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Handling negative comments about my social media song video

Crazy Little Thing The WebRecently I’ve received a string of very negative comments about my 2009 social media song music video: Crazy Little Thing The Web (the number one “social media song” search result on Google and YouTube, by the way).

I have no problem with criticism. I read, receive and counsel others on how to confront it daily.

I will admit though that I’m in a bit of a quandary as to whether to allow free-wheeling comments to continue or to turn them off. Although I temporarily turned off the ability to leave comments on the video this morning, the comment feature is back on now. While they were off, I received this lovely note submitted through my Codella Marketing website contact form:

I just had the misfortune of watching this youtube clip youtube.com/watch?v=x96KP1wfbpY, and I believe that you now owe me some form of compensation.

Honestly, it was truly the most painful, irritating thing I have ever witnessed, completely devoid of humour or satire. I can understand him being shocked at finding an alleged ex girlfriend on facebook, but I was flabbergasted by his arrogant laugh. Surely this guy is lucky to have ever had any relationship with any person other than his mother, who no doubt still breast-feeds him.

I notice that you fuckwits have disabled both ratings and comments for your little video nasty? Part of me thinks that maybe you’re not so disconnected with reality after all. Another part of me thinks that you need to stop pretending you know what you’re talking about, and end your lives immediately.

– Richard H.

I’ve been compared to Rebecca Black and her Friday video. Too bad my song hasn’t benefited from more than 100,000 digital downloads, been ranked #58 on Billboard’s hot 100 list, or been featured on an episode of Glee (see gantdaily.com). Nor do I have advertising on my YouTube channel like Rebecca Black does to help compensate me.

I’ve received threats.

People have said to never hire me or the good folks who put this video together (MultiMediaWise).

What would you do?

I’m curious to know what my blog readers think I should do.

I usually counsel clients to answer criticism in the way it was received. So, comments on a YouTube video should be addressed in YouTube comments, or perhaps through another video in response to the criticism.

I also discuss with clients the route of not responding to comments. There are times, for various reasons, when this course of action is appropriate.

So, here’s your chance. Your creative project is being flamed on the Internet.

What do you do?

Update – 5.13.11

I have removed the last name and email address of Richard, the commenter referenced above. He sent me an apology, sort of, which I have included below.

And I agree that when you post something on YouTube, you put yourself out there, for good and bad. I knew that going in to the venture.

Thanks goes to @DerrenBrown and Richard for the boost in publicity for my video. Whether it’s liked or hated, more people have now watched it of their own free will and curiosity. What more could a content author ask for?

Dearest Pete,

I’m sorry that I seem to have upset you with my comments about your incredibly funny video.

What I believe that you have to accept is that as soon as you publish a video on youtube, it is in the public domain and unless it is a work of intrinsic genius, you are going to receive positive and negative comments.

I think a number of these comments are not to be taken too seriously. Your video provoked a strong reaction in me, and I felt compelled to let you know, but after a cooling off period, I can now see that it is perhaps only the second worst video I have ever seen.

I did, at least, have the courtesy to send you a private message, rather than a public post that could potentially perpetuate the hate. I would appreciate it, if you would remove my email address from your post.

Yours sincerely,

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Handling negative comments about my social media song video

14 Responses

  1. is only a music video, if you don`t like the video you don`t must be see

    barricas October 26, 2011 at 7:35 am #
  2. I'm sad that people could be so mean about something so harmless. It is a shame that people feel compelled to perpetuate hate and nastiness just to get attention. Engaging with them will just further their mission. I agree that you will just have to blow it off, but you have every right to remove nasty posts from your site.

    Lisa Cutter May 16, 2011 at 2:59 pm #
  3. In order to inject some levity: I'm personally a fan of handling anonymous commenters the way Kevin does in this video* (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjWFZPJZTxU).

    *Adult Language Warning

    gainesvillepr May 13, 2011 at 12:29 pm #
  4. Pete, I generally counsel clients to not respond to postings that are violent or vulgar. What those people want is confrontation and to look important to their followers. You don't need to give him that. You are also perfectly justified in removing vulgar or inappropriate comments from your sites. To say your video sucks is one thing. To say you suck and I'm going to hurt you is completely different. There is no accounting for taste and some people just don't have any.

    Jon Pushkin May 12, 2011 at 12:33 pm #
    • Update: I heard back from the commenter who emailed me. His follow-up remarks are now included at the bottom of my original post.

      petecodella May 13, 2011 at 10:15 am #
  5. Pete,

    I am shocked and saddened by this. The unbridled cruelty of the web is something I will never get used to.

    I love your video; you know that. And so have the audiences at our conferences.

    I just wanted you to know.

    Mark Ragan May 11, 2011 at 9:52 pm #
  6. I think all who posted negative comments who found the video through @derrenbrown were negatively biased and not thinking on their own.

    Preston Parker May 11, 2011 at 5:10 pm #
  7. Plenty of good advice here, Pete. I agree with Sharia's comment policy — be transparent and you'll have nothing to apologize for later. And I'm with Tanner — this kind of thing goes with the territory and it's best not to let it get under your skin. If you read the comments in the Tribune or Des News it's pretty apparent that there's no dearth of idiots online, most of whom with way too much time on their hands. The best retribution is to keep creating — openly, authentically and humbly.

    David Goldsmith May 11, 2011 at 3:29 pm #
  8. It looks like all the comments happened in the last 7 hours. And they are all the same. I think someone is out to get you. You hadn't had a comment for a few months and then bombarded by negative ones. Someone got a group of people to come hate your site. I wouldn't pay any attention to them.

    Melissa May 11, 2011 at 1:57 pm #
  9. Pete: It's ridiculous that people of such a sort would waste their time with this degree of unwarranted negativity. As a crisis management counselor myself, when one is confronted with such a barrage of vitriol, I advise clients to shut down the forum. While it is always more credible to be transparent, accountable, and responsible, when critics become overtly irresponsible, or abusive, then continuing to provide them with an outlet for their inappropriate dumping is not warranted. Sometimes, the tough decisions have to be made along with taking the heat. These people have no humor. They need to get a life!

    Art Stewart May 11, 2011 at 11:46 am #
  10. I allow comments on my blog, Pete, but I do screen them first, as there are a lot of jerks, like the guy above, who seemed to find it their mission to go around and leave nasty comments on people's blogs. They usually do it to get links.

    If you don't want to screen your comments, then feel free to delete those that attack you personally. Or at least filter them so those containing bad words don't show up in your comment stream.

    Your video rocks, Pete, because it's fun. And authentic. 😉

    SheriaBell May 11, 2011 at 11:36 am #
  11. My approach is to be open and allow others to post comments. Critique and discussion are good, and the negative repercussion of removing all comments are typically not worth it. I also believe in having a comment policy which is adhere to and accessible to anyone to read. You can simply put "Any comments which include vulgar language will be deleted", for example.

    Preston Parker May 11, 2011 at 10:56 am #
  12. While unfortunate, I suggest you simply laugh it off and move on.

    We create things for those who want to enjoy them, not for anyone else. It can sting to get such negative feedback, but what great artist never was told to give up, or that they had no talent, or that their ideas were downright stupid? As creators we have to pick and choose our battles, and battles like this aren't worth fighting over. Keep creating, keep the video live, keep the comments open even, and let people think what they will. You didn't create the video for everyone, by posting such asinine comments the only person these individuals are hurting is themselves.

    As they say: "Haters gonna hate."

    tannerchristensen May 11, 2011 at 10:49 am #

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