Friday, November 30, 2012

Town Team Gangs up on Tonbridge Blog!...

Blimey I wasn't expecting to be swiped in the face this morning by Susan Adams with whom I have had many a polite and friendly conversation with over the past few years that I've been in business. The only thing I can say to Susan is to ask her respectfully if she has actually read the piece that I posted a couple of weeks back on this blog? If she had she would have realised that, despite admittedly having a bit of a dig at the Town Team/Business Alliance the post is actually brimming over with some positive suggestions of how to put the £10,000 to use. If there are other comments attached to the post which she's taken exception to then that, I'm afraid, is what you call freedom of speech. It's why blogs and social networking sites have become so popular because they allow people to express their true feelings even if the price is sometimes a virtual smack in the face. So long as it stays the right side of legal and decent then it only serves to the good from where I'm standing. Susan suggests that I might learn that good business practice is not to "continually" moan on about the town. Well, again, if she actually reads the blog instead of just forming a general opinion of it then she would also see that the proportion of moaning articles to positive, entertaining and frivolous is actually quite small. In any case there's nothing wrong in moaning sometimes; it can have the effect of getting things done if, as my post was, backed with helpful suggestions. I'm still waiting to see a list of the Town Team's suggestions or are they still in a committee room somewhere discussing them?!..

8 comments:

Elizabeth James said...

I agree with most of your comments about how the money could be used although your views are sometimes expressed quite robustly! Completely support your suggestion of using an empty shop for local producers. And what about local artists and crafts people? Surely it would be better to use some empty space to subsidise / showcase local producers of many kinds.
I could also suggest that some money is spent on advertising/publicising some of the fantastic things that do take place in Tonbridge. If you live in town but head off to work every day it is really quite challenging to find out the details. Simon Armitage reading poetry last week at Tonbridge school is a prime example!

Paul Bailey said...

You can hardly accuse the Town Team of "ganging up" on you TB, after just one letter in the Courier, even if the letter is from someone who has been trading a lot longer than you have!

I actually think Susan Adams has a point about your continual moaning about the town. Past referrences to shops and businesses closing have been somewhat sensational in character, and sometimes widely off the mark - witness the post about Beales closing; a story that ended up being robustly denied by the chariman/owner of the company himself!

Sensationalist reporting is all well and good for the "gutter press", but surely Tonbridge Blog is above that? Unfortunately confidence, or lack of it, plays a substantial role in how successful businesses ultimately are. If people even start to perceive a business is in trouble, they tend to look elesewhere for their goods and services. Think back to the fiasco over Northern Rock at the beginning of the financial crisis. Customers were queuing up outside branches to withdraw their money, not because the bank was in trouble, but because it was rumoured (and therefore perceived) to be in trouble. The same applies to the currency markets, where confidence REALLY is ecerything.

A little more circumspection would go alongh way!

Tonbridge blogger said...

I make no apologies or being slightly robust and/or sensational at times. It's what draws people in to read the substance of any particular article. So long as I don't go over the top, and I try hard not to, I think that's justified. Of course, what is going over the top is always a matter of interpretation. So it's a bit of a constant balancing act. The example you have mentioned PB is a bit of a low blow because, while I did mention Beales and others, I think you'll find that all the others did actually come true or at least had been considered, and there were rumours going around about Beales. All I did, as I recall, is report on these rumours which customers in my shop were mentioning. Perhaps you think people like me should be gagged and just leave all news reporting to the BBC and newspapers. We've seen what a great job they've made of it! Maybe you're right though PB but I like to think that the "moaning" posts are more than balanced out by the frivolous, entertaining and up beat ones. Check back over the last year or so and see for yourself. Maybe you can grade them for me on a scale of moaning like hell to nicey, nicey. Another point is to look at the comments. You'll probably see that anything controversial, moaning, juicey or sensational attracts far more interest. It's just a fact of how we humans are....

Tonbridge blogger said...

And by the way I completely respect Susan Adams and the Town Team/Business Alliance for having their right to say bad things about me although it is only their (or maybe just Susan's) opinion. I'd encourage them to say something on this blog or on twitter though instead of waiting three or 4 weeks to see it appear in the Courier's letters page by which time there's already been a half page about the break in at Mr. Books.

Outraged said...
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Outraged said...
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Outraged said...

Third time lucky!
The Town Team Aliens, from their parallel universe, out of touch with us Earthlings, could do worse than spend an hour in Mr Books to learn about good customer service. Next, locate a certain shop we call a "Newsagent" where, it will be noted only the controversial topics are reported, (cos bad news sells newspapers)! Keep it up Mr Books! We are relying on you to locate where our ten grand is going! Anyway, what's happening about the High Street grot spot, namely the Rose and Crown? The frontage is a disgrace, where has the Lion and Unicorn gone? Now for the good news, Thank you TMBC for the Christmas lights and firework display on Sunday, it was a good evening out. Hey, was it a trial run for the High Street Pedestrianisation? It worked a treat!

Paul Bailey said...

Press freedom is rather a touchy subject at the moment, with our glorious leader in a tither as to which way he should go on this thorny issue. However, in answer to your question TB, I have no wish at all to gag you, and as for leaving all news reporting to the anti-British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), words fail me!

You still appear to have missed the main point of my argument though, namely perception doesn't always reflect reality. You can point out the number of good, positive posts, praising the town and its achievements until you are blue in the face, but unfortunately, because of what might just be a handful of negative posts, Tonbridge Blog comes across as being moaning and hyper-critical. Not all the time, of course, and we all know the old newspaper adage that good news doesn't sell papers. We also know that people often dwell on the bad and gloss over the good. That, unfortunately, is human nature.

Perhaps there is something in our national psyche which makes us a nation of moaners and whingers, or do people genuinely feel un-represented and not listened to? Are people becoming more cynical in their outlook because of this? I know I am, and I suspect I am not alone.

ps. Nothing personal in any of this TB, and in these troubled times the town needs more than ever an independent voice, such as your own, to speak out about the issues of the day.