Isn’t it curious that public feuding has become acceptable such as, the recent arguments between Whoopi Goldberg and Kim Godwin over comments made about the Holocaust. Just when you thought ‘road rage’ was the angry trend to be avoided; now angry responses on numerous TV and social media sites are at an all-time high. Researchers of China’s Beijing University have recently analyzed the trajectory of emotions across a social-media site, Weibo, (a Twitter-like service); and, came up with rather surprising results in the process. It revealed that anger spreads like wildfire across social media more than joy or success.

It’s evident that some social issues cause outrage such as, homelessness of veterans or domestic violence. Most of us agree we want justice and a solution to these problems. Consequently, many make their views known by public announcement on any social media site that think will generate action. Amazing power can be had by stating outrage or calling someone out publicly on one of these social sites.

Let’s examine what the reader(s) of some innocent posts could have interpreted:

  • The reader(s) may not have all the facts on the subject and are not aware of the actual logical components. Hence, they respond by returning an attack, not constructive feedback.
  • The reader(s) may feel that an immense injustice is being demonstrated, consequently, they respond with indignation or fury. The feeling of powerlessness can bring on an attack of anger and the reader will vent on social media thinking that broadcasting bad press will obtain justice. Remember, the more justified you feel over an injustice, the angrier you get.
  • The reader(s) may have a cultural or faith based distinction that triggers them to a rage response. Or the reader may just feel the need to be righteous about posting their views.
  • The reader(s) may have old wounds from past events or upbringing and are still living this story. Your post can activate them to play out what happened in the past with, unfortunately, the same result they had then.
  • The reader(s) may not have their expectations fulfilled from membership in a specific group. Rather than address the group owner alone on the direction and content of public discussions, they lash out at anyone that posts anything they view as ‘unintelligent and uninformed’.

What do you do when you receive angry responses on social media posts?

If you think there have not been enough facts made known about the subject, you can post where fuller information can be found. Then, leave the readers to investigate it for themselves. It is not your job to convince the readers that you are right so that you ‘win’.

  • Be open enough to let others challenge your views. It is not uncommon for larger organizational or global problems to have more than one solution. Those who can’t adapt end up useless and bitter.
  • Be tolerant enough to examine another perspective. After unbiased reflection, you may change your viewpoint about the response you received in the original discussion.
  • Expect opposing responses. Don’t assume opposition is personally directed at you. You may open up communications now among members that may bring the group consciousness to a higher level.
  • Remember that your peers, and possibly your manager, will see your responses to others on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and a host of other sites. How you react to any readers’ post will reflect on your integrity, composure, and self-control. Ask yourself how you want your public personae to be viewed.
Handling Anger on Social Media