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Are People Talking About You Online? Here’s What You Need to Know

Are People Talking About You Online? Here’s What You Need to Know

By Pat Flynn on

Last night, I was watching an episode of the Tonight Show with Conan O’ Brien with my wife. We often catch the beginning to laugh at his jokes and how he makes fun of himself and his goofy hair, but we rarely sit to watch the interviews. Seth Green, however, was the first guest, so we decided to keep the TV on. We love Seth Green.

In the middle of the interview, Seth talked a little bit about a video he put up on YouTube and Conan had asked him if he ever goes online to read comments or see what people on the Internet are saying about him. Seth’s response was:

“Never. That stuff is poison.”

Lovers & Haters

For celebs like Seth, there are always groups of loyal fans and people who would die to meet them. There is also the group of people who just talk shmack (yes, shmack) about them all day long. The more in the spotlight you are, the more of both lovers and haters you will have.

This has always been the case, but now that the Internet is a part of our everyday lives, the voices of the haters just seem to resonate so much more. Whether its because people online are faceless behind this thing called a computer, or because cheaper technology has allowed a-holes with no life to finally get heard, very mean and very untrue things are said about people all of the time.

Internet Celebrity Status

Another thing the Internet has given birth to is who I like to call “Joe Celeb”. In other words, regular people like You and I can use the Internet and all of it’s social media platforms to actually become sort of a celebrity. In a few cases, people have become big-time celebrities because of the Internet, like Perez Hilton or Gary Vaynerchuk, who I’ll talk more about in a sec.

In a way, many of us are already online celebrities. If you have a blog and you have subscribers, you have celeb status. If you have a Facebook Fan page and you’ve got fans, you’ve got celeb status too.

Remember what I said earlier – the more in the spotlight you are, the more of both lovers and haters you will have? This holds true online as well, and when you reach a certain point as “Joe Celeb”, you’re going to notice them – especially because you and your brand are online.

If you have a blog or a website, you already know this. In fact, you probably have it setup in a way that you automatically get notified when people are talking about you online. When you get a comment on your own blog, you get notified. When people talk about you on other sites and forums, you get notified through a trackback. If you’re like me, you’re excited and quick to read every comment, and click on over to any other site that points back to yours.

I’ve been doing that ever since I starting blogging over a year ago, and I’ve never seen anyone say anything mean, or talk shmack about me ever. Actually, I’ve received nothing but love from everyone who I’ve met online, through all of my businesses and blogs. Recently, however, as I begin to get more and more traffic to this blog and become more known in this world for what I do, I’ve started to see a few haters.

How to Take the Hate

Seth Green said it himself, “That stuff is poison.” He knows it’s better to avoid reading the blogs, the forums and the comments about him because it does no good. For people like us, we don’t really have a choice. We read comments and find trackbacks, and we don’t know if they are good or bad until after we’ve finished reading them.

We have to learn how to deal. But before that, we must first realize how we react.

If you found out someone on another website or forum called you “scummy”, how would you react?

93Really, how would you react? Would you brush it off, or would you get pissed and think about that comment the rest of the day or week? It’s because of the latter reaction that this stuff can indeed be called “poison”.

We all love to be loved. Who doesn’t? But the moment someone talks about us, especially behind our backs, we go berserk. Or, at least our mind does. Does yours?

As people doing business online, especially those of us with blogs and our names and faces on them (which I believe is mandatory if you want to build successful relationships with your readers), we have to know that as we become more successful, seeing more and more negative comments is part of the territory. We have to train our minds to be strong when situations like this arise.

If negativity drives you crazy to a point where you get depressed, unhealthy or unsafe (or other people around you become unsafe), then trying to become the top whatever in your niche may not be for you.

So How Should We Take It?

First of all, don’t get cocky. So many people react to negativity by saying things like:

“Pshh, he’s just jealous…” or

“She’s just mad because she doesn’t have what I have.”

Sounds pretty “high school”, doesn’t it. I don’t know why they call it “high school”, because people act like that in all ages of life. Anyways, I digress…

By being cocky, you’re becoming that same person who was hating on you. That does you no good.

