The German rules of engagement online

A few things happened recently which made me realise I wanted to note these bits on the ‘rules of engagement’. Germany and Europe is full of rules and expectations. I am not entirely sure whether they always follow these in other locations, but in their own countries the hefty fines ensure there’s rarely an out. I’m a big fan of structure and process, considering they can enhance productivity. But I am constantly finding limitations of rigidity as well.

the rules of engagement in communities: my Google+ story

I want to write this whole Google+ story down. But I’m going to show you. I joined a Content Marketing Group on Google+, which frankly is really good. People share wonderful insights and the discussions are quite enriching. I do not regret joining the group, and was often using posts from this blog as discussion starters. But often someone would kill the discussion with a rule they remembered and got offended.

 

Rules of engagement in Europe
Rules of engagement in communities

the rules of engagement: my German bloggers’ story

Firstly, there are few people in Germany who want to blog or understand blogging. I have been writing to several bloggers mainly for co-creation and brainstorming. None reply. Obviously because, how can they reply to a strange Email, that too, God forbid in English. Additionally, my colleagues recently pointed out that, I’ve not been using ‘Frau/ Herr Last name’ in my Emails which offends them. Using a first name is killing people apparently. And I write in English, not German. I pointed that out too. And apparently the usual response is that, oh, we’re conservative. I think it is not that. I think very few bloggers who mostly come from traditional media backgrounds (or mindsets) only, and have such high demand in absence of casual bloggers leads to them affording to behave like this. They don’t even think there’s anything wrong in not communication, after all, it’s a favour, right?

Unfortunately, blogging like most other communication tools is relationship based. These are generally not one sided. I refuse to believe that they can’t see that the medium by itself is not based on formalities and knowing the exact steps to bow in front of the Duke when he hands you the Wimbledon trophy. It’s far more earthy and organic as a communication platform. And if a blogger doesn’t get that, they don’t understand the mechanics at all. Why are you blogging professionally, if you can’t take Emails from strangers or be addressed in a non-German way? For the lack of a stronger word, that’s just being unfriendly. There’s nothing cool about that.

 

Rules of engagement: love begets love
Rules of engagement: love begets love image via

the rules of engagement: my Whatsapp story

It has happened several times before, but not everyone is a texting regular and I understand it. I do think a personal- meet and greet medium is the best. But there are times, when I know the person is busy where I’d send a Whatsapp message because I am so eager to share something and don’t want to wait to get to a phone call. The response I received was: Whatsapp messages sound like a to-do list and I do not want more at that end of the day. It just annoyed me, even after I slept over it. The result was I didn’t feel like communicating anymore.

 

The point I am making is this: We make rules, processes and best practices to improve the engagement. They are pointless if they come in the way of the engagement or communication itself. It’s nice to have people obsessed with rules, structures and perfect ways. However, there’s no point in these definitions, if they hinder what they’re trying to make perfect in the first place.  Because most human beings don’t behave like machines following a set of perfect protocols.

 

was it good for you
image via

 

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4 comments
  1. I am wondering your blog & how the hell I landed up here!! Maybe too much internet for today. 🙂 But I am an Indian also in Germany from some time can share this! Just say or do what you want to say or do if someone replies then good otherwise forget & move on. I don’t keep expectations & also vent myself out. It keeps my life lot easy & stress free. 😛 Heard this thing during childhood if you like can keep it with you; though it was in Hindi but will give you the translated one. ‘If you are having too much of tension just share it with someone it helps YOU’ 😀 😀

  2. Yet you expect others to agree to your rules of engagement? It’s fine that you were annoyed but I wonder is it not more annoying to realize that you can’t communicate without a medium like whatsapp?

    Engagement elicit reactions that no one can predict. I agree that professional bloggers should change their ways but calling them by their last name or first name is irrelevant. I am sure you have your own pet peeves when it comes to some engaging with u( and not you). But in a private communication who write the rules of engagement? You?

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