Before social media went online and became conventional; complaining about bad service was usually started with six words. "May I speak to your manager?" Unless you were screaming at some employee, it was usually pretty low key. Then, after we took to twitter to make our voices heard, those six words to one or two people turned into 140 characters to potentially millions. Cleanly, social media increases the power of our voice and changes the customer service game, but just because you can potentially reach millions with your complaint doesn’t signify you ought to. Accountable social media starts with being contemplative about what you tweet, before you tweet it.
Constructive criticism is good, name calling is not. Some people aren’t good at keeping things bottled up. If you must out a business in a complaint on social media, be careful not to insult. Be positive and keep the discussion going. You wouldn’t shout at a manager on the phone, would you? Don’t shout out online. Don’t allow annoyance get the best of you. If you leap on Twitter the minute something awful happens, you’re more probable to articulate something you’ll be sorry. Your terminology matters. Whether you have 100 followers or 100,000, you never make out when something you tweet or share will be shared by someone more powerful. Before you tweet, take a deep inhalation and appraise the circumstances. Use social media, and then take the exchange offline. There’s nothing wrong with using social media to find a store or restaurant manager and then making a phone call. Do you really need to fight this out in public? Are you gaining anything by having spectators? Probably not!
When in doubt, ask yourself this: How would I react if social media didn’t exist? If your answer is "with restraint," then apply that to your usage of social media.