Blogging can be a great way to establish you as an expert in your field or at least give you a reputation as an entertaining writer. Blogging requires both a healthy ego and a thick skin. Negative comments can either make or break your online reputation. That’s why, the way that you deal with negative comments is important. Here are some rules for dealing with negative comments on your blog.
Short for web logging, blogging is the act of writing and posting logs and regular information on the internet. It’s a technology that predates most social media and provides anyone a vehicle to express any thought and present it to the viewing public.
Some blogs, such as Instapundit, Gizmodo, and the HuffPost, have become wildly successful and even earn their owners a hefty amount of money. Most blogs have a smaller following, but they can contain some entertaining and enlightening gems nevertheless.
The bane of any blogger’s experience is negative posts in the comments section. Writing is an ego-stoking activity. Having someone comment negatively about that writing can be an ego-bruising experience for those who are unprepared to deal with it. Here follow some rules for handling negative comments.
React in Haste, Regret at Leisure
Many people who blog or write for other publications have had the following experience. They check out the comments section to see what the public reaction is and find a variation of “You suck!”
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For those of a fragile disposition, this kind of criticism can be a punch to the gut. The trick of handling such feedback is to not be fragile. The person who offers such comments likely does not know you, so nothing they write can, by definition, be meant personally.
Although you might be swept up in emotion, try not to respond immediately, even though you may really want to say something. Snarky comments are made by people who have no better things to do than to pick fights online. They delight in starting flame wars, those exchange of comments meant to elicit anger and upset.
These sorts of people are called internet trolls. The guiding principle in such cases is to not to feed the troll. If you don’t react, he or she will go away, not having gotten the rush from upsetting you that they wanted.
Indeed, you may regard these trolls as addicts. They could be hooked on inciting unpleasantness on the internet, similar to how other people become hooked on physical substances and need alcohol and drug rehab.
Engaging with or feeding a troll is a futile exercise. Very few people are going to suddenly admit, “I’m sorry, but I was wrong to have left that original comment. Could you ever forgive me?” Flame wars are a waste of time that could be better used crafting your next blog post.
Above all, don’t waste your time dreaming up the perfect clever remarks to bat aside nasty comments. It seems that just a few people are able to do so.
When Lady Nancy Astor once accused Winston Churchill of being drunk, the great politician replied, “And you, madam, are ugly. Tomorrow I shall be sober.” Be assured that most people are unlikely to be as erudite as Churchill.
Snarky, Constructive, or Both?
Comments, even negative ones, come in all forms. Some are just trolling. But others are meant to be constructive, pointing out an error you’ve made or something you’ve overlooked. Naturally, you need to take constructive comments to heart, learn from them, and thank the commenter for his or her input.
Indeed, if you establish a dialogue with a commenter who has offered constructive criticism, both of you may learn a thing or two. Always treat such people with respect and they are likely to respond in turn.
Comments that turn out to be constructive but are expressed snarkily constitute a gray area. You want to learn from whatever information they contain, but at the same time you don’t want to reward rudeness.
Whether you ignore or acknowledge such comments is a judgment call. However, whatever you do, do not reward snark with more snark. If you do acknowledge the comment, ignore the snarky part and concentrate on the substance. At best, the person making the comment may have had a bad day and might react favorably to equanimity.
A principle exists in business, politics, and other areas of life that the person most motivated to find a flaw in your argument is an enemy or a rival. The principle is one reason to read negative comments that contain substantial constructive criticism.
People who dislike you and your writing can be your best allies if you are able to keep your ego in check and try to learn from their negative feedback.
Comments That Are Obscene, Libelous, or Otherwise Problematic
Some comments are especially negative because they include profane language or intentionally harmful content and should be addressed and deleted as soon as possible. You should, as a rule, post a comments policy paragraph on your blog informing your audience what sort of contents are subject to immediate deletion.
Remember, if someone’s comment uses one of the seven dirty words that comedian George Carlin discussed or uses words that no one should ever use (the n-word comes to mind), children and more sensitive adults may be reading it. Depending on the laws of where you live, you may be held responsible for any content that appears in the comments. Be rigorous in policing your comments section.
Occasionally, some irate commenter may decide to post threats to your person and/or members of your family. You should resist the temptation to laugh these sorts of comments off. At the same time, you should not cower in terror.
Any online threats should be reported to local law enforcement and possibly the FBI if the person making the threats lives in another U.S. state. For more information on dealing with threatening internet comments, click here.
Conclusion on How To Deal With Negative Comments
Blogging can be a fun and rewarding pastime. When done right, a good, widely read blog can establish you as an expert in a certain area or at least give you a reputation as an entertaining writer.
Remember that blogging requires both a healthy ego and a thick skin. Not everyone is going to love your prose, and some readers will be more than pleased to tell you how much they dislike it. Handling negativity with grace will help you to be successful with this 21st-century form of expression.
About the author: Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, alcoholic treatment programs, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoy writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them.