I read recently that one celebrity is leaving social media because of some epically mean comments and rants she read about herself all having to do with body image. Why people do things like this is beyond me. Public figure or not she is human and has feelings. Since when does what you look like have anything to do with your ability to sing and entertain. What are we saying to future generations? We are setting a crazy standard and why? Because we don’t want to look at or listen to someone who isn’t Barbie-like? Terrible at best and a conversation for another time. I find her decision sad but understandable. As a celebrity the backlash one can encounter can be fierce and cutting. Of course no one wants to be the brunt of this kind of attention because it spreads like a virus and just brings you down. Gossiping is nothing new. It has gone on for ages and sometimes we know about it, sometimes we don’t. The fact is that it isn’t always in our faces.
Social media on the other hand drives the gossip right to our front door and drops it off. We are engaged socially for a ridiculous number of hours each day. It’s on our computers, TV’s, phones & tablets. Being a public figure or organization harnessing the power of social media to engage with our respective audiences, means monitoring these spaces. It is our responsibility to ensure brand reputation and know what is being conveyed by the public that we serve to the rest of the world. Using social media means we will see it all: the good, the bad and the really ugly and irrelevant. Being in tune means we must know the difference between what needs a response and what can be ignored. It does not mean you must indulge the mean people who revel in nonsense or focus on irrelevant issues just to stir the pot or to try and steal your business. They negative Nellies looking for attention. It is one thing when someone complains about a product for a valid reason or bad customer service or even a bad concert for that matter. Those are relevant concerns and should be addressed because they are the concerns that keep the lights on and may in fact, when left unaddressed, put you out of business. These are the fights that need fighting.
When bullies and gossipers attack us in life we can address them, disassociate with them or both. We protect ourselves which is a natural instinct. When cyber bullies begin spreading poison in our arenas it is is in our face like it or not. The beauty of it being in our social media arena is that we can block and unfollow, taking it out of our line of sight and our audience’s. This does not mean we shut out all the negative comments. Those, when handled properly, actually become a testament to who we really are. The nonsense however, we don’t have to put up with. There is no need to unplug, hang our heads and disappear since that abandons the 99% of the rest of our public who support and engage with us. Disappearing sends wrong messages and can ultimately be fatal.
Everything may not always be perfect but life isn’t perfect and neither are we as people, public figures and organizations. We live in a world where we make mistakes and decisions daily. We take actions that have positive and negative effects on our next set of decisions and actions. This is called engagement. It means being a leader and understanding and addressing what needs to be addressed and discarding what doesn’t. You can’t control everything but you can and should control your world, your pages, your website and your brand. You have a choice.