Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.

Are you #BoycottStarbucks or BuycottStarbucks?

These seemed to be the only choices on Twitter after the coffee chain announced it intended to hire 10,000 refugees over the next five years in the 75 countries in which it operates.

This was a response to President Trump's banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.

The response to its response was predictably extreme.

"When .@Starbucks puts refugees before Americans safety Time for me to #BoycottStarbucks Sales will drop from me alone! Stick 2coffee please!" opined MAGA mama on Twitter.

"So instead of hiring 10,000 unemployed Americans or out of work vets @Starbucks will hire 10,000 refugees to spite @POTUS #BoycottStarbucks," hissed Nia ExtremeVetting.

Then there was actor Scott Baio, an avowed Trump supporter, who declared: "Dear @Starbucks, why not hire unemployed Blacks, Hispanics, & Veterans? I'm genuinely interested in your reply."

It seems that Starbucks's social media team had been prepared for the attacks.

Progressively, it answered not with empty mollification, but with substance.

For example, in response to Baio, the company explained that it was "proud to invest in and support minority communities like Ferguson, MO."

It added a second tweet: "And we won't forget about our veterans--we've committed to hire 10,000 by 2018 & have already hired 8,800."

Companies making political statements--or ones that appear to be political--should know that there will be a public reaction. They ought to be prepared to respond with substance to questions of substance and not react with emotion when being harangued, insulted, or threatened.

Equally, if famous people tweet in support of your action, avoid the temptation to thank them or even fawn all over them.

Actress Jessica Chastain tweeted: "#Starbucks plans to hire 10,000 refugees #buyStarbucks." The company didn't respond.

There's no way Starbucks will know for sure whether its refugee-hiring announcement will affect its business negatively, positively, or neutrally.

This isn't, after all, the first time the company has taken a sociopolitical stand of one sort or another. Some can be quite gauche. Who could ever forget Starbucks's attempt to encourage baristas to talk about race?

In the end, though, knowing who you are as a company, declaring it, and giving your staff the freedom to be themselves can dispel illusions.

While some on Twitter vowed they would never go near a Starbucks again (I wonder how true that might turn out to be), others appreciated their local baristas indulging their sociopolitical whims.

"Thanks, @Starbucks, for supporting refugees--and humoring me when I said my name was 'The Resistance.' #BuyStarbucks," wrote Candy Kirby, accompanying her words with a picture of her cold concoction emblazoned with the words: "The Resistance."

Of course, there's always the suspicion that companies who make these sorts of moves do it because it has business advantages.

Starbucks needs a lot of lower-paid employees across its many stores.

But social media outbursts tend not to last very long, especially in our slightly crazed times.

Another social media outburst comes along and attackers move to attack someone else, while defenders just order another coffee.

Published on: Jan 31, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.