You can do one of two things when people begin to hate on you for whatever reason:

  1. Just brush it off, and let it go; or
  2. Use the situation to your advantage

Yes, I know that in reality, there are many more options to choose from, but these are the two you should focus on. Let’s talk more about taking advantage of a negative situation.

Advantage: You

Gary Vaynerchuk did something that really impressed me, which led me to purchasing his recently published book, Crush It: Why Now is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion(full disclosure – I earn a commission if you purchase)

I heard about his book on Twitter, so naturally I went to Amazon.com to read his reviews. One particular review, which was a 2 star review, caught my attention. Here are some excerpts:

“Definitely disappointing. I really don’t understand all the raves…”, “I wish I could rank this book even lower. I was being kind with 2 stars…”

You get the idea. Now, check out who was first to respond:

Crush It! ResponseHere is exactly what Gary says:

“Darn! I hate you feel that way, pls email me [email protected] and I would love to yap a little more on this 🙁 as for the daddys money, i was using these thoughts and dna when I was 12 making $1000 a weekend selling ball cards… also I used $300 and a lot of heart and hustle and thoughts to build WLTV! Would love to yap!”

This particular discussion goes on for 34 more posts, and Gary responds 3 other times to this consumer, as well as other people who chimed in as well.

Just the fact that Gary (and it does sound like him based from what I’ve read. Could be a VA, but still!), takes the time to do this for all of the negative reviews that the book received on Amazon is amazing.

On another comment string, he actually thanks the commenter for chatting with him on the phone for 15 minutes after offering his email (then phone number), to discuss things further.

Now that’s impressive. Imagine if every author did that.

Gary definitely took advantage of the situation and I’m sure impressed more people than just me. For just that reason alone, I purchased his book.

Now My Turn

This post was not a random occurance.

The other day, while looking at where my traffic was coming from, I was pointed to a forum where I, Pat Flynn, author of this very blog, was being called scummy.

If you haven’t already heard, I was recently featured on Yaro Starak’s blog at Entrepreneur’s Journey.

Yaro and his blog has been an inspiration for me for such a long time. I finally mustered the courage to email him and request to do an interview for my Podcast (which is coming soon!), which he so kindly accepted to do. During our pre-interview chat, I got to talking a little bit about where I came from, and he asked to do an interview of me as well. You can listen to that interview on the link above.

The response to my interview was absolutely fantastic. 82 comments on his blog, 32 emails personally to me and so many other forms of thank yous and congrats here on this blog. I can’t begin to thank Yaro for his generosity by featuring my story on his blog, as well as the kindness from all of his readers and followers. Thank you, everyone.

So, to get back to scummy, someone who had heard me on Yaro’s interview posted a link to my annual income report onto that forum. Someone else later responded basically saying that my online businesses weren’t honest and what I was doing online was scummy.

I wasn’t mad, and I couldn’t really blame this person, because if you see someone making $200k a year on 15 minutes a day, that just seems unreal and totally scummy. I understand that, but what this person didn’t know is how much hard work I put into my businesses, and how I set them up so they are working for me, and not the other way around. Those of you who have heard my story know this already.

Instead of getting pissed, I took the time to respond on the forum myself, and in a polite manner describe how my businesses were run and that I take great pride in knowing that everything I do is honest and done with my customers and readers as my first priority.

On top of that, I sent a direct email to the commenter, going into more detail and asking that person to call me if they wanted to discuss more.

I didn’t get a phone call, but I did get a nice apology email, as well as an apologetic comment back in the same thread that the comment was made.

I pulled a Gary V!

Avoiding confrontation and brushing things off is always a safe choice, but if you have a chance to be honest and politely show someone that they are just misunderstood, then why not do that?

So What Do You Think?

Should I have just let that comment go, or do you think I did the right thing? How are some other ways that you handle yourself in these types of situations?

Thanks everyone for your time. Have a wonderful weekend! Cheers!

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