There’s A Lot Of “Mean” On Social Media

There’s a lot of great relationships to be made via social media. I’ve met people from all over the world who I can talk to at any time and have great conversations with. It’s always possible that I could potentially do work with some of them, and I’ve hired people from other countries here and there to handle some of the small things with either a website or blog that I wasn’t in the mood to do or didn’t have the time for.

Courtney Carmody via Compfight

As with anything in this world, there’s a whole lot of mean people also. Sometimes, the mean people are actually pretty nice most of the time, and then suddenly out of nowhere they look like they’ve just lost their minds for one reason or another.

Or… some of them are trolls, who are mean and nasty just because they can be. I addressed how to deal with trolls in this video:

Unfortunately, you don’t always know what will trigger someone into being mean. Over the years, I’ve had people show their mean streak on things I’ve posted that had nothing to do with them. Other times they internalize something you’re written as though you’re talking about them personally. If you saw them every day and wrote something that might make sense (don’t do that lol). But I’ve had people get mad at me when I’ve written commentary about parenting without knowing that they might be parents.

You know what? Sometimes the truth hurts, yet we all need to be ready to deal with the truth. Years ago I posted something on Facebook that looked like a case of racism that occurred in Arizona. One person, who didn’t live in Arizona and had no reason to comment at all, decided it was racist of me to post such a thing without knowing all the details. The argument made no sense whatsoever because I hadn’t made any commentary on it, though I certainly could have, and whatever her trigger was prompted her to need to comment on it; no idea why.

Then there’s a guy I’m connected with on Facebook who’s kind of a passionate person. Every once in a while he gets something in his head that just consumes him and he starts writing in caps to make his point. That’s known as flaming in the online world, and it’s frowned upon almost everywhere you go. I finally asked him why he did that because it made him look like he’d lost control, wouldn’t ever make me see things his way because of the delivery, and that he needed to learn how to calm down because almost nothing in this world is that serious.

Over the past few years, I’ve posted some direct and, well, not quite harsh but my reality, on social media sites. A lot of it has been related to racism, because things needed to be said. Some people don’t like it because they don’t want to believe it; however, as it’s me and I’ve built my reputation talking truths that people might not want to hear, I almost never get negative comments on this topic any longer.

Why am I mentioning all of this? I always advocate that almost every business should have an online presence. I say that social media can bring both joy and business. I’ve also stated that one needs to be careful in how they say certain things if they decide to be controversial; if you dish it out you have to be ready to take it. I always choose my words carefully; even so, you never know how someone else is going to take it, let alone respond to it.

Guillaume Maciel via Compfight

Sometimes you can post something relatively innocuous that gets negative attention by someone, even if it’s something positive. When that happens you have some choices to make, and some of those choices are better or worse than others.

You can decide you don’t want to be on social media anymore and go away; that’s never good.

You can decide to fight every single person who disagrees with a position of yours. Sometimes you have to do it, but other times you can ignore those people.

You can decide to make sure you never say anything to upset someone. The problems with that are: one, you never know what will trigger someone; two, if you go out of your way too much your online presence is going to be boring; no one will want to read anything you have to say.

You can decide to call people out, bash them on your blog and throughout social media, post copies of everything you can find on them and try to ruin their lives. You might succeed but you’ll also fail because people will know if you can do that to one person you can do it to anyone, including them.

You can act like it never happened and continue doing what you’ve been doing. Sometimes this is the way to go, but as I said above, you might have to take some kind of stand or even think about deleting comments and such, and then deal with that as an issue.

Overall, there’s only one right answer, and it ties in to all of the above. You should always take some time to think about your response before making it. I’ll admit I’m not always good with this, but I’m good at least 95% of the time.

You shouldn’t make decisions too fast unless you’re prepared for someone to dislike what you had to say, but you also shouldn’t wait too long to respond. Whether you know it or not, people are watching. If it can affect business in any way, making the best choice possible needs thought behind it. However, if you feel it needs to be said, take a stand and be ready to back it up.

Are you scared? Don’t be. Sure, bad things can happen, but for the most part if your goals are pure, you’ll be just fine.

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11 thoughts on “There’s A Lot Of “Mean” On Social Media”

  1. Love this, Mitch. It blows me away what professionals (?) post online (especially on sites like LinkedIn – a professional networking site). Do they not think about how that looks to existing or potential customers?

    But beyond the professional shooting in the foot, is the human side. We judge others so quickly – with little or no background. From everything as inconsequential as the clothes they wear to assuming we know who the other person is after one online encounter. I am not talking about the posts that are so unacceptable or inflammatory (that trolls love to do).

    It may sound silly but I first noticed the shift toward mean when “Reality TV” came in to play. I asked what message are we delivering with these shows? That the people who are the most devious who backstab/lie/falsify win the big prize? There’s a great lesson.

    Okay, this old lady will get off her soapbox. 😉

    1. That’s an interesting take Cathy, and I believe you’re right. I thought the first season of Real World was fascinating, but was troubled by the second season, along with the Osbournes show. Those other reality shows on mainstream TV… the only one I ever watched was the first season of Undercover Boss; I enjoyed that one. I hadn’t thought about it much; thanks for sharing that with me and others.

      1. I saw enough from trailers that I knew I didn’t want to watch these shows. I’m thinking more along the line of shows like Survivor, The Bachelor, and other type shows pitting one against another. I, too, watched the very early days of Real World but stopped when they became more like the other shows of do onto others before they can do onto you.

  2. This: “You can decide to call people out, bash them on your blog and throughout social media, post copies of everything you can find on them and try to ruin their lives. You might succeed but you’ll also fail because people will know if you can do that to one person you can do it to anyone, including them.” I’m amazed that people still try to do this and not realize that others are watching and nobody will want to get close to you if you act like that. Incredible. Great post, Mitch. Thanks!

    1. Thanks Carol. I’m always amazed at how few people recognize the long term effects of what eventually proves to be a bad decision or action. This particular tale is common, and, unfortunately, on LinkedIn I see evidence of it daily. I don’t see that on Twitter, not because it doesn’t exist but because we can block stuff we don’t want to see. Still, it’s too bad that’s what we have to do to bring some peace into our lives.

  3. Only one regular reader has stopped commenting on my posts as she wanted me to delete some comments made by another as she found them offensive. I refused to oblige.

    I was also ticked off once for a post that was found to be male
    chauvinistic. I am very careful now.

    1. I’ve never had anyone asked me to do that Ramana. At the same time, I have in the past removed a comment I felt was inappropriate for the blog. I think over time mores change, sensitivities change, and we roll with the morality of the people we hope to change… and hopefully none of those people are mean, nasty or evil.

  4. Many of these things mentioned in this blog post are the bad habits many people exhibit on social media platforms. And these people may not be aware that they are doing this. And that is why a group of social media professionals can together to write on the bad habits that everyone hates on social media. Hopefully, this can help people to be more conscious of the no-nos social media platforms, as it could impact their business and personal brand.

    1. Sorry Cindy, but I had to remove the link you added to your comment, as it went against the commenting rules of this blog (it’s intriguing how you got it through since this site usually sends links in articles directly to spam; I’ll have to verify my link blocking mechanism). However, I kind of agree and disagree with the premise you mentioned. I tend to believe most people know they’re acting badly, but they feel they have a right to do it. BTW, I did check out the article at the link you shared; overall, it didn’t address the issues in this particular article, which is a second no-no. Sorry about that…

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