The Darker Side of Social Media

This week I had the distinct honor to speak on a panel along with a couple social media experts at a PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) event here in Central Ohio.

The subject was social media and I was asked to join the forum for my journalism background, my current role as a marketing director, and my life as a blogger. The questions were pretty in-depth as we covered topics such as “fake news”, affiliate marketing, and organic vs. paid posts.

I’m not going to bore you all with the geeky social media jargon, but one of the questions I was asked struck me. The moderator asked how challenging is it to be a blogger and have my life “out there” — my kids, my husband, my entire world on display, and how do I deal with scrutiny.

After 10 years in the news business I’ve grown a pretty thick skin. I’ve heard it all from “I hate your name” to “your lipstick is too shiny” to “it looks like my cat threw up on your dress” to “I love you, will you marry me?” and everything in between. Any journalist can relate, and many bloggers can as well.

What’s really amazing is I haven’t faced nearly as much scrutiny as a blogger, and I’m crazy thankful for it! I had an article go “viral” last summer about finding the ultimate mom-friend (you can read it here!) and I had quite a few people rip me for being too judgmental. *eye-roll* Some people just really can’t read sarcasm. My husband has always joked he’d like to create a “sarcasm font” and he thinks it would be his gift to mankind. And I kind of agree!

I follow many bloggers on Instagram and often read their apologetic comments when something wasn’t interpreted the way they intended. Oftentimes, the negative comments are deleted and trolls are blocked. I completely respect that.

It’s ironic that my first controversial post came the same day as the PRSA forum. Later that evening I posted a picture of my daughter and I at the mirror with a tongue-in-cheek saying. “Either my hair & makeup is done or I look homeless. There is no in between.” I really didn’t think anything of it, and thought it was funny, because #momlife is hard.

But I received a really long negative comment suggesting I was disrespecting homelessness and raising my children in an intolerant environment…… wait. what?!

Listen, I am truly sorry for those who I offended. In no way do I mean to turn my back on this serious epidemic. But my post does pose a larger question. When did we, as a society, become so extremely sensitive?

I didn’t delete the photo, because I think most of my followers understand the humor, and the commenter did delete his comment…perhaps he was a troll, perhaps not.

When the moderator asked me how I deal with scrutiny, my initial thought was to tackle it head-on. I know by being a blogger and very active on social media I have to take the bad with the good. I think the best way to handle backlash is to apologize when you are in the wrong, empathize with those you may be hurt or offend, and stand your ground when you feel you are right.

In this case, I felt as though I was right. However, I feel as though this is going to be an ongoing topic as social media continues to grow, expand and evolve over the years.

What about you? Do you face criticism on social media? If so, how do you deal with the backlash?

The Darker Side of Social Media
Here is the infamous photo.
PRSA Forum
Thank you so much PRSA of Central Ohio for including me on this awesome forum!
Thank you so much PRSA of Central Ohio for including me on this awesome forum!
The lovely ladies on the PRSA forum. Thank you!



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