One of the greatest things about social media is the ability it gives us to communicate with companies that might have otherwise never acknowledged our existence. My internship this semester at Chatterblast has taught me that.

For instance, last year my Netflix account stopped working, which is just about the most horrific thing that could have possibly happened. I frantically tweeted my concerns and was pleasantly surprised to receive a response tweet from Netflix themselves asking how they could help me. I had a similar experience with a Wawa cinnamon bun, in which I ended up receiving a free $5 gift card. Talk about good customer service. I mean, who doesn’t love free food?

Now, back to the main purpose of this post. Since I started interning at Chatterblast, I have been given a behind the scenes look at the business side of social media. I’m now working with some of the people who weed through and respond to those angry (or in my case hangry) tweets. Here’s the thing that a lot of folks don’t realize. When you send out those hateful words, you’re not talking to the physical, bricks and mortar business. You’re talking to a human being, who is probably very nice.

I am not saying that people should stop using social media as a means of voicing concerns. Companies love that they can now communicate with consumers on a more personal level, it’s great for building relationships and driving loyalty. All that I’m saying is to tone it down a bit.

That threatening tweet regarding the parking ticket you received is (most likely) not being read by the officer who issued it. It’s being read by a nice person who’s probably genuinely scared of you at this point, and would have helped had you been a little bit more kind.

The bottom line is this. Social media can help you get what you want from a company, and you don’t need to be aggressively angry to get it.