HELP! The internet is mad at me!

mad_at_computer-300x199The web is expansive and far reaching.  Over the past decade we have seen networks that have exploded worldwide. Now even in places that used to be remote and out of touch with the rapid pace of our growing society are getting connected. One only has to look at the iconic Facebook map of lights showing its users to see just how massive it has grown.

This is great for anyone who wants the world to see what they are working on. From music videos to independent films right down to the very basic home video or simple blog posting it is all right at our fingertips ready for review. But what happens when things go wrong and get out of control and what simple rules should you follow to keep potential disasters at a minimum. Let’s face it we have all seen or read something that sparked a little anger or resentment in one way or another. Controversy can be a great way to get people to interact with your content, but in some cases it can also be a death blow to projects or even and entire full of your work. Today we take a look at what happens when the masses gang up on you and learn some of the best practices to avoid  the pitfalls altogether.

The biggest thing the internet offers is a mysterious cloak of anonymity. We can be anyone we want, say what we like, and post as many times as we please. (Until you get blocked or banned from a specific site by the author or owner. Something we will discuss below) Many people out there are thrilled about this because there are no repercussions to them whatsoever. They can say what they want, anytime they want, and trust me they will. In an ideal world people would be kind, offer creative suggestions, or stay neutral, but who wants to do that.  It is far too easy to get caught up in a flurry of negative commenting once a few people jump on the bandwagon. In the past I even found myself running with the mob so to speak and it can be strangely exhilarating. Then there are the “Trolls”; people who live just to splatter negativity around the web. These people are professional complainers who could care nothing about your feelings and offer up some of the hardest hitting comments in an effort to garner a reaction. These comments can then be amplified by other who join the bandwagon by using the “reply” as a way to voice their own opinions toward you and the original trolling commenter. Once this wave starts is can be hard to stem the flow of negativity surround your project.

Making it even more complicated fans of your work may stand up in an effort to defend you and your work. Although they feel like they are doing a service by defending you, all this does is create an exponential barrage that drives the baddies even harder. These types of things can create a wave of sharing that some might think is useful as views are gained and your product reaches more people. The problem being in most cases your link are reaching the wrong people and only adding to the fodder of negativity. Yes the web can be an angry place if you let it take you down that road. Many times ground that has been gained can be lost in short order and create doubt about whether your content is not what you thought it might be not to mention causing damaged to your entire web presence. There are things you can do to avoid falling into this trap. Like a warden it is your job to control everything that happens with your content and all its related support structures.

What should I do when people on my video channel or web blog start on a negative rant?

One of the most important practices is biting your tongue. As a content producer defending your honor might seem the right thing to do, however losing your cool by striking back at a commenter is one thing you should never do! Ever! No matter how angry you become at what people are saying this method only serves to fuel the fire.

Choose your battles wisely. Some comments can be solved with a simple “Sorry you did not like my (song, video, article) we do our best to prove content that everyone can enjoy.”

Should I block users that constantly cause a commotion on my page?

Banning or Blocking users should be a last resort. After all you have put your content out for the world to see and you are responsible for managing it. If your content is controversial then you should expect a reaction that fits the bill. mad-computerControversial content comes with a price and you must be willing to pay the piper if that is the road you are heading down. Posting videos or “blogs” that stir up emotions are sometimes a good way to generate lots of views; however this can come at a rather high cost to you and your place on the web. Once a flurry of emotion gets under way it can be impossible to stop, putting you the spotlight with little or no defense. The last thing you want is to be standing naked on the stage as the audience bombards you with rotten tomatoes. If it comes down to blocking users don’t be afraid to do so. It just might save your skin in the long run and your real fans will thank you for it.

The most important thing to keep in mind is your reputation as a quality content creator. Site like YouTube use a complex algorithm that uses ratings (thumbs up or down), views, and other data to help get your content seen. When you video get a large amount of thumbs down it falls in the system and the chances of you being seen grown smaller. Combine that with negative reactions and all you have done is move even further down the ladder. It is not entirely about the views as many factors come into play. Having a million views on a video that is controversial or poorly produced is not a good thing. Having the same views on a quality piece that people enjoy goes a lot further in the long run.

There are more than enough knuckleheads posting truck loads of absolute rubbish in an effort to gain views from controversy. Yes this is an old method for stirring people up and getting reactions. Our advice is to focus on the best content you can author and always stick to your guns. Over the last five years or more, people have begun to get tired of the mountains on up-loaders who constantly find ways to push tings that are void of any real substance. The world is getting tired of “Fail Blogs”, shaky video cameras, and poorly produced crap that wastes our time. The same can be said for so called “Reality Television” as more and more we hear the groaning of the masses as the production ideas get thinner and the plots more predictable. One example is the world famous National Geographic. For many years it was the respected magazine and then TV program producer who we could count on for interesting and factual programming. Recently they also jumped in the bottomless pit of reality TV and to their dismay people across the web are lambasting them for creating show that are not only poorly produced, but are also downright ridiculous. Now they are caught in a downward spiral and viewers are bailing out even faster than ever. Just looking at the comments online as they post trailer and other videos is enough to make me sick. It is understandable that change in inevitable, but it can also come at a price for even the most respected of creators. Even they have had to remove videos, block users and battle as the hoards tear them to pieces on a daily basis.


So what should you do to avoid this whole mess? The answer is very simple. Create the best content you can. Be wary of drawing lines in the sand and choose your battles wisely. We are in a period of transition. With hundreds of thousand of new independent content producers now pushing towards the surface being vigilant and putting some thought into what you create before launching is the key. Don’t throw it over the wall unless you are ready to stand your ground. If it’s good they will praise you and share it with a smile. If it’s bad then be prepared to face the angry mob

-Eric Baird Crush Media Boston-