Amanda grapples with the dark side of social media marketing for law firms: trolls who don’t appreciate your work, your content, or even you!
Social Media can be a wonderful place for your business to flourish but it also can become a breeding ground for trolls who might not appreciate your work, your content, or even you.
So the big question is how will you choose to handle these types of posts? Will you simply give up your platform or start a larger conversation on equality and creating a safe place online?
In this week’s installment of #FollowAttorneyAmanda, Amanda Shaffer talks about the dark side of being “liked” on social media. She also touches base on some of the trials and tribulations that some content creators face because of their race, gender, ethnicity, or even the area of law, they specialize in.
Turn your volume up and dive into a topic that’s much bigger than being liked and more about being respected by your community.
Follow the video below and take a look at this week’s episode. Also, leave a comment on some of the trials you’ve faced on social media and how you’ve overcome them in order to be a part of the bigger conversation.
Amanda Shaffer: Welcome to #FollowAttorneyAmanda where you join me on my journey for more likes. I am Attorney Amanda Shaffer. Today we are going to talk about the dark side of being “liked.” And. of course, by “liked” I mean or followed on Facebook and all the social media and everything. There’s definitely plenty of positives that go along with our advertising and marketing on social media, but there’s definitely a whole world out there that traditional forms of advertising just didn’t become an issue because of the ability to directly communicate with your audience and then with you and do so easily and 24/7.
So this has been an issue that has been bothering me for a while. And before I get to it, I’ll just say the reason I’ve pretty much not spoken too much about it is that I was always afraid of saying the wrong thing or offending someone even though I didn’t intend it and that’s not an excuse. That’s what was going through my head and one word to one person is acceptable to the next person from the same background and experience could be offensive. In this PC World, we’re living in, I’ve been overly concerned about that for a little while. I realized that I needed to get over it because not speaking was worse than speaking and accidentally offending somebody because it’s never my intent. And if I do offend somebody and they tell me, I will certainly listen and change so that I don’t do it again.
With that being said, I realized that I couldn’t really stay silent on this matter anymore. So what I’m talking about is all these negative comments; not just comments, posts, attacks, all these types of things that a lot of us who are advertising on social media have experienced. Now, this seems to be an issue specific to female attorneys, more specifically female attorneys of color. I’m sure white male attorneys experience some stuff online. I’ve not extended my sample size. I do work with a white male attorney. He’s not on social media as much as I am. But he’s never gotten any – not one comment about his looks, his competency as an attorney, or anything like that. But I think I’ve mentioned before I’m in a Marketing Group with about nine or ten other women attorneys who share marketing advice and some great resources. We come from all different backgrounds and races, religions, nationalities – well, we’re all in America now, but from all over the world. They’ve been a fantastic support group for me and we always talk about these things that come up and I notice how prevalent it is for them.
Now, as a white female attorney, I certainly have gotten my fair share of comments about my looks. I’ve gotten comments about my age or competency, about my marital status. Most of those comments, the negative ones at least, have been offline. I was trying to think, we always – a lot of times we delete – not a lot of times – when I have a comment that’s relevant and negative, I delete it. So I might have forgotten some things, but I don’t remember really getting a negative comment about my looks. And I don’t think it’s because I’m that beautiful or that perfect. I’m not really sure why I don’t get those but other people do. What I do know is it does seem that race has something to do with it, because the ones who get it, the most are not white, which is not okay and that’s really what has been bothering me lately.
Women are certainly treated differently and women of color are treated even more differently. They’ve got everything from comments about their looks – negative comments about their looks, their hair, telling them to go back to their country; things that are not specific to them, but in general, about illegal immigration, you’re helping illegals types of things. Even though we have similar subject matter that we’re talking about, we may have a different approach in the way we do things and part of what I’m trying to figure out is, does a certain approach do certain platforms? Do they seem to attract more of the, let’s call them crazies and racist, or is it something – obviously, it’s a combination of factors but is there something that really stands out?
One thing that stands out to me is tik-tok. I have a username on to talk but I’ve never used it. I do not like tik-tok. I think it’s toxic. I don’t even want to spend the time to figure it out. I’ll talk about Tik-Tok another day because there’s a lot of controversy surrounding some of the attorneys on Tik-Tok, but the ones I’m talking about are not really the controversial ones, but they’re having a real hard time on there, in terms of people going after them, like reporting their content because it’s about immigration, like lately, they’re constantly taken off and obviously, I can’t compare myself because I’m not on there but it is an interesting thing to think about. But I will also say this, it’s not just Tik-Tok. They’re getting this across platforms – on Facebook, on Instagram, wherever they’re posting, they’re getting these comments. It’s just Tik-Tok is definitely much worse.
