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Gini Dietrich

Managing Negative Online Comments

By: Gini Dietrich | October 13, 2011 | 
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It’s Facebook question of the week time (clap, clap, clap!).

A few housekeeping things first.

If you’re going to PRSA this weekend/next week, leave me a comment so I can say hi!

And, Inside PR (Martin Waxman, Joe Thornley, and I) are hosting a TweetUp on Monday night. If you RSVP online, the first drink is on us!

We’re also going to be doing lots of interviews for the podcast. Achieve your 15 minutes of fame AND a free drink. On us. Well, the free drink is on us for sure.

And now…the question.

Barry Silver asks:

I’ve been tracking the Triberr hashtag and find a number of people that repeatedly express their dissatisfaction there. So, in more general terms, what’s with the idea of running down various social media sites in arenas for the devotees of said site? Do people go on #prchat and bash PR or on #blogchat and bash bloggers? Any insights?

My answer to Barry’s question is in the video below (if you can’t view it in your Reader, click here and it’ll magically appear).

What do you think?

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

92 comments
ExpatDoctorMom
ExpatDoctorMom

Gini

Hair looks great! Love the bangs and color!

By human nature, I think you will always get those that bash... I had a woman repeatedly on my site bash doctors in general how we were all out to promote tests etc. Literally wrote pages and pages on my breast cancer screening post. I countered with, gently telling her to find a doctor she trusted and that I had discussions with my patients and respected their choice. It kept the conversation at bay rather than escalating it.

KevinVandever
KevinVandever

Your hair looks great...as does the wine. I have no other input.

Justin Germino
Justin Germino

I recently had an issue with negative online comments on a video on my YouTube channel, I have writers who do video reviews and the comments were starting to be blatantly rude and disrespectful. I don't mind negative comments if the commenter can present in a respectful manner, disrespect has no place in any communication online or offline. You can dislike something and talk about what you don't like about it, but be prepared to elaborate and provide details so that either changes can be made if they are determined to be defects/feature improvements that are valid or prove that you at least used or tried the service to know you can actually provide an opinion that isn't based on actually using it.

My policy has always been to approve/accept all feedback even if negative as long as negativity is presented without blatant disrespect. If something negative is trending enough with a hashtag and being picked up then obviously a company has to get involved and start monitoring to do damage control or customer education at some point.

AnneWeiskopf
AnneWeiskopf

I am renaming this chat. Question of the week: "Do you love Gini's new haircut?" Survey says, Yes! (Also proving that this forum is great for positive online comments :)

John Fitzgerald
John Fitzgerald

I think you're right about human nature - some people just want to bash. But I think in many instances that actually helps further a discussion. Sometimes it even creates a discussion where before there was only agreement.

I always tell small businesses and non-profits that there will always be a certain amount of negativity in any new social or web endeavor, but they shouldn't censor it. Negative comments can lead to new discoveries about how to do things better and it also shows a proactive approach in dealing with negative issues. Either way, I think fair-minded people can see baseless negativity for what it is and will react accordingly - by ignoring it.

And if you don't censore negative comments, you give your supporters a great opportunity to defend your brand.

Brankica
Brankica

I had hair like that before. I love it. It looks awesome on you!!!

Love the video.And about the topic - I actually think it is the best place to express your dissatisfaction. Because where else will they notice it fast and give you a solution or reply (not just triberr, any service and hashtag and chat)

Ameena Gorton
Ameena Gorton

Hey, you copied me! :) Your hair looks great!

Ok - YES we complain all the time. We are WAY more likely to complain than we are to give praise which sucks but that's human nature. As long as your complaining serves a purpose I think it's ok but if you whinge and moan for the sake of, well, whinging and moaning, it get's old fast. Most people like a well informed, carefully put together complained. Negative comments are usually quite insightful. I do think that if you are being complained about your need to listen. If you are complaining then perhaps, where possible, you need to offer a solution at the same time.

Tinu
Tinu

Hair? Divine. Re: the question - it's tied up in the way we've been taught to behave when in conflict with another idea. Remember the debate club? Present your side of the argument to be judged. When in reality, when a person has an opinion that is entrenched at the level of belief, it takes a major life event to change it. Logic, reason, emotion, volume, these all fail.

And yet, that's what our educational system has to offer us - and not just in the States. Those few people who have somehow managed to learn or be taught HOW to think rather than WHAT to think are going to be the exception to this rule until this knowledge is passed along to the most malleable minds at the most critical time. The flip side of that is just as damaging though - we're often so rooted in groups of people we like, talking about things we like, in the way we prefer that new ideas are seen as a threat. This is also part of the sheep mentality that some of us naturally veer away from or are taught is equally bad.

Left my question on your FB page, Gini. :)

EricaAllison
EricaAllison

First of all, let's get the hair issue out of the way. LOVE it. Very cute. Super chic. Keep it.

Second, there will always be negative comments online and it's like with anything, you absolutely must consider the source, their motivations and do a cost-benefit analysis of putting a lot of energy into responding or ignoring said comments. I manage a social account for a chef with 3 restaurants....holy moly everyone is a critic! I always consider the source (we do get random, negative comments from time to time), check in with the staff and owner before responding, and then try to take it offline if it's a legitimate concern or complaint. If it's someone posting at 1:30am and they were the last one on the bar stool that night...I put it down to drunk posting and move on.

I also think, like @TheJackB said below, some people genuinely want to have a conversation and/or seek resolutions, and then again, some people just want to get attention (traffic). It's a tough call, especially in a #chat situation as things can go fairly quickly and get lost along the way. I still fall back on considering the source!

