Ranty Friday — Online Etiquette

The irony of Ranty Friday this week being about online etiquette and of people ranting online is not lost on me this week.

Cyber bullying

 I just want to get this out in the open right at the start.   I think my point about online etiquette is that whilst I love a damn good rant, what I don’t like is people being abusive online.   And that is my point this week in Ranty Friday.

Recently I have seen a very well known blogger being abusive on Twitter to other people on Twitter, calling them names, swearing and just being generally nasty.   That got me thinking about whether or not that kind of behaviour is acceptable.   Is it?  Should we be able to say what we like on Twitter to other people?  I don’t mean in the extreme like we read about in the paper when people are subjected to rape threats etc, nobody could ever believe that was acceptable or within somebody’s right to free speech.

No, I am talking about a reply to a perfectly reasonable question that ends with “well you are just a dickhead”.

Now, my stance is that if you are just using Twitter as a form of social media and that is how you want to conduct your affairs, crack on.   I don’t like it, personally, I unfollow people who use the C word (and I don’t mean cake) but what really gets to me is bloggers and brands doing it.

If you represented a brand would you be happy if somebody you worked with, or wanted to work with in the future, made a habit of swearing and being abusive to other people on Twitter?   Would you see that as then reflecting on you if you worked with them?

I remember a while ago another blogger who was apoplectic on twitter about a particular company and let everybody know about it.  Actually now I come to think of it I can think of several bloggers that have done this.    Raging, properly full on raging so that all their followers can see, tagging in the company in question, and generally getting more and more wound up by a situation.


Well there’s the question.  I am not really sure it serves any real purpose and I could wax lyrical for hours about the damage it can have on a company’s reputation if the raging and accusations are not true.   Companies will rarely retaliate in a similar fashion.

But as bloggers should we be more guarded and measured with our approach on line?  I really think we should.

I love working with brands and I am proud to be working with some amazing companies at the moment.   If I were to tweet that I was spectacularly peed off with a particular company because the product they had sent me was effing useless or had broken after one bleeping month what would that say to the other companies?

To my mind that is likely to put other companies off working with me, surely?

A case in point is that I recently placed an order online for a birthday present for somebody Mr B was going to see in January.  Ordered on 12th Jan, dispatched on 19th, party was 24th.  Nothing arrived.  And nothing has ever arrived.  I have called the company and their policy is they will not offer me a refund until it has been missing for 15 days since dispatch.

I questioned that on the phone with them and was told “well your agreed to our Ts and Cs”.  My point was “I know that is in your Ts and Cs but you don’t have to stick to it, do you?  You are choosing to.  You are choosing to not refund me earlier”.   She hung up.

I then tweeted my anger but was very careful not to tag them in it.   And actually half an hour later I deleted the tweet altogether.   I am seeking sponsorship from companies for my Danceathon efforts, if they look to my twitter feed is that really the tweet I want them to read?

I am not saying my twitter feed is all sweetness and light, of course it isn’t.  I do swear, I do say things I shouldn’t but not specifically to somebody.  I would never tell somebody they are a dickhead.   Well except Katie Hopkins, maybe.   I would never be abusive towards a company.   Heated, possibly, but abusive?  That’s a step too far.

I asked the question on Twitter to see if I was alone in my thinking, seems I am not.








As bloggers we are often told to think of ourselves as a brand, I know that sounds a bit poncey but I do believe that it is true.  And as a brand why would a company want to work with us, send us their products, sponsor us for events, pay us to for posts if in the next breath we are being obnoxious?  We should be constantly thinking about how we conduct ourselves on line.

And the more I see bloggers with what can only be described as an over inflated sense of entitlement that causes them to be abusive towards others on line the more I cringe and think it is tantamount to hitting the self destruct button.


