Last week, I had a LinkedIn experience that taught me some valuable lessons in how to handle negative feedback.

As part of my social media marketing efforts, I share my blog posts to relevant LinkedIn groups. Most of my groups have a social media or marketing focus, but when I publish a Grammar Grenade post once a month, I share to my grammar-related LinkedIn groups instead.

My last Grammar Grenade addressed the issue of when to use “I vs. Me.” In it, I had written the following:

“Now, go pull on your self-righteousness and sneer at all those who obviously don’t know this great little trick – or better yet, share this post with them! After all, sharing is caring!”

Much to my surprise, a LinkedIn group member quickly posted expressing his distaste at my “pull on your self-righteousness and sneer” approach to language matters. And he didn’t just express it in one group; he expressed it in all 4 grammar groups to which I’d posted and belong. Others quickly chimed in with similar sentiments, and one woman went so far as to say “. . . a few word grenades should be tossed . . . and hope at least one explodes in their silly, smug faces.”

The comments kept coming in, and with each new arrival, my dread increased of what someone was going to say next. I was disheartened that a line I sincerely meant in (what I believed to be obvious) jest could be taken so literally and out of proportion, and that someone was even going so far as to make it personal. I am the last person to intend anyone harm or ridicule. Heck, my whole purpose in writing the Grammar Grenade series is to help others understand grammar without the jargon, not to make fun of them!

I wondered:

  • Should I comment back, expressing to the group(s) what I truly meant? What if they still didn’t understand and the situation worsened? I’ll admit, I have a weak stomach for negativity, and the last place I want to be is in the middle of it.
  • Should I ignore the comments and let the discussion continue? Would doing so just perpetuate their views?
  • Should I delete the thread? What about members who joined grammar groups to learn lessons just like this one?

I eventually opted to add a disclaimer directly to the blog post which reads:

“*Some readers have interpreted “go pull on your self-righteousness and sneer” literally, as though I am sincerely suggesting the belittling of others. In truth, I was being facetious to create a stronger dichotomy between keeping this lesson to oneself, and taking the obvious desired action of sharing this post and knowledge with others.”

While I knew the group members who started the discussion would probably never go back to read it, I found this disclaimer to be the best solution for me and for future readers.

And remember those LinkedIn grammar group members I thought may be out there and would find value in my lesson? Well, they were. I received 4 requests for future Grammar Grenade topics, increased my newsletter subscriber list by 23%, and had a record-breaking number of views the rest of the week.

I guess it’s true what they say: There’s no such thing as bad press! So if you receive you a few lemons of your own, just imagine how delicious the lemonade will be.

Have you had a negative feedback experience on social media? How did you handle it?

Amanda MiliAmanda Mili
Your Business, By Design
Ottawa, Ontario – Serving Canada and the U.S.
email: [email protected]

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