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Being anonymous and mean

February 6, 2009

In my recent searches for content about some of the brands we partner with, I come across negative reviews. One such review stands out for sheer meanness and audacity. The woman (one guesses woman since the username was “Fat Girl in [city]”, was a former employee. The person let rip with UPPERCASE rants to make the point, and lots and lots of screamers!!!!!

She is unhappy.

Our client saw it and most likely wondered what to do. If they had of asked me, I would have told them to respond with a simple message that said something like: “This isn’t how it is. Come in for a tour and we’ll prove it.”

But they didn’t ask me. And the bad review lives. And it was written because the person who wrote it can live behind the veil of anonymity (a word I can’t say in real life). This person was downright rude. And was rude because there was no consequence to rudeness. No one was going to say, “He that’s Linda, or Bob.” He’s being rude, I should send this to her/his mum.

Profiles change that. Profiles that ask even the slightest bit of information help. But not entirely. I had someone on this blog be rude in a comment. They wrote this:

My worst comment

My worst comment

If you can’t read it, ‘na’ says: “this is very stupid a 8 year old could have done better”

I responded with: “How do you know I’m not seven?”

Because if I was seven, this would be the greatest compliment ever.

As more and more clients engage in this arena, they often ask about nastiness. If Zuckerberg’s Second Law of Social Networking is true, and the amount of information people are willing to share will double every year, we’ll get to a point where even anonymous postings can be tracked down. I’m no internet sleuth, but ‘na’ left an IP Address. So I can tell you that ‘na’ is from Jamaica. And one would think that someone in Jamaica has better things to do than call me 8.

But my point is still this: things get less and less anonymous every year as more and more people share. So the real nastiness might go away.

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