My kid stayed home from school last Thursday as did 3/4 of his high school. Not due to illness or bad weather, but because someone threatened to shoot his school up on Twitter. The police located the teenager who had a grudge, but not any weapons this time. The police are not only charging the kid with inciting terror, but sending his parents the bill for all of the extra policing. How they calculate the value of 2,500 kids staying home from school for a day I have no idea.
I know that seems a strange segue to miles and points, but stick with me. The episode got me thinking about personal responsibility and stewardship in the age of blogs and social media. It’s surreal that one tweet affects 2,500 families, but that’s our new normal.
Miles and points is a strange space to write in. In one sense, blogs and social media are public, but in another, we operate as a tight knit community. Most bloggers in this space are making profits off of a product that has the capability to ruin lives if used improperly. And most of us deal in “secrets” as our stock and trade.
Most of us do this responsibly.
However, a few bad actors have outside influence and the ability to bring the entire house crashing down. To quote myself:
Selling credit cards while also selling “travel is free” is like selling a bag of tools to a customer who doesn’t understand basic construction. It’s just like ACME selling TNT to Wile E Coyote. You just stand by and wait: eventually he’s gonna blow himself up.
The collateral damage is not limited to those saddled with credit card debt. Another kind of TNT exposed its ugly head this week. A “blogger” (and I use the term extremely loosely) decided to market his access to high-status hotel benefits in a public forum. He was promptly (and correctly, IMHO) outed on a major site for doing so.
This same “blogger” has a reputation far and wide for being “that guy”. I’ll just let that statement stand on its own merits.
Normally I wouldn’t waste my time writing about the gum on the community’s shoe. However in this case another series of events quickly transpired. Whether these events are related is open for debate. However, the fact that they took place less than two days after the outing is, well, notable.
The second series of events included a very, ahem, interesting phone call I received from a major hotel chain. The person on the phone (in an opaque way) tried to tie me to the same unasvory marketing tactics.
His tenuous game of connect the dots consisted of the fact that I wrote about how a number of friends gifted me hotel nights during my remodel last year. The hotel involved wholeheartedly accepted the gifts I received and no one was deceived. When pressed, he immediately backed down, but the call was awkward to say the least.
Which brings me back to stewardship.
What anyone in this community does affects the rest of the community. Period.
I’m all in favor of some type of community HOA that could evict bad actors, but unfortunately I’m not aware of a way to make it work.
I don’t claim holy ground on the “bloggers kill deals” battlefield. That said, I am keenly aware of the responsibility of both what I say and what I do NOT say. Again quoting myself:
Nice people are travel hackers, too. In fact most of us are really nice people! You just might have to go out of your way to meet us in person because- like in real life- usually those who scream loudest on the internet have the least to say.
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