We Teach People How To Treat Us
July 29, 2014
One of the most asked questions regarding social media are what to do about people who throw inflammatory remarks at talent and/or the station?
In many cases, the response is simple: ignore them. Just because someone listens to your show or your station does not give them the right to abuse you.
Or there's the Anderson Cooper way – give it back to them.
A recent Buzzfeed article on Anderson's super snark skills is what brought this to everyone's attention. Anderson actually fires back at the trolls – and very skillfully:
As I laughed at the face palm he plants on the ignorant and idiotic who tweet him, I started thinking about the many radio personalities who have to deal with this same thing:
I have much empathy for today's on-air personalities who have to deal with this.
The worst thing that would happen to me when I was on the air – especially on the high profile Bubba the Love Sponge Show – was that someone might call to tell me that I suck.
But that was the request line. If nobody else heard it, it didn't really happen. And I would just move on.
Today, that level of negativity and meanness plays out on social media, which leads to the strong possibility of wide exposure. And that isn't always easy to deal with. I mean, look what we're dealing with socially:
So how do you manage these people, armed with a smartphone or keyboard, saying whatever they want to say often with anonymity?
Before you think of throwing shade back like Anderson Cooper did – wait. There's a skill to it that not everyone has. You'll come off as thin skinned if your snark doesn't translate to funny.
It starts with practicing the following tips:
- Don't react immediately.
Online trolls have the power to redefine our brand in an instant. Don't get caught up in the heat of the moment. Think before you respond.
- Comments are only as valid as the person behind them.
Start with looking at their social profile – if they have 7 followers and are trying to pick a fight with you on Twitter from their mother's basement - that should tell you something.
- If they refuse to be reasonable, walk away.
Even for the negativity that comes from a sane person, if you've offered mature dialogue and they keep coming after you – step away.
When we tolerate people's rudeness, we are telling them it's OK to treat us poorly. It's not.
We teach people how to treat us.
For some reason, the social space is viewed as an "unrestricted playground," as if it's given users the permission to lack civility. They post and tweet their cybernated slop, regardless of the impact.
But remember this – while they have the right to say whatever they want, you have the right to hold them accountable in whatever way you wish.
Whether it's ignoring, blocking/muting/banning/deleting or throwing back great snark like Anderson Cooper, you are in control – not the trolls.
Reach out to me anytime on Twitter @lorilewis.
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