A simple little contest provided an opportunity to do an integrity-check, and what I found surprised me. Integrity matters, and it seems that it is slipping, in even simple and small things.
I occasionally participate in blog hops where people visit your page, complete some little task, and then are entered to win a prize. Easy stuff, right?
Most bloggers who host a stop on these hops participate in order to get new followers, or in some cases, to introduce people to a new book they are writing, or maybe to a product they are selling. The effort on the part of the participant is a few seconds, the chance to win is fairly small, and the prizes are generally valued at under $25. In my case, it was a $25 restaurant gift certificate.
I recently asked people to pop over to my web site and read a little blurb about a new book I'm writing, then post that they did it. That's it. The book's not even out, and I doubt most of these visitors will remember it when it does debut, but it gives me a little feedback, and provides an opportunity to touch base with my regular followers and meet a few new ones. It's very nice.
Everyone who says they popped over to the site gets an entry. The old honor system. It's turned into an interesting moral experiment.
I've never checked to see who did and didn't follow the directions before, but I noticed a much higher volume of people saying they did compared to the daily stat report I get. Yes, I can see the stats. I know how many people actually stop by, and if I care to check, I can identify who did, what time, from where, and their server's address. I didn't do all that, but here's the rub: the actual number of visitors was less than a third of the number of people who said they stopped by.
So, am I being a nut job for being concerned that adults fibbed in order to be entered to win a prize? It's not the cause of ripples in world peace or anything . . . or is it?
Does it strike anyone else as worrisome?
Are honesty and integrity values we expect in others anymore?
I'd love to hear your thoughts, as a writer, as a woman, as a grandma of kids growing up in this world.
In my generation, parents took their kids back to the store to return a purloined pack of gum, and we knew that lying, stealing, or swearing, (though occasionally risked) was a second cousin to bank robbery, treason, and becoming a complete reprobate. We also knew that parents could cause much greater suffering than any cop, because they could make restitution humiliating enough to obliterate the immediate thrill of bad behavior, and it would last f o r e v e r.
We proudly passed these lessons on to our own children. We were the scary parents, the ones who WOULD find out everything, and who then would make the doer pay dearly to win back lost trust. And you know what, we hardly ever had to initiate any discipline protocol because, as my adult daughter revealed to me, "We were a little bit afraid of you, but mostly, we never wanted to disappoint you."
So are these values still alive in our society? Sing them out. I need to hear a few amens from the chorus.