Calling Out Bad Behavior via Social Media

We tend to be pretty passive-aggressive as a society. And social media seems to have made it worse, in some ways. Social media has made it possible for us to point out bad behavior, and we’ll often do it to a complete stranger, but we won’t do it to our friends.

I did a short (unscientific) survey last month to find out whether people would call out bad behavior on the part of strangers versus friends. I wasn’t surprised by some of the results, partly because most of the people I know are pretty nice people and not prone to being online jerks. But mostly because many respondents are from the Midwest, and we’re annoyingly nice about a lot of things.


Basically what I found is, we are more likely to forgive friends, but we will stick it to a complete stranger.

  • If we are wronged by a friend, we’ll point it out privately rather than call it out.
  • 40% of us will hang a stranger out to dry publicly; nearly all of us will tell someone else about it.
  • Only a very few people will say or do nothing, either about a friend or a stranger’s bad behavior.

The Survey

This was a four question survey, with a series of answers that asks about responses that range from very direct (and rather jerky) to very passive (being a doormat).

For example, question #1 asked: When a friend — who uses social media — wrongs me in some way, I am more likely to:

  1. Call them out BY NAME on a social network. “I can’t believe @edeckers stood me up for our meeting this morning.”
  2. Point out my annoyance, but don’t mention their name. “Got stood up for a 7:30 am meeting.”
  3. Send them a private message pointing out the problem. “Did you forget we had a meeting this morning?”
  4. Absolutely nothing.

The Results

So would you @reply someone or set your Facebook status to call them out by name? Or would you passive-aggressively point out to the whole world that some unnamed jerkface missed your morning meeting?

I wasn’t that surprised by the results. Most people are nice enough to keep our gripes private, and to not air our grievances in public, and the numbers bore this out. Out of 107 responses to Question 1:

  • 80 people (74.7%) said they would email their friend privately to point out their problems.
  • 12 people (11.2%) would call out the incident, but not name the person.
  • 11 people (10.2%) would do absolutely nothing at all.
  • 4 people (3%) would call that person out by name.

I was intrigued that the number of people who would do absolutely nothing to tell the other person what they had done was nearly the same as the number of people who would point out the bad behavior but not name any names.

When I’m in public, and someone does something annoying, I am more likely to:

Friends vs. Strangers

Question #2 was about whether people would point out something annoying that someone else did, but not to them: When I’m in public, and someone does something annoying, I am more likely to:

  1. Point out their bad behavior on a social network, including pictures or video. “Check out this jerkwad being an ass to his wife.”
  2. Point out their bad behavior, but give them their anonymity. “Some guy next to me is being an ass to his wife.”
  3. Email a friend privately and relay the story to them.
  4. Absolutely nothing.

The results were a little more dramatic this time compared to what people would say to their friends. Out of 106 responses (someone missed this one):

  • 57 people (53.8%) said they would email a friend privately to tell them about the stranger’s behavior.
  • 32 people (30.2%) said they would call out this stranger’s behavior, and include pictures or videos
  • 11 people (10.3%) would call out the behavior, but not include any identifying information.
  • 6 people (5.7%) would do absolutely nothing.

When a stranger does something annoying in public, I am more likely to:


This is the stuff that intrigues me, and really makes me wish I had paid better attention in stats class in grad school. Because there are some interesting correlations between what we consider acceptable behavior toward friends versus complete strangers.

  • Most people (nearly 75%) will tell friends privately about their own bad behavior, but 40.5% of these people will publicly call out bad behavior from a stranger.
  • Compare that to 3% of people who would call out a friend by name on Twitter or Facebook. This tells me that most people are nice, and a few can be rather cut-throat and nasty.
  • Surprisingly, more people — 30.2% vs. 10.3% — will point an accusing finger at a stranger by including evidence of their bad behavior than will give them anonymity.
  • 94.3% of people will tell someone about a stranger’s bad behavior, whether it’s publicly or via email.
  • The number of people who would point out bad behavior but protect the person’s identity in either situation is nearly the same: 10.3% will talk about a stranger versus 11.2% who will call out, but not identify, friends (11 people vs. 12 people).
  • The percentage of people who will do nothing when a friend wrongs them versus a stranger nearly doubled — 10.2% versus 5.7% respectively, or 11 versus 6 people.


So what does all of this mean? Are we people with a strong sense of moral outrage who will point out the failings of other people, but only when they’re not anyone we know? And do we hold back out of fear of retribution or respect for our friends’ feelings? Or do we have an overwhelming sense of schadenfreude, but refrain from doing it at inappropriate moments?

