By Stu Chisholm, “The Complete Disc Jockey”
If you’re anything like me, you spend at least some of your time visiting various online DJ forums. We do this to exchange ideas, learn new things and maybe pass along some sage bit of wisdom we’ve picked up along the way. At least, those are the goals for most of us.
What is baffling to me is how often I encounter a DJ with some sort of proverbial axe to grind. At first they take issue with something I say, and eventually (and predictably) they then turn their focus on me, personally.
This is referred to as “ad hominem,” or attacking the person rather than the argument. I bring this up because of a recent, quite ridiculous argument I found myself engaged in on pricing issues. (What else?)
The Argument Was About…
The argument centered around having an open date, and whether or not it’s a good idea to accept a lowball rate simply to fill a hole in your calendar. My answer focused on whether or not, according to my business plan, the lowball rate would sufficiently cover my expenses and, given other considerations (canceled plans, for one), show how it might not actually be profitable.
My point was that sometimes the “something is better than nothing” idea can fall apart under certain circumstances. There are often other considerations that can actually make accepting a substandard wage put you in a deficit. (And it’s not always about cash!)
Yet one DJ in particular wouldn’t hear of it, eventually arguing not only against my argument, but against business plans in general. It was at this point where I took a step back and began to wonder: do we have the same goals?
As I said above, I come to forums to learn, above all else. I consider a day wasted if I don’t learn at least one new thing, no matter how small. Seeing how others solve problems helps me avoid many mistakes. And, of course, I try to help others by passing along what I’ve learned.
Even if a discussion stops feeding my own purposes directly, I understand that there might be others reading along, so I try to value their time by being as clear and complete as I can. My failing, sometimes, is that I forget that some others do not share these goals.
A Field Day for Inflated Egos
We all know that inflated egos abound in our industry, and this becomes apparent on online forums all too often. One must be cognizant that these DJs might see themselves as some sort of oracle, or ultimate authority because they’ve written a book, run seminars or achieved some level of success.
So at some point you’re forced to ask if the discussion is serving your own goals and, if not, make the decision to cut your losses. When it comes to online arguments, there’s nothing to win, and much time to be lost. You might want to stop and ask yourself, “is there something better I could be doing with my time?”
Our discussions should uplift, support and nurture our profession. Public perception of DJs is an uphill battle to begin with! Why should we work so hard to tear each other down rather than help foster a climate of quality, improvement and support?
Agree to Disagree
Not all DJs are the same (a good thing), and there will be disagreements along the way. Sometimes, given the circumstances different DJs live within, they both might even be right!
Supportive DJs must learn the fine art of being able to disagree without being disagreeable. Hostility is the wrong attitude to take toward someone who has a differing opinion.
Instead, choose curiosity. Find out WHY that person’s opinion differs. In the end you may still disagree, but I’d bet you’ll learn something new along the way, and maybe not ruin what could be a valuable friendship in the process.