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Online haters: What do they really want?

It’s one thing to express dissatisfaction, another altogether when the tirade goes viral.

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Some people just want to be mad

In the good ‘ol days (and where technology is concerned with how fast it changes those “good ‘ol days” could pretty much be last week) if you had a customer service complaint you could email the appropriate department and maybe you’d get a stock answer saying “I’m sorry.” Chances are nothing would ever really change but at least you’d walk away with the feeling that someone fake-apologized to you. The turn-around time for that type of complaint/response could be anywhere from 24-48 hours or more.

A superb Marketing Profs article by author Jay Baer recently tackled this issue head on as he explains that “Social media is facilitating complaints and breeding onstage haters.” The reality is that the issues that are communicated in social media, review websites, discussion boards, and online forums are sometimes more frivolous than those in telephone or email interactions. Especially in social media, consumers often post quick missives without much depth.

On stage and off stage

Baer has created two complaint archetypes: On Stage haters that seem to want the world as their platform and complain about darn near everything via Twitter, Facebook or similar platforms without much regard for resolution and Off Stage haters who have something significant to say and want to hear back from a company’s HR department and are content to communicate by email or a phone call.

It’s hard to argue with that type of logic. With social media if you have an issue you can vent in real time and keep venting. And why stop there: make your complaint viral and send it to all your friends and really, REALLY drive the point home that you feel vexed because your Happy Meal was missing a balloon or whatever. But what is the end game? To express your frustrations and find resolution, or use social media for a platform that enables the entire world to know that you are upset?

Haters gonna hate

Across every social media platform, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, WhatsApp, and WeChat, the heavier the usage, the more likely the consumer is to complain about businesses. The Marketing Profs article has come up with some significant findings.

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I don’t want to get on a soapbox here but social media – for all its wonderment – is breeding a new generation of onstage haters. It has spilled over into society and doesn’t seem to be skidding to a halt any time soon.

Can’t complain about success

How a business deals with public hate forums is certainly one of the major challenges of 2016 and beyond. Tactile professionalism and doing the best job possible doesn’t leave much wiggle-room for someone with an axe to grind. They simply find another subject to whine about.


Written By

Nearly three decades living and working all over the world as a radio and television broadcast journalist in the United States Air Force, Staff Writer, Gary Picariello is now retired from the military and is focused on his writing career.

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