Dealing with negative experiences online

28th November 2023
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Most of us would think that becoming well known would be a positive thing. The perks that come with some fame, whether A list or Z list must be worth having right?

I was no exception to this. My childhood dream of being the next Madonna didn’t quite work out, but as my business and my following grew I quickly realised that the more visible I became, the more negative experiences I was to encounter. (I must caveat this by saying the amount of amazing people I have met as a result of growing my business massively outweighs the bad stuff, but it did and does happen, so I though it would be worth spending a little bit of time focussing on it.)

So, is there any positive spin around being talked about negatively online?

Well, the obvious one is it’s happening to you because you are visible and therefore people know who you are! It often also means that you are doing something that others perceive as being successful, and therefore a threat to them. Not everyone shares the theory that success is not pizza and there is always enough to go round!

Here are a few examples of things I wish I had known in the beginning. 

What happens When You Become More Visible Online?

CopyCats

It’s tricky to stop this one, as often things you say and do are not specific enough to be Copywritten. Often it’s just ideas that you have shared when you’ve been live on social media, however, if you see your new course replicated, including the systems used, then it is time to go down the legal route.

It’s very frustrating when this happens, because apart from being unethical it’s also super lazy! To a point, take it as compliment, and often a little message to the copier will be enough to put an end to it.

Rumours

This has happened so often it’s like water off a duck’s back. Stay true to what you believe in, be clear with your messaging, stand by your morals and your ethics and you will find your way past low level rumour mongers any day of the week.

Remember this – “The lion does not turn around when the small dog barks” – stick to what you do and do it well.

Trolls

Again, I’ve had more than my fair share of these, who seem to gain some kind of perverse pleasure from writing vile and untrue things about you. Remember, there will always be a reason for someone trolling and their comments that are normally loaded with minimal creativity or intelligence stem from a very poor sense of self esteem.

They’re usually bored and more often than not, are not who we might think they are.

Unfortunately, it is fact of our social media dominated life, that all of the above are part and parcel of being visible online. 

What are the causes of these online keyboard assassins?

A lot of online hatred comes from a place of jealousy.

Maybe you made your money too fast. Maybe your rapid growth is seen as only possible by means of ruthlessness or a lack of integrity. Maybe they just don’t like the way you talk or the way you look.

This can lead to an individual trying to create a “call to arms”. To snare anyone else who has not got the greatest opinion of you.

This is commonplace and show me any successful business person who doesn’t have the same scenario and I’ll show you a full box of Quality Street on Boxing Day.

They will want to create a little army to throw enough crap and create enough of a nuisance to result in your downfall.

I’ve had my courses copied word for word. I have had entire Facebook and Instagram posts copied word for word.

One that actually makes me chuckle from years back was when a client completed one of my courses and then proceeded to copy all my social media posts onto her page and changed the photo of me to her.

It then got to the point where she was copying and pasting so much that she wasn’t reading the captions, and as a result, she was posting about how supportive her husband Sam was of everything she was doing. She wasn’t even married and the husband in the posts is my husband Sam!

There is a big difference between being influenced by someone and just becoming a second rate version of them.

Here’s how I used to handle things

I would read a post and feel I needed immediate vengeance. I needed to jump straight on and set the record straight. Now, I always try to reflect before I react.

How much damage has this person caused done with their words?

Why are they saying these things?

What is the best way to respond, or not as the case may be.

Maybe they are hurting, their business isn’t going great, or they feel threatened or vulnerable. They can take it out on others so you need to be mindful of what other people are going through and realise they might not be in a good place and direct that anger or negative train of thought at you instead.

Don’t get me wrong, I have instructed my legal team when there, and I maa sure I will again the future, but in most of the cases there will be a reason for the behaviour.  

We can’t change who someone else is. We can’t change what someone else does. What we can change is our reaction to it.

In today’s world, cancel culture is very much in the public eye, with media reports of someone being “taken down” every day.

Wikipedia describes Cancel Culture as “a modern form of ostracism in which someone is thrust out of social or professional circles – whether it be online, on social media, or in person. Those subject to this ostracism are said to have been ‘cancelled’.”

Cancelled. Usually, a livelihood cancelled. And why? Because someone took exception to the way that something was handled. Or perhaps the way something was said. No proof, no process, no democracy. Just a person or people, deciding that another person is not who they want to see succeed.

Be authentic, be ethical and use your energy and your time working on yourself. The positives and the value to you and your business will see the benefits.

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