Social Media: A Baptism By Fire

As any entrepreneur focused on growing a business knows, there often isn’t enough time on any given day.

Running five Whistler bars, expanding the businesses into several offshoots like a festival and events division and Gibbons Life, our new start up company designed to attract people to Whistler, means time is a precious commodity to me. That makes engaging in social media low on my priority list.

But that’s not my only excuse. I consciously decided to ignore the social media noise too.

About two years ago I made a promise to myself that I was going to focus on creating more happy moments in my day than frustrated or angry or disappointed moments. It changed the way I thought about everything but…  that’s another blog. Our blog this week begins with the TV show Après Ski, which features our Gibbons Life team, and our social media “baptism by fire.”

When we agreed to do our reality show about Gibbons Life, part of the deal with NBC was to have a social media presence, doing things like tweeting about the episodes in real time.

The other part of the deal was that we didn’t want any Whistler businesses or business people portrayed in a negative light. If there was going to be any fallout, it would be for Gibbons and, naturally, that would ultimately rest on my shoulders. I was prepared for that. We hired a social media manager and got ready to have a little fun, engaging the community and the wider television audience. This was our multi-million-dollar platform to share our love of Whistler, promote our beautiful hometown, not to mention drum up some good business too.

That meant it was time for me to join social media. But… the Internet is a fickle friend, as I soon learned. It can build you up and just as quickly, it can knock you back down again.

Who knew that this little show about our awesome resort, intentionally designed to show off Whistler to the world and to entice clients here through our new business Gibbons Life, would create such a social media maelstrom both near and far away. For someone who has been so removed from it for so long, the experience has been an eye-opening look into the human psyche.

What drives someone to say cruel and malicious things from behind a computer screen? What does someone get out of ridiculing others, belittling them with the touch of a few buttons?

It dehumanizes us, allows us to drop our social filters, those basic things that keep us acting as basic human beings: be nice, treat others the way you yourself want to be treated, think for yourself, stand up for others. You know, the kind stuff we learned in kindergarten, the kind of things handed down from parent to kid over the centuries.

This is the way I have always operated our businesses. I believe that positive energy attracts positive energy and I strongly encourage our team to lean into this philosophy. Our very success is built on this. We always figured there would be some haters on social media; we never imagined some of our friends and fellow business owners in Whistler would join in too. It’s been interesting… to say the least.

But, as much as it’s been challenging to read the misconceptions about our company and about Après Ski, we wouldn’t be where we are today if we were to take this criticism lying down.

So… stay tuned. We’re not going to put our tail between our legs, hide our heads, get pushed around in the Internet playground. We’re ready to jump in for a few rounds. But we’ll do it with some light-hearted fun and good vibes and stick to our main goal of sharing the truth.

Joey Gibbons

He has been throwing great parties in the mountains ever since he was in high school. Now, as CEO of Gibbons, he is showing the world Whistler’s magic. Joey is passionate about his business and about his community, always looking for new ways to fuse the two together. He knows there is no better place to work and play and raise his family.