Lisa B looks at the problem of malicious comments posted on social media and why you should never be drawn in.
YOU MAY not be familiar with the expression, but you’ve almost certainly noticed strange, weird, and sometimes vicious and cruel comments in forums and on social media. Maybe you’ve been a victim yourself. So what exactly is a keyboard warrior?
A keyboard warrior is someone who generally sits behind the safety of their bedroom door. They viciously attack people online, often hiding behind the anonymity of a username and only ever looking up from their keyboard to peer out through the curtains at the outside world. They are protected by distance because they know the person they are attacking is not within physical reach to identify them or fight back.
In their home or office, the keyboard warrior feels strong, invincible. He or she goes to war every day, lashing out with what they feel are essential comments. They point the finger at others and love to name and shame. They like to get personal. They like to get very personal.
Sometimes they engage the rest of their tribe to get behind them with their attack. They entice their husband or wife to comment. They’ll try to get other people to support their cause.
Say ‘no’ to the keyboard warrior. Don’t get involved.
What do others think of the keyboard warrior? That’s easy. The rest of the world knows their contribution is negative rubbish; no one wants to hear it. Most people will roll their eyes and think, ‘Here we go again’.
The outpouring of negative comments results in many people private messaging each other to discuss the latest tirade. Trust me: if you are a keyboard warrior, you’ve been mentioned in many, many private Facebook messages.
KEYBOARD WARRIORS IN REAL ESTATE
Believe it or not, we have our own real estate keyboard warriors. They mostly appear in real estate forums, and generally it involves big egos that can be heard clashing all over the country. These people feel the need to be right at any cost.
Disgruntled clients may turn into keyboard warriors and appear anywhere online. It could be a purchaser who missed out on a property; it could be a tenant who was made to go back and clean the bathroom; it could just be someone who doesn’t want your marketing material in their letterbox.
The keyboard warrior may post somewhere that gives you the right of reply, or you may never know. You need to make sure you have online brand protection strategies firmly in place.
The keyboard warrior needs to remember that anything they say, even if it’s in a private forum, can be captured by screenshot and sent to other parties. It can also be used in a court of law.
HAVE YOU BEEN TARGETED BY THE KEYBOARD WARRIOR?
If you’re attacked in this way, the key thing to remember is to be polite. Don’t retaliate, no matter how tempting it might be. You may not win the battle, but you can win the war by remaining calm and courteous.
If the keyboard warrior has written on your personal page, feel free to delete it. It’s up to you what you keep on your public pages. You control what you want to show. This is where two functions of Facebook come in handy: it’s easy to ‘unfriend’ or block them. If the Keyboard Warrior is complaining about your business, however, I suggest you deal with the problem instead of ignoring it. Try to take it offline; the best way to do that is by addressing the situation. You could say, for example, ‘Mr Smith, I’m sorry that this has happened; please private message me your phone number or email address and I will contact you personally.’ Do your best to get the keyboard warrior offline.
In the same way, if you have a problem with someone, pick up the phone and talk to them about it. Don’t air your dirty laundry for the world to see.
Whatever you do, don’t become a keyboard warrior yourself. Nobody likes a keyboard warrior.