Image by Carf
A month ago today I got the news that AdSense was making changes to their referrals program that would (in my opinion) be unfair to publishers living outside of some parts of the world. My reaction to this news was one of anger and disappointment – my post that day reflected this with the closest thing I’ve written to a rant for a long time.
A week later I was still disappointed in the decision that AdSense had made and couldn’t see the sense in why they’d made it – I felt they’d made a mistake. My anger had dissipated a little but I still felt strongly about it. I felt my rant had fallen on deaf ears and was ready to give up and accept the decision.
But a small voice in my head told me that there must be a way to make my point and I set myself a task to come up with a post that would have more impact than an angry rant.
I decided to take my own advice and to brainstorm ideas for a post using Mind Mapping. Initially I thought I’d write an open letter to AdSense outlining my logical reasons for them to change their mind. But my ideas progressed….
I won’t take you through the full process that day but after 15 or so minutes of brainstorming I decided to write AdSense a love letter, to declare my love for them but also to share my ‘broken heart’.
The result was:
My attempt with the letter was to do quite the opposite of my first angry rant. It was to attempt to use humor to highlight my points.
The impact was swift. I’m sure it wasn’t completely as a result from my letter but within hours of it going live I’d heard from two contacts at AdSense that it had been passed on to the team that makes these kinds of decisions. A couple of days later word came through that there were changes to the policy being pondered. Then I heard that they were about to be made public. I drafted a second Love Letter in response.
I share this story not to big note myself – while I know my letter was read and had some sort of impact I know that other bloggers had their say and fed back their thoughts to AdSense also. No, the reason I share this is because it taught me a great lesson about the power of humor.
What I realized is that my rant didn’t leave much room for a reaction from AdSense. When you communicate something in anger or aggression it makes it difficult for the party that you’re directing your message to react in any other way (this is something I learned in conflict resolution training). In many cases all a rant really does is get something off your chest – but it puts things on someone else’s chest which can lead to them either to escalate the conflict or ignore you.
However when you communicate the same points with humor it is less likely to put the other person on the back foot and it gives them room to react in a more constructive way. Humor can still be used to make a point – but it’s more subtle and less confronting.
I still do think that there’s a place for a rant – but I think in future I’ll consider pulling a humorous post out of the tool belt before I got for the rant option.