Thick Skin

When someone is in charge of any sort of medium that interacts with an audience, customer base or really any other people then it is expected that the person running the show will have a certain amount of understanding that not everyone you present your project to is going to agree with you. In fact, some right rip you to shreds over it.

For example I run this website and I know that not everyone is going to agree with what I say here, I will not always write about things that everyone enjoys, I may not talk about things people wish I talked about, and so on. I can not please everyone all the time. That is just part of life, right?

This is true also in businesses, professional environments and personal project environments. It is just how things go.

I have several email addresses, some connected to this website and many of them are not. I keep them for various reasons and sort out what places I use them for, for specific reasons. What can I say, I hate spam.

I have been online since the mid-1990’s before the internet became a huge thing and everyone got online. I was here before Google, Amazon and in the day when it was the average every day nerd that had websites – not companies. I was one such nerd.

This gives you enough background to understand my thoughts on something that happened recently. Don’t worry I’m going to tie this all together.

Before the days of Amazon and in a time when the Blink tag was a thing, Mailing Lists were also a thing. These were in many forms, such as group conversations between many people on one topic, to very formal newsletters being sent out from one person to several hundred. I used to be on several mailing lists back in those days.

I went in search recently to see if some of those mailing lists still exist. In that, I found that a couple of them are still around and still doing their thing. They make money by writing stories and inserting ad space into their articles. They often use third party services to handle their mail processing.

The email address I planned to use was one I do not normally use for such things, in fact it is an email address I have hardly used for anything over the years but only recently started using it again. So I went against my better judgment and signed up for two of those mailing lists feeling like I could trust them.

Naturally that means I made a mistake. The spam rolled in the following day. Luckily I have good filters on that account. Still, this bothered me.

One of them I trusted more than the other, and I cannot say why without getting specifically into it, but lets just say that they felt more trustworthy because of the type of subject matter they cover and that I was very familiar with them. I had been with them from the start in days of old and through many email addresses. They shutdown for reasons unknown but now that they are back I am still with them. Somehow I managed to not miss anything over the years because they were out of commission during the same amount of time I was not subscribed because of email changes.

Anyways, I decided to unsubscribe from the other list, the one I felt had possibly sold my email address to spam companies.

When I unsubscribed there was a comment box asking why I was leaving. I stated the following:

Because I’ve had that email address for years with no spam, then suddenly.. spam right after I sign up to this. No thanks.

I was not trying to be rude. I was honest and to the point. I did not swear, nor was I trying to write defensively. I knew the situation was my own fault. But I did state the reason, that I felt they were the reason I was getting spam. They had the comment box there for that reason, so I simply put in my thoughts.

I will say that this particular mailing list is one that has been going for longer than ten years. They seem to have a good enough reputation. However the evidence just really pointed elsewhere for me. Coincidence? I do not know, I can not be 100% sure. But the timing sure felt like it was.

Now if someone is running a mailing list of over ten years it is probably safe to assume they have received many offensive comments, many rude readers and other such conflict. I know this from personal experience as I did once run a newsletter for this website for a while some years ago and having this website online for 17 years has also been An Experience. It is an experience that at times does require a person to have thick skin.

You can’t make everyone happy all the time. That’s just a part of life.

And, most importantly, you should not include a comment box on your page if you can not handle getting feedback that is negative or less than praise. If you ask for feedback from me, you will get an honest answer, that is just how I am.

So a couple of days later I get a reply from the owner of that mailing list. I figured he would link his privacy policy or state I was wrong in some manner or another. After all, I might be, I have no real proof that he sold my email address. The timing was very coincidental to me. But what if some company from 3 years ago I signed up with just recently sold my email address to a spam company? Who knows for sure, right?

I open the email to get his reply. I apologize but because I can not prove anything one way or another I am keeping the name of the company and website involved in this private for the sake of making an important point in this blog. This is the reply he sent me:

Please see: [link to privacy policy]

There is NO WAY I could be in business for 20 years with a sterling reputation if I was criminal enough to sell customer e-mail addresses. THINK about it!

It took me 2 seconds to discover where your leak was: you posted your address [name of hobby website, website is linked]. Duh.