Photo of cyber bullying courtesy of Shutterstock


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  • OK I can see the point and am careful not to be too ranty and wouldn’t bully or call someone nasty names (even KH as I don’t actually know her personally and would hate to think my actions could upset ANYONE). But on the other hand I like to feel that my brand is honest, and that I am loyal to my readers – so therefore I do tweet things that I am not happy with. Sometimes though this enables the other person/company/brand a chance to shine. An example of this is I tweeted a picture of my fruit from a big supermarket as it was bruised when it arrived – they apologised and refunded it.

    Interesting topic.

    • ah but that last point is not you being abusive Joy. I have done that. You would never tweet “effing hate Look at the effing state of this fruit, its rancid. I will never shop with you ever again. you are the worst supermarket in the effing world and I will tell all my friends to avoid you”.

      That’s my point and the gist of some of the tweets I have seen and am eluding too. I think twitter is really effective in those situations and companies get it right in sorting it out.

      But I cant imgaine you ever verbally attacking a company!

  • I have got quite reserved over the past few years on Twitter.Ranting in a FB group is more productive I find as you get several points of view before jumping in on Twitter.And I haven’t seen anything abusive this week thankfully as I would like to think that sort of thing is now subsiding, but obviously not.

  • Interesting topic and one that needs revisiting on a regular basis. My view is that I behave online as I would in person. I’m not sure ranting and raving at someone really does more than allow you to let off steam. Not a long term strategy, anyway. I don’t swear (really, I don’t). I don’t like hearing it or reading it particularly, but everyone is different and I guess it helps to explain their feelings. I just may not choose to follow the person online.

    PS I thought the photo was you being clever. A rant about online and the mention of cake makes it a fitting photo.

  • Knowing the “outburst” that triggered this rant, I have to say that some people are walking a fine line. There are people out there that feel very entitled and believe that they can use their social media to pressurise other parties into a decision that benefits only them.

    I *HAVE* ranted on my social media channels, I do swear and I have tagged in companies for whatever reason. However, I like to think that I’m measured and justified in the tweets that I send out and I don’t invite my followers to get involved but they will offer opinion occasionally. If further conversation is required then I continue that in a more appropriate place (email, private message etc).

  • I have to say, I have hassled EE over Twitter, because frankly, their customer services are appalling and they made a massive error with my account, that no one would help me sort out. I found that a tweet or two stating how bad their customer services was, got me a response which was taken to DM and eventually got the issue solved. This was after three phone calls, several attempts at using their online help system and trying to log into my account but not being able to. Maybe I shouldn’t have but it was the only way to get their attention to get the £173 they took from my account in error back. I did not swear or use rude language though. I do agree though that it looks bad when you are outrightly abusive and rude and doesn’t really look great to potential PR.

  • The most recent outburst seems to have passed me by, but I have to admit to avoiding bloggers who have these outbursts on Social Media. I think that as bloggers we are a brand, and I wouldn’t expect any company to want to work with me if I was rude and/or offensive to that extent.

  • I actually deleted someone, last year, that got really offensive and rude about a company. I just don’t think there is a need. I don’t work with brands, so I don’t have the issue, but I still think of it like real life. As in, I wouldn’t walk up to them and rant, so why do it there!? I find I get better responses being polite and considered in my complaints. (Saying that, I did tweet something snarky to a company the other day, from my personal life lol)

  • I don’t understand the need to be offensive online either and it’s something I’d never do. Creating a negative impression of you and your blog will never be good for business and I guess this is something we all need to remember even when we’re really upset about something. I was always taught to treat others as I’d like to be treated myself and that works well for me. I’ve also unfollowed a few people who’s ranting on social media to individuals and companies makes me uncomfortable.

  • I’m SO with you! Your Twitter and Blog and Social are your “shop window” – so why would you be negative about a company? Just take it up with them – don’t involve everyone else! x

  • I agree that there’s no need and if you think there is then I’m happy to part company with you (well not you obvs). Bloggers shouldn’t and if they do brands should avoid them – just because it’s online it doesn’t mean it’s right to behave that way, it’s still you and attributed to you