All of a sudden I am really wordy again huh! *giggles* But I was just reading something interesting in the Etsy forums. There was a discussion over feedback being left for someone that was more about a post they made in the forum rather than the item purchased. Several people said that what we say in other areas online is an extension of our business and it reflects on us so we should be held accountable. They didn't understand why people always separate the two.
I sat and thought about this for a bit. I find that an interesting notion to be honest. Now I know our opinions can be colored by what we hear or read of someone we are thinking about making a purchase from. But should it be and if so, to what extent? I like to read other artist's blogs for various reasons, but rarely does what they say color my choice to purchase or not purchase from them. That's not why I read them. There are a lot of people out there that I find really nice, fascinating and fun people that I will probably never buy from for any one of a thousand reasons that is no reflection on their personality or how I feel about them. There are also a few people I don't care for personally, but since they didn't offend my moral or ethical code I might buy from them because I like what they made. I wouldn't buy from someone I knew by their own admission was harming animals or people, but that's a little different.
When we go out into the world and buy things in stores we have no idea for the most part what the store owner or the manufacturer of the product is like, especially if it's a big company. But yet we don't hold them accountable for what they say in their day to day conversations. It has nothing to do with our choice to buy something. Human beings aren't perfect. I am sure many of the things in our homes come from people who do all sorts of despicable things we don't agree with. It doesn't take away from our enjoyment or use of the product.
While I agree we should try to be professional, where did we come up with the idea that everyone online with a small business has to be held accountable for every word they have ever uttered or in this case typed into cyberspace? People have bad days, they are misinterpreted so easily and sometimes they simply have personalities we don't mesh with. It doesn't take away from what they make if they make a quality item that we like. We are buying their product, not them.
I am also curious why are customers actions not scrutinized so hard as well? Clearly some people set out with the intent to ruin another person's business by their actions for various reasons. Some people can't seem to just tend to their own and live and let live. They have this erroneous notion by ruining someone else's business theirs will do better. I don't know where that idea came from either. I never worry about any one else's business or if their sales are better than mine because it has nothing to do with me, and there is plenty to go around in the end.
The internet is a funny thing. We tend to judge things so harshly on here. We also react harshly to what we read, especially with other people. I was dimissed immediately in the thread and told that my logic was faulty and that I was wrong by several people. I guess the fact that I have been in business for nearly three decades where I met the customer face to face and never had a problem doesn't count for much, because Etsy is afterall the end all be all of selling online right? (That was sarcasm in case you weren't sure! *winks*) For the most part those customers didn't want to know every detail about me even when they were standing there talking to me. They were more interested in knowing about the bear they were thinking of purchasing. Kooky huh!
In this trend towards cafe culture people seem to want to know every detail about the artist they are purchasing from. I think what we have to stop and ask ourselves is can we really get the full impact of any given personality online and are you wanting to buy something or make a new friend? If you are tracking down every word they have typed online before you buy, then perhaps you have larger issues. Maybe you should back slowly away from the screen and seek help for stalker tendencies. I guess the only way we can protect ourselves would be to stop talking online all together, but I am not willing to do that. If you're going to judge the merit of my work based on what I have said, then you are missing out because obviously anyone who makes teddy bears can't be all bad. We have to have a warm fuzzy side to us in there somewhere in order to make what we make now don't we?
Keep that in mind the next time you are about to make a purchase and stop because of something the artist may have typed somewhere else online at some point. Would you want artists tracking down every word their customers have ever typed before they sell to them?