Sunday, May 1, 2011
Blog "Hecklers"? 6 Ways to Show Class When Comments are Crass!
Guest Post by: Alexis Bonari
No one is immune to criticism. By the very nature of our occupations, bloggers, writers, and other creative types perhaps know this best of all. We hope that when we hit the publish button, something miraculous will happen and nobody—nobody—will hurl a single rotten tomato.
But when it hits, it hits hard. Every time.
So, in those moments we hear and feel nothing but our own pulse in our ears and the blood rushing to our cheeks, how do we deal with criticism?
1. Count to ten.
Mama was right about some things. Shut your eyes, step away from your computer, and walk away. Go walk the dog, take a shower while blasting angry music and belting the lyrics at the top of your lungs, and then chill out with some yoga.
2. Suspend the urge to get defensive. Remember that the same thing that made the critical remark so hurtful—that it was made publicly in a comment thread, a forum, or a blog post—is true for you, too. Your impulse to angrily respond, should you choose to act on it, will be public. This will reflect poorly on you. Even if your response is witty and snarky, someone will be unhappy to see it.
3. Remember that there’s a person behind the name "Anonymous". Nobody walks around with a digital blur for a face. Remember that there may be a reason why unhappy commenters are unhappy. Maybe they just got laid off from work. Maybe a friend of theirs was diagnosed with a serious illness. Think about the times you said things that were hurtful and the reasons you did it. Try to find a link between yourself and the critic.
4. Glean nuggets of truth from the criticism. We can either be victims or volunteers. Even if the criticism was made in poor taste, there might have been a point that stood to be made. Seize the opportunity to not only take the high road and maintain your poise, but also learn how to improve your craft.
5. Thank them for their criticism. The best thing to do when someone’s being nasty is to smile at them. It’s disarming. It’s humbling. It can be frustrating, but anything the other party does in poor taste afterward just comes across as unnecessary and mean-spirited. Few other critics will want to jump on that bandwagon. So, humbly thank them for the criticism and try to initiate a civil and honest dialogue. The second part is what keeps it feeling like you’re rolling over and showing your belly.
6. Some people just don’t want to play nice. That’s not your problem. It’s theirs. It’s best to ignore them at that point and move on with your day. More than likely, you have a hundred positive remarks on your blog for every random, nasty comment. If you’re still having trouble cooling off, force yourself to smile. Even a fake smile releases the same chemicals in your brain as a real one!
Bio: Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and researcher for College Scholarships, where recently she’s been researching scholarships for returning students as well as scholarships for social workers. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.
Okay, spill the beans. Readers, how do you deal with negativity and name calling regarding your creative efforts? Anybody have any experience in this area?