So when we do get these negative comments like I said, we delete it, we block the person and in the past, as much as like — We’ll send that to each other and say, “I really want to respond or this is the way we’re going to respond. Nine out of ten times, you’re not going to respond because it’s just not worth it. You don’t want you to get in a fight with a random person and obviously, they’re not worth your time if they’re saying things like that. And that’s what I have been doing, but I realized it’s not enough to just block and delete them. We need to talk about it; we need to call them out. We need to have this discussion in society, to determine what’s socially acceptable. Social media marketing is still fairly new. Traditional print media, it just wasn’t the same. You weren’t out there as much; it cost too much money to put yourself out there every day like that. People could not directly reply to you. You couldn’t directly then reply to them. It’s a whole different world that we’re learning how to deal with and we need to make – we need to take charge of that world and say this is acceptable and this is acceptable; call people out on it. Have the conversations and really try to stop as much hate as possible.
We’ve been going through a lot in this country lately and there’s definitely high tensions and we’re talking about professional women who are just trying to help people and put out useful information about the law and give people a form to contact them, and they’re being attacked. Yes, I, once in a while I am, but not to that extent. And I 100% think that my race has something to do with it. I think if I were not white, I’d be getting much more negative comments like they are. And I don’t think it’s okay for anybody to get negative comments, even white males. I don’t think it’s okay. There’s no reason for it. If you disagree with someone’s opinion, you disagree. But talk to say why you disagree with the policy, not with their looks and trying to shame people. It’s just awful.
So, I’ll definitely talk about this more but I think, it’s always important to keep in the back of your head like whatever I’m putting out there, it’s public and people might comment and there are going to be people who out there who are racist, misogynist, anti-Semitic and who have nothing better to do than to just trash people and troll people. And you kind of have to have a thick skin for sure, but I think we also need to have more of a dialogue to figure out what our society does say is acceptable – not figure out, we know. A lot of these things are not. Well, really to call people out on social media and try to figure out a way to limit it more. I don’t have an answer. I just know that it’s not okay to what’s happening and we all need to, for sure, work together.
So, like I said, I’ll talk about this more because this is, unfortunately, not an issue that is going away. It’s something that’s been on my mind. I just want to say that the first thing that we all have to do is talk about it and understand that you can’t please everybody. It’s about your intentions. So like I said, when I began this, I was always hesitant to talk about race issues because I didn’t want to offend but I never intend to offend and I’m always open-minded and listening to words. I was a Sociology major and a definition of a word changes over time. It changes with society; it changes by geographic location. So what might be offensive in the US, is not offensive in Africa or vice versa and so, you have to always keep that in mind that even though you don’t mean to offend somebody, you may unintentionally do so. And as long as you understand to be open-minded.
Here’s a great example of what I mean. Like, I said, I’m Jewish and so I don’t like the Nazi symbol, the swastika. When I was in college, I was in a mock trial, and one of the members of my team was – I think he was from Bengali. He had a swastika necklace. I went to the University of Michigan. There were a lot of Jewish people there and he just walked around like completely normal and I was shocked. I was really shocked and I went to the head of the mock trial and I was like, “I’m really uncomfortable with this guy wearing a swastika. Why is he wearing a swastika?” And he said to me, well, in his country or his religion, whatever, his culture, the swastika predates Hitler and it means peace. I was like, “Okay, so all right. So he’s not wearing it because he hates Jews but I’m sure he knows about the Holocaust, right?”
And then you get into the conversation, well, just because the Nazis took their symbol, should they give up their symbol? I’m not going to get into that but the point of the story is that I really don’t think that guy was trying to offend me or any other Jewish person. I know he has knowledge of the Holocaust, he still chose to wear it, plenty of people would disagree with that decision, but I try to look at it from the other point of view that he, in his mind and his background, there’s nothing wrong with this and that’s not how we see the symbol. So he’s already easy topics but we still have to talk about them and I will definitely talk about them more. So that is all today for #FollowAttorneyAmanda. I will see you guys next time.