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In My Eyes: How to treat online bashers

By Edward B. Antonio

Last year, I came across a Facebook post of a man hitting the tail of a crocodile near a swamp. The man was safely crouching on top of a high mound, the crocodile facing the water and the man holding a stick teasing the tail of the croc.

Suddenly, the croc, obviously irritated, jumped 90 degrees facing the man and snapped the stick. The man crawled backwards to safety.

I could vividly hear the giggles of those watching the video via their CPs as if the trick was just for fun.

Above the video was a narration of what happened. The text was so riddled with grammatical errors annoying any reader.

One comment said: “You could have been killed by the crocodile, it’s no joke teasing a croc.”

I commented: “Wrong grammar.”

Another said: “The only thing that died here is grammar.”

My reaction merited negative comments.

One basher said: It’s not the grammar but the essence of the story that matters.

I replied: “Stories like these are very interesting for kids, but kids, too, are ought to be taught good English from what they read. While it’s fun to post stories like these, everyone should be responsible in using the social media, whether things posted have values to impart or simply entertaining. But since the FB is a public domain, ought it be not more proper to use it for others to learn, i.e. grammar via the stories?

Another basher challenged me to a debate.

I remained calm.

I replied: I am not contesting anybody here, buddy, I respect everyone. I love the social media and it would be fun to be friends with you guys. And I love your posts guys!

My bitterest basher said: “Napaka-humble po naman ninyo. Everyone’s opinion naman is welcomed here…”

Since then, the bashings stopped.

Blogger Yu Kai-Chou shares these tips to treat online bashers:

1. Thank them for their time and effort

2. Apologize for things that you clearly did wrong

3. Address every single one of them

4. Be polite

5. Ask them to specify the things they are bashing about

6. Clarify all the misunderstandings or misconceptions

7. Address your fundamental differences, but don’t be an ass

8. NEVER become emotional

9. Stay cheerful

10. Thank them at the end and encourage more constructive criticism

Ellyn Angelotti advises each online victim to adopt these 4 steps:

1. Don’t panic.

While this seem like a social-media crisis, realize you aren’t the first person to experience the nastiness of such an attack. Don’t freak out. Suspend judgment. Don’t take what has been said personally. Resist the urge to react right away

Instead, take a deep breath and think about what options exist.

2. Figure out if (and how) you want to respond.

Consider the motivation of the attacker: Are they just seeking attention? Are they misinformed? Based on this, what’s the best approach? What value would come from engaging with the attacker? What’s the best way to minimize any harm caused by the situation?

3. Respond quickly publicly, then take the follow-up conversation offline

In most cases it’s good to respond quickly in the same venue where the attack was made by sending a brief, temperate message recognizing you saw the attack. Then, if appropriate, try to follow up in a more private way that can extend beyond 140 characters, such as a phone call or email. Consider what value would come with taking the conversation offline. Figure out your goals for a follow-up conversation and let them drive your communication.

4. Damage control: Determine how to best remedy the harm

In traditional media, when someone makes a false statement of fact to someone else that harmed your reputation, the typical remedy would be to sue that person for defamation or slander. Reaching a resolution often involves a defamation lawsuit that can potentially last for years.

In social media, that remedy isn’t as effective. A lawsuit isn’t quick enough to mitigate harm; the toothpaste is already out of the tube. Many times the harm someone causes in a comment or post online wouldn’t even fall within the purview of defamation, because it isn’t an actual false statement of fact. I mentioned earlier some ways an attack can be hurtful, but not technically defamatory.

Fortunately, those who have been attacked online can now create their own remedies to harm caused by personal attacks. With social media virtually everyone has a publishing platform — and a voice. We can use the power of speech to minimize the harm negative feedback, comments and posts can cause.

Fight bad speech with more speech

Social media is often a double-edged sword: it can be an effective platform that elevates your profile, but it also exposes you to direct feedback, including negative comments or false information.

I have heard from a variety of people, ranging from doctors to book authors, who have been disappointed by the online feedback people leave anonymously — feedback that often comes from posters who haven’t even used their services or read their books.

Instead of passively letting these conversations spiral negatively out of control, consider how you can engage your allies to minimize the impact of an attack.where she came from, she asked for forgiveness.

Please forgive me for the filthy words I uttered when I was still in the service,” she said.

We forgive you,” was the reply.

But her sorry pleadings were no longer heard by the students who had long graduated and are now professionals.

But these kinds of teachers are very few compared to the good ones, fellas, that’s why they are categorized as: teachers to be forgotten (those who left a little or no impact at all), teachers to be remembered (those who left a big impact on the students, whether lessons, pleasant experiences or values) and teachers to be forgiven (as in the teachers in the mini-stories above).

A philosopher quotes: “We are all teachers in our own rights. We teach people by the way we think, speak and act. We teach by examples and these examples reflect in the way the younger generation act.”

I agree.

May all the present crop of teachers be as what the philosopher described. What a wonderful study period all Philippine schools would then be!#