Thursday, 30 May 2013

Talk About Fireworks !

I recently encountered my first piece of online hostility from Twitter when a little bit of mischief went haywire.

A friend made a comment about a well-known money 'producer'. I couldn't resist a little bit of playful fun, so replied to them, complaining about their poor 'postal' service. The predictable response from the money producer, was that they actually made coins and didn't deliver parcels doh ! I laughed and then tied up the joke neatly with a "Really"! response.

I thought that was it, but I was wrong.

Far, far away in a Twitter galaxy not too many million miles  past the other side of politeness, two throughly charming individuals entered the conversation with such an aggressive tone, that I was genuinely surprised.

One who called me the 'B' word for being 'stupid' and the other who called me 'easy' (no, I don't know where that came from either ?) and told me to admit my 'mistake' and 'save my dignity'? Over reaction ? Totally. I responded saying his obvious lack of humour was sad and he was very easy to wind up.

Twitter is a universal forum for open, transparent opinions, but verbal abuse, well we can all do without it.

The' B' word has always repelled me and the use of it when insulting someone is just so unnecessary. Surely the English language has more to offer us, in terms of clever word play between 'smart' online duellers? To think that much passion was evoked, by a very obvious silly joke.

Everyone's enttiled to a voice and when it's challenged as an individual you can deal with it, in whichever you see fit. You could launch into a drawn-out online dogfight - battling for your views to be heard or just try to get in the last word.

You could respond in sarky tones or take the higher ground; which is to look beyond sound-offs and be heartened at being part of a global virtual nation, where freedom of speech is to be lauded, not mistreated or diminished by ill-tempered exchanges, often about very little.

In business, as in this example, the money producer's community manager dealt with the verbal ping pong effortlessly.

First, by clearly defining the tone of the exchange.

With good humour.

Several witty responses were issued, followed by a few retweets and a reminder to the user of the' B' word, that it was inappropriate, and that no further responses would be made to the individual concerned, if he continued in that tone. I was impressed.

Balanced live virtual opinions will always be exciting and often challenging, but some will inevitably be met with confrontation and general negativity. In a business this is thankfully addressed by a community manager.

A good one can handle just about anything, that's thrown at them and ultimately reverse a situation favourably, making the role of brand engager, I believe an increasingly vital component within business today.

Want to know what the next messge was that popped up after that Twitter set to ?   "Live is too short - enjoy it!   Exactly.

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