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The Social Media ‘Flipout’ – Is It Becoming A Regular Occurrence in Digital Life?


smfoWhen I created this blog in early 2010, the social media industry wasn’t as hyped up as it is today. In 2010 (in Australia) the industry was slowly building momentum. Many of us had Facebook accounts, but other social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn were still in their major growth periods.

Over my 3 years specifically in the social media industry I have met all types of people through this medium. Generally it’s all good fun, information sharing and new connections – but occasionally you do come across a bad egg. Just like in real life, you may be walking down the street one late Saturday night and some (rude/ drunk/ annoying) person acts crazy to you for no real reason.

Well it’s the same on social media, isn’t it?

As humans we are quite simply evolving with electronic equipment in our hands, it’s starting to form part of who we are and how we act – and this ‘always connected’ device is now a medium where we vent our frustration or take it out on others.

We have seen several reports of social media trolls come to media attention over the past year, and the anonymity of some social networks it makes this behaviour too easy to get away.

But when you have a bad day, it is best to vent or just turn the computer off? I think we all know the answer to that one.

I’d say I have experienced 4 Social Media ‘Flipouts’ in my time. Without revealing personal information these were the situations:

1. Another Social Media Agency owner contacted me – asking if I could work with them on some projects. I politely declined as it wasn’t in my best interests. The owner couldn’t believe I declined and when on a rant how silly I was to turn down their offer. Well because your offer is so fantastic, surely someone else will take it up? Dumb.

2. One day on LinkedIn, someone attacked me because she didn’t like the way I sourced my social media stats. Well – that’s fine, you don’t have to read them. But instead I was subjected to long winded, attacking comments in a public forum – based around the fact that ‘I didn’t know what I was doing’. Dumb.

3. One day on Twitter, I had someone (jump to conclusions, and) swear at me because I found a political joke funny. I think we are all allowed to laugh and comment on a joke without being attacked. Dumb.

4. One day on Twitter, I assumed the guy was drunk because we was trolling and attacking a lot of users, basically just trying to discredit whatever they do. It my case he said this site is rubbish and what good do I provide to the industry? Then the unnecessary name calling started. So I asked this guy, ‘have you been drinking’. He replied ‘I don’t drink’. Damn, so you are saying all this and you are sober? This is even worse. Dumb.

Personal Reputation – It means a lot in the business world. The problem with 2 of these ‘Flipouts’ I experienced is I actually knew the colleagues/ contacts of these people. So the next time I mentioned their name and the ‘funny story’ it did leave a few raised eyebrows. Little awkward.

What good does this kind of hot-headed-internet behaviour serve? Would you say this in real life to someone’s face?

On Facebook from time to time, you will see your friends ‘flip out’ but because this is shared with your friendship circle and not the whole world, I would say this OK. But it certainly is attention seeking behaviour. If you really have an issue wouldn’t you call your bestie and have a d&m? or would you rather tell your 300 friends on Facebook how down you feel and how shit life is?

  • Do you think the CEO of a major company would act like this?
  • Would your parents act like this?
  • Do your friends act like this?
  • Would politicians act like this?

The answer to all of these is probably, No.

Be cool, don’t flip out on social media. Goto the pub with your mates and have a rant and laugh. Don’t be a meanie on the internet 🙂

Have you been subjected to a social media flipout? How did you handle it?


David Cowling : Editor and Founder of SocialMediaNews.com.au. I also run a Social Media Agency where I do consulting work and another blog dedicated to Instagram news. Connect with me: Twitter | LinkedIn | Google + or contact me here. Alternatively, you can send me an email at david@socialmedianews.com.au

  • David,
    This reminds me of how people in the US become mechanical monsters behind the wheels of their SUVs. They take on the personalities of their monstrously large vehicles. They are either texting or talking on their cell phones, rude and intimidating to other drivers as well as a danger to both other drivers and their own passengers, often their small children.

    Social media seems to put up some sort of a barrier that this ‘flip out folks’ similarly seem to feel as their drive their social media vehicles. But the results can be the same, disastrous.

    We need to be conscious at all times how our behavior affects others: in person, in a motor vehicle, on social media. This just proves two things. Social media is becoming as comfortable and common place a vehicle as their cars.

    They feel the same anonymity and untouchability. There definitely is a problem of a false sense of no consequence to this type of behavior. This conclusion could not be more wrong. I am not sure how this will get better. With SUVs, it has gotten much worse.

  • David,
    This reminds me of how people in the US become mechanical monsters behind the wheels of their SUVs. They take on the personalities of their monstrously large vehicles. They are either texting or talking on their cell phones, rude and intimidating to other drivers as well as a danger to both other drivers and their own passengers, often their small children.

    Social media seems to put up some sort of a barrier that this ‘flip out folks’ similarly seem to feel as their drive their social media vehicles. But the results can be the same, disastrous.

    We need to be conscious at all times how our behavior affects others: in person, in a motor vehicle, on social media. This just proves two things. Social media is becoming as comfortable and common place a vehicle as their cars.

    They feel the same anonymity and untouchability. There definitely is a problem of a false sense of no consequence to this type of behavior. This conclusion could not be more wrong. I am not sure how this will get better. With SUVs, it has gotten much worse.











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