Expectations Can Make Or Break You

I mused publicly earlier today about two recent mis-steps by high profile figures, and why the blogosphere came down like a tonne of bricks on one of them and not the other. As I was doing so, the answer came to me:

Musing about different expectations

Expectations are critical.

People have lower expectations of TechCrunch than they do of a well-regarded Forrester analyst. So, when one made a mistake, there was a chorus of disapproval. However, when TechCrunch published a rumour that Twitter was in late-stage talks with Google and was subsequently forced to admit it wasn’t true revise their story, there was barely a murmour. The expectations were different.

Take that thinking and apply it to yourself. It’s easy to type words into your computer and make youself out to be wonderful, but can you match the expectations you raise? Do you preach about bad pitches then go out and spam bloggers? Do you give advice on transparency but fail to follow through? Do you put yourself up as an expert when you have little experience?

I avoid writing about some topics, or write posts that question rather than advise, because I know less about them. On other topics, however, I’m more confident and am happy to write about them. 

Think hard, because if you raise expectations and you don’t meet them, people will react much more negatively than if you did the same thing without talking yourself up beforehand.

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  • Wow, talk about hitting the nail on the head with this, Dave.
    It does prove Techcrunch’s “fall from grace”, if you like, to newcomers like Mashable and ReadWriteWeb. Or maybe people are just getting tired of Michael Arrington’s attitude?
    Either way, expectations were higher for Jeremy (which is a good thing, albeit not in this case, obviously) and shows the respect he has carved out for himself.
    It goes without saying that you better know how to walk once you’ve learned to talk.

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  • we posted the story as a RUMOR and updated it within minutes to say that another source said the talks were early stage. We also broke the news that the two companies were in discussions over a search deal. To say “However, when TechCrunch published a rumour that Twitter was in late-stage talks with Google and was subsequently forced to admit it wasn’t true” is over exaggeration.

    As a blogger you should understand that the way news breaks is changing substantially. Our first post opened up new sources to us, and we clarified the story in real time. That’s something to be commended, not attacked.

  • Michael – that’s a fair point – the wording was a little harsh. I intended to focus the post on the different expectations between breaking news and analysis, rather than attack you.

    I’ve amended the post.

  • Your post makes me really wonder how disapointed people will be when they meet me in real life, cause everyone loves me online, but I’m sure I’m more disapointing in person.