Negative and positive feedback – why is it easier to be negative?

Yesterday, I was browsing the internet to get some information about various products. This included visits to companies Facebook pages and what I’ve read there made me wonder: why is it so much easier for people to leave negative feedback on a company’s site than to actually write something positive? When you visit the Facebook pages of companies, you will often find people who use the FB page to vent their frustration. Why do people only rarely go to FB pages to praise the companies they like? Shouldn’t the ones who do things “right” in our opinion get to hear something positive?

I also noticed negativity prevailing in the official forum of the only MMORPG I play. I don’t participate much in the forum and usually only use it if I have a question (I check whether someone else had the same question and then see what the replies were). Sometimes I browse it to see what other people have to say but at the moment I am not very tempted to read the forum because it’s all so negative. I love the game, I have heaps to do even though I’ve been playing it (on and off) for over five years.  I even used the forum in the past and put up a very positive post to praise the game and the developers – but no one took part in the discussion. Negative threads, however, get a lot of replies? Why is that the case? The people in the game seem to be happy enough with it. If the game really was so bad, no one would play it.

Is it just that negative people feel like they need to let everyone know how bad things are from their point of view? Would they like to make other people feel the same way? Of course, there are companies I do not like much. There are products I do not use and things I cannot understand. But do I go on Facebook to write hateful comments on the site of those companies? No, I didn’t even cross my mind.

What I did once was to get in touch with a company I usually like. But they did something I found rather silly. So I told them (yes, in a Facebook comment) that I am a regular customer and that I had noticed something that doesn’t fit in with my image of the company. In a polite way, I asked whether there was something they could do about this. I also recommended what they could do. And behold! The problem was taken care of and never happened again.

Is it only a recent development that people use the internet more often to vent their frustration and direct their anger at the companies/people they do not like? It seems to me like there has been a huge increase of this in the last couple of years. Maybe this is because more and more people have easy access to the internet. It might just be my perception but the internet used to have a friendlier and more helpful community 10 years ago!

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