Marketing, Thoughts

Why are people so rude online? – The Premise

Note: I initially started writing this post intending it to fit nicely as one blog post. Unfortunately, my passion has got out of hand and it’s looking more like an essay than a blog post. So I’m chopping this up into 3 parts – the premise, reason #1 and reason #2, and they will be up these 3 days. :)

From my recent Facebook encounter with a rude business owner to rude gate-crashing by MOL’s CEO to the global dissing ceremony happening on Nestle’s Facebook page, I’ve actually gotten bored to blog about these encounters titled along the line of what-not-to-dos.

Rather, my interest has been directed to why these people behaved the way they do online when, I believe, they have the potential to behave otherwise as shown by their business achievements or their job status (I mean, I haven’t heard if the Nestle’s correspondent got fired like Tony Hayward).

Read more about my encounter with Lamkins Toys (I’ve decided it’s too lame not to disclose who they are. Anyway, I’m glad they only sell toys and not teach babies.) here while I provide a little background information on the other two cases.

MOL – The Gate-Crasher
In their own words, MOL Global is one of the largest internet companies in South East Asia and fully owns payment service provider, MOL AccessPortal Berhad and the world’s social networking pioneer, Friendster.

Being the largest however, does not equate to exemplary behaviour on their small competitor’s Facebook fan page.

1. CEO gate-crashing
2. Insulting the intelligence of Offgamer’s fans
3. Probably a fake profile or a stalker MOL fan who checks through all MOL’s competitors’ fan page to see if there’s any way she can praise MOL.
4. MOL’s sales executive confirming fan’s praise
5. Gracious but subtle sarcasm from Offgamer to expose the identities of these people
6. First defend from a fan on the act of gate-crashing
7. The power of social media: Becoming a troll has never been easier
8. Insulting Offgamers and displaying how social media should not be used
9. Gracious reply again
10. Trying to force a closure, but unfortunately, this is social media and it does not end.

Nestle – The Diva
Nestle came under fire from Greenpeace with regards to how their source of palm oil is indirectly harming the rainforest in Indonesia. Out of this scandal, many people adopted pseudo Nestle logos as their Facebook display picture so Nestle wanted to remind them not to do so. Unfortunately, it wasn’t done in a proper manner.

Anyway, I’ll also share some learning points from Nestle’s saga in an ebook I’m writing as part of my company’s participation in the Social Media World Forum. It should be published at the end of the month, but I’m not too sure if it will be made available for everyone to download. Keep you guys posted!

Alright, back to explaining the saga.

1. Diva behavior
2. Diva rebuttal
3. Diva rant
4. The corrector, here to correct all your online mistakes
5. The know-it-all, even when he doesn’t know it, he points you to a website.
6. Gasp! The diva apologized! Glad you’ve stopped being rude.

Based on these three examples, why do you think people are so rude online?


Elisha Tan is the Founder of TechLadies. TechLadies is a community for women in Asia to connect, learn, and advance as programmers in the tech industry. Elisha is also the Developer Programs Regional Lead for Asia Pacific at Facebook.


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