Assailed by a ‘flamer’? How to respond without getting burned

When a complainer opens up a relentless stream of vitriol, protect your brand with this measured, sensible approach.

You wake up, flip open your laptop and try to ease into another workday. But when you check pending blog comments and your Twitter feed, what greets you isn’t a friendly “Good morning,” but rather a steady stream of diatribes and variations of “You suck!”

Though your first reaction may be to fight fire with fire, throwing gas on a blaze set by such Internet scourges, known as “flamers,” is a no-win situation for you and your brand.

“The base piece of information to remember is that when there’s a conflict, try to remember that they’re not necessarily against you—they’re for themselves,” explains Vivian Scott, a certified mediator and author of the book “Conflict Resolution at Work for Dummies.”

When dealing with inflammatory posts, she says, remove yourself from the equation. “If an airline has this person who regularly writes, ‘I hate you. You suck’—if they’re that hateful or that aggressive toward your brand, something hasn’t been met for them. So until they get that need met, they’re not going to stop.”

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