Lessons Learned from the Haters #SocialMedia

Category: Social Media Social Good Series

Social Media - the Assholes

I was “hit” by the haters over a single tweet (out of nearly 200,000 I have sent) and ignored when I explained and clarified it. The details are ultimately irrelevant but the lessons for me (and perhaps for you) are invaluable.

Social Media - HATERS

The result of this experience was some meaningful changes in how I live Social Media. My gut response was “screw this.” Upon further reflection, I decided to take this painful incident and make it make me better for it.

That is our choice whenever we confront tough times, whether a personal loss or a business one. This episode was a bit of both since I felt personally attacked and the impact was felt in my “business.” We’ve all read and heard about people who have had their careers and lives ruined by a misunderstood post or an ill-advised one.

In my case, my livelihood was not tied to my life online, thankfully. Ironically, my efforts to “do good” were linked and perhaps ultimately diminished as a result. Sad, because I know my efforts to “do good” were successful and helped a lot of people. I am internally proud and grateful that I was able to do this AND how I’m still doing this, but in a less pubic manner now; equally as effective but just a little quieter.

Social Media Do's and Dont's

Why should our entire life be defined by a single comment or action (unless you’re OJ)? Where is a person’s moral “bank account” when a life has been exemplary? In the instant feedback world of Social Media, it seems there is no fairness. Just look at what happens to a politician whenever they make a mistake. Often it’s innocuous, but their careers are often instantly ended.

Again, the haters reign supreme.

WHY do we allow this to happen?

I don’t have an answer but I do suggest we can be the better for these experiences. For me, I’m actually trying to reflect on what I say before I say it (or hit “return” or “send”). I’ve begun a new part-time and public job where I’m challenged to keep my mouth shut or at least truly consider what I instinctually may want to say. This is good. This is very good.

Social Media - the haters

Also, I am looking to defend those that become the subject of the haters. I especially disdain anonymous critics and haters. Just as one lousy driver can cause a heap load of trouble on the highway, so can one angry person create problems for an otherwise good and innocent person.

The net is full of posts about combating bullies. These bullies don’t just include the schoolyard. I will fight against all bullies in the best way I can – with my words.

Other things revealed upon such a personal attack is who are your true friends. Who among your friends will risk a public defense? In my case, it was a handful of brave friends that stood up for me. These included my younger son. What a revelation that he understood and cared to the degree he demonstrated.

That alone was more than worth the aggravation.

I often say that the only really good thing about getting older is “getting better.” I’m still working on “getting better” and these haters have ultimately only contributed to that effort!