Online Etiquette MascotYou publish and syndicate a great deal of content online. Part of your desire is to get people to leave comments after reading your content. You want them to respond favorably to your writing but you may also receive negative comments at times. That is acceptable as long as they are polite.

The emotional reaction

People will generally react favorably to whatever is being said as long as the approach is acceptable. No matter what your relationship is with any given person, the most basic level at which you relate to that person is the emotional (human) level. People will never react to you (or your content) logically or intellectually before they will have an emotional reaction to you. No doubt, you have heard it said (and most probably agree) that all relationships are formed because people are able to touch each other in some emotional way. If you can’t succeed at doing that, you won’t be able to have a relationship with that person.

Constructive feedback

Feedback is essential for your growth as a business person. Although negative feedback can be painful sometimes, it is often the negative feedback that allows you to learn and progress the most. Positive feedback is extremely important and it allows you to feel good about what you are doing. However, positive feedback doesn’t really teach you anything. It is merely confirming that you have learned that particular lesson well already. On the other hand, negative feedback forces you to look at what you have done and written and to evaluate how you can improve upon what you have done already.

Constructive feedback is critical to your business’s success for many reasons and it is very important that you consider all of the feedback that you receive very carefully, even if you decide, in the end, not to do everything that your online connections suggest. As you are considering the feedback that you have received, there are a couple of questions that you will want to answer.

  • Are you obligated to read all of the feedback that you receive?
  • If you don’t agree with some of the feedback that you receive, is there a way to respond firmly but not inappropriately?

There are those people who believe that if you don’t have something nice to say, you shouldn’t say anything. However, when you think about it, where will that approach really get you? You won’t be any further ahead in your quest to constantly improve what you are offering if you ignore all negative comments that make you want to respond. Again, it is all in the approach.

The other approach

It is absolutely possible to respond to feedback in a way that doesn’t leave the other person itching to pull out a gun and shoot you. If you think that your response will illicit a negative reaction (even if you reacted negatively in the first place), go over what you want to say as many times as you need to until you have been able to come up with a civil, yet effective response. The mistake that some people make when it comes to responding online is that they think it doesn’t count if the two interacting people can’t see each other and can’t hear each others’ voices. So what. That doesn’t make the interaction or the message any less real or any less important.

How the feedback is presented

On the other side of the coin, if the person who feels compelled to deliver feedback feels that it is absolutely necessary (which you can probably understand), that person should first make sure that their message is valuable and that it will be beneficial. It is also perfectly acceptable for the person sharing the feedback to communicate what their background and credentials are. It is important to bear in mind that the feedback can be valuable but also be humble and respectful at the same time.

Content lives online forever

The idea that once content is posted online, it will remain there forever is extremely important. Anyone who is posting anything online should think about that before they push the button. It is important to always consider the consequences beforehand. Those consequences may be far-reaching and they may last for a very long time so you need to make sure that you are okay with that.


Anyone who wishes to share feedback should also make sure that the feedback is being shared openly and honestly. The person who posted the original content as well as the person sharing the feedback should both be sure to include a call-to-action so that the other person has a way to interact with that person.


The Internet is all about open communication and constructive discussions that will help everyone involved to get their businesses to grow. Progress is impossible without discussions and without feedback. At the same time, it is critical that the communication that occurs between the two people is respectful and polite. If the approach is appropriate, the response will be much more favorable and the relationship will flourish because of it. There are several different types of comments that you can potentially receive on your content. It is a great idea to consider your responses to all types so that you can promote wonderful discussions with the people who follow you. Comments hold true value and it is significant and very positive that your online connections take the time to give you their opinions and thoughts.

We are pleased to provide you with the insightful comments contained herein. For a free assessment of your online presence, let’s have coffee.