If you share content for your business online, you have undoubtedly dealt with other people who were far less than nice to you (and to your business). Of course, it isn’t always so easy to keep your cool when you are faced with rude, nasty behavior from other people. Of course, people who would never have been so bold in person (or even on the phone) are much braver when you can’t see or hear them. Social media gives them enough anonymity to hide behind, like a thick curtain.
Finding effective ways to deal with nasty people online
When it comes to the difference between your success and failure through social media, knowing how to handle every situation will make all of the difference for you and your business. One thing that is certain is that you don’t need to be a therapist to effectively diffuse the other person. You may not make a friend about him or her but you can find away to coexist in harmony (at least to a degree that you can live with).
Interestingly, not only are there many different types of people who are interacting online but there are also many different types of nasty people. It is not your responsibility to figure out why they are like that but it will serve you very well if you can figure out how to effectively interact with them based on exactly what kind of nasty they are.
If you were to play amateur shrink, you would probably realize that, in many cases, people lash out (or, at least, give you a hard time) because they are jealous of what you are saying because they perceive that to mean that you have something that they want. Well, the fact is that if they choose to be unpleasant, you are probably not going to waste your time trying to figure out what pain is motivating those people to behave they way that they feel justified to behave. It really doesn’t matter to you. You just want them to shut up and go away! Well, that situation can be turned around to your advantage in many cases. Try to find some non-explosive, common ground and ease into the discussion slowly.
The following is a list of different types of negative people:
- The political “expert”: This type of person comes across as knowing it all and in that person’s mind, everyone else is stupid and, certainly, nobody has a right to his or her opinion. If you should happen to post a comment that is political in nature, he or she will come after you with guns blazing. It is that simple. Your first instinct will probably be not to engage the person at all. Ironically, it seems as though the more intelligent and well educated that person is, the worse and more offensive his or her behavior will be. It seems as though our current president brings out the worst in a lot of people. It isn’t important which candidate you have chosen. What is important is that you have just as much right to your opinion as the next person and it is important for everyone to respect that fact.
- The religious nut: Religion is another one of those things that is highly personal. If you are a reasonable person, you will believe what you believe (quietly) and you will feel that the next person has just as much of a right to his or her religious beliefs. It should end there. However, that is not always the case. There is a really good reason that they say that the two topics that a person should avoid in a social situation are religion and politics. Otherwise, it can get really ugly really quickly. When it comes to religion, you really need to be careful how you proceed. Just like you don’t mention the other person’s mother (ever), you don’t bring up their religious views (whether you agree with them or not). If you make that mistake, they will come at you with everything that they have and it won’t be fun.
- The grammar fanatic: If you write content, you hopefully have a really good grasp of English grammar. However, nobody is perfect. Human beings make mistakes and there is a good reason why you are not supposed to edit your own writing. That reason is that you know what your content is supposed to say so you miss the errors in many cases. Do yourself a favor and have someone else edit the content that you have written. Anyway, even if your content contains mistakes, it doesn’t give the other person the right to be nasty about pointing out the errors. The fact is that no person is superior to another person, no matter how inflated his or her ego happens to be. That concept of, “May he who is without sin cast the first stone” really applies in this case. Of course, you can’t really avoid running into those people so the best way to avoid an unpleasant confrontation is to say thank you that he or she pointed out the error and move on. After all, being aware of the mistake(s) will allow you to fix them and your content will be improved over what you had previously.
- The online stickler: This person is very adamant about social media etiquette. Of course, it should be mentioned here that social media etiquette is essential if people have a chance of getting along with any degree of harmony. However, there are ways to communicate that are not nasty and that don’t incite riots. Of course, the person who passionately believes in the rules may not budge if you try to get him or her to see it your way. You owe it to yourself and your business to try to make your point but it may not be worth wasting a great deal of time on a futile effort. You will be able to tell if you are wasting your time relatively quickly.
- It is all about him or her: There are definitely people on social media who want everyone to pay attention to them and only them. That type of person is really difficult to take. After all, the reason that you post content on social media and interact with others to have meaningful discussions is so that you can ultimately help one another. If the other person doesn’t care about your opinions and your perspective, you won’t be able to accomplish anything together. Of course, that type of person is often flexible (to a point). Hopefully, you can convince him or her that there is more to life than one opinion. It is certainly worth trying to do that.
This world is made up of all kinds of people. Some are more difficult to deal with than others but we all need to get along and if you understand the way the other person thinks, you will have a chance to forge a relationship with the other person that can work for both of you. In most cases, you can probably avoid demonstrating that the other person has gotten under your skin. Of course, there is always the exception to that so you should proceed carefully in those cases. Try to keep it professional.
One of the issues with social media is that people usually forget to communicate privately. If you are trying to communicate with someone who is difficult, it is probably better to do it privately. Not everyone needs to read what you are both writing. It is called discretion. Although dealing with difficult people can be tough, you can do it. After all, harmony will benefit you and your business tremendously.
Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies. Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company’s Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. He also reduced company travel and travel costs by introducing and implementing various collaboration technologies.
His expertise includes business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off-shore development.