Interactivity: They’re just people

I never cease to be amazed how flummoxed media people can get over having to interact with the public they serve.

The common mistakes they make are to think that communities do not need tending (your real communities do, why wouldn’t those online?) and that communities should be judged by their worst elements (every town has its criminals but not every town is full of them) and that there’s nothing you can or should do about it except complain (don’t just drive by the crime, people, call the cops) and, finally, that we all need to be told who the bozos are and protected from them (we all have good bozodar, don’t we).

But I see news people throwing up their hands at the first nasty troll who enters a conversation, ready to abandon it all. It’s like owning a restaurant and when a drunk disrupts the diners, rather than getting rid of the guy, you just close the restaurant. No, you deal with it. And you don’t concentrate on that drunk. You concentrate on all the nice, civilized, happy diners you’re serving. Right?

I’ve just seen a flurry of posts from people trying to give advice to flummoxed media types. See Ryan Sholin, my former and present colleague Kevin Anderson, and Mark Potts. [all via linkmeister Stabe]

My earlier advice on interactivity is here.

And note, for amusement, the Journal-Register of Springfield, Ill, declaring today a bad-mood-free day on its story comments. Note, though, that they don’t take comments on the story about comments.