I wrote back to him explaining that there is a portion of my email account name that is used in an forum name on that hobby website. That if he clicks into the link he posted, he would see that it is not at all my email address, but just a portion part of my email that is used as a posting name.

For example (just randomness, not real email): If someone uses the email address JoanLovesGinjiDude1234@[whatever].net and if said person uses the username JoanLovesGinji on a forum – that does not mean their email address was posted. They just use a part of their email address in a forum name.

If that person had bothered to actually click into the link they tried to use to prove a point, they would see plain as day I did not post my email address on that hobby site. I am not an idiot. I have been online since the 1990’s and do not at all post my email address anywhere.

They clearly were just trying to make a point, without properly researching to see that their example was wrong. But anger and knee-jerk reactions does that to a person.

Not only was his response rude but also very unprofessional. Telling me to “THINK about it” and using “Duh” but not even bothering to look at what he posted back to me or he would see he had no point at all. I know for a fact this person is older than me, yet their reply sounded very childish, not like someone who is running a business.

A quick response like his with the words he used and not bothering to even check out the source he posted puts a focus on him replying in an emotional fashion and not at all thinking clearly. It surprises me to get such an emotional response to what I said. This is the internet were rudeness runs rampant and hiding behind an anonymous name allows a person to swear and say whatever they please. What I said was very tame and to the point. Surely, he has gotten more offensive comments than mine.

I did reply back to him. I clarified to him the point about the email not being posted. I also apologized for my hasty comment in my unsubscribe to his list in that I could not prove it was actually his list that started the spam I was getting, that it could have been another list. I left it at that. I did not comment on his behavior. I figured if he really was ragging on me for such a non-aggressive comment to the unsubscribe than he must be having a bad day or something, so I just was neutral and let it be. No need to fan the fire, people with tempers are not worth aggravating further.

Did I reply in anger? Rudeness? With swear words? With Duh in my post? Nope. Not at all. I even admitted the possibility that I could have been wrong, because quite frankly I could be as mentioned above. We are all human.

And now though I will get to the point here…

Do I have something to sell? Is my career based on a website and mailing lists? Do I sell books on amazon and have ads in my mailing list? Nope. I am sadly not a successful person in that way. However he is… if I was such a person, then I perhaps would consider being kinder to the people that write to me because even if I disagree with them, maybe some day they might end up buying my stuff and supporting my business. Politeness goes a long way, people can still disagree but come to a neutral point.

AND… if I did not have thick skin, could not handle the criticism, did not like people disagreeing with me, or people unsubscribing from my mailing list for either real reasons or assumed reasons… I most certainly would not put a comment box asking people to tell me why they unsubscribed.

But that is the very situation that he is in.

In light of writing this article I greatly considered using this persons name, however I am not one such person that wishes to began a war with someone who has an obvious temper. Instead I looked around online and funny enough… there are enough people out there writing blogs about this guy and upset with this guy to make up for me not saying who it is.

I also felt that in light of that situation, that there is a greater point to be made in all of this..

My point of this all is to say that behavior towards others online matters when your entire lifestyle, career and business is entirely built online. I believe that you reap what you sow and karma will come to those that behave in such ways.

I also would like to say that behavior towards others online matters in other situations like informational, friendly, casual, on websites, on forums, in live chats on streaming sites.. it all matters how you treat your fellow man.

At the end of the day I have to say that the most awesome friends I have are the ones I have online. I’ve never had better friends than those that I have right now. In 2012 I flew to California to meet one, who is moving near where I live and I may get to see them on a more regular basis soon. This is a friendship that started online and feels like a life long friendship now.

How a person treats others online matters, be it in business or casual conversation, to strangers or to friends.. because you never know when a stranger may become a customer.. or a friend.. or a significant other even.

And really, that is my whole point of posting this. In a world of internet anonymity.. behavior still does matter. We are all human behind the keyboard.

That’s it for me, until next time.. love yourself, and each other.



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2 Responses to Thick Skin

  1. Icey says: 2.0 o.o
    This is going to be the besy blog ever.
    Keep up the posts-we’re all listening!
    -Some random middle schooler that has emailed you previously.
    (Tell the AIBOs I say hi!)

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