SOCIAL VOICE: Corporate Criticism Shouldn’t Be Taken Personally

136999986_e410a68efb_oThere’s a thing about people who put their heart and soul into making a social media account work.

They go the extra mile, they’re pushing at the margins and they take a real sense of pride about what they are doing.

But there’s also something that connects them whether profile they are running whether that’s a town centre Facebook, a corporatel Twitter or an NHS Trust YouTube channel.

Because they put heart and soul into what they do their skin is that bin thinner when they face criticism of the organisation or service they front-up online.

Is it aimed at me? It feels like it… 

“I used to go onto our social channel in the evening and answer questions,” one said to me recently. “I don’t bother now. When I’ve spent all day being told that I’m rubbish and the service we provide is dreadful I’m worn down. I just don’t want it in the evening as well.”

Of course, that person isn’t rubbish and the person making the complaint isn’t singling out that individual. They just happen to be the person operating the place where people can make a voice heard.

It’s a feeling I can relate to. A one-off project I helped run went well but the numbers we produced were lambasted by a lone voice in the early hours of the morning and that made me far more angry than it probably should.

That’s not to say that there should be no criticism or even that it’s always, always unwelcome.

We should just acknowledge that when a half brick comes flying towards an organisation’s social media it’s not meant for you but the organisation you work for. It’s rarely personal.

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  1. Nice blog dan & I couldn’t agree more. I blogged a while back that the biggest trait in this business right now is resilience.

    As comms people we do need to keep a critical distance from our organisations and at times that means being thick skinned, dispassionate and professional.

    One thing I did notice over the years is that people within councils can be so engrained into the organisation that they become hyper- sensitive to any criticism from the public or media – to the extent that they go into fight mode when anyone takes an opposing view.

    It’s so hard on that frontline but I do think we need to be comms people first, council people second because part of what we do must be about channeling the concerns of the public to the leadership.

    Probably not a popular view but one that’s come into sharp focus since I’ve moved away from the sector.

  2. Agree, Dan. The whole ‘play the ball, not the man or woman’ notion is an indication of how unfamiliar emotionally intelligent discussion can be in certain pockets of life. It’s something we can all work on to develop more of it, and this post is a very timely reminder.

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