Why Are We So Angry Online?


You’d think social media would bring people together, and it does–– often as an angry mob.

Sadly, cyber-bullying is a rampant problem for teens. Trolls are common online, and rage spouts and spews ugliness everywhere.

What’s become of polite society? It’s usually there face to face, but in the digital world, many people sharpen daggers, drop their manners and let emotions fly. We unload, click, unload, click and unload some more.

Everyone’s a critic and we’re anxious to criticize. We insulate ourselves by traveling in the same political/religious/societal packs. We have our support network. Our crew. Our mob.

We curate perfect digital lives on Facebook for our friends. “Amber scored the winning goal, we’re so proud of her incredible achievements. We’re going to have to build supports for her trophy shelf–– she’s collecting awards so fast and it’s just a matter of time until she wins a Pulitzer and Nobel Peace Prize…”

What’s this behavior show? It shows each of us is the hero of our own movies. It shows that given a megaphone, we demand to be heard. It demonstrates that many of us are sharks and will attack at a whiff of blood. It shows that pettiness is easy, and resisting the urge to pass judgment is difficult.

Sorry, that was judgmental.

Forgive me.

Or slam me.

For marketers, online behavior means this: The conversation is not yours. You can try instigating it, but you cannot control it. And trying to control it is brand suicide.

Social media is a bitch because for some reason, digital people often lose their empathy with technology. Social media can become a toxic caustic battlefield.

So, here’s some advice digital marketing executives: be careful out there.

Patrick Scullin
About the author: 

Patrick Scullin is a Partner and the Chief Creative Officer at Ames Scullin O’Haire Advertising in Atlanta, GA – working with The Coca-Cola Co., Golf Pride Golf Grips, Georgia Aquarium, Mitsubishi Electric, UPS, AutoZone, Randstad Staffing and the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Mr. Scullin’s executive career includes management positions with renown agencies such as Doner, Leo Burnett, Bozell and The Richards Group. Follow Patrick on Twitter.