Business, Expression, Just saying, PR/Marketing, Relationships, Social Media, Survivalguide
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4 Practical Steps to Dealing with Online Haters.

Good morning Starshines! Today’s post is on 4 practical steps to dealing with online haters. I’m writing this with the intention to encourage EmmTann, ever since the EmmTann Vs Donovan “saga” broke three days back.

Two months ago, I met up with a dedicated educator when I was back in Singapore, and he told me that the Ministry of Education (MOE) in Singapore is planning “Cyber Wellness” into its cirriculum.

That’s really interesting and caring, and I strongly applaud the ministry for planning this aspect into the education curriculum! After all, youngsters nowadays are increasingly on Instagram and Snapchat–with tons of nudity too, haha. Sometimes in their sheltered world, they don’t know any better.

According to MOE official website, “Cyber Wellness” is defined as:

“… the positive well-being of Internet users. It involves an understanding of online behaviour and awareness of how to protect oneself in cyber space.”

So today, to contribute in my own little way to this discourse, I will do a post on “How to deal with online haters”. This post offers 4 practical steps for YOU to deal with all sorts of online hate comments, so that you can reframe the originally upsetting situation into a positive one. I work as a social media manager and too many times I’d seen people/ small companies suffer because they don’t know how to deal with a minority of hate. I think we should not try to hide/avoid hate, but instead accept and learn to cope with it. And I can write this because I believe with big data + experience, human nature IS predictable, and stuffs and conflicts do repeat.

As a summary, the 4 steps are:

  • Step 1: Understand that “It is really not you, it’s them.”
  • Step 2: Allow all comments.
  • Step 3: If you have time, engage with commentators.
  • Step 4: After the hype dies, use your increased influence for good.

The challenge with social media, of course, is not that  it’s “just a misused channel”, but that it is all about human nature. Yes, you’d heard me right–“Social media= Human nature”. This implies that we should not even attempt to shut people up because they’d bitch about you anyway offline. On the contrary, we can consider accepting their hate comments, understand that their hate towards your fb/insta/blog post is all about their dissatisfaction with their own lives/ the larger society and world, BUT projected onto you (note I say “you” and not “your post”), and then move on in a classy manner.

By the way–the positive value of elegantly coping with receiving hate is ten-fold. In my experience and work in social media engagement over the past 4 years, I’d realized that with every ONE hate comment to a viral post, there usually would be NINE positive, fangirl comments to the same viral post.

Logically then, viral posts are always GOOD for publicity. The only bad thing is the emotional part, because it really sucks to read even that 10% of hate comments. But fret no more because I’m going to teach you how to cope via this post HAHA.

Let’s start with a very wise comment to this viral post from user Samannthalia— I really liked her her eloquence:

“We must keep in mind that in this day and age, even though the Internet is a veritable cesspit of keyboard warriors, it still takes a lot of emotion and thereafter, motivation, to galvanize the everyday person to comment on any sort of post that isn’t on FaceBook and requires the reading of anything extending beyond a short sentence. The people who have written in to comment are not the majority of the people. We are a very visible misrepresentation of the general populace. When we write, it is with intent and purpose…

…Read with an open mind. Use that mind. Think about what you’ve read. Question, but don’t attack. Well done Wan Wei, for freeing these otherwise unheard voices.”

I strongly concur with her point that people who comment are not representative of the general population–it takes a lot of energy, mainly emotional and not logical, to comment, especially to make long remarks. People who comment, however, characterize social bubbles, or a phenomenon more commonly known as “group-think“. This is why you have to appeal to emotions and not logic whenever you intend to do a viral post. No public in any culture seriously reads or cares about logical posts–whenever you do logical posts, you’re usually appealing to a niche segment of the society, not the average person you see on the street. A good professional blog–in my opinion– should have a mixture of both sorts of posts. But this blog– The Hieno! –is a personal blog, so I don’t really care.

So let me go on to my 4 practical steps to coping with online hate:

  • STEP 1: Understand that “It’s really not you, it’s them. ”

To explain the logic behind step 1, we have to ask ourselves: Why does ANYONE even get online hate?

