So you wrote your heart out, put yourself out there, you edited and re-edited and finally pressed published – happy with your labour and looking forward to some meaningful feedback.
And then the comment comes in that hits you square between the eyes: I hate it. It’s terrible. And I just couldn’t help myself but you needed to know just how much I absolutely hate it.
Stop. Blink. Then let it go.
The trick is to not let it bother you. Like seriously. There are billions of people on this planet and you cannot possibly keep everyone happy. And thank goodness everyone has different taste, otherwise what a terribly dull world we’d live in.
When you decided to become a blogger, you put a little bit (or a lot!) of yourself out there. It’s personal, it’s your voice, it’s your work and it’s your opinion. And you might remember how you felt when you pressed publish on your first post: maybe you were terrified – I know I was! But you had the guts to share a bit of yourself and your work, and in that act, you opened yourself up to criticism.
There are better ways than others to give criticism – some people are completely tactless and don’t consider that maybe you’re just a mom doing your thing, juggling kids and life and a business and a blog. But then again, why should they? In the virtual world as in life, there are people who don’t come across very well, they don’t know how to express themselves with grace.
But seriously – don’t let it get to you. You can’t please everyone.
So do I publish a mean comment or not?
Absolutely. In the interest of transparency and honesty, I publish everything. Unless it’s totally inappropriate spam of course. But a reader’s opinion on my blog is just as relevant as my own. The internet has opened up a whole new world, one where anyone can be a writer and say whatever they like in a space where it will live, in a searchable format, in perpetuity. So I try my best to keep my content relevant, unique, original, empowering and inspiring but if someone doesn’t like what I do, they can certainly say so.
But there are also better ways to accept criticism, so suck it up and put your big girl panties on. And then, reply.
An unfavourable comment is the perfect opportunity to show your true professionalism – by replying in kind. Even if you want to lash out, don’t reply with the knee-jerk reaction. Take a breath and get calm first. Then, thank them for their comment, remind the reader that you believe in your content, that it’s only natural that not everyone will like it, and that you hope they like some of your other stuff (otherwise, why are they reading your blog, right?). Then move on.
So let’s get back to criticism
If you get one negative comment, let it go. Two comments, let it go. But if the overwhelming response on a specific piece of work is negative, then you should probably consider what you wrote. If it’s highly controversial, un-PC, or otherwise inappropriate then you were most likely looking to elicit a negative response, so mission accomplished. But if it’s a post gone wrong, listen to your readers and take note of what they’re saying. A blog without an audience is like a tree falling in the forest without a witness – insignificant. So it’s important to keep your (majority or supportive) readers happy.
Yep, they’re there. Like the playground bully that has much bigger issues than meet the eye, a troll literally just want to cause damage to make themselves feel better. Maybe because they so desperately want to blog themselves but don’t have the guts. Who knows. Either way, send love and light their way and use discretion about publishing the comment or not.
I’d love to know how you deal with trolls and general unhappiness about something you’ve done. So comment below! And if you didn’t like this post, that’s okay too!
Pretty floral feature image background from Shutterstock.