Angry and posting? What you should do instead.

In this age of social media, we always have an outlet for our thoughts, whether they be insightful and informative, or whether to express our frustrations and complaints.

If we want to share golden nugget from a conference, there’s Twitter and a hashtag. If we want to lash out at our boss, there’s Facebook (where we aren’t friends with our boss). If we want to rant (or rave) about anything, we can post about it at length on our blog.

Most of the time, there’s no harm done. Except if you post when you are angry.

When you are angry, you are caught up in the (negative) emotion of the moment. You are looking either to vent your frustration or to exact some sort of revenge. When you vent in anger in person (and not on social media), there are often (immediate) consequences. You may insult or offend someone and ruin your relationship with that person. You may escalate a situation (and in some cases, this can even lead to violence).  Or you may blow off steam, and calm down.

But when you are angry and you post on social media, the consequences can be greater and more long-lasting. Social media is the great amplifier. Your angry thoughts can go viral. And even more so, they became permanent. They can’t be easily retracted. They are searchable and they can definitely be attributed to you.

We’ve seen case upon case of people tweeting in anger (whether justified or not), and then facing consequences. There have been a few cases of passengers getting booted off a flight. Or people being fired for tweeting something.

Here’s the thing: Anger does not allow you to think clearly. You may not see the consequences.

Angry and about to post? Take a pause. Put your thought into a draft. Wait.

A few weeks ago, I had an unfortunate meeting with someone and I felt very angry and upset afterward. I came home and wrote a blog post, which would have upset that person had I published it. Instead, I wrote it and let it sit in the draft file. I still haven’t published it. My anger is gone, and now I realize I don’t necessarily want to have those thoughts, about a specific person and meeting to be “on the record.” Perhaps what happened was not as bad as I perceived it. Perhaps this person meant no harm.

If you must vent, write it but don’t tweet it.  As a speaker at an event a couple of years ago said (I wish I could remember her name):

Never Twitter when you’re bitter.

So, write it. But don’t post it…yet. Come back to it when you are not as angry and frustrated.

Once you are calm, and revisiting your post ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you really want to put it on the record?
  • Is this important enough to ruffle feathers?
  • What do you expect to gain from this?
  • And, is it worth it?

Have you regretted posting something you wrote while you were angry? What were the consequences?

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About Deborah Brody

Deborah Brody writes and edits anything related to marketing communications. Most blog posts are written under the influence of caffeine.

2 thoughts on “Angry and posting? What you should do instead.”

  1. I either walk away or I write. Or really, I walk away and rant in my head as I pace around for too long. Then I think, damn.. that would make a good post and then I get to my keyboard and the smart words that were ‘just’ in my head.. gone. 😉

    Seriously though.. I had someone post something on FB and it was very judgmental but I know better. What is said can never be unsaid, so I didn’t comment. I did however schedule a tweet about the issue. Then there were 2 posts in my LinkedIn Pulse suggested reading: one was platitude laden nonsense, an insult to fluff to call it a fluff piece, from a known ‘thought leader’ and the other, well it was a banal list article on industry stereotypes that does nothing to help that (aka my) industry. I really wanted to mix in and set the record straight b/c someone needs to but.. I know better.

    I even asked on Twitter and G+, what’s better – to leave an intelligent if disagreeing comment? Or to write a post of my own, link back? It’s hard – you DO have to rock boats, you do have to take chances and a stand to make a point but there’s always consequences. And if you’re someone like me, then what happens is you’re labeled a troll, or accused of attacking someone when really you’re disagreeing w/ a post. Or worse, nothing as you’re ignored anyway. And FWIW I’ve saved that list post on the off chance I use it for something else.

    1. Hi Davina,
      Thanks for sharing your process. I think you shouldn’t feel as if you can’t comment or disagree, but you should be conscious of your word choice and emotion. If we post or comment in the heat of the moment, we may say stuff we regret later. If we write it, like you said, in your head, or even as a draft, then you will be harnessing your anger. I agree that when we are angry or moved by something, we sometimes have a great comeback. That’s why it’s good to capture it and then think about it calmly. BTW, not that I always follow this advice. But I am trying to be more conscious of it.
      Deborah

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