Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Why Professional Social Media Has Turned Into a Hate-Fest

I usually don't put a negative spin to my blog, but an incident recently occurred on one of my professional social networking sites that prompted this post.

A fellow member in one of my social networking groups has literally received hate mail telling her to shut up. There is no reason to act in such a rude and unprofessional manner, especially on a professional networking site.  This particular contributer is an established copywriter who adds great, helpful posts which I find very useful as a professional copywriter. If you don't want to read a post on a social networking site, it's very simple - IGNORE it and move on to a different topic or forum. 

She's not feeling the love on there, which prompted me to delve into what's really going on behind the social media scene. What's happened? Why have professional social media sites turned  into a negative hate-fest? Social media is supposed to be filled with hot industry leaders and seasoned business professionals. Did they leave their manners at the cyber door?There are social media rules to follow, but I think a few people missed that memo. 

I dug around and researched people's comments, specifically on my own industry sites (copywriting and marketing).

Here are the top 5 reasons I've concluded that social media has turned into a hate-fest amongst the business set:

1. People don't have any idea how to conduct themselves on a professional networking site. Their Net-iquette goes out the window and they feel like "anything" goes since they are protected behind a computer screen. 

2. There is a lot of competition and jealousy out there amongst professionals based on the economy. I understand it's a competitive world at the moment, but what happened to supporting fellow professionals? It's a bad idea to create a negative buzz, even amongst your peers. 

3. People just have way too much time on their hands. If these industry leaders are as busy as they say they are, why are they spewing out negativity and criticism on these professional sites? It makes me wonder JUST how busy they really are. Why aren't they aren't putting that negative energy towards something more positive i.e. growing their business? 

4. People take on a holier-than-thou, snobby persona on professional social media sites. Many come across as "since I have way more experience than you peons, you need to shut up and listen to me!" That's the biggest no-no in social networking and the fastest way to turn people off and opt-out of forums and groups. 

5. People are in their own little bubble worlds and think they are untouchable. I like to refer back to that old saying: "Think before you speak." In this case, think before you write. You never know who could stumble upon your negative words. If you want to ruin your reputation, that's the fastest way to do it. If you own a business or act as the company representative, be careful what you say on professional social networking sites. Your bad attitude and snobby demeanor on these sites might just get you booted out the door, or lose clients. You never know who knows who on these sites. A good rule of thumb is to think before you post and choose your words carefully.

Not ALL professional social networking sites are filled with mean, spite-filled people. I've found many supportive and talented people on these sites. In order to protect your reputation, if you feel like you are being unfairly attacked or harassed on any social media site, please contact the site administrator immediately.


  1. Dead on once again, Therese. It's a rotten trend and I support your efforts to make it stop. Negativity is insidiously contagious. As professionals, we must be mindful of getting caught up in a negative 'pack' mentality, where we begin agreeing with other haters, rather than searching our own minds for how we really feel on a topic.

    I'll tell you honestly, those on LI who regularly stand up for themselves no matter what anyone thinks are still easy to find, fortunately. I salute them all!


Therese Pope, Copywriter/Content Developer & Digital Buzz-icist

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