There are a couple of instances where it can feel like the loneliest place in the world inside of the WordPress community. Being a solopreneur, a one-person freelancer, or one I’m familiar with, publishing news in the WordPress sphere.
Employees and company owners are happy as hell and more than willing to give you their time to tell you all of the things they’re working on, releasing, updating etc. But when they or their company screws up and let’s face it, both are not perfect, and it gets written about, you’re now no longer their friend or at the very least, looked down upon.
It’s funny to me because companies have more resources than ever to control the narrative of the story. Between social media, blog posts, and podcasts, a company has a chance to right wrongs as quickly as they are able to and if they don’t it’s not the journalist’s problem, it’s the company’s.
As an employee or founder, the only thing I’d expect from a media representative is to be fair. Give me a chance to explain my side of the story and what we’re doing to make things right. I’ve tried my best to do this in the past and it’s something I’m continuously working on. Meanwhile, Sarah Gooding at the Tavern performs this role as her civic duty. You can see in every article that she writes that she’s being fair and presenting all sides of the story that are available. What more could you possibly want?
In these moments of negative press for a company is where someone in Sarah’s position can feel like they’re the loneliest person in the world. Writing negative press about a company is difficult because we know that employees’ and customers’ lives are being affected. It’s not something we take pride in doing but it’s part of the job. You can form personal relationships with these people but when it comes to affecting their company’s bottom lines with negative press, well, suddenly things change.
It’s incredibly difficult to forge friendships with the people you write about without negative press suddenly turning the relationship sour. On the one hand, you have someone that’s doing their job. On the other, you have someone very upset that the other person is doing their job for the benefit of the public at large.
When it comes to negative press in the WordPress scene, it’s generally a lose-lose situation for the writer and the individual or business being written about. One of the exceptions is when negative press provides the necessary pressure on a company to do right. For example, paying employees money owed.
All of this to say that writing about WordPress news, especially the business side of things is tough and if the writer was fair in the coverage they provided, then don’t throw a fit. Deal with it and work within the comments and through all of the tools available to you as a company to turn things around. The character of a company is largely determined by how they act when shit hits the fan, not when everything is going well.
The job is not for the faint of heart and it makes you feel lonely as hell.