As a blogger, sooner or later you will face negativity and angry, nasty, or rude comments from someone. Since yesterday was Pink Shirt Day, an initiative to end bullying, I thought it would be appropriate today to discuss dealing with these online haters.
The first thing I’d like to say is that, unless you’re writing deliberately controversial or provocative posts, it’s probably not about you. Just as it’s never the victim’s fault that they’ve been bullied, it’s not usually your fault that you’re on the receiving end of this negativity. Haters gonna hate, and for whatever reason, they chose you. Here some ways you can deal with it.
1. Respond Gently
I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. Maybe the person commenting on your blog or social media channel is just having a bad day, and something about your post caught them wrong and they reacted quickly. Maybe they misunderstood what you were trying to say. Responding gently, and clarifying or expanding upon your post or comment, can encourage engagement and start a conversation. Sometimes they’ll apologize for their initial comment and you can both learn from the discussion.
For example, back when I first began blogging, one of my husband’s fraternity friends would read my blog and take issue with what I posted. He’d leave long comments disagreeing with me. He clearly wasn’t my target audience (he was far from home and bored and lonely), but I did try to respond to several of his comments in a positive way, further explaining what I’d written about (such as Sunshine’s baptism). It made me think harder about what I’d written, though I doubt he really considered any of my responses except for how to rebut them again.
2. Ignore It
If you can, brush it off. Sometimes haters, like children, just want to get a reaction out of you and if you fail to deliver this reaction, then they will go away. A few weeks ago, someone on Twitter took issue with me about one of my posts, and tweeted negative comments both to me and to his followers (with a picture from my post). I tried to respond and explain at first, but he complained more, so I simply ignored him and he went away.
3. Delete Comments
Yes, I delete negative comments, both on my blog and my Facebook page. My mission is to inspire and encourage other moms, and allowing negativity on my site and social media channels doesn’t fit with that mission. I have no problem deleting comments that are angry, rude, or nasty. In editing some old posts on my blog, I’ve deleted some of the negative comments from the frat friend mentioned above.
4. Block Haters
If the person continues to comment or engage in negative behaviour on your blog or social media channels, you can block them. Every social media channel offers this option and I believe there are also ways to block them from your blog (google it). Eventually, when the frat friend sent me a personal message on Facebook attacking my husband, I blocked him there and he stopped visiting my blog.
5. Get Support
Dealing with haters is hard. However you choose to respond to them, make sure you get support, either from friends and family or from fellow bloggers. In my early blogging days, my husband would often respond to his friend’s comments for me, dealing with the negativity so I didn’t have to. Recently, someone in my blog group posted about some attacks she was receiving and we all surrounded her with love and positive thoughts (and some advice for seeking legal help to deal with the hater).
Have you dealt with negativity or haters online? How did you handle it?