I’ve been blogging a long time. Years. It’s a hobby I love and have grown extremely attached to. It does something to my sense of being to be able to sit down and write and share, from photo’s and experiences to thoughts and opinions. And, those of you who have been following me for a while, you’ll know, I’ve never shied away from the hard and controversial topics. It’s in built into me to say what I mean and mean what I say, even when I know my thoughts or opinions might not be popular. I can’t help it, my big mouth is so very much a part of who I am and this follows me around through all aspects of my life.
Of course, while it’s an element of my character that I like because no one ever has to second guess themselves around me because I am just that straight as an arrow, it does land me in trouble from time to time.
And one of the hardest things has been learning to accept criticism and sometimes down right rude/negative feedback online, because let’s face it, sometimes people forget that there is a real, live person, with a beating heart behind the words that you choose to criticize.
So from many experiences in this regard, these are my tips for dealing with criticism/negativity online:
If you share controversial or highly emotive thoughts and opinions, even if it’s one that you believe your readers will generally agree with, be prepared for that 1% of readers who will come at you verbally and potentially negatively or aggressively.
I don’t like to censor my comments, but I will if I have to. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but they’re only entitled to express said opinion in a polite and non aggressive way. I’ve recently turned on comment moderation on my blog, that decision was not to censor everyone, but to weed out the trolls and bullies. I won’t tolerate bullying or trolling, not towards me and not towards my community. And this has, happened. When commenters have turned on each other. Not happening, not on my space.
Consider Criticism & Negativity
Think about what may have been said and look for a potential truth in it. Examine your thoughts, opinions and feelings towards the criticism to see if there is any merit in what has been said, this could be an opportunity to learn something.
Respond to Criticism or Negativity
Freedom of speech… you can respond and often times I’ve found it is best to respond. In a mature, level headed, unemotional level. I always feel that by remaining silent on criticism or negativity, you’re giving more power to that voice when you could use it to your advantage to further explain or engage on your opinion. But be careful not to enter into an unhealthy debate. I don’t believe I share my thoughts or my opinions to change anyone’s mind about anything specific. It’s not my job. My opinion it not the only one or always the right one, but I share to engage and to learn. However, debate can result in a too and fro that has no result and lands up being a waste of time and energy.
Let it go and move on
This one is a hard one for me to follow through on. Probably because my blog is such a deeply personal project for me, that I create with so much love and passion. Don’t let other people’s negativity bring you down. You’ve considered what they’ve had to say, you’ve taken from it what you needed to, now let it go before it overwhelms you.
Don’t turn into a douché, reciprocating with a tit for tat mentality. That speaks volumes about your level of maturity and conflict management. I’ve seen a few people do this before, not sure about you, but it instantly makes me lose all respect for you. Also…. if you’re an “influencer”, brands are watching you! Always strive to be the professional they’d like to work with. That doesn’t mean selling out, it does however mean not acting in an unbecoming or immature way.
Remember – you’re not going to be everybody’s cup of tea
And learn to be ok with that. I don’t like everyone in this life and so it’s unrealistic to expect that everyone will like me or what I have to say/share. That’s ok and I’ve made peace with it. Trying to have everyone like you is a recipe for disaster, you’ll start to censor yourself and drive yourself crazy trying to be all things to all people. Let it go. And don’t let the negativity knock your confidence. Constantly way up the positive against the negatives and you’ll find that most times, the support and positivity far outweighs the negativity or criticism.
How do you cope with criticism and/or negativity online?
Also, I’d like to add, if you go back in my blogs long history, you will see how this has been an ever evolving and learning curve for me. I didn’t get it right back then and I don’t always get it right every time now, but I am more aware than ever before of how I conduct myself and what I take from criticism and negativity.