The social media manager is probably the most marginalised profession since the telemarketer. Shame on you, Australia.
Recently, I was sent a link to an article about how people were posting abusive messages on the Facebook account of Target. The link was accompanied with the comment “The internet is the worst! It makes people act so mean!”
It’s an interesting theory, and I know it’s an opinion held by many, but what of those who field said abuse?
What of the poor silent social media managers of this fair land, whose daily struggle is to fight against the raging torrent of varied, spiked abuse that he, she or it had no vested interest in, but now must solve.
If we criticise, do they not plead?
The social media manager is just the latest victim of the shitty, whiny nature of people. It’s the twenty-first-century evolution of the innocent guilty, emanating from the big-bang of customer service when receptionists, telemarketers and whoever could face the wrath of someone crawling out of the primordial ooze with an axe to grind.
It’s still such a common concept that it has entered the zeitgeist and is all throughout popular culture.
Yes, it’s funny, but telemarketers are people too. Yet, the Telemarketer is seen as a subspecies, a unified antagonist. Whatever our personal differences, at least we could band together to hate telemarketers. Go us.
I give it a couple of years before ‘abusing the social media manager’ schtick becomes the latest tired sitcom joke.
Somehow it became OK to abuse these people. But what made then different to now was that the loose rules of polite society and the vestiges of etiquette kept them in check. Yes, this was a person to complain to, but it was still a person. The faceless nature of social media eliminates this, and thusly this person becomes a thing. They’re abusing the business, not this innocent party. There are no innocents, and there ain’t no party. They’re representing a company, their not people. What is hilarious, though, is that as soon as we give that person a name, only then do they become human again.
Case in point: Remember Dan the Optus guy? When the trolls clamoured from under their bridge to abuse Optus for putting up a multilingual sign, Dan politely schooled those idiots and we guffawed, nervously honouring him as a true hero of common sense.
However, while all the social media managers are equal, some are more equal than others. The company they serve is directly linked to the amount of abuse they field. Duck over to the social media page of say…any airline and this brand of abuse is a regular occurrence:
Which begs the question to be asked. Do the desirable positions in the Social Media Manager profession start with the sentence “Customers don’t think we’re shit”.
In the final analysis, people are terrible, abusive arseholes. Always have been, always will be. However, these arseholes know where you work, and you can no longer just take the phone off the hook.