appreciative of her apology but found it unnecessary.

My response to her was,
sarvasoap @drflower no apology needed. No hard feelings. Passionate topic, not same as argument to me. Betters all of us. And, really, if we're here jointly sharing what we learned, isn't that true? We're all better for it. Thank you, Regina and JoAnn, for an enlightening afternoon, and for your friendship, which wouldn't have happened if not for Twitter!
Michelle Gilbert
Sarva Natural Artisan Soaps

Regina drflower's perspective on how to agree, disagree and remain friends on Twitter

It's NOT always simple to get your point across in 140 characters per post. Especially when the stakes are high. We are talking about our environment. Keeping cool every sec on this issue is just plain tough! Here is what was said:

sarvasoap Have ordered samples of new packaging materials, looking forward to trying them out. Recycled and fair trade.

packagingdiva @sarvasoap keep me posted on what U think. One of the topics I'll be covering @ the Avery Dennison marketing seminar is the reality of Green

drflower @packagingdiva hey Avery- the green train is leaving, you gonna jump on?

packagingdiva @drflower I checked out "green" train. Major misunderstanding about the role packaging has to play in society and the environment & what ...

sarvasoap @packagingdiva say more re: the uninformed green train.

drflower @packagingdiva I'm with @sarvasoap please elaborate :)

packagingdiva @drflower GT says fancy, flashy packaging is designed to do little more than grab your attention, is also expensive. Read

sarvasoap re: Packaging. I'm not an expert OBVS, but there are people who care more about green than about glitz. The minority, but they are out there

drflower @packagingdiva I don't want a true debate here on twitter regarding green packaging b/c I'm NOT in the know. I'm a soaper. BUT...

drflower @packagingdiva I'm also a frustrated parent opening toys for my kid-sigh at the many boxes/bags from a bulk Sam's prod. item ie granola bars

drflower @packagingdiva It's not clear cut to be sure but getting folks to think about packaging - You DO! greentrain needs YOU! ;-)

packagingdiva Having so much fun with Twitter survey almost forgot Packaging Tip Of the Day: Don't package "green" unless it integrates with your brand.

packagingdiva @drflower @sarvasoap the debate is not whether U should use environmentally friendly materials its about the truth of the eco pkg itself.

drflower @packagingdiva "truth of the eco pkg itself" - not quite with you unless you mean I give a damn about our earth therefore I package green!

packagingdiva Retweeting @sarvasoap: @packagingdiva are you out to get me??? ;-) Just helping you to make informed packaging decisions green or not.

drflower @packagingdiva goodness NO - not out to get you at all! but not understanding clearly...

packagingdiva @drflower example to explain - did you know making corn based plastic uses more energy than oil based? Is that an environmental win overall?

drflower @packagingdiva I've gone back thru tweets to the beginning of this thread. I mentioned greentrain in the midst of your convo with sarvasoap

drflower we have differing opinions on green packaging, I'm more than ok with agreeing to disagree. Your sources on green pkging have been a big help

drflower @packagingdiva @sarvasoap perhaps we've found a spot where twitter isn't the best communication method. please accept my apologies

packagingdiva @drflower The packaging part is vey complicated and its more than just saying packaging is green. That's the message I was trying to convey

drflower @packagingdiva corn based plastic is technically very difficult to compost/biodegrade also..i'm aware and DO read your links.

packagingdiva @drflower Apology accepted though not necessary. I agree its vey hard to discuss something in 140 that takes hours to explain. DM email plz.

drflower I know the lines are messy with green packaging. Same is true of safe cosmetics vs. all the fees for FDA testing. NOT simple subjects...

I really like JoAnn's point of "Think before you tweet on topics that are sensitive." JoAnn (Packaging Diva), Michelle (Sarvasoap) and I (drflower) went down a slippery slope on the topic of environmental packaging. When you look at the posts chronologically, I actually butted in when JoAnn was offering help to Michelle(sarvasoap) regarding green packaging and her upcoming seminar with Avery Denison. I hope that JoAnn and Michelle will forgive that. It's really easy to do on twitter.

As a joke that didn't come off as expected, I took that opportunity to mention the green train which has the purpose of promoting environmental awareness. JoAnn was really trying to point out that some "green" marketing products are not in fact as green as they seem. She's posted many an article from twitter saying just that. I personally have learned many important facts from her posts regarding environment and upmost about packaging. I even mentioned that twitter was not the place to have a debate but continued on with my points. Perhaps twitter isn't a bad place to start a debate but the trick is knowing when to take it elsewhere. Respect of your fellow "tweets" IS important. Perhaps they didn't want to hear all the banter between JoAnn and I.

Can you unfollow a person for a short time?
Who says you can't spend time on twitter or any other means of communication to talk about the issues that matter?

My concern with Twitter is that I truly believe that JoAnn and I agree on this specific issue MORE than it even seems in our "twitter debate". How do we show that? Say move to another tool like facebook where you see each post one after the other allowing for longer than 140 characters?

Social networking might give us an avenue to hash these thoughts "touchy" or otherwise and actually get to the meat of the matter. If we can do that, solutions will be right behind!

Thank you JoAnn and Michelle for your friendship. It happened from our Twitter network. Thank you Twitter!

Dr. Flower's Essentials, Inc.
A Natural Handmade Soap line


Blogger Regina said...

Nice blog post! lol

It's been a pleasure getting to know you via twitter, JoAnn.

9:22 AM  
Blogger strutz said...

I love your article on Green Packaging! -Green Train

7:38 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home