learning lessons

Well, I had a brush with media yesterday — in an uncontrolled fashion.

A writer for one of the Dallas Observer’s blogs today called and spoke to me briefly. He wanted to interview me. Sure.

Instead, he just used info from my book’s site, a Dallas Morning News article that quoted me (yes, they did briefly interview me) and mashed it together with some humor.

It’s irritating because I don’t get the chance to say what I want, how I want. Not that I put anything online I am not certain about, but there’s so much more that can be said in conversation’s give-and-take that can’t be done with a passive online posting.

And the need to score guy-humor points is irritating. Why do guys always think girls are simply set-ups for their jokes? Especially if it involves sex?

The comments following the posts really take the cake. I don’t think anyone posting there knows me (pretty safe assumption). I’m ready to re-word the old adage “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” to “If you can’t say anything remotely intelligent, don’t say anything at all.” But then, I think the Internet would cease to be.

The joke stops being funny when it starts being you. Poor Britney. Not that I am unsympathetic to her decline but it’s got a new angle now. And Kristen, who is having her personal life examined whether she wants it or not.

The obvious answer: get a thick skin. Yeah, I know. Easier said than done, but I have pratice. I’ve gotten far worse in e-mails from guys responding to my escort ads. This time, though, there is a slight hint of being used. That adds a new sting. And, thinking like a marketer — how can I get this under my control again to give myself the most gain? That is why I’m out there in the first place. Let’s not kid ourselves about that.

This also gave me a rare insight into motherhood. How does my mother feel about her daughter’s choice to put herself into public view and possible danger? She must have very conflicting feelings. How would she feel to read those comments from strangers aimed at someone who is not a stranger to her?

And still, she e-mailed to let me know she heard my very short KRLD interview on the radio.

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11 thoughts on “learning lessons

  1. Gwen Masters

    I’m so sorry you have to deal with this. And ooooh, how your post hit a nerve of remembrance for me…

    I’ve been on the receiving end of snarky commenters who loved nothing better than ripping me apart (thanks to who I was dating, of all things — they had way too much time on their hands if they cared about MY life so much!). It helped to keep in mind that they really didn’t know what they were talking about, and they were a very vocal minority among all the people who read the articles or postings. It’s probably about one percent of them — but even one comment, aimed just the right way, hurts.

    The best thing to do is ignore them. If you try to bring it back under your control, you open yourself up to even more attacks. That vocal minority gets a perverse satisfaction in knowing they got under your skin. It’s probably best to just write off the publication that started the whole thing. Never grant them another interview or sound bite. You’ve got a good book, a good product, good things to say — you can promote it in many places, and you don’t need the negativity that venue brings.

    You know who you are. They don’t. You have the sense of respect and dignity they seem to lack. That puts you above the fray, and ignoring them keeps you there.

  2. Amber

    The obvious answer is NOT get a thick skin, and I always resent it when people dismissively tell me to do that. The answer is for people to not behave like total assholes.

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  4. Amanda Brooks Post author

    Gwen,

    Thanks for stopping by! And yes, I DO intend to not deal with this particular venue again. It’s not that I’m curing cancer or something, but I am a human and not a punchline. I really want that simple recognition.

    Amber,

    Great point. But how to de-asshole the world?

    XX

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  6. Jim

    Amanda,
    I was watching FOX News 05/02/08 and this picture of a very very pretty lady appeared. I don’t care what those news people think, you have the right to do what you wish. I will not be patronising any call girls in the near future though since the only one I would love to spend time with has retired. YOU ARE BE-UTIFUL!
    Jim

  7. CR

    I stumbled on your site and read this latest post. I have a suggestion for your problem. Actually, it is not a unique problem. Many people in business experience the same frustration about the press and how stories get reported.

    I once had acompany which grew very fast. I was getting interviewed inthe press several times a week. However, the stories rarely mention our company or if they did, they used a quote or topic which was irrelevant. Finally, I was dicussing this with our lobbyist and they nodded knowingly and dircted me to a PR firm. This firm put me through “media training”. Of everything I have ever learned while being in business, it is the most valuable and regularly used tools I have gained. There are very specific techniques and tools they can teach you so that your message is what is getting reported, not just anything the reporter decides to write.

    Also, everytime I am interviewed now, quotes I want published are included in the articles.

    Anyway, that’s my two cents … best of luck.

  8. Amanda Brooks Post author

    CR,

    Yes, I’ve wanted media training for the past year, but finding a good media trainer who will address my problems and is going to be sympathetic to what I want to say might be difficult. And affording it right now is a bit of a problem.

    But it’s very high on my list of business investments I want to make.

    XX

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