What about you? What do you think? What conclusions can you draw from this study? What do you think this tells us about ourselves, as it relates to social media?

The rest of the questions:

Question #3: When I am having an argument with a friend or family member, I will start/continue the discussion on a social network.

  • Yes (2 people)
  • No (105 people)

Question #4: Which social network do you use the most?

  • Twitter (51 people)
  • Facebook (50)
  • LinkedIn (5)
  • Google+ (1)

People Who Don’t Use Social Media Shouldn’t Dismiss Social Media

“I don’t use social media because I don’t want to tell people what I had for breakfast,” declare social media haters.

“I don’t use Facebook because I don’t care enough about the minutiae of other people’s lives to bother reading it,” they say with the dismissive snottiness of people who refuse to own a TV.

I’m always annoyed by people who just outright dismiss social media as a place where people talk about breakfast, bathroom habits, and life’s inanities, despite the fact that they have never used it.

I read a recent article — Academics and Colleges Split Their Personalities for Social Media — where several commenters proudly crowed about their dislike for social media, and declared it inane and useless. (Hat tip to my friend Anthony Juliano for a great response.)

One of the comments by “transparentopaque” caught Anthony’s and my attention:

I do not have a Facebook or Twitter account. So, I have nothing to worry about. I have yet to figure out what anybody could possibly have to say via Twitter that I absolutely need to read. Is anyone’s life really that interesting? Yes, but only those people who do not waste their time posting on social media networks. Life is happening, and many people today are wasting it away talking about it. Instead of living in the moment, people are analyzing every aspect of their life to determine its suitability as a Facebook status update.

I’ve determined that it isn’t really the “sharing” that drives people to social media, it is the sense that they have a captive audience. But that is only an illusion. Few people participate in order to read what others have to say; they participate in order to have a forum in which they can hear themselves speak. Narcissism has finally found its place in this world.

The problem with “transparentopaque’s” attitude and practice is that as someone who does not use social media, he/she has no way of knowing how other people are using it.

We see this with business owners all the time. “Our customers don’t use social media.” But they have no way of knowing this for certain, since they never use it.

It’s like saying “no one visits that restaurant because I’ve never been there.”

And yes, I was struck by the irony of someone asking whether anyone’s life is interesting, and then declaring social media to be “a forum in which they can hear themselves speak,” in the comments section of a website — another form of social networking.

I always get agitated by people who say they’ll never do something, eat something, watch something, or participate in something without ever having tried it. (Although to be fair, I won’t eat mussels after reading Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential. And yes, I have eaten them before. But if the guy who has an entire TV show about eating nearly anything on the planet won’t eat them, it’s probably a good idea to avoid them.)

If you don’t try something, how do you know you won’t like it. If you don’t use Twitter or Facebook, how do you know what people are using it for?

Of course, there are always those people who say “I don’t need to try heroin to know it’s bad for me.”

True, but Facebook isn’t heroin. One is an addictive experience that will open up new worlds to you while at the same time isolating you from friends and family, and the other is an illegal narcotic.

But unless you’ve tried Facebook or Twitter for a while (at least a month, for 20 minutes a day), you don’t know enough about it to dismiss it without looking like a myopic, close-minded curmudgeon who still thinks TV is a passing fad.

Dear Social Media Haters: Social Networking Isn’t Going Anywhere

Business blogging and social media can be effective in helping products or services find an audience to generate conversations. Business blogging is the hub of any social media campaign. Yet, how do you move large segments of the population to evangelize your product or service like a preacher can move a congregation?

Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have found that when just 10 percent of the population holds an unshakable belief, their belief will always be adopted by the majority of the society. 

This has played out recently with the events that have happened in Egypt, Syria, Libya and Tunisia. By accounts, small segments of the population were able to use Facebook and Twitter to steer their ideas into a majority which resulted in what has become known as the “Arab Spring”.

Who says that cannot be done for a product or service? Look at Facebook, which is used by nearly half of the US population (170 million US users), or Twitter, which is used by 14% of the US’ adult Internet users.

But to be a part of this trend, you have to participate in social media first. If you are not even engaging in conversation online, then your brand or competitor could be eating your lunch.

As one of our clients said, “If you’re not tracking Twitter or Facebook, your brand could get destroyed. People can be really mean.” So participation is key. Because the 10% rule can go both ways. It can work for you or against you.