The answer is simple: You’d made somebody itch by saying something online, just as you are. My point here is that no matter what your original intention is–even if you were to write the post to get attention, to be a bitch, to rant, to scold someone, to outshine your peers, whatever it is, that’s your post. But whatever your intention, noble or otherwise, the REACTION to your post is really not about you–it’s about the people who are making the comments.

Note that the keyword here is “itch”. And the “something” can be ANYTHING–it can be something stupid, something smart, something insensitive, something honest, something that’s ‘sort of’ a lie.

But no matter what you post, there is one common thing here: Whatever reaction you get from the post–positive or negative– tells you MORE about your commentators, rather than about yourself.

Example: Let’s talk about the very recent Donovan Choy Vs Emmtann saga. Pray tell–How is it even possible that this sort of petty facebook post go viral?!?!  I can’t even.

Summary of viral post:Emmtann, a pretty girl, posts a pretty photo of herself on instagram with a caption that has a gist of “perhaps we should do more for animals instead of simply posting photos of ourselves online”? And Donovan Choy got irritated, because he feels that Emmtann is a hypocrite since she is an instagram influencer who makes money out of publishing tons of pictures of herself online. So–armed with screenshots, he took to facebook to bitch about Emmtann, because Emmtann deleted the lengthy comment he posted on instagram, and subsequently blocked him. And somehow, in a way that I personally don’t logically comprehend, Donovan Choy’s facebook post went viral–4100likes and 3200 shares as I’m writing it!

What wrong has Emmtann done? She marginally improved the consciousness of her 14000+ followers on facebook with that one post of hers. In fact, to convert more fashionistas, some of who–we shall make a sweeping assumption here–don’t really care about animals– into folks with a little bit of higher consciousness of animal rights, we need more people like Emmtann, because she has access to, has engagement with, and speaks the language of the younger generation. You mean it’s better for her not to raise awareness at all?

So you see, her post made haters itch because:

  1. She’s pretty hot–not the hottest, but hot.Haters aren’t.
  2. People felt that she didn’t “earn the right” to talk as an “activist”.But haters honestly–couldn’t care less about being activists. 
  3. People felt that she was being “fake” and used the “caring image” to her own advantage, to stand out as a “caring” instagram influencer.Haters think she’s just a bitch. But honestly, erm–you don’t even know her–you think bitches can suddenly care about animal rights if there isn’t an ounce of love towards animals in them?
  4. And MOST importantly, she is perceived to be influential and have power. 14,000+ followers on instagram! 🙂 Haters on the other hand, are nobodies and nobody cares.

Seriously, after a week, the following for Emmtann will ONLY increase, if she accepts all her new followers. The statistics of any viral post follow a curve that looks like mirrors that of an exponential decay (formulae= α1), usually after one week, your instagram/blog statistics would return to {normal + 10-20%} higher.

So the step 1 is simple, you need to be convinced that any hate you receive tells you way more about your online hater than about yourself. And the valuable information you get is the knowledge of what makes them itch–for Emmtann’s case, the itching point to her hater is that she’s sort of pretty and powerful, BUT blocked someone who used to be her follower.

  • Step 2: Allow all comments.

If I were on the receiving end of hate, I would allow all comments–love and hate–because in the end,  I know that the internet will put things into context on my behalf.

The problems with haters, honestly, is that they refuse to see the context. It’s as simple as that! Then we must ask: Why, pray tell, would anyone refuse to see the context?

The answer is that: Once they see the context, they’d have to remove the bubble they’re in, and that is fucking uncomfortable.

It is, in contrast, easier to be a keyboard warrior, to heap hate on you.

Also note that people exist in social and information bubbles. This phenomenon is simply known as “group-think”. That is to say, if you are in an environment where people believe in X, you’d just have a tendency to think that Y is an inferior choice. Usually you’d need to be in “X and Y environments + have an open mind” to make a logical, balanced decision to which choice is true.

Group-think can go terribly wrongdo you know how cults can get their followers to commit suicide?Group-think.How can a Singaporean church have 6 of their leaders be going to jail on allegations of misappropriating USD$30million and STILL have a relatively strong following?Group-think. How can a once leading, respectable company like Nokia fail “by surprise” with no knowledge of what is going wrong“in spite of doing everything right”? Group-think.

So yes, allow all comments, and if you don’t have time, just don’t respond to them.

  • Step 3: If you have time, engage with commentators.

