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Renee Ballard

The Dark Side

There’s the nice side of the internet, the happy side, the envious side, the living by proxy side, and then there’s a nasty side – The Dark Side. The Dark Side is where complainers and trolls do their work.

In the misfortunate (and hopefully unlikely) event you are ever affected by The Dark Side, I’ve made this three step plan to deal with online negativity…



They are similar but different. Negative feedback is when your customer or client leaves a negative comment or review. There are two reasons a customer would do this. Either they’ve tried other ways to reach you (emailing, calling) and no one has responded so they resort to contacting you online. Or the customer is a little brazen and goes online to voice their unhappiness straight up.

I think everyone has left a negative comment somewhere, maybe a bad restaurant review, or grumbling to a telco or an airline when they’re not answering your messages. But to small business owners it feels horrible when it happens, because you want to take it personally. But, alas, the negative feedback or comment or complaint has been directed at your business, so you’re better off leaving it there.

So what to do when and if this happens?

Even if you know who left the comment and you know they’re a giant dick, if you start an all-out war online – even if you’re right – you risk looking a little nutso too. Because it’s social media, everyone can access it from all around the world and all they have to judge is what’s before their very eyes.

So, this is where you need to take a step back and be the bigger person – not necessarily back down – but think of it more as the perfect way to show the world how awesome you are.

Immediately sympathise with the person they had a shitty whatever, then let them know you want to hear all about it – offline. Here is the key, if you accept the person is unhappy, then put your phone number or email address straight in next, then you’re inviting them in for personal care. And this is where your genius really shows, because if the person comes back and wants to argue – they look bonkers and you look solutions-focused. Genius.

The other kind of negativity that happens online comes from trolls. They can be an unusual kind of person and often live by one persona by day and another by night. Trolls will just leave negative remarks and comments on your posts because pissing on other people is how they roll. They’re just like real life bullies. Everyone deals with bullies differently, so if you have a tried and true method, then I say install that technique online too.

Generally deleting their remarks and ignoring them should take away the vital oxygen they yearn for to survive. I know this is so easy to say, but please don’t take it personally. Of course, if it reaches a threatening level, then that’s police time, that’s an extreme example. Mostly with negative comments it’s a mix between someone being in a shitty mood, with a shitty axe to grind and the anonymity of the internet buoys their confidence to say stuff they wouldn’t in real life

The Dark Side is the crappy side of social media, but it helps to give air it and deal with it head on, so you don’t feel overwhelmed by it.


1 Comment

  1. Dealing with the humans – Renee Ballard on August 6, 2018 at 8:22 am

    […] written about The Dark Side of the social media before and how to discern between a troll and a complaint and how to best deal […]

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