Over the course of their career, every performer will have naysayers and harassers. Social media has made it easy for anyone to keep track of and trash their chosen target, and DJ’s are no exception. Whether it be simple shit-talking, defamation, impersonation, stalking or worse, artists must be mindful in how they respond to every situation. In one extreme case, I received an email from someone who felt the need to share what negative influence he could have on ending all future bookings for me. Seeing that the email failed to have the desired effect, the man came out to one of my events to tell me what he thought of me. He actually took it upon himself to show up to get under my skin, or scare me. This is not a typical example, but I use it to show that taking the high road and ignoring the situation does not always work when someone is being relentless. This guy was not the first, nor would he be the last, and that is the reality for anyone in this business, and it only increases as you gain momentum in your career. So here are 7 ways to deal with these kinds of people
1. Always Be Professional
Whether at a public event, or responding to messages online, your brand persona should be professional. This means being mindful of the way you conduct yourself while drinking or hanging out with friends, how you interact with promoters and fans at events, and maintaining consistency in your online communications. Remember, that first impressions can be a lasting ones.
2. Responding Instead of Reacting
Maybe a business partnership has gone awry, or someone is being agitated or hostile towards you. While it may be easy to react in the moment of a temporary feeling, it’s better to cool your jets and respond when you have some time to clear your head. You might even find no response is needed at all, which is often the case. Anyone can take a screenshot of a private message written in the heat of the moment and share it with the world. Don’t soil your professionalism…think before you respond.
3. Create a Strong Brand
Is someone impersonating you or your brand? Are they stealing your ideas, your style, your Je Ne Sais Quoi? Ensure your online presence paints a unique picture. Be consistent in what you put out there and how you put it out, and do not deviate. It’s difficult for someone to “troll” your brand online if the content they share differs from what they post while pretending to be you. Any of you DJ’s who are grammar-conscious, this is your time to shine.
4. REFOCUS ON YOURSELF
Try to remember that the “hater” is projecting a personal issue while trying to distract you; if you allow yourself to get worked up, then they get what they wanted. Instead, refocus that energy into a project that brings you joy. Write an article that brings in new views, or record a super rad DJ mix that gets you a new residency or bookings. It’s amazing what great content you can create out of a “bad” situation when you properly channel your energies.
5. KNOW WHEN TO ACKNOWLEDGE A SITUATION
If someone crosses lines in publicly trashing you on Twitter or Facebook, and you fear for your safety or the safety of others, responding in an equally public way is a very tricky choice. Sometimes, acknowledging the issues out loud allows others to step forward. It is incredibly powerful when people come together in support, but it must be done with tact. Take your time to weigh the pros and cons of sharing a vulnerable situation. If you have *any* suspicion that this person is likely to commit an illegal act against you, notifying law enforcement and an attorney would be a wise decision. This brings us to #6…
6. *ALWAYS* TAKE THE LEGAL ROUTE
If someone threatens you, even if it’s an implied threat, take it seriously by notifying the authorities. Document any and all situations that concern you, whether it be text messages, emails, facebook messages, voice mails…ANYTHING. Screen shot everything. Make backup copies of all of it. DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT, engage with these people in any way. And if you have communicated with them previously, it is time to stop immediately. Remove them from your fan pages, delete them from your contact list, and block their number and profiles.
7. PROTECT YOURSELF
If you fear for your safety, immediately notify promoters and event security in advance of all shows. Do this in advance, but make sure to remind the promoters in the days leading up to the show, and definitely on the day of the show. Be sure to provide copies of any restraining orders pending or issued to security personnel, and any law enforcement that may be working the event. Secondly always protect yourself by securing your online accounts! Have multiple, challenging passwords including attaching accounts to your personal mobile deceives for secondary security. These are measures you should take for your online security anyway, regardless of who you are, and you’ll find these somewhat extreme measures could save you hassle in the future. If someone does takes control of your accounts, they can easily send unprofessional messages as you, or even access your financial records and personal information, so take the steps to protect yourself and your brand!
As you’ll note, “dealing with haters” is less about dealing directly with them and more about how you respond to various situations. It’s VERY important to take the proper steps, so that you can continuing doing YOU! In the heat of the moment, try to calm yourself by saying, “This is not actually about me.” Because really, it’s not. You career has no weight on whether they get up in the morning and live a happy life. Refocus on your goals and keep moving forward. If they cross the line and become scary or a threat to your well-being, do not hesitate to enlist help. Take the necessary steps to protect yourself. Let us know what your experiences have been, or if any part of this list has worked for you.
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