As I’d said, with every viral post, you get 10% hate comments and 90% love comments. This is what I’d personally observed in my experience as a social media manager.

So you see, every positive comment to a viral post tells you the HEART of your followers, or potential followers. What do they like about you, your online persona, and the medium of your influence?

These are the people you should spend your time engaging with.

On the other hand, every negative comment to a viral post tells you about the HEART of someone who will never support you anyway, but from these negative comments, you can also tell something of the person. Let’s assume that you get one-liner hate comments that blatantly ignores context such as “OMG she’s such a fucking bitch”.

Erm–then won’t you be GLAD and THANKFUL that such a person isn’t in your social circle? Personally I’d never want to be associated with such people.

If I have the time, I’d also engage with this group of haters. I have two ways to engage haters:

  1. If I’m really interested in listening to and understanding their perspective, I will ask more questions and further clarify my stance. This is especially when original “haters” leave reasonable, logical and heart-felt comments. Now YOUR engagement is precious here because these group of people who originally disagree with you are sharing their hearts with you, and perhaps it’s a sign that they want to get out of their own social “group-think” bubbles. So by engaging these “original haters”, you can actually learn a lot about YOUR OWN social bubbles.
  2. If however, their comment is a one-liner with NO substantiation, e.g. “Just fuck off and die”, or “what a spoilt bitch”, or “What nonsense”– I will acknowledge 100%  their perspective. The practical script to use is–“Thank you for your comment. If that is what you think, I’m perfectly OK with it! Have a good life! :)”
  • Step 4: After that hype dies, use your increased influence for good.

It is a FACT that your following will definitely increase after any sort of viral post. After a week, you’re stronger and now tah-dah, more influential!

At this point, with all the knowledge that you’d garnered from steps 1-3, you can now do bigger things with your channel of influence. I’d urge you use that power and influence FOR GOOD. 😉 Use this power to make society and the world a better, more positive place.

Because life is short, and we should all live life to the fullest in a meaningful, constructive way! #YOLO .

Okay, so here are now the 4 steps to dealing with online hate. I hope it’s practical enough to apply! 🙂 Let us not fear online hate, but be mature enough to deal with them for good. No hater targets a dead, brainless fellow–they always target people who are alive, energetic, passionate, ambitious, and smart. 🙂

And FINALLY, some last words on the EmmTann issue. I like how this online post puts it:

“The real question is: how is it that we agree with tearing someone else down because we don’t agree with their stance in life?

What’s worse, he’s brought out an online mob with pitchforks and barbed words. His move has become more than just doing justice for society, it’s turned into a mass online assault. “

Let me know what you think in the comments–or through Facebook PM–you know how to reach me! 🙂


  1. Ronald Otim says

    Hello miss Wei,

    First off, I would like you to know that I enjoy reading your blog. I like that way you articulate and convey your message. Especially that piece you wrote about ambition in Finland knocked a home run.

    Now, about haters, I do agree with your writing and I have come to learn that virtual reality is indeed an extension of real life, that is we carry properties from the real world to virtual word and the same way around. That being said, I always aim to apply the same mantra as in real world when it comes to haters. I enforce positivity. I acknowledge that I cannot always influence negative people so why waste my energy on them ?

    The problem with virtual world is like you said, negative people don’t want to listen and they are pretty much all about themselves. So instead of banging your head against the wall, just move on and keep an open mind. In fact, you might even come learn something from haters. Okay, a little far fetched, but hey, there’s no harm in having some faith.

    So, to summarize your four points into one, enforce positivity because in the end positive power triumphs over negative power.

    p.s keep up the good work.

    • Couldn’t agree more, Ronald! Thanks for your comment. And yes i LOVE your point on positivity! Preach it bro! Haha. 👍🌹

      But at the same time one should never be deluded. Admitting “what is” is the first step to going on to pursue “what should be”. I think sometimes people don’t even agree on “what is”, due to group think.

      So I strongly agree with you– since Id already made a clear stance, I’m not going to waste anymore of my life on that topic already. People can believe in whatever they want. Id only tell them my honest opinion if they ask.

      P.S. This post is written for EmmTann, because she’s having a hard time NOW coping with haters. I know you will read this babe, so be strong– you have so much potential to influence people over big things in life!

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