Hello and Happy Blog Talk Tuesdays, friends.
We are officially on week five of this series. Dang!
Past Blog Talk Tuesdays topics have included:
- How to Start a Blog, Blog Focus, Self Hosting and More
- Blogger Safety
- Company Outreach: Receiving Free Products, Hosting Giveaways, Posting Product Reviews and More
- Connecting with Other Bloggers
Today’s post was inspired by the presentation I did with three fellow bloggers at the Healthy Living Summit last weekend about handling negativity in the blog world. We crafted our presentation based on the responses we received to the survey we posted on all of our blogs a couple of weeks ago.
I am using some of those questions as well as the questions I received from you guys in the comments section of the blog and through emails for this post.
Rising Above Negativity in the Blog World
- Where does a blogger experience negativity?
When I first began blogging, I assumed the only place a blogger experiences negativity is in the comments section of their posts. Wrong! In the nearly two years that I have been blogging, I’ve seen or heard of negativity in the form of blog comments, tweets, emails, magazine articles and blog posts by other bloggers to name a few.
Also, I know many bloggers have experienced negativity off the blog in their personal lives from family members, friends, colleagues or peers who don’t support or understand blogging.
- What do you do about negativity outside your own blog?
I know of bloggers have experienced extreme negativity outside their blog – though Twitter, magazine articles and blog posts by other bloggers. This can be very hard to handle since it’s not in your own space where you can defend yourself openly for people to see your side.
I personally have a hard time understanding how people have such anger inside about bloggers and basically make a hobby out of saying mean and hurtful things about other people. It reminds me of high school drama and the group of girls who loved making other people feel inadequate and bullied.
If I read a blog and realize I don’t like it, I won’t read it again. Why continue reading something that makes you annoyed or angry… or a blog that simply doesn’t interest you?
That being said, there have been blogs out there that I used to read that seem to pick apart bloggers all the time. I used to read these blogs (they’re like a car accident – you can’t look away), but eventually I realized that I never left their blog feeling happy or uplifted. I felt sad and upset.
I unsubscribed from these blogs in my Google Reader and try my best to never read them. (This is not referring to blogs that exist to try to help bloggers improve their blogs by giving general examples.)
- How do you handle negative comments?
It depends on the comment.
For the most part, I tend to ignore negative comments because many people who say nasty things are just trying to get under your skin. I rarely delete comments but I am 100 percent supportive of bloggers who do. It’s your blog and your space and you deserve to delete comments that you feel are inappropriate. Comments that are wildly profane or inappropriate or those that attack loved ones will always be deleted.
Note: There is a ginormous difference between a negative (evil!) comment and constructive (polite!) criticism. Most bloggers I know understand the difference and welcome polite differences of opinion or criticism, but blatant attacks on a blogger are a whole separate beast.
- Do you find it hard not to respond “in kind” to a mean commenter? I think it would be so hard not to tell them off!
Oh gosh, yes. I was a public relations major in college and I always say that studying PR helped me more in blogging than any of my other jobs after college. When someone says “I hate you, you’re ugly” or something of the sort, I would love to say “Well aren’t you a peach?” and then go kick them in the shins, but then aren’t I just perpetuating the negativity?
I don’t want to see a fight break out in the comments section of my post and prefer to simply let it go or respond in a way that is both polite and compassionate.
That being said, if a negative comment comes from someone who is not anonymous, I will send them a personal email to ask if I did something to offend or hurt them in any way.
This has only happened once since basically all negative comments are anonymous (shocking!), but I have been able to find contact information by being sneaky and locating a commenter’s personal blog or accurate email address by searching for their IP address (a unique number connected to every computer) on the back end of my blog. This brings up all comments they’ve ever left on my blog – both positive comments that were not anonymous and the negative ones that were.
Many times bloggers know exactly who leaves a negative comment on their blog.
For more detailed instructions about the techy side of negative comments (looking up IP addresses, moderating and blocking negative comments), definitely check out Healthy Living Blogs this upcoming Thursday where you will find the full tutorial from our presentation posted.
- How you you remain positive after a negative comment?
When I received my first truly evil comment, I was upset for days. There have even been times when the nastiness of a comment has made me question whether or not I wanted to continue blogging.
I had what I’ll call a “negative comment epiphany” about a year into blogging. One negative commenter (anonymous, of course) commented on my blog when Ryan was away on his bachelor cruise (and therefore unreachable). She said something along the lines of “Just wanted to let you know I saw Ryan kissing a brunette girl the other day. Just thought you should know!”
I didn’t question the validity of the comment because Ryan and I have a secure relationship and haven’t had any trust issues, but I did feel angry! Why would anyone want to sabotage my personal relationship?
I looked up the commenter’s IP address and found that she lived in Michigan (a state Ryan has never been to) and eventually I found her personal blog because she had left previous comments on my blog that were not anonymous.
When I discovered her blog, I went from angry to sad. The woman had a lot of personal issues and some serious negativity in her own life.
It was an eye opening experience for me because it made me realize that many times the negative comments people leave on blogs have nothing to do with the blogger. The commenter is often dealing with personal demons or bad things on their end and the blogger becomes an easy target for negativity.
That being said, I don’t use this train of thought to excuse myself from negative comments. Ryan’s mom said something to me the other week that I will never forget: “If you find yourself becoming defensive about something, maybe it’s because you have something to be defensive about.”
Negative comments that are totally ludicrous roll right off my back. A comment that makes me immediately become defensive makes me wonder if there’s some truth behind it. It’s then that I’ll go to my family and friends – those who know me better than anyone – and ask if they feel the same way.
And now, after all this Debbie Downer talk, I leave you with this happy picture of puppy Sadie to make you smile.
Questions of the Day
- Bloggers: Have you ever received a negative comment? How did you deal with it?
- Readers: How you you deal with negativity in your day-to-day life?