Why? Consider this, Generation Y has now surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest population in the United States. They don’t watch television like Baby Boomers still do. Generation Y is online, texting and watching Youtube. If you want to reach Generation Y, television and newspapers will not do it.

If you want to move them and become a majority product in their circles, you will have to participate in social media to make it happen. It’s scientifically proven that it only takes 10% for a movement to move like fire.

Paul is the President of Professional Blog Service. PBS works with clients making strategic investments into business blogging, social media and search engine optimization.

Is Facebook On Its Way Out? The Folly of Calling Things Dead

Given some social media pundits’ “premature speculation” of calling things dead, I’m surprised no one started sounding the “Facebook is dead!” knells after we learned that StumbleUpon surpassed Facebook as the top source of social media traffic. (Also see this post on ReadWriteWeb.)

Zombie girl in the water

She was declared dead too. Now look what you've done.

Sure, no one believes Facebook is suffering, because 1) we’re only talking about social media traffic, 2) there are still questions about the methodology, and 3) Facebook is f—ing huge.

But after hearing that Facebook was going to kill Google, that Twitter was going to kill email, or that social media is going to make corporate websites irrelevant, I’ve decided that people who declare things dead are only doing it to get attention (this post’s headline notwithstanding).

Is Facebook going to die, just because it got surpassed in one small category? Hardly. Yet, I heard someone declare “nobody Googles” because Facebook had just surpassed Google in number of minutes on site, by a total of 2 million minutes, based on worldwide usage. But Facebook and Google do two different things. Besides, being a 799-pound gorilla doesn’t make you irrelevant.

Is Twitter going to kill blogging? Never. Because if you can sum up your deepest thoughts about life, the universe, and everything in 140 characters, you’ve got all the emotional depth of a high school prom.

Is email dead just because some jegging-wearing hipster carrying a 60-year-old camera would rather send a text on her smartphone? Hell no. How else is Facebook and Twitter going to notify her that she’s got new friends and followers?

I truly am surprised that no one tried to declare Facebook dead after the StumbleUpon news last month. I figured every Wrongway Feldman-praying Internet pundit would have been all over that news, declaring that the days of social media were at an end, and that we were all going back to rotary phones and typewriters.

Or maybe that’s finally dead.

Photo credit: rodolpho.reis (Flickr)

15 Social Media Tactics to Promote Your Upcoming Theatrical Show

We just finished the 10-day festival of independent theatre and weirdness known as the Indianapolis Fringe Theatre Festival, and I had a chance to see a few shows, including a couple of old favorites.

I also had a chance to talk social media — because I’m an annoying geek that way — with a couple performers, and decided to write a blog post based on what I told a couple of them.

Didi Panache and Wayburn Sassy of the Screw You Revue

Didi Panache and Wayburn Sassy of the Screw You Revue

This post is written for any musician or performer, especially the independent theatrical types who depend on ticket sales to make their living. For some of these performers, they bounce from festival to festival and make a good portion of their income from their take. Some even use one festival to pay for the next one.

This is a strategy they can use to improve their take next year.

What You’ll Need

  • A laptop computer
  • A digital camera with video capabilities. If not, your laptop’s camera will do.
  • A Twitter account.
  • A blog ( or are great free platforms, as is and
  • A YouTube account.
  • A Facebook page. (This is different from a personal profile. You want an Artist’s page.)

What You’ll Do

These are in a general chronological order, but not in a do-one-then-the-next lockstep order. I’m using the Indianapolis Fringe (#IndyFringe) as an example, but this will work for any concert, performance, show, or festival.


  • First, make sure your Twitter bio includes a line about the name of your show, or your most famous character’s name. If you only performed in one festival, put the name of that in the bio too. “You may have seen me at the #IndyFringe Festival!” You can always change your bio, especially as you move from festival to festival, or follow specific groups of people.
  • Start following people on Twitter. People will follow you back, especially once they see that you’re a performer at the festival they went to, and even moreso if they were at your show. To find people who were at the festival, do these steps:


  • Go to and do a search for #indyfringe, and follow anyone using that term. Keep in mind that these hashtags only work for about 30 minutes, so it’s actually a good idea to access this site while you’ve got some downtime at next year’s show.
  • Build a hashtag archive at I’m still trying this out, but I’m hoping it will collect old hashtags, unlike However, it only goes back 7 – 10 days, and back for 1,500 tweets. It will then go forward and continue to save tweets. You should set this up before your next festival starts. Work in conjunction with the festival organizers, because they may want to use your archive as well. Also, before you start, search to see if anyone else set up an archive before you so you don’t duplicate efforts.
  • Go to as another way to search for #hashtags. Put in #indyfringe and see what you can find. Search results are somewhat limited, but you may be able to find older tweets that FollowBlast and Twapper Keeper couldn’t, especially if you’re seeing this now, and are scrambling to recover those old tweets.
  • If all else fails, try Topsy. It’s not 100% accurate, but it gives you more than you might get if you’re looking for a festival that ended three weeks ago.


