Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Social Media Criticisms

Angry social media exchanges happen all the time. We don't often hear about them in the country music world, but since artists usually manage their professional accounts, occasional conflict is inevitable. How do you deal with an angry fan, or an unfair remark? Let's look at how some artists have responded over the past month.

1. Let Others Defend You

We discussed this case a few weeks ago. Zac Brown called Luke Bryan's hit single That's My Kind of Night the "worst song I've ever heard," and went on to rant about the state of contemporary country lyrics. Although Bryan is a very outgoing character on-stage, he never reacted. Not a tweet of response.

Usually, I would advise against silence. However, in this circumstance, it was a good decision. If Bryan had lashed out against Brown, it could have started a battle that hurt both parties and distracted from Bryan's recent success. On the other hand, if he had acknowledged the issue without taking a stand, he may have looked like a weak victim. 

Instead, others like Justin Moore and Jason Aldean (not to mention the writer of the song in question) stepped in to back the superstar up. In a stinging  Instagram response, Aldean wrote, "To those people runnin their mouths, trust me when i tell u that nobody gives a s**t what u think." At the end of the day, Bryan looked like the mature one and the incident blew over.

2. Go On The Attack

Then there's Blake Shelton. Westboro Baptist Church threatened to picket an upcoming concert because of his past divorce and remarriage, calling Shelton a "vulgar adulterer hated by God." Shelton's crude response ignited a Twitter feud that lasted three days. Using humour, he obviously won the battle in the public's eyes. However, Shelton appears to have gone overboard in attacking individuals instead of the organization. An aggressive response is likely what Westboro Baptist Church wanted, as offensive and ridiculous as their statements were. Shelton tweeted, "This isn't about God. It's about me using this opportunity to make y'all look like the absolute complete dips***s you are." Unfortunately, he may have actually given them a platform.

3. Show You're Right

Craig Morgan isn't as big of a name, but handled a recent issue very well. When storms forced him to end a show early, an attendee took to Twitter to rudely express frustration. What did Morgan do? Check out the Facebook response below:

"I'm sitting on a plane headed to California, after leaving Nebraska where our show was cut short due to bad storms. I have the uncontrollable urge to write a rebuttal to a twitter post made in reference to the short show last night. Here's the post "@cmorganmusic is a ????? (He used a word I won't put on facebook) afraid of some rain. Hope he doesn't get paid."
However I'm not gonna post a rebuttal here on Facebook, instead I say this:

I am Craig Morgan - a husband and father, a soldier, a singer, a songwriter, a tv show host, an actor, a police officer, an outdoorsman, a Christian (not always a good Christian but a Christian none the less ). I've been a fireman, a construction worker, and an EMT, among other things. My point is, I've done a lot and I enjoy helping others. Of all the things I do and of the things I am, I most enjoy being a dad and husband. Some days I'm not as good at being Dad and husband as I should be, because I'm too busy being all these other things. These are the repercussions of decisions we make to provide for our family, to be successful, or fulfill our dreams whatever the reasons. Not being as good at one thing is the price we sometimes pay for attempting to be great at others. Greatness is seldom achieved. What does this have to do with one, probably drunk person's, pissy remark about us not finishing a show due to a tornado? Not a lot, except in my thoughts about last night I remembered a show a few years ago where a storm blew in and people lost their lives. It made me think how blessed I am to have my family, friends, band and crew that I have, and that someone last night had the guts to say stop just in case! To the University of Nebraska, thank you all so much for letting us be a part of your world. We will be back! These remarks are not intended to entice others to get into a pissing match about what happened.They are just my thoughts that I wanted to share. God bless" 

This is a great example of someone taking what could have turned into a crisis, explaining the situation, and disarming the criticism. It's a thorough, personal response, and while the style isn't professional, Morgan makes his point and looks like the good guy.

In each of the situations above, there was no clear choice in how to best respond to an unexpected comment. It boils down to recognizing how what you say could help or hurt your position, and then choosing an appropriate tone. I respect each artist mentioned, and wonder how these case studies might influence others facing similar situations in the future.

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