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Anger, Revenge, and Social Media

I was talking with a pal the other day.  My pal was ticked, having been treated rudely by someone they were doing business with.

Oh, were they ever ticked.  Wanted some justice.  Seemed ready to whip out their whuffie and take this person to task using all their social media might.  Which didn’t sit right with me.

Is that really social media in action?

So I asked Twitter:

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"When, if ever, is it ok to use social media as a vehicle for anger and revenge, hmm?"

Now, don’t get me wrong.  There is incredible power in calling someone out publicly in one of these social sites.  And I think there is absolutely a time and a place and a way to do that.  But what is acceptable to me may not work for you.  Food for thought:

  • If you’re angry because of a private event or disagreement, when can you escalate that problem to a public forum?
  • Where’s the line between venting and attacking?
  • Is it acceptable to rail at a company but not an individual?  What about a celebrity?
  • Do the rules change for moral outrage versus garden-variety anger?
  • How will venting anger or taking revenge reflect on you and your own business ethics?

Twitter, being the lovely place that it is, had some ideas.

twitter answers from peeps i respect

What do you think? Given there’s no hard and fast rules, what’s appropriate for you, in the communities where you participate?  When do you vent or confront?  And when do you just put on your big girl panties and move on with your day?

Written By

Kelley Koehler, aka the Housechick, is usually found focused on her Tucson, Arizona, real estate business. You may also find her on Twitter, where she doubles as a super hero, at Social Media Training Camp, where she trains and coaches people on how to integrate social media into successful business practices, or at, a collection of all things housechick-ish. Despite her engineering background, Kelley enjoys translating complex technical concepts into understandable and clear ideas that are practical and useful to the striving real estate agent.



  1. Matt Stigliano

    September 1, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    @housechick I think @billlublin says it well. There are times when I’m steaming mad and want to call a person out, but to attack is never my goal. I’m a big fan of confrontation when it leads to solution or new ideas. Not so much when it’s only function is the confrontation.

  2. Ian Greenleigh

    September 1, 2009 at 4:38 pm


    I’m always interested in the ways and extent to which social media reflects our attitudes, beliefs and lifestyles in general. I’ve been tempted–more than once, it’s true– to seek my revenge via twitter. As you and your tweeps opined above, unless there is a constructive aim in mind or the chance that something constructive will generally emerge from doing so, such actions are, at best, reactionary. At their worst, they can be extremely damaging to all parties involved.

  3. Joshua Dorkin @ BiggerPockets

    September 1, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    Social media is a great way to vent, but it needs to be done responsibly. As we’ve learned from the recent “skank” controversy, there is really no more anonymity online, and IMO, there shouldn’t be. That said, I regularly vent through my personal blog, but never say anything that I don’t want people to see for the rest of time. I will also not make any comments online that I wouldn’t normally make in person.

    To do so would be cowardly.

  4. Brian Brady

    September 1, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    What a timely post for me ! I would agree with Teri Lussier’s observation that constructive advice is a great way to vent on social media.

    I got hammered on Yelp:

    Obviously, I wanted to address the issue right away. After my initial response, the tone softened but the commenter remained anonymous. Further investigation led me to believe that the commenter was using a pseudonym so that I COULDN’T address their frustration.

    Anonymous ranting helps nobody. Constructive criticism helps us all.

  5. Sal Antsipenka

    September 1, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    To me all this revenge harrangues in social media are empty threats. If the offence is serious enough, a goode olde average American runs to his lawyer. If aforesaid offence is in the form of ticking off a bit, the same person will refrain from too aggresive actions, because the other party will quickly turn goode olde average American and will run to his lawyer. Social media is too scattered to really hurt somebody in my opinion. So my advice – don’t waste your time either threatening or fretting.

  6. Jim Duncan

    September 1, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    I write lots of ranting tweets/comments/emails. But I rarely if ever send them. The rant tends to reflect more poorly on the one doing the ranting than it does on the person making the initial claim. Private disputes should stay that way.

    That said, constructive rants about politics and policy are fair game.

    As many of us know, but others may not – once it’s published, it’s never coming back. Best to be sure of what you plan to say.

  7. BawldGuy

    September 2, 2009 at 2:35 am

    I don’t know if it’s a gift, or if I learned it growing up listening to the generations in my family who came before me. But I can almost always spot crazy or stupid almost before they crest the horizon.

    I treat them both roughly equally — like a coiled rattler in my path — I avoid.

    If they continue? That’s another thing altogether, and off topic.

  8. Aria Kilpatrick - Austin TX

    September 2, 2009 at 10:40 am

    Celebrities have taken to Twitter lately to “vent” about break-ups and other personal business. What do you think of them when they are attacking their ex publicly? Probably not much, and the same goes for us non-Celebs, only we don’t have our celebrity to stand on at the end of the day.

    It reflects poorly on you to vent personal attacks publicly. And what do you really get from it? Does it make you feel better? I think it only returns embarrassment. It’s not just your friends and peers you can see it, it’s the whole world, including potential clients.

  9. Ruthmarie Hicks

    September 2, 2009 at 9:41 pm

    I had a couple of competitors poke around to try and goad me on-line. I’m with Bawld Guy, I try to steer clear. In reality, I DO have a temper – but stuff like this is not worth making a scene. Only makes ME look bad if I do.

  10. Joe Loomer

    September 3, 2009 at 5:46 am

    Recently witnessed an exchange on FB on the wall of an agent with a different firm. She – and a fellow agent in her firm – got in to a heated discussion about yet another agent from their firm. Seems someone “stole” a client and they where more than happy to go all Bob Barker (in Happy Gilmore) on this other agent. The loser? All three agents and their firm, at least in my view. Who couldn’t see that exchange and not wonder about the business ethics of that company?

    Some things are best taken off line.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  11. Atlanta Real Estate

    September 3, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Love the Bob Barker reference. LOL!

    When blogging ceases to be a info exchange, learning experience, helping each other, etc., I normally just shut it down.

    There are enough challenges in life without going online and finding an infinite number of fights…all which, by the way, are not “winnable.”


  12. Chelsea Davies

    July 7, 2021 at 2:43 am

    Social Media can probably be an outlet for anger but to a certain extent, I guess.

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