Telling Brands What to Do: Yes or No?

Do people feel a sense of ownership over the brands they follow online?

I posted a motivational image on one of my Facebook Pages and somebody didn’t appreciate it one bit.

Page admins don’t (at least I don’t) just toss something out there because they can. Pages take daily effort, ingenuity, and an excellent, often intuitive understanding of one’s audience. In our case, we handle a broad range of sensitive topics under an umbrella theme, so I try to vary what I post every day.

Sometimes this means taking a step back and posting something that helps people look at what they have and what they can do to make their day a little easier. I like giving my audience a break every so often with something fun, beautiful, inspiring, motivating…you get the picture.

In fact, here’s the picture itself:
Textgram

We received several hundred likes, shares, and even several very happy comments. This picture and sentiment were by no means original to our Page, but clearly appealed nonetheless.

Then came this comment:
“Not another bumper sticker. Please stick to post [sic] things that are informative.”

At least the commenter was polite. Since posting that picture, I’ve received comments on other pictures that range from verbally abusive to sexually disgusting. Polite or not, people seem to feel they can say anything because there’s a comment box, regardless if it actually has anything to do with the topic.

Is it because we’re all hidden behind screens? Or is it more a sense of propriety over things or entities we associate ourselves with because of all the time and energy we invest?

Perhaps brands become “ours” in a way removed from the very real people behind that thing or entity. Yet have we become too comfortable expressing ourselves? Have you ever told a brand what you wanted them to say or do online—or off?