  • Check out the festival organizer’s Twitter page and follow everyone they follow (not everyone who follows them). If they have been good Twitter stewards, they have vetted the people they’re following. Those people will include other performers, supporters, festival-goers, and other people in the industry or festival business. (This last group could be a good connection to getting into other festivals!) Do this with any festivals you plan on going to next year as well.
  • Use and as a way to find other people who are in the cities where you’ll be next year.
  • Why You’ll Do It

    Okay so far? You’ve built your Twitter list for a very important reason: Promoting stuff! You’re going to promote next year’s show through videos, your blog, and even email newsletters. Here’s how.

    Zan Aufderheide of Welcome to Zanland

    Zan Aufderheide of Welcome to Zanland

    • Now you need your camera. Start shooting some short videos. Update us on what you’re doing, where you’ll be, thoughts on stuff you did this year. Treat it like a diary. If you’re an actor playing a part, do it in character, especially if that character is going to be back at the festivals next year. Shoot the videos in character, or tell some jokes, or give people a preview of what you’ve been working on. Shoot some rehearsals, some special messages to individuals, or perform a new song.
    • Post those on (make them public), and make sure you fill out all the details, like Title, Description, etc. (all this stuff is indexed by Google, which makes your videos found more easily by people searching for you or the festival).
    • Share these videos on Twitter and your Facebook page, and post them to your blog (do the same with any photos you take). This will accomplish a lot of pre-show promo before you ever set foot in the city. And if you can get people buzzing about the show before you start, you’ll be selling out more shows.

    You can get a Flip camera for as low as $170 now, and if you think that’s still high, use the money you were going to spend on fancy-schmancy postcards and spend it on the camera instead. The postcards are immediately dated once the festival ends, and you can’t reuse them. The video camera will pay for itself with all the videos you shoot and the postcards you don’t buy.

    Finally, there are a few things you want to do next year, to get ready for the next off-season.

      • Build a mailing list of all your attendees. Send around a clipboard before your show begins, or have them sign up before they leave. Ask people for their HOME email, not their work email — especially if your show is laden with profanities and cross-dressers. Guard this with your life. Promise to never, ever spam them. Use it only for newsletters and occasional social media communication.
      • Load that list into a Gmail account (here’s why you should use Gmail), and then either use the Gmail plugin, or upload the email list to, to start finding where your list members can be found on the different social media networks. Follow them on Twitter, and connect with them on Facebook.
      • Send out an occasional newsletter — no more than once a month — and email it to them. Let them know what you’re working on for next year so they get excited about your upcoming visit. Give them an opportunity to unsubscribe, but try to give them useful information so they won’t want to.
      • Use your video camera to shoot post-show testimonials and get them up on your blog as soon as a show ends. Tweet the new blog posts to your Twitter network during the show, so you can continue to remind people you’re there and you’ve got an awesome show. Ask your Twitter network to retweet your show information, so they can help you spread the word.

    There is so much more you can do with social media. Believe it or not, this is just scratching the surface of what can be done. But while it seems overwhelming, keep in mind two things:

        1. This will get easier as you do it more often.
        2. It beats the hell out of busking and handing out postcards in 90 degree heat.

    Photo credit: Erik Deckers


Why Companies are Afraid of Social Media

“We don’t do social media, because people might say bad things about us,” the executive said. “If we have a Facebook page, people might leave negative comments on it.”

“They’re already saying bad things about you,” I said. “Whether you’re on it or not, people are complaining about you, and they’re telling as many of their friends as they can.”

The rest of the conversation went as expected. Reason after reason. Excuse after excuse. We’re not on social media because. . .  we don’t do social media because we. . . it’s only for young people. . .

In No Bullshit Social Media, we listed 28 different reasons companies are afraid of using social media: no money, no experience, no guaranteed results, we’ve never done it that way before, yada yada yada.

