comments sectionpost by Stephanie Nelson

Last Friday, I was able to attend my first Creative Mornings Charlotte gathering. The premise was based around the quote “Laws are like sausages – it’s better not to see them being made.” Speakers were lawmaker Jeff Jackson of the NC State Senate and esteemed restaurateur and sausage-maker Cassie Parsons of Harvest Moon Grille. The topic was the value of transparency in their respective professions and processes, and the discussion was done “debate style.” (Update: The video is up. Take a gander!)

The last section of the “debate” was a lightning round in which each speaker had to answer the questions in three words or fewer. When the question “What’s the nastiest part of your job” was posed, Senator Jackson’s response was, “the comments section.”

Naturally, that response garnered a round of applause and a host of laughter…because we all knew it to be true. Numerous times over the last few months, I’ve found myself thinking, “Stephanie! You know better! DO NOT READ THE COMMENTS!” I’ve also been pondering why it is that people get SO nasty and hateful in the comments sections of Facebook posts, YouTube videos, etc. The answer I’ve come up with? Anonymity. Chances are great that the person the hateful, nasty comment is being directed toward doesn’t actually know the commenter. Even if the commenter’s name is technically there with the comment, what are the chances someone he or she knows is going to see it? If a friend does see it, aren’t chances good they’ll feel the same, since they’re a friend?

I agree with Senator Jackson. The comments section is often the nastiest part of my job, too. And responding to nasty comments and reviews about clients that have come to seem like family can feel pretty personal sometimes. But I remind myself of the advice I’ve posted here: put your customer service hat on, don’t respond negatively, and word the response in a way that shows you care.