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Online Negativity and Ways to Overcome it

If you have an online presence via blogging, participating in various social media sites or selling your wares online, chances are you have come across some negativity. Perhaps negative comments or remarks were directed at your personally or your business. How did you handle it?

In the 4 years of doing business online I have had my fare share of online negativity. Having found myself in the middle trying to navigate my way out of it, here are a few ways that help me overcome it:

It took time to get used to this. My initial instinct would be to quickly jump back and try to defend myself. Not many people like criticism and their reaction is to fight back. But doing that it will only complicate things and sooner or later you will regret it. Instead, take a moment to think things over.

The first step to deal with it is determining what type of negative comment you’ve received.  This will help you figure out the appropriate type of response. If the issue points at a product or service (real issue) explaining what went wrong, try to address it professionally and in a timely manner. If the negative comment is pointed at you directly – constructive criticism, try to remain calm and positive. Negative comments could be a blessing in disguise in that they provide useful insight for your business. Letting yourself drawn into a fight with the customer will only reflect poorly on your business. There is one last type of negative comment, the spam comment. In dealing with it, it is better to avoid responding all together. This type of negative feedback is designed to lead you to an image-destroying fight and you should always avoid it as best as you can.

Sometimes the negativity is fully deserved and you should take full responsibility by admitting it. People will have more respect for you if you admit you were wrong. After all we’re all humans.

When you’re in the thick of it, it’s hard to see a way out. You might feel strangled – people might be emailing you, attacking you on blogs, talking about your bad customer service on facebook and twitter. Negativity online spreads quickly and may be hard to swallow. The good news is that even the biggest news gets old soon and in a day or two they’ll become old news.

As Lee Iacocca said: “In times of great stress or adversity it’s always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive.”

Have you ever dealt with online negativity? How did you respond to it? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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