With great social media power comes great responsibility



I have always been a big believer of watching every word I type before I press “Enter”. This article from the “Lifestyles” section of “Chicago Tribune”, discusses the pros and cons of taking your grudges out into the social space. Though the writer’s context is a restaurant tiff, I think we could all use the message that most conflicts are best resolved face-to-face, not the other person’s face to the world, way.

What do you think? Is it okay to fight it out online if you are offended by an employee at a restaurant/movie theater/some other public place?


15 thoughts on “With great social media power comes great responsibility

  1. This is a great article. It seems like you see situations like this more and more. I think there was even one were a patron and a restaurant chef/owner battled it out online, with name calling, for about a week. I think it shows poor character/professionalism to battle it out over social media and the correct thing would be to bring it to the attention of a manager and politely discuss the situation. If you’re still not happy you can write a review or even contact the Better Business Bureau if you felt that it called for such action.

    • Loly, thanks a lot for responding. You are right, social spaces online have been transforming the way we react and respond to situations, especially uncomfortable ones. I agree, we should just try keep it between the two parties concerned and not let the whole world know, considering anybody, anywhere could be following it.

  2. I don’t think it’s okay to fight it out online, even if social medias can be used to rant and release steam. Chances are, after whatever has happened to you at the restaurant, movie theater, or any public place, you’ll probably realize it wasn’t that big of a deal. And if it really was, what good does it do to fight it out? I understand talking calmly and making people realize what the mistake was, but the word “fight” to me indicates yelling and maybe cusswords. Not to mention that the manager of the place might not even be the person who runs the social media website.

  3. I do not have a problem taking my compliments and/or beefs to the internet. If you are in a customer service business, then you better provide good, even excellent, customer service! I am grappling with an issue about a business that I have been a loyal customer of for 10 years that has done me an injustice. I am thinking very carefully how I am going to handle the situation. I am going to post on as many websites as I can (i.e. yelp, etc.) but I am taking my time to think it over so that I do not lead with my emotions. What you put “out there,” remains out there, so choose your words wisely!

    • Susan, if you have supported a business for that long and they don’t seem interested to right the wrong, then they must know they are risking losing you (and probably a few more customers). I think seriousness of the issue, level of carelessness by the business in responding to the problem, how much the patron values the issue in question are all deciding factors in sharing it or not with everyone online. It’s really great that you are evaluating all options so judiciously and keeping your emotions out of it. I hope they work on resolving yours right away. Good luck!

  4. I feel that if you are attempting to address issues with in the social media arena regarding social justice, or you are advocating for sincere change, it is acceptable to give information regarding your experiences, within reason. It is important to always remain laser like focused on the result or outcome that you wish to achieve through your post, and not the personal details of the situation, or the pursuit of a negative personal agenda. The objective is the end result. It is important to always be respectful, and to protect all individual’s involved or a business’s privacy and right’s unless you are embarking on full fledged journalism. This protects you, as well.

  5. When I have a problem with anyone in the service industry – waitstaff, managers, or other service employee – my inclination is to give them the benefit of the doubt. My experience has been that people and businesses do genuinely want to provide excellent service. There may be other circumstances contributing to the poor service that you received that you are unaware of, and it has been my experience that management will admit to and rectify any problems if you address them calmly in person.

    I don’t subscribe to the philosophy that “the customer is always right.” No, they are not. I’ve witnessed plenty of examples where customers have had unfair or unrealistic expectations and acted like babies when they didn’t get their way.

    All that being said, I would never take my frustrations with a business out online unless they had been unwilling to rectify a problem after it had been addressed in person. (I also like to present a good image of myself online in general, and griping about others tends to make you sound like a jerk.)

  6. I think this is a great article and makes you rethink putting your complaints online. I agree with everyone’s comments, think before you post, and if it’s really bad service, then post on Yelp or the BBB and let others decide on whether they want to go there. Don’t let your opinion and feelings get in the way of your bad decision making posts.

  7. I think we have gone overboard with using social media to air our dirty laundry. I don’t think that this is the forum to resolve issues. One cannot get tone of voice or non-verbal communication which enhances the real message and things can spiral more out of control. When we are “protected” by a little glass screen, we are less inhibited and more willing to just lash out without control.
    However, there are tasteful ways to respectfully “warn” others (so to speak) about injustice, and I am in agreement with using social media for that purpose. The big thing to remember is that once something is posted online, it never goes away, even after you delete it. Before one hits that “enter” button, they should take a deep breath and realize ten years later when they’re fighting for that promotion, the hiring manager is going to come across this post by some weird twist of fate and it could make or break that promotion.
    Life isn’t meant to be without struggle or dealing with uncomfortable, unjust situations. How we respond to such things is a testament to our character and goes a long way in communicating to others our level of respect and integrity earned. As hard as it can be, we must always think ahead…”how will this affect my loved ones?” “How could this impact me in the future?” Remember, you can be truthful and respectful at the same time. It’s OK to admit frustration, but at least try to have some tact so that such frustration does not come across as someone with mental issues going on a rant. 🙂
    One of the best techniques I have used is to open up Microsoft Word, type out my long, wailing rant and get the anger out, then go back and read what I wrote. I’m usually ashamed immediately at my emotions and delete the file, but sometimes I will save it and read it another day then gasp and be glad I didn’t put it on internet. There has never been a point where I still agreed with that initial response at some point later.

    • Wow, it’s not easy sticking to a self imposed restraint like checking back later about sending the letter. That’s just cool. Like you said, thinking forward with career/family in mind is a good idea. Thanks for responding.

  8. It’s never a good idea to argue in public. You need two people to have an argument so if one stops, there’s no more argument. I believe that stepping up to the plate and admitting your faults and apologizing for something which went awry is the best way to handle a situation. So instead of showing your intolerable side and continuing to try and win the argument at all costs, being humble and trying to make it right will remain in the hearts of the followers more than you know.

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