When Negative Comments Happen to Good Bloggers: How to Embrace Your Critics
A few weeks ago, I had a client contact me in a panic.
"Someone just commented on my post," she said. "And he's arguing with what I wrote."
This is everyone's fear, right? That we'll share something we think or take the time to unleash a little of our own knowledge into the world...only to have someone we don't know (or, worse, someone we DO) comment on the piece in a negative way.
Believe me, that's something I've been through plenty of times. Other than politics and religion, I often think that nothing can be more widely experienced or criticized than how we grieve the death of a loved one. When I first started the Widow Chick blog on Facebook, I cringed every time I saw a comment that nitpicked at everything from how I was raising my kids to the spelling error I had on the third line.
Granted, those comments only made up a small percentage...but we always remember the negative stuff, don't we?
It's been a long time since I had that gut-plummeting feeling when looking at comments made on anything I write. And in that time, I've learned a few things that actually make me GRATEFUL for those comments.
If someone is voicing their opinion about something you've written, don't panic. In fact, CONGRATULATE YOURSELF. Someone read your blog! Not only that, they're taking the time to make the comment, which means they think it's worth commenting on. THIS. IS. HUGE.
When you begin what feels like a treacherous journey into social media authenticity...it feels like a very lonely place. So, when someone comments negatively, you kinda feel like you're floating out on that life raft all alone with a tiger.
But think about your ultimate goal with your social media (and if you say "selling" right now, I'm going to hunt you down). IT'S COMMUNITY. People trust and respond to companies and brands they can engage with. So, as your platform grows, more and more people will chime in...and that's exactly what you want. People will begin to discuss what you've said right there on the page. Welcome it!
Once I realized that what most people were saying had very little to do with me, it was a turning point. While I hope that everyone starts sharing more meaningful and personal content, you're really only sharing a piece of your life.
And, to paraphrase Rachel Hollis in Girl, Stop Apologizing people are reading your stuff or watching your video through their own personal lens. So, guess what? IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU. Take that off your list of things to worry about.
What should you do?
I have GREAT NEWS FOR YOU. This is is your time to shine. If the comment seems like it's legit (yes, delete it if you think it's a troll), you have a few options:
1. Ignore it and see if anyone else comments.
2. Kindly defend your position. Don't attack. Or maybe even ask the person in the comments why they feel that way or have taken that position. WELCOME THEIR COMMENTS. And then showcase your expertise on the subject.
The bottom line is that as long as someone isn't being mean just to be mean (and, yes, I have had that happen before), readers sharing their opinions about what you've written is AMAZING. You've reached someone and they're engaged!
Now, get out there and write something that will piss people off!