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Viewpoint: Spoiling the broth with a “bad” post?

by Randall Craig on September 11, 2015

Filed in: Blog, Blogging, Make It Happen Tipsheet

Tagged as: , , , ,

It’s amazing how a “different” perspective-type post generates a ton of feedback.   Two years ago I wrote a post on how to become invisible on the web.  The post described how to remove your footprint, guard your privacy, and generally how to avoid being digitally targeted.

The post also generated a firestorm of comments – here are a few:

  1. “I thought your blog was about how to use Social Media in business.”
  2. “What am I missing?”
  3. “Why tell our customers about these links?”
  4. “You’ve pulled the pin and handed the grenade to our market!”

So in reverse order, my responses:

4) I don’t really think I’ve pulled the pin on the grenade: I would say I have shone a light into a murky and difficult area, and have challenged those who use the digital channel to smarten up.  My call to action was relatively clear: This week, look at how your organization uses data, and decide whether you are being transparent enough with your users.

3) Why tell our customers about these links?  Am I really telling them something that they didn’t already know? If they didn’t know about them already, they can find out easily enough.  Separately, my blog is more focused on organizations, not individuals, so there really is very little downside in sharing the information. 

2) What am I missing?  Perhaps two things:

  • This post is a wake-up call for marketers – there is a definite counter-trend against the social networks and “for” privacy. The law has recognized it, and so have social media venues – two reasons they all now provide delete me links.
  • If a particular prospect resents creepy data mining techniques or presumptive marketing, then it will definitely impact their relationship with you  – and in their eyes, your brand.  So why not acknowledge this particular segment, help the prospect do what they want to do anyway, and earn a bit of their trust along the way?  The question shouldn’t be What am I missing, but rather How do I market to the web-invisible segment?

1) I thought your blog was about how to use Social Media in business.  See above.  But let me also share why, after over a decade writing the Tipsheet each week, I continue to write it.  Yes, it helps generate awareness, and I suppose that it does bring in business.  But writing the blog helps me explore many of these issues in greater depth, so when asked, the thinking has already been done.  And it helps position me as an independent and objective expert.

This blog is not really about social media, but rather it is on how to rethink marketing and engagement using strategy, technology and design.  And any particular post is about a specific aspect of it – and how to translate that knowledge into action.

This week’s action plan:  What goals are you trying to accomplish with your blog?  The goals should be both for the blog as a whole, as well as an individual post.  This week, spend time reviewing your blog to see whether in fact what you write is keyed to these two goals.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)  Professional credentials site Web strategy, technology, and development  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders



Randall has been advising on Digital Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of eight books, including Digital Transformation for Associations, the Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business, and Social Media for Business. He speaks and advises on Digital Transformation, Digital Trust, and Social Media. More at

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