Why So Mean, Social Media?

Posted on December 1st 2012

Why So Mean, Social Media?



Have you ever stopped to read the replies or comments posted on one of your favorite brand’s Facebook pages or twitter accounts?
WARNING: Offensive Content
Do it sometime.
And I thought I had no friends!?
Incoherent, whinny requests; negative and downright offensive language; even the most beloved brands fall victim.
There’s a certain anonymity about social media that encourages users to more freely speak their minds.
Unlike real-time verbal altercations in the physical world, where going face-to-face with brand reps can quickly turn personal, virtual brand stewards are able to digest onslaught opinion and respond with a delay.
And so, their responses are ALWAYS cool, calm, and collected (which, when you’re fired up, only provokes a deeper rage).

You don’t want to host your own brand roast.

These types of environments are no longer positive. They aren’t conducive to brand building – even with your strongest advocates. The bulk of dialogue has turned petty and reactionary.
So what should you do when you’re not feeling the Social Media Love?

1. Start by practicing self-regulation
I know – the last thing you want to do with an angstful group of followers is start deleting posts. You fear removing their comments will only lead to their posting 5 more – accusing you of being anti-American, anti-free speech, etc.
LEGO has the right idea. Consider validating regulation by establishing a vague set of “house rules:” 
Playing it cool...
Sure, as a toy manufacture catering primarily to children; monitoring social media is a bit more justifiable. Still, offensive language and distracting content is something you as forum owner should NOT be afraid to remove.
But mind the fine line.
Don’t delete EVERYTHING that feels negative
People should be able to post legitimate gripes. They’ll respect you more for leaving it – and be more interested to hear your resolve. In that respect, social media can serve as a think tank for constant improvement.
2. When monitoring fails, scale back completely
Forget what you’ve heard – not everyone has a reason to be active on Facebook and Twitter.
If the bulk of your posts (business and non-business alike) are met with hostility, just BAIL.
Keep place holders on all the big players. Consider making social media’s sole purpose the dissemination of “emergency information” – (issues affecting coverage, outlet closures, etc).
Bottom line: Social media efforts should bolster brand affinity, not disparage it.
Don’t play host to a growing community of disgruntled customers.
If it feels like it’s not enhancing your relationship with customers – scale back.
Daniel Stepanic

Daniel Stepanic

Self-proclaimed interactive marketing pundit & slave to the gym. Unintended techie. While my career has been focused on marketing B2B/professional services, my first love is retail. I find the interplay between marketing and psychology fascinating (and am not afraid to use it to my advantage). I look forward to contributing time to time, as thoughts/ideas drift in and out my head. I welcome your feedback. I am nostalgic yet focused on the future. I refuse to descend into mediocrity.
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Posted on December 1st 2012 at 4:45PM

If you think it's bad on Facebook, you should see the conversations that take place on message boards.

Daniel Stepanic
Posted on December 3rd 2012 at 5:17PM

Oh, I am sure. It has to wear the social media markerters down, doesn't it? Combing through so much hate. Not the job for me, that's for sure...


Happy Blogging!



Posted on December 2nd 2012 at 7:37PM

Whiny, not whinny. Whinny is what a horse does.

Daniel Stepanic
Posted on December 3rd 2012 at 5:15PM

Ha, thanks for the note, Angela -- I'll make the change back on my own blog. Hope you enjoyed the article otherwise. Did I forget to mention? All typos 'our' intentional.


Happy blogging -



Samuel Chan
Posted on December 5th 2012 at 2:53AM

Hi Daniel,

From personal experience I feel that Facebook isn't the worst place for social media marketers / community managers / content marketers.

The worst place is YouTube. That place has the worst forms of hate-filled comments (most of them are just personal and untenable) and not even large corp. are spared from these trolls. Just look at Apple's 'genius' commercial for the Olympics some time ago.

Now if you've been doing video launches, video commercial, or just general vlogging via YouTube for a while now you'd know what I mean. 

Samuel Chan

Posted on December 6th 2012 at 4:30AM

Be sure to keep your social media pages positive.  Don't be afraid of negative comments; respond to them to reassure followers that you can take criticism and recover from it.