First-Time to Speak at SXSW and Haters Get My Mic Time

Going to Austin’s South by Southwest (SXSW) is one of those things that gets added to people’s bucket list now and then. Although for most people, the things that stand out are the pop culture moments in film and music, I have long wanted to go and participate in the discussions about social media and finally last year I was able to go to SXSW for work. This year was even better though, I submitted an idea to speak and it was accepted!

Janice Person SXSW future 15 haters in the stream So what did I talk about? It is something that most of us have seen happen but may not have thought about what we would do if it happened to us. I’ve had it happen enough that I have thought about it a good bit.

What have we all seen happen…. A simple post on social media ends up drawing controversy as haters come out. Whether it has happened to you or not, you may want to stop and think about how you may want to deal with it. That topic is what got me to the microphone in Austin’s South by Southwest Interactive conference.

I got on social media early and have to admit that positive thinking is much more my thing than negativity but I’ve learned first-hand some ways to deal with the trolls. Having shared those tips with a few blogger groups in the past, I have been surprised how few have paused to think about it before it strikes since some thinking ahead can really make managing the negativity earlier.

Here are some of the key points I shared at SXSW

What brings haters out? Granted if you post something highly contentious (politics, religion, etc), you may know haters could find you but it can also be a personal post of something relatively benign. Frequently the common thread is it touches on something there can be a lot of passion around but it can also be timing that makes lightning strike. And there are just some folks who don’t need prompting.

Get out in front of haters:  When you choose to use social media, understanding the public nature of it and the possibilities for controversy can be useful in shaping your presence. With that in mind, being proactive on a few key components can be helpful. Having a comment policy on your blog or Facebook page, can help establish the “rules” that can be referred to as controversy surfaces. You also can consider who you want to share information with, utilizing friends’ lists on Facebook rather than broadcasting.

Be goal driven:  Everyone can get a bit of hate now & then, how you respond should depend on your GOALS, NOT your emotions.

wouldn't it be nice if it was this easy to spot internet trolls

wouldn’t it be nice if it was this easy to spot internet trolls

Tips on reacting to haters:  Although you don’t necessarily want to waste time dealing with the trolls online, it is important to understand not everyone who lodges criticism your way is a troll.

  • Listen — With criticism that is honest, it is important to step back and listen to different perspectives.
  • Step away from the keyboard — You can also take time to respond rather than allowing the perceived need for immediacy drive you into an emotion-driven, fast-paced back and forth. Taking time to think through how to reply is ok. You can also talk it through with a trusted friend to help you gain perspective and clarity.
  • Use respect as a baseline — Using respect as a baseline for online interactions not only is the right thing to do, it helps build community that helps reinforce the community’s guidelines.
  • Deciding when to move on – There are times when you can’t find common ground, or agree to respectfully disagree. When that happens, you sometimes need to consider whether you need to simply disengage and move on.

Thinking about the possibility that you will have someone bring negativity into your social stream, may sound like a bit of a downer, but in all actuality, it is just a chance to look ahead and plan a bit (see tweets from the presentation). I was pumped to see a good crowd there because I really have found that planning makes it easier to keep yourself out of a potential downward spiral. Staying out of the trolls spiral lets you enjoy the positive sides of social media more effectively. And that’s something that crosses a lot of online experiences!

And while I joked about haters getting the mic at my first time to speak at SXSW, in reality, it was a very positive experience…. a lot like the online communities I interact with daily. Trolls are few and far between, we just tend to give them either too much thought or not enough.

About Janice Person

I'm Janice & this blog is about my passions -- photography, travel, agriculture & whatever else comes to mind. Putting all those things together is intriguing to me…. I can spend a lot of time soaking it up! It's almost always a colorful adventure!

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18 Responses to First-Time to Speak at SXSW and Haters Get My Mic Time

  1. Anjanette March 19, 2015 at 1:33 pm #

    Very good points!! and Congratulations on your #SXSW presentation!! Whoop Whoop

  2. Angel Rodriguez March 20, 2015 at 3:17 am #

    As you mention, I often cover politics. Mucho haters! LOL. I’m scheduled to go on Hot97 Street Soldiers sunday to talk race, that will get me more mucho haters. LOL. They are tough topics.

    • Janice Person aka JPlovesCOTTON March 20, 2015 at 8:50 am #

      With topics like that, just knowing you are likely to get hate is part of the battle. It doesn’t necessarily keep me from talking about it. Since I live in St. Louis I have written about Ferguson several times this year. It is an important topic but I make sure I am ready to back up what I say. Good luck with your talks!

  3. Aliah March 20, 2015 at 8:11 am #

    I’ve never been to SXSW but I would like to go (bucket list item). These are great tips that don’t just pertain to online haters. Glad your preso and time at SXSW was positive!

    • Janice Person aka JPlovesCOTTON March 20, 2015 at 8:52 am #

      Thanks! And you are right, most of this works regardless of online or in real life. Though in the presentation, I said some people obviously enjoy the controversy haters can bring and want to fan the ire… that’s a whole different strategy! That’s not one I want to know much about LOL

  4. Kim March 20, 2015 at 8:46 am #

    These are great tips. I’ve only had one post that attracted “haters” it was about gel manicures and the possibility of it causing cancer. I feel like ALL of the nail techs visited my page and attacked me. Oh well.

  5. Mariana March 20, 2015 at 10:14 am #

    Congratulations on your SXDW debut!

  6. UrbLife March 20, 2015 at 5:26 pm #

    Great topic for SXSW, especially considering how many entertainers in particular really need to learn more about how to manage their emotions on social media. Congrats on this!!!

    • Janice Person aka JPlovesCOTTON March 22, 2015 at 10:40 pm #

      Thanks! On a funny note, talking about haters is how I met our dear Kitty. Bradshaw! It is a skill more of us need as we put ourselves out here. If you don’t handle it well, the hate gets louder and that impacts all kinds of things!

  7. Linda Sherman Gordon March 22, 2015 at 10:05 pm #

    You are in a job that allows you to speak on this subject with direct experience. Your industry is a lightening rod. Haters on line is one of the unfortunate bi-products of the internet age. I think one thing that helps is trying to force commenting platforms to be connected to non-anonymous profiles. YouTube has improved since much of it has linked to G+

    • Janice Person aka JPlovesCOTTON March 22, 2015 at 10:43 pm #

      I do have unique experience I guess. A lot of the time it is criticism though and people don’t necessarily see themselves as hating. That takes some work to listen through to hear what is really going on without judging first. But agree the more anonymity offered, the more boldly haters appear to be, glad YouTube has tempered some!

      Thanks for coming by Linda!

  8. Emileigh Rogers March 26, 2015 at 8:45 am #

    This is awesome! I have a vintage blog where I post controversial posts on purpose to elicit discussion in the community. Sometimes the posts I thought were mild turn out to be some of the most argued over! However, haters’ hits are still views, and these controversial posts are some of my readers’ favorites!

  9. Ginny Marie April 19, 2015 at 2:52 pm #

    This is such a great topic! One of my online friends just started getting published on the Huffington Post about religion, so of course the haters came out!

    I’m coming to St. Louis next week to visit Monsanto with the group of City Moms…I’m looking forward to meeting you! (In real life, my name is Christa.)

    • Janice Person April 19, 2015 at 4:22 pm #

      Thanks. It is a topic that more and more of us need to spend a bit of time considering as we grow online communities since it leaves us open to other people with really different agendas. Looking forward to meeting you Saturday!


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