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BLOGThe Power of a (Broken) Promise

by Randall CraigFiled in: Blog, Blogging, Communication, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Social MediaTagged as: , ,

Have you ever been disappointed, frustrated, or annoyed with an experience with a person or organization? In today’s always-on digitally-connected world, suffering in silence need not be your only option.

You can Tweet, Blog, post to Facebook, create a YouTube video, do an annoying TikTok, write on a review site or even create your own complaint site. You can galvanize your network by sharing publicly – perhaps for the first time – the nature of your grievance. Especially when you’re in the right, you can wield this digital weapon powerfully.

But should you?

Once your complaint is public, it can never be retracted: What if you were wrong? Or you didn’t have all the facts?

It’s true that many organizations have staff monitoring Social Media, and that many are empowered to head off crises, but still: once the complaint is out, it’s out. Before you hit the “submit” button with your grievance, here are six questions that you should ask yourself first:

  1. What is the point of your post: is it to accomplish something specific, or merely get some emotional satisfaction?
  2. Are you sure of your facts?
  3. Imagine that your manager reads your post – what would they think? And if it were your parents reading the post – what would they think?
  4. Imagine your post appearing in the newspaper, or on a billboard next to your home. Are you comfortable with it?
  5. Could your post provoke a legal response against you? Sometimes posts can cross the line: does yours?
  6. Ten years from now, how might your post be interpreted by others? You don’t want the “tomorrow you” to appear small-minded and petty. (Thank you Google.)


This week, test these questions whenever you have an important message to send.  (Even for private messages and internal communications, these questions are just as important.)

Special note: As you may have guessed, I was recently disappointed by someone who did not keep their commitment. It was tempting to send a blistering note about them into the blogosphere, but cooler heads – and these six questions – prevailed.

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