I was fairly disturbed about the Stepables fight while reading it and although I did check back a few times (I don't usually do that), I had forgotten about it by the next day. But then yesterday as I strolled through my neighborhood garden center, I saw the familiar Stepables display and instead of thinking I should eventually buy something to go in the cracks of the concrete by the porch like I usually do, I was reminded of the slanderous attack that the Stepables (OK maybe that's harsh but I'm trying to be interesting here) guy made on the sweet innocent Garden Rant girls (GR's, please send the check to my paypal account. ha ha). And that got me thinking about e-reputations and whether or not us e-gardeners need to be concerned with them or not.
Now, I fully admit that I did not pay really close attention to the sequence of events in the Stepables versus Garden Rant fight but maybe I'm the typical reader who we should watch out for.
I read something recently that said people normally won't read past the first 10-20 comments on a blog post and depending on what was covered in the GR's first comments, the reader could be left with 1 of 2 bad impressions. (1.) The Stepables guy is mean therefore Stepables are bad and we should not buy them or (2.) the Garden Ranters are swindlers who will say good things about a product only if you pay them to do so. I hope it's neither but I'm just trying to illustrate a point.
For the most part, garden bloggers seem to be pretty protected from the types of conversations that can leave the reader feeling negative. In general, blogging about gardens isn't really an emotionally charged topic and about the most heated debates you'll find are "daylilies, love em or hate em" and the old heirloom versus hybrid debates.
If I remember correctly, the Stepables guy is not the Stepables founder - he's just marketing the product which I find even sadder. I wonder if the Stepables founder even knows that some dude she thinks is helping her company has made me identify the Stepables product with this mean guy. Then again, maybe I'm the only person who over-analyzes things like this. But think about it. Now I've typed that brand name a million times in this post and it's possible that somebody will google Stepables, find my post and decide not to buy the product. I'm not trying to say that my blog could ruin a brand but I am trying to say that garden bloggers do influence product sales. To what extent? Who knows. And not only do we influence product sales but the way we write influences the success of our blog.
Like it or not, we've got e-reps to protect. There are some blogs that are, by design, more edgy and controversial compared to the average garden blog. In fact, I'm picturing the Garden Rant girls wearing the pink lady satin jackets from Grease with Garden Rant written on the back looking extremely cool. But for the most part, we're all just trying not to piss off our readers, which I for one find a challenge sometimes.
Here are my questions for you:
- What impression were you left with after reading the Garden Rant post in question?
- Will that post influence your decision to buy or not buy Stepables or to read or not read Garden Rant?
- Do you consider your blog a "brand" whose reputation you are concerned with? Or are you just in it for fun and could care less what anybody thinks or if they ever come back to read your blog again?