I hadn't been on Facebook all day today. We're in the process of packing and moving into our new home and I still have a day job to do. So I was working all day, taking calls, helping my team, and didn't end up logging in until late in the day.
And there it was, in one of our private FB groups – a post about the managed WordPress host ZippyKid. It suggested that they were charging people for something that didn't make a lot of sense. Since I knew and trusted the guy who posted it, I was really curious.
But my spider sense told me that there was more to the story. We'll come back to that in a second.
This one time, on the VMA's…
This past weekend I was in Birmingham, Alabama – speaking at a WordCamp. On Sunday night as a buddy of mine drove us back to Atlanta, my twitter feed was full of tweets about NSYNC and Miley Cyrus. Turned out some twerking (look it up) was going on.
The next day tons of folks wrote and commented about it. I didn't have time for it, because, you know, I have a life. But as I saw tweets of article posts, all judging the child, that same spider sense kicked in again.
The story is bound to be more complex than a girl just wanting attention on her own. I bet managers and promoters were involved in “suggesting” this strategy. I wouldn't want to hire those managers, but I just bet there's more to this story that a bad mom and a dumb girl.
We won't come back to that story (I can't believe I just wrote about Miley Cyrus on this blog!), but you'll see the theme.
This one time, supporting a WordPress plugin…
Last week a guy was frustrated because his plugin wasn't working. It was a plugin that a friend and I wrote. And because he was frustrated, he took to writing public tweets about his frustration. Gotta love that – even if I had given him my email address to contact me.
Did he know there was more to the story? System upgrades, the need to adjust code, the fact I was on a 9-day combination business/personal trip with several speaking engagements (all while trying to coordinate a real estate transaction, packers and movers)?
Nothing triggered his spider sense because he only knew his side of the story.
Last story – promise.
This one time, when I was a kid…
A guy wanted to kill me. He thought I'd said something about his younger sister. He'd heard it from a friend of mine – who swore I'd said it. I hadn't. But there was no time to tell the guy I hadn't said anything about his sister because he was coming after me.
I did what any other junior higher would do – I walked into the office to wait things out. Plus, who kills another kid in the office with a bunch of adults around?
Oh there was more to the story there, but it would take a while to find out the entire backstory.
What do all these stories have in common?
The thread that runs thru all these stories is that there was more to the story than what I knew. Additionally, the reality is that the story turned into a different story once I understood more of the story.
In the case of ZippyKid today, I sent a quick note to the CEO asking him if what I was reading was accurate. He was quick to dig into the situation and find out that it was an anomaly and then just as fast to get online and explain what happened.
I think more than a few people were surprise to learn there was more to the story.
There's another thing that all these stories have in common: drama.
When we only know part of the story, it's easy for there to be all sorts of guessing, speculating, talking without facts and more. That's too much drama for anyone's good.
I can only imagine what would have happened if I would have responded to the tweets.
Do what your mom told you
So here's my parting advice. These are three things you already know. I'm writing them for me too!
- If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.
- If your friend jumps off a bridge, you don't need to do the same.
- Don't judge a book by its cover.
I told you they were things you already knew. But trust me – they'll keep all the drama away. And they'll help you take the road less traveled, the high road.
A tip for the WordPress community
Circling back to the Facebook post that started all of this, I wrote a comment there that is applicable here. See the issue is that we're all really quick to assume that some vendor has messed up. Especially if it's a vendor we're not currently advocating. It's called confirmation bias. And every one of us can fall into it.
- If it's a host you're not a fan of, be careful not to assume the worst.
- If it's a plugin developer that changed their pricing, be careful not to assume the worst.
- If it's a theme marketplace that normally has crappy themes, (see what I did there?)
Don't make assumptions simply because they fall inline with your existing bias. Go out of your way to validate what's going on. Ask questions. Contact the source. In this case, I contacted Vid Luther (who's a good dude) and I'm glad I did. The context he added, turned the whole story around.
And above all else people, assume the best of everyone.
Sure, you could be wrong, but it's better than the alternative.