And finally, I will not be at PRSA, but would so love to be there, have a drink and talk about your hair! :)

Maranda
Maranda

Your hair looks sassy Gini. Very nice :)

As far as negative comments go -- I personally think that it's simply a matter of maturity. There's a HUGE difference between getting involved in the conversation and finding out more about something that you may or may not agree with. The line is when you stop trying to listen and just start trying to rule the conversation. This is called being a "troll" and no one likes a troll. (unless they have brightly colored hair and grant wishes when you rub their bedazzled belly buttons)

If a person doesn't understand or see the relevance of a chat, then they should find a way to work in the hash tag with a little respect. "Would a #(insertchatmember) mind taking a few minutes to talk to me about why you love the chat" is so much different than "#randomchat is STUPID and you're all STUPID and STUPID." Clearly, I'm very opinionated on the subject - my years in debate showed me the best and the worst kinds of people. I can understand and respect why someone chooses not to take part in something, why can't the same feelings being returned if I decide to take part.

I don't run up to them at the "I think I'm better than you" convention and tell them all the ways they fail, do I? No. I don't. Because I am not a troll.

TheJackB
TheJackB

Some people like to complain and some people like to stir it up. I admit to sometimes being guilty of stirring it up, like my mentioning that you can't get a decent pizza in Chicago. That is not entirely true, you can find a decent one there. Hard to find good, but decent is doable.

On a more serious note when people want to get attention via social media channels one of the most effective ways to do it is to complain and or criticize. It is not hard to create a negative analysis of a tool, blog or platform.

And most of the time that criticism will start a conversation. The question I ask is whether they really want to have a conversation or are they trolling for traffic.

Stuart Mills
Stuart Mills

Indeed, it's human nature to want to bash and run down people in order to gain a sense of superiority over them. Everyone wants to feel secure and comfortable in themselves, but some people believe that the best way to do this is to knock some people down instead.

I personally believe that you get what you give, so my advice to those that bash others is this:

Beware

:-)

barryrsilver
barryrsilver

G,

Thanks for using the q. Loving the comments. Yes it's human nature but...I don't have a but. I just don't get the point of going back to a site just to bash a site. If you don't like the food at a restaurant why would anyone go there just to let everyone know how much they don't like the food at that place. Topic is at least consistent with the local weather today. Enjoy Orlando. BTW, I would absolutely kill to have to figure out bangs. :-)

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@John Fitzgerald It makes me nuts when companies don't, at the very least, monitor to what's happening online. It may be nothing or it may be something really big that can cause them lost business.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@Brankica IF they're paying attention they may give you a solution or reply. But not everyone pays attention...which makes me nuts.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@Tinu You've made me think really hard way too late in the evening. I've always been a big believer in reading things you don't agree with because it opens your mind. But maybe you're right in that there aren't many people who are willing to even open their minds to consider they just might be wrong. Hmmm...this could be a good blog post.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@EricaAllison LOL! Thank you! I guess the Hair Nazi wins again! Last time I saw him he cut seven inches off without my knowledge. I'm sitting in his chair yesterday and he says, "Wow. I cut a lot of hair off last time." You think?!

I think the thing with restaurants, specifically, is we all know how to eat. And most of us can at least boil water, which makes us experts. I cannot imagine running a restaurant. My ego would be hurt every second of every day.

We'll get you to a conference. Someday.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@Maranda I'm still in shock that you told the entire world I'm a loon. See if I ever tell you anything again!

There are so many funny things rolling around in my head from this one comment. I want to tweet you SO BADLY right now and say, "@accuconference is stupid and so are you!"

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@TheJackB SHUT. UP. The city that is known for pizza? You are off your rocker. Unless you don't like deep dish (I don't). Then I'm OK with hearing NY has better pizza.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@Stuart Mills Isn't it strange that it's human nature to build people up only to tear them down? I think that's odd, but it's what we do.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@barryrsilver I don't get it, either. But some people just love to be antagonistic to do so. You and I just wouldn't go back to the restaurant.

Do you want some of my hair? I have plenty of it.

KevinVandever
KevinVandever

@ginidietrich the 09 we just bottled won't be released until May-ish, but I may still have some 08 around somewhere.

Maranda
Maranda

@ginidietrich Maybe I'll change my Twitter profile to a Troll doll just for you tomorrow. LOL. I'll just end all of my tweets with an (and STUPID) too.

TheJackB
TheJackB

@ginidietrich Spent plenty of time in Chicago and NY. Got family in both places but we all know that they operate off of yesterdays reputation and not the modern reality.

Back in the day my grandfathers used to argue about the best spots in Chicago to get a hot dog, pizza what have you. But they always framed the conversation from when they were younger so it was somewhere between 1914 and 1940 something.

Yep, yesterdays reputation.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@Griddy Yeah...he's not very flexible when it comes to anything I want...even if it means I want to chat with my friends while getting my hair cut. @Ameena Falchetto

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@Maranda It's Friday! It'd be hilarious!! I don't know how your company would feel about it, but I'd think it was super funny.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@TheJackB I'm not a fan of all the sauce on top of the pizza. I much prefer a thin slice I can fold in half.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@Stuart Mills You just made me choke on my water when I saw your comment about Jessica Alba being in the middle.

barryrsilver
barryrsilver

@Danny Brown@ginidietrich Hot glue has it's drawbacks and my beagle likes to lick my head so I have to reject the Hubba Bubba. Do you know anyone that has tried double faced flypaper?