An Uncomplicated Life Blog: How To Deal With Negative Blog And Social Media Comments

Thursday, June 7, 2018

How To Deal With Negative Blog And Social Media Comments

After blogging for over 4 years, I've developed thick skin and excellent strategies to dealing with the negative blog and social media comments keyboard warriors leave


I hadn't even been blogging for 6 months when I got my first extremely negative, judgmental comment. It was on my blog, and a commenter was critiquing my own personal feelings on my own son's medical diagnosis. That right there is enough to tell you that commenter is not a well-adjusted human, but I remember being SO shocked and SO hurt by what they said. I deleted the comment and texted my sister about it. "Congratulations!" She said. "When you get negative comments, it means you're getting big. People who don't support you are even reading your stuff, and that's great!" I thought about what she said for a second, and it's true. The good news is that when you get negative comments, it means more people are reading your blog than just your friends, family and supporters. It means you've gained social media followers who might not like you all the time, and are still willing to take time out of their day to let you know (and in the process, drive up your engagement numbers). But it can be really hard to stomach! Here are the best methods I've developed over the years for dealing with negative blog and social media comments.

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1) Do not delete the comment
That miserable commenter I mentioned in the intro? Yeah, s/he trolled my site. When s/he saw I deleted the comment, s/he came back with an even nastier comment, attacking my feelings about my own child AND my ability to run a website! Don't delete the comment. It will only escalate the situation, and odds are high the negative commenter is looking for an (online) fight. The best way to "fight back" is to leave their comment up so that all can see what a nasty person they are, and to NOT respond. Respond to everyone else but the negative commenter. It will drive them NUTS! This way you're not engaging them or giving them what they want (a fight or a debate) and there's really no way for the situation to escalate. Just let it be.

There's two caveats I have to this rule: 
First, if someone used language you can't have on your public social channels - racial slurs, four letter words, whatever your tolerance is for appropriate, if a commenter violated it, I'd delete the comment and ban the person from having access to your page (this is super easy to do on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) and depending on who hosts your blog and how they commented, somewhat easy to do on your blog. In my experience, these jerks always comment as "anonymous" which makes it nearly impossible to block. You can, however, not allow comments from anonymous/unknown commenters if you start to get a lot of nasty comments on a particular post. 
Second, I reply to negative comments when I can tell the commenter has merely misunderstood me. Be extremely nice and humble about it, and the miscommunication gets cleared up almost immediately, and nearly every time, the commenter apologizes for their harsh words when they simply didn't understand you or your intentions.

2) Know that the negative comment is NOT ABOUT YOU
Let's take a brief moment and examine what I do when I read something I don't like on the internet. I consider myself a fairly well adjusted, mentally healthy woman. I read plenty of stupid crap on the internet, plenty of offensive content and plenty of articles/blog posts that are outright WRONG. I roll my eyes. I snort laugh. I might even send a link or a screenshot to my friends and have a good laugh at someone's expense. But in the end, I SCROLL ON. I scroll on being leaving a negative comment accomplishes nothing, and I'm smart enough to know that. Their words don't effect or change my life in any way, so I just get to scrolling and move along.

When you get a negative comment, it's not about you or your words. Well adjusted people keep it moving. Instead, it's about the COMMENTER. Your words triggered something in them that made them lash out at you. It's about their inner demons, their unresolved issues, their insecurities. This is why you shouldn't reply to the negative commenter - you're going to get nowhere. You can't argue with someone about their past that you know nothing about. You can't argue their hurt feelings, or their trauma. This is why you leave those comments up and don't reply, and also don't take it personally. It's about them, not you.

Prime example:

This person called me out as a "whiner" when clearly THEY just wanted a space to whine. Under the guise of anonymous, of course.
3) Know when to pull the plug
Sometimes, it's best to just take the whole post down. This is extremely true for social media, less true for blog posts - although if you're getting really uncomfortable with people's responses, feel free to do it. I've only removed one blog post ever, because there were about 10 people trolling it with not just negative comments, HATEFUL comments. As in, not just name calling, but wishing death on me. Yeeeeeah. They completely took over the comment section of my post! They even started one off conversations with each other about me and the content of my blog. First I started with turning off the comments for that post, then learned via Google Analytics that they were sharing it to various social channels and ridiculing it/me. That's when I decided, you know what, it's just not worth it! I took it down and literally haven't heard from any of those jerks since.

A somewhat similar thing happened recently with a post on my Facebook page. Granted, it was a tad too snarky of a post. Everyone who is a personal friend of mine and commented understood my sense of humor. Others who only know me as an acquaintance or simply follow my page/blog and don't know me personally didn't get it AT ALL and thought I was trying to mom shame. I explained myself in the comments to a few commenters, who then all got it, but an acquaintance tagged my PERSONAL Facebook page in her comment (I'm really protective of my personal account and keep the two very separate - not sharing one's content to another, and locking down my privacy settings on my personal account). Some of the haters started to send me personal messages about how I'm a bad, hateful mom. That crossed a major boundary for me. Comment on my public page, message my public page, call me names publicly... Ok, fine. But nobody gets to creep on my personal account and call me names, judge my parenting there, etc. So that post came down, too, because I was not ok with what was happening over on my personal page due to that tag. On the upside, a whole bunch of people got banned from my public page, which is a bizarrely satisfying thing to do! Don't be afraid to ban/block people, on any of your channels.

Bloggin' aint easy! Of course it looks like a fun, glamorous job with tons of perks. We get free stuff! We get paid to write and take photos! We get commissions from people who buy via our links, and advertising money, and get paid to play on social media! Yes, all of that is true. But you've also got to have thick skin. The bigger you get, the more people you'll reach who are NOT your fan, who don't like what you have to say, and who will let you know all that via the safety of their screen and keyboard. It's hard to stomach negative comments, but if you use these tips to deal with them, you'll successfully navigate the negativity and come out the other side a stronger person - and better blogger. 

14 comments:

  1. You know I am in the same boat and have the same feelings as you on this topic. You develop a thick skin and realize you cannot, nor do you need to, please everyone.

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  2. OMG death threats?! What was the post? I couldn’t agree more with this- I wrote similar post after a post went viral on Huffington and sooooo many nasty trolls came out saying seriously horrific things. Since there were so many of them, I had the opportunity to learn and came to these conclusions. Once you can understand that it’s actually a reflection of the commentor, it makes it a lot easier to separate emotions from the negativity. Blog on, my friend!

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  3. It can be such a jarring experience getting your first mean comment! I couldn't believe it when I got mine, but you definitely do begin to realize just how little their opinions matter!

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  4. This makes me so sad because a friend of mine started a baking and beauty blog and quit very shortly after because people were being awful and commenting rude things which discouraged her and so she quit. I wish that didn't happen, no need to be judgmental.

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  5. I can’t believe you were getting death threats, whoa! That’s a bit too intense. But I agree with everything you said. It’s usually easier to ignore them.

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  6. I hate you had to go through so many harsh comments, it's such a shame there are people out there like that.

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  7. SO crazy!! I have no idea why people are like this!

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  9. I think number 2 is so important and if you remember nothing else it should be this, whatever the situation.

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  10. Thanks for sharing this helpful post. So sad that there are people out there being so hateful. I'm new to the world of blogging & social media exposure. Prior to this, all my social media activities were pretty private so I'm bracing myself :).

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  11. People are so brave behind the screen. I remember that first comment you mentioned about H's medical diagnosis. I've gotten some negative comments too and I think the way you handle them is PERFECT.

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