There are any number of reasons why companies are afraid, and there are only a few reasons why they shouldn’t be. But these reasons trump all the excuses any business can ever come up with.

1) Social media is not going away. It’s not a fad. It’s not something we’ll forget about. Social media has been brewing for the last 30 years, when Compuserve and Prodigy started as community bulletin boards. Or even before that when real computer bulletin boards were introduced in the 1970s. Companies may come and go, but real-time communication isn’t going anywhere.

2) Social media has gained wide acceptance faster than any other medium. It took radio 38 years to reach 50 million listeners; television took 13 years to get 50 million viewers. Facebook, on the other hand, added 100 million users in 9 months. Social media is only going to grow and get a stronger foothold in the way we communicate and receive information and news.

3) Social media is inexpensive. Facebook is free, Twitter is free, blogging is free, assuming you’ve got the time and knowledge to use it. If you don’t, you can hire people to manage it for you. It’s no different from hiring in-house or outsourced professionals to manage your TV ads, your websites, and your trade shows. The only difference is once you hire social media people, your overhead is mostly finished; the tools don’t cost anything to operate.

If you hire someone to produce your TV ads, there’s still the costs of actually creating them, and then buying the airtime. You can hire people to manage your trade shows, but you still have to pay the added costs of booth space and rentals, going there, working it, and coming home. Plus expenses.

4) Social media marketing can be measured. One big difference between social media marketing and regular marketing is that we can measure social media marketing through tools like Google Analytics and (both free) and Radian6 and Vocus (both paid services).

How do you measure a billboard? How do you know how many people drove by, read it, and bought your product? How do you measure a TV commercial? How do you know how many people actually sat through the entire commercial and bought as a direct result? How many walked away after 20 seconds? 10 seconds? How many people never even saw it because they changed the channels?

With social media, we can tell who read a blog post, clicked a link, and then made a purchase. Mainstream media can give you estimates and guesses, but they can’t actually count. Social media can tell you how long someone watched a video or visited a website, when they clicked away, and where they went. Mainstream media can only guess at the numbers of viewers, listeners, and readers.

Social media marketing isn’t going away. And while it seems like everybody is using it, there are still hundreds of thousands of businesses that haven’t even considered it. It’s not too late to start. It’s not too late to create a Twitter account or a blog, and then talk directly to, and hear directly from, your customers. There’s nothing to be afraid of, and there are plenty of people to help you get through the rough spots.

Erik Deckers is the co-author of Branding Yourself: Using Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself, and most recently, the co-author of No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing. He is co-owner of Professional Blog Service, a ghost blogging and social media consulting agency in Indianapolis.

Import Your LinkedIn Contacts to Google+

Everyone is so worried about getting their Facebook contacts into Google+. That’s the wrong way to go about Google+.

Given that most of us who are on Google+ are social media power users, chances are we’re looking for another social networking tool that will benefit us professionally. And while we may be Facebook friends with our professional contacts, LinkedIn is the real professional social network. LinkedIn also keeps any contact information like cell phones and websites, so this is going to be valuable anyway.

So, why not instead import your LinkedIn contacts into your Google+ contacts? Here’s an easy way to do it.

    1. Most importantly, you should have a Gmail account. If you don’t, get one. Google+ will delve into your Gmail contacts to see who you interact with the most, and suggest those people for your Circles.
Export your LinkedIn Connections to sync them with your Gmail Contacts.

Export your LinkedIn Connections as a .csv file to import into your Gmail Contacts.

  1. Log in to your LinkedIn account, go to your Connections page, and Export your connections.
  2. Choose any format you’d like, but the .csv (comma separated value) is your best bet. Save this file to your desktop.
  3. Go to your Gmail Contacts window, and select Import from the More Actions menu. Locate your .csv file, and import it.
  4. Google will merge any contacts that already match, saving you some duplicated matches. However, Google isn’t perfect, so you will need to go through and find/merge a lot of your contacts by hand. It may be tedious, but it will be worth it in the end.
  5. As an added bonus, export your Gmail contacts and reimport them into your LinkedIn account. This will then sync up your two networks. And since Gmail is the one email program that most social networks use to “find your friends who are on this network,” having your professional LinkedIn contacts can help you build any new networks you join quickly and without all the fluff and unnecessary crap that Facebook brings with it, like your Farmville and Pirate Clan friends.
  6. Jump back over to Google+ and start adding people to your circles. Start with the ones that Google+ recommends, and then begin searching for the people you want to add to your Circles.