There's something not too many people talk about in the blogging world that I really want to address: negative talk. Honestly, I don't know why it doesn't get brought up more often. It's an ugly side of blogging, but I think people should be aware that people aren't always so happy to see bloggers doing what they're passionate about. If you haven't experienced negativity, I hope that you are one of the lucky individuals who never has to! But I'm sure if you've been blogging for a while like I have, you're accustom to having a few negative comments thrown your way or have had someone say something disheartening to you. After a while, some negativity isn't a surprise and you can easily shrug it off like it's nothing. There will always be 'haters' who either don't understand, don't care for what we do, or think we're all just plain stupid.
In the past I've had people who have told me that my blog was useless, a time-waster, not worth the work, you name it. And most of these things were said to my face by people I knew. I'm happy to say that most people aren't like this and are extremely supportive of what I do (yay!) however there always seems to be a few bad apples who want to drag me down. If it isn't bad enough people in real life try to tear me down, I've had people call me out on my actual blog commenting some not-so-nice things.
I try to remember that sometimes people who are commenting don't mean to come off as rude, insensitive, or mean. I always try to give commenters the benefit of the doubt, if the message isn't outright nasty that is. Sometimes someone will want to start a dialogue with me, critiquing something I wrote or arguing the case for another answer to a problem. I am ALL about dialogue and learning from others, and in all honestly I'm not the end all be all for things. Everyone has their own interpretation of what is right, so who am I to call anyone out on their opinion versus my opinion. I love when I can engage in a conversation with a reader and understand different standpoints. So this is the first way I deal with negative comments, I actively try to engage with the commenter and have a discussion on our differences. Who knows, this person might have been trying to understand my opinion more and wanted to share theirs as well!
Going off that, my first piece of advice is to, when possible, start a discussion with that person and try to understand their point of view. You can normally tell which types of people you will benefit from having a discussion with, as they most likely won't directly insult your work, who you are, or your opinion. These people will ask you questions and offer their own opinion.
I want to say that that's the only kind of negative attention I've gotten as a blogger, but it's not. Recently I was attacked on both my blog's Facebook page as well as my personal Facebook account targeting my blog and social channels. An acquaintance from high school commented on a few posts out of the blue (after no contact for 5+ years) and started attacked who I was as a person, my intelligence, and called me and my blog all sorts of nasty things. I won't go into any explicit detail, but it was jaw-dropping. I was in absolute shock and had no idea what to do. I thought to myself "All I am doing is writing some articles and posting pictures of some things that I love and someone is trying to tear me down for my hobby and part time profession." It was absolutely insane. I wanted to share the steps I took in dealing with that horrible ordeal in hopes that if you ever get a message that is even slightly awful you can overcome it as smoothly as possible.
Vent To A Friend/Family
I immediately texted screenshots of the comments to my mom and a few blogger friends of mine. The nastiness of the comment was just so hurtful, I wanted to turn to people I knew would build me up, not tear me down. My mom was extremely supportive and reminded me just how much work goes into this passion of mine, and that no one can tell me how to live my life and explore my passions. She also had some choice words to say about the person, but I'll leave those out of this post, haha. The blogger friends I shared with were also incredibly supportive and then shared their own experiences with comments like this. It was nice to know that I wasn't alone, and that there were other people who understood the amount of effort and love that goes in to creating a blog and everything that goes along with it.
Option 1: Respond Kindly And Be The Better Person
If you choose to, you can respond to the person and address their comments. I chose to do this but then ultimately went with option two later on (see below). In responding, try to keep it short and sweet, literally. Be nice and do not fight back, it will only make things worse. Obviously stand up for yourself, but it will only escalate if insults and angry comments are exchanged. As my 'attacker' commented on my intelligence and what he found wrong with what I was doing on a public page, I chose to write a message similar to this: "I'm sorry if my posts are upsetting you, please feel free to unfriend me if it is an issue. I would appreciate if you have an issue with the content of my blog or posts to not post it publicly, as a courtesy to me. Next time please feel free to privately message me your concerns." I knew that responding directly to what was said would just add fuel to the fire, so I just wanted a resolution and to stay above the drama.
Option 2: Delete
I am so glad that the delete button exists in this world. Don't want to deal with something hurtful and negative that you absolutely did not deserve? Delete, unfriend, report, block, and MOVE ON. After writing my response, realizing the person who wrote the comment unfriended me (I've learned that most of these people don't like to see the consequences/responses of their comments, go figure.) I thought I might as well get rid of it and move on. I don't need to sit around and wallow over these comments from someone who does not know me or what I do. Delete, report the comments if they are harmful (Facebook has an option for 'annoying' which is the closest option) and get that person out of your life. NO ONE deserves to be attacked for their passions and doing what they love.
They (Most Likely) Don't Know You Or What You Do
How come it's always the people who have no idea who you are or what you're up to that are criticizing you. Don't let these people's comments sink in as you know yourself and what you're working towards, and they probably have no clue. The person who essentially called me an idiot had only spoken about one sentence to me, and yet felt they knew exactly who I was based on what he saw on my blog. Obviously my blog is a large part of who I am, but there is also a large part of myself that is not shown on here. Only the people I regularly interact with know my personality, my intelligence, my perseverance, my passion for blogging and writing, etc. There are things you may choose to share/not share on your blog/social media, and most likely the people who are saying bad things have no idea who you actually are. Also let me just re-direct these people to a post I wrote about how much work actually goes in to creating a blog post (which probably should be edited to include some more things since I now have more experience since the post was published.) You are the only one who truly knows you and your intentions, do not let the haters get you down!
I also want to talk briefly about blogger on blogger hate for a second. After discussing my situation with a few blogger friends, it seemed that other bloggers are largely tearing each other down. Whether they're attacking a certain system some bloggers use when working with companies (for example free posts vs paid posts) or just ultimately tearing another woman down for her appearance, it's extremely disheartening. Bloggers know the struggle of other bloggers, so we should be helping one another! It's hard enough getting others to believe and support our passion without tearing each other apart for every little thing that we do! So I'm just hear to point out that if you're another blogger who needs support, I am here to build you up and support you in your goals!
If you've ever received negative feedback how have you handled it? Also if you ever get negative comments and want someone to vent to, don't hesitate to reach out to me! I'm always available through my email! email@example.com