I’ve met 3 different individuals in the past 2 weeks that were telling me about their blog haters and one of them is even thinking about closing down her blog because she doesn’t have the energy and time to deal with such negativism especially when they are untrue. It’s not that don’t have nice and sweet readers but the nasty ones rattle them more than they would like.
I’ve been spending a fair bit of time dealing with brands Facebook Pages and social media consulting. I’ve got to say it has opened my eyes to a whole world of trolls. I’m sure they can be found all over the world but in a tightly knitted stressful city like Singapore, it seems to bring out the worst in people. Even my tiny little blip of a blog on the World Wide Web is not spared.
Criticism is not the easiest medicine to swallow and a lot of bloggers quit because of a sudden barrage of negativeness. Be it true or untrue opinions. We all start from somewhere and when I first started my blog, I was only a student trying to connect with family and friends back home. Along the way, you meet some readers that become friends and you feel that nice warmth in your belly when you get an instant response to something you posted. Just sharing a little piece of your life to a small group of readers and it’s a very warm hearted community. But once your community grows a little larger, and the community starts snowballing, that’s when you’ll see one or two haters and trolls crawl out of the woodwork. Of course most of the haters usually remain anonymous and they will stay there till they can find a big enough force to join them in their hate agenda. But by then you should have been famous enough to have the opportunity to step on so many toes with the statements you make.
You need to matter for people to criticize, hate and troll you. But a lot of really nice bloggers I know that quit before they hit the “hate” club status. I totally understand why. If you know me offline, you’ll know that I am no party animal and am generally drama-free. I tend to be shy around people I don’t know but be chatty once I’ve warmed up. I’m not really the dive in and be your best friend overnight sort of gal. So having haters can be intimidating. In my opinion, there are 2 choices. Ether you remind yourself that you are who you are and you are here to write for yourself and your close friends/readers and not for fame, wealth and glory or you become a shadow of yourself, be absolutely diplomatic in your posts so you don’t offend anyone or get any sort of backlash.
Maybe I’m a little older (okay, a way lot older) and thus have a more “heck care” attitude than when I was 18 or 19. But I truly believe that the joy of blogging to be able to have an outlet for your voice to shine through. If I had to please every eyeball that passes through my blog, Facebook page, twitter or Instagram, I would just be a weak, confused voice that doesn’t even know what I want and I would lose the original readers who love me and stuck with me through the many years.
I once read “‘To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” I can no longer remember who said it, where I read it or when I read it. But it rings a bell so close to the heart that it just stuck in my head. No matter what you say or do, you will never get 100% of the people to approve it and the more effective you are at what you do, the more haters you get.
That being said. I think there 3 types of negativity: The justified criticism, the haters and the trolls.
The justified criticism
This one is the trickiest to tackle because sometimes negative opinions makes sense and the commenters are entitled to it! I guess unlike a newspaper, a magazine, or a physical book, when it comes to a blog, you are the writer, the creative designer, graphic artist, photographer and editor all rolled into one. It’s much harder to be good on all levels and difficult to position yourself impartial from the blog posts to see how someone else might look at it. A lot of the time, blog postings have to be inspired as well. I may do a post on an old event because I just met the friend in the post recently for lunch, or I may write a post because of a photo that I came across in my computer folder that inspired me or I may have come across an event or several conversations that triggers a topic (such as this one). Whatever the reason for the articles, a lot of them are written on the spur of the moment when passions are running high so it might be basis and not well- thought out during the time of writing. So if there are loopholes in arguments where criticisms come pouring in, you really need to learn to accept it and respond with reasonings. Of course, all the haters and trolls are going to believe they fall in this category as well but really, they are not.
Most of your negativeness will come from your Haters. They have a bone to pick with you and they can be loud, abrasive, come in a million forms and hide behind a strew of different nicks. To be fair, they may seem like a lot because they spread darkness but in reality, there is only a handful of them in your whole readership base. They really don’t like you and are thus biased in their comments. It doesn’t matter why they don’t like you. You could have unknowingly stepped on their toes in real life and they choose to pretend it’s okay but lash out at you anonymously online or they are jealous or they simply hate your face. Doesn’t matter where and why these haters appear. If you have a tiny mistake, they’ll pounce on it and make it the biggest mistake in the world. If you don’t have a mistake, they’ll make one up or talk about your personality as if they were your shrink. Haters usually don’t really know much about you but they like to think they do. They’ll see a photo online and assume a whole story behind it. Haters have a true passion and it is very often that they feel that they ‘know-it-better’. Having a proper discourse with someone who feels they need to “right the wrong” for the benefit of the whole wide world is almost impossible. No matter how you explain to them, they would either think you are giving excuses or that you are lying. The best way to deal with haters and know-it-alls is to just ignore. A blog is a personal collection of write-ups that has been shared with the public. There will always be uninvited guests but as the host of your space, you need to graciously pay attention to your main readers and not spend too much time being embroiled in meaningless debates with haters. State your point if you feel you need to and move on.
Last but not least, we come to the trolls. Trolls spread negativeness because they can and because they like to stir shit. It may be a little hard to differentiate them from haters but the main thing is that they don’t particularly hate you on a personal level. They hate the whole world and you just happen to be in their zone of reach. Trolls love drama, love to know that people are stupid enough to fall for it and some of them just want to leverage some fame for themselves or their products.
In conclusion, blog criticisms, haters and trolls are a part of your community growing bigger. To my blogger friends, please stay strong and don’t absorb their toxicity. If you really have to give up writing, do it for better reasons that be intimidated by bullies.
Keep Calm And Carry On.