Offensive or Sexist Posts: What to Do?

Heather Kleim from Epic Empire Designs asks:

If someone you follow posts something incredibly offensive & sexist, do you comment? One of the people I follow (a Vancouver news-type tweeter, talking about events and buzz in the city) posted something that infuriated me and was incredibly offensive to women. I emotionally reacted and replied with ‘how to get someone to unfollow you in 1 tweet’ and unfollowed them. Advice or feedback?

Used under Creative Commons License

Thanks for the question, Heather.  I’m sure many folks struggle with that.  Should you put up with offensive, sexist or rude remarks?  I say no.  At the same time, I don’t think it’s worth highlighting  them by giving them any public attention. So, I suggest you simple ignore the comment and unfriend, block or unfollow the offender as appropriate. Call your best friend if you need to vent your frustration but don’t do it in public.

There are, of course, exceptions to this rule.  In some cases, you may want to rise to the defense of  the insulted group, person or brand.  It is much more powerful to have a group of folks outraged by an offensive, sexist or rude comment all taking issue with the offender.  It takes courage to be the first person to speak up and if you’re willing to take the lead on something you feel strongly about then please don’t hesitate. Sometimes, adding your voice of reason is essential for moral justice. 

However, if you are a business owner or in any way a public figure, you must decide to respond in public or in private with your brand in mind. Does the stance you want to take align with your corporate values?  If it doesn’t you risk confusing your clients with content that’s contrary to your mission.  Two areas of particular concern are religion and politics. I always advise keeping these offline as part of your private self.  I’m sure you and your customers can agree that everyone’s entitled to an opinion but that private opinions should stay private so you can get on with the business at hand.

And to help rude-proof the rest of us, I suggest taking CNN’s Andrea Bartz and Brenna Ehrlich’s pledge to avoid digital mistakes in 2011.


[Beachcomber on Books] Power Friending by Amber Mac


Amber Mac‘s book Power Friending offers terrific information to demystify social networking. She illustrates  best practices for business with illustrative good, bad and ugly examples.  Amber’s book is the focus of the inaugural podcast of Beachcomber on Books, my new series to share about the professional books that interest and inspire me.

The Power Of Social Networks: Bill Good Show on CKNW

Community expert Angela Crocker spoke to Vancouver Radio CKNW’s Bill Good about creating social networks.

Want to know why it’s important, and why it’s not as scary as you may think? In this interview, they discussed the value of using social media tools, the demographics that can be found on various social sites and common concerns about using social networks.  Have a listen to this 20 minute March 15, 2011 episode of The Bill Good Show.