Monday, January 28, 2013

A New Name For An Old Concept...

The term "Leaving a clean electronic wake" is a new way of verbalizing something that I've always believed.  I became aware of the phrase while reading one of my favorite Sail Blogs, thegiddyupplan.  It stuck in my mind and has been fermenting there for days.

Coincidentally, the idea surfaced again in the pages of the Premier edition of the new Cruising Outpost Magazine.  An article called "Cruisers Connect:  Different Eyes in Suakin, Sudan", written by Lisa Lopez, describes the effects of negative social media on an entire city.

The article really resonated with me, tying so neatly back to the newly learned catch phrase... I felt that I should share the concept with others.  While it is by no means limited to the Cruising Community, this is where I choose to aim my focus.  I've really not found much negativity about cruising on the Internet.  I'm sure there are people out there who have tried it and found that it was not for them... There are sailboats in all corners of the world for sale that must be someones dashed cruising dreams.  But those people must be writing about something else because I have heard none of it, and believe me... I've searched!  Cruising, in general, seems to be safe for now... But what about the places visited by Cruisers?

Bruce and I have traveled to several other countries, but not yet as Cruisers so our frame of reference is limited to our own experiences.  We have done some chartering and a lot of coastal cruising, and we have stayed in a fair number of marinas.  Of course we have opinions about those experiences.  I have personally noted a vast difference in opinion about marinas, anchorages and restaurants and marvel at how others find places we've loved to be so far below their own standards.

This is the take-away I got from Lisa's story about Suakin.  It's all about how you look at things and in how you portray those views to others.  With the Internet, we all have the power to do great damage or great good with a few keystrokes.  We should be mindful of this when we toss off those remarks that could cost a person, a business or an entire town a lot more than we intended in the long run.

There is a website called Active Captain that is gaining momentum in the Cruising Community.  They offer Cruisers the opportunity to share "real time" information about cruising grounds all over the country.  They make this free to users by offering the information to the Marinas and other merchants frequented by the boating community.  It's really a very new way of marketing, driven by the consumer and it is to me..., a brilliant idea.  That is, unless the voices of the few disgruntled users outweigh the voices of people who either have a different set of standards by which to judge (like myself), or are just not posting the positive experiences.  Sure, the squeaky wheel gets the grease… but sometimes the squeaky wheel causes loss of vital revenue to a business that was just having a bad day… There are just not enough kudos being handed out these days.

Someone once told me that in reading my blog, it seems like I never have a bad day... that I'm always happy.  That is FAR from the truth...  But, I try not to dwell on the negative aspects in my writing and in my life (not always easy...), because it drags people down.  I want to share the good or constructive things and never to put anything out there that could be hurtful to anyone.  I can't say that I've always been successful, but I am very conscious of the far-reaching effects of my written words.  My original reason for this was not so noble.  My reasons for blogging are 1) keeping friends and family involved in our lives and 2) documenting all of the fun things we have done so that when I'm old and suffering from memory loss, I can cruise back through these pages and remember the good times.  I don't want a a bunch of waaa waaaa cluttering up my cherished memories?

Now don't get me wrong… I am sure that there are more than a few people out there who could say that I've done or said something hurtful to them.  Maybe I'm just getting old or maybe it's the many changes going on in our lives that have made me so reflective at the moment.  But if you read this and can apply any of it to your own life, maybe it could change an outcome somewhere down the road for a small business owner, or maybe a small island…  Words have power.  I will endeavor always to leave a clean electronic wake.

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