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What do the Wild West and Social Media Have in Common?

Updated: Jul 9, 2020

Todd and I love to relax and watch old western flicks. I have to admit; before marriage, I didn’t consider the wild west very often. I knew of Clint Eastwood and John Wayne, but I didn’t know much about westerns as a genre. Todd introduced me to a variety of films I had not seen. The old spaghetti westerns filmed in Italy are some of my favorites. The characters were crazy. Gian Maria Volonté is one of my favorite actors from that time, and he plays characters who are nuts, which brings me to Social Media.

Don’t get me wrong; I love social media. The way we at AYW use social media is incredible. Our social media platforms build community and help us stay connected with our authors. It wasn’t until we started to use boost posting to get our brand a little more exposure that we started to notice the wild west come out of Facebook. I am writing about this topic because many small business owners can see this as a negative or a personal attack. Being attacked on Facebook is like someone trying to knock you over with a feather. It’s an ineffective attack as long as you have the proper perspective.

Different Types Of Gun Slinging on Social Media

Meme Attack: Someone has just posted a picture of poop on your boosted post! What do you do? First, let’s get this out of the way, delete the comment. You won’t change their mind about how they feel. Any profane images need to get deleted as well. Also, block this person from your page immediately. Please feel free to report these people to Facebook. Meme attack is probably the easiest fix of all the attacks on Facebook. The poop poster will appear immature, rude, and disgusting, and it will say absolutely nothing about your brand.

Obvious Opposition Attack: Opinioned posts you make will spawn opposition. That is the nature of having a personal opinion; there will likely be another human who doesn’t agree. Persuasive writing is intended to help people see your point of view without attacking theirs. Persuasive writing is a very slippery slope in the social media world. I can say the sky is blue and another person could say well actually it’s purple and blue and have an additional opinion about the clouds. We all want our opinions acknowledged, that is generally why we find the need to post them. We may also post our opinions backed by scientific facts that somehow still get rejected by someone with an opinion to share. You may think, "but Kyra, if it’s a scientific fact, isn’t it indisputable?" I wish I could say it was, but in the wild west of social media, facts mean very little.

You don’t have to change their mind, and you probably won’t because you are commenting on “rootin’ tootin’” social media. However, some people will read your post and consider it, and it will make sense to them. How you handle the comments from there says more about you. If you attack them for their opinion, it will lead to more attacks. Never worry about unfriending, unfollowing, blocking, banning, or even the extreme other direction of reaching out individually to people and have a real conversation. Humans tend to hide behind social media to have an outlet for their pain, fear, and anger. You don’t have to allow that anywhere near your business or your friends and family.

Veiled Attack: My favorite Wild West Tactic! The veiled attack is passive-aggressive and is artful in its design. You almost don’t even realize that it’s happening until you talk to a friend and realize, hey, wait just a second, did they just slap me in the face and walk away? Here is what it sounds like “You are so great at xyz, but you really should do abc instead?” “If I were you, I would _________.” These are two examples of unsolicited advice, which is attack.

The artful comments are where the person positions themselves above reproach and can claim innocence; this is manipulation at its zenith. They may add God into the mix or some other magical divine force that must be heeded. All I have to say to that is RUN! Run for them thar hills! They are so good at manipulating others and doing it for so long they may not even realize they are doing it. Therefore, you can say absolutely nothing to make them see your perspective without seeming like the bad guy yourself. When you choose to engage in an open forum like social media, your business and reputation may suffer.

You don’t have to engage in this manipulation. Simple comments like “Thank you for your opinion” or “That’s an interesting point of view” will usually dismantle most of these types of attacks. Honestly, you already told them your opinion by your post you are not responsible for convincing a person who isn’t interested in being convinced.

I am okay with working with people who want what I have to offer, who are delighted by my perspectives and we jive on other opinions. Some people are skilled at helping people see new perspectives and helping people adjust their limited thinking. I will say I am not that person. I honestly don’t have time. I say, hey, this is me, is this you too? If it is, then we are in alignment and can probably work well together and have a terrific time doing it!

Negative Review Attack: The first question to ask yourself if you get a negative review, “Did they use my product?” If they aren't a true customer, dismiss and delete. If it’s a situation where you can’t delete the comment respond with “I don’t see you in our customer list. We would love to chat with you; please reach out to us at xyz.” They never will.

If the reviewer is an actual customer, but you don’t know them personally a positive response is “What can we do to help?” or “I see the issue you were having, here is how we can help.” or “We are open between x-y at # please reach out to us we would love to find out what we can do to make your experience better.” Never address the problem on an open forum unless you have a quick answer to fix their problem immediately. Often when people do a negative review, it’s their way of venting. Savvy customers will see through that negative review and are usually not bothered in the least. They will be doubly unaffected if it’s the only negative out of 20 or 30 positive reviews. When you address it privately, you can create a connection with your customer, get feedback, and potentially make some positive changes if needed.

Troll Attack: How do you know you are being attacked by someone who wants to steal power and seem important on social media? They do it personally, harshly, and you likely have never met them before. They don’t know who you are, what you care about, and make general statements about you as a person. These people may not be real. We are learning more and more about people getting paid to get on to social media to cause havoc. Delete the comment or post if possible and dismiss the situation. I generally like to look at all angles of something that is happening and make sure I’m not somehow in the wrong, but when it comes to trolls, I haven’t found much reason to give them any of my attention.

The social media world is largely an illusion, just like the cowboys on the movie screen. If you are a business owner, I know it can feel overwhelming, especially if it’s only you or one or two other people in your company. We are only doing our jobs, getting by, and doing the best we can with all that life is throwing us right now. We are mostly alone, navigating these tricky waters and doing our best to get our message out there. Be gentle with yourself if these problems arise.

I like to go back to a couple of principles that have helped me along the way.

  1. “In my defenselessness, my safety lies.” ACIM: Can I step away from this situation and remain open to seeing something I’m unwilling to see? If my point has been made, is there a reason to defend it, and in the defending of it, would my message be lessened?

  2. “I don’t know what my brother/sister needs.” ACIM: Can I let go of trying to teach someone a lesson in my belief system? Can I let go of my rightness and offer compassion? Can I trust they have their curriculum that I don’t understand? What is it in me that wants them to be different?

  3. “The speaker only speaks about themselves.” Johnelle Levesque (my coach): What is it in me that wants to take on another person’s fear, thoughts, or opinion? They are allowed their choice and opinion, and it’s none of my business. I am allowed to remove myself from harmful situations, circumstances, and unfounded criticism.

I say one or all of these previous statements to myself when a social media high noon situation comes about. I’m reminded to notice where my mind is taking me, then I course correct. Where do I want to put my energy? Is it in arguing with someone who will never change their mind in an open forum?

At AYW, we have an amazing online community over which I am very protective. It’s important to me our authors feel safe. I can’t protect everyone from the wild west of social media, but hopefully, these few tips will add value to your experience.

Photo by  Jesse Pferdmenges  on  Scopio

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