I’ve only been short while that I’ve been writing the Lifestyle & Events Guide for InAnyEvent London, but it hasn’t taken long before the nasty comments have started to appear.
Don’t get me wrong, I expected the nasty comments to appear and I get that it will happen every once in a while – like they say, it comes with the territory, but the speed at which it happened is what has surprised me.
In my effort to create a diverse blog and build a unique brand, I cover all manner of topics, so naturally this increases the chances, but sometimes I ask myself what’s wrong with the world: Did they misinterpret my message? Are they bored with their lives? Are they right? Are they going to come after me with pitchforks and chase me away from laptop?
It’s easy to let nasty comments affect your wellbeing, especially when your livelihood depends on them, but sometimes you can’t help it – we are human after all.
When a troll criticises your body, your face, your message, your intention based on a photo or opinion, suddenly your self-esteem goes down the toilet. What do you do? How do you respond?
As someone who’s been thrown into this and had to adapt very quickly, let me share with you how I deal with it.
Do Not Delete The Comment
You’re not really “deleting” it anyway, and by doing so it will question your integrity (not only with your hater, but also the people who read it and follow you). Besides, deleting it will aggravate the commenter and might inspire them to up their abuse.
Find The Context
There are going to be situations where a commenter is way off topic, i.e. I reported about a £2000 bottle of Gin going on sale at Selfridges; I don’t ever plan to spend such an amount myself on Gin but I was criticised for it:
“There are starving people in the world, you asshole. Why aren’t you writing about them?”
Clearly, the blog focuses on London, events and some of the sought after elements of a luxury lifestyle etc, so when the context makes no sense, it’s much easier to calm down and not take it personally. People like this are just trying to use your platform as a way to make themselves feel important.
It’s true that every voice matters. One nasty comment will inspire a bunch of others to join in, but the fact of the matter is that anonymous opinions are cheap ones. They’ll insult you in every way they can because, to them, it’s a game.
It’s like playing Super Mario Bros; you’re not really rescuing Princess Peach from Bowser’s Fortress but while you’re in “that” mindset, you feel like you are. It’s the same with social media – everyone wants to feel like they’re on Question Time.
They want to feel like they’re a great debater, but not only that, they want to feel that they’re smarter than what they actually are. So while they’re in the mindset of commenting their opinion on social media, they satisfy their feeling of being the smartest person in the world.
Learn From What They’re Saying
I’ve learned a lot from hateful comments – I would even say more so than loving ones. While I know most of the nasty commenters are using me to create a platform for themselves, sometimes, what they say requires investigation: Do they have a point? Did they actually see something I thought would go unnoticed? Would I think the same thing if the tables were turned?
In situations like these, comments can actually allow you to expand your perspective on things – never be too cavalier and think you don’t have anymore room to be further educated on a subject.
Never Fight Back, Unless it’s in a Classy Way
My advice is to let it be. Let the comment alone to bubble and fizzle away. If anything, let your brand subscribers, friends, (or other commenters) respond to them. But if you can’t hold yourself, the last thing you want to be is offensive.
Remember, you set the tone for where the confrontation leads. Try and make it as pleasant, positive and helpful as it can possibly be. Never be aggressive – your dignity and the dignity of the brand you are building are what’re most important.
Take a Screenshot
There are many people who comment nasty things then delete or edit soon after. They rarely think you’re going to take a picture of it. I recommend you do because you never know where it will lead.
Sometimes they’ll pick another fight (after editing their first comment) and come at you with, “I never said that!” After which you have reason to show the snapshot and shut him or her up forever.
If after a while of reflection, you realise that what you said was misinterpreted, then yes, apologising can be very noble. But if you believe in what you posted (it’s your opinion so you bloody well should) then you should never back down because a few individuals were offended. Stand strong and know that your opinion is just as valid as theirs.
Sometimes the truth offends people. I’ve heard of many cases where commenters return and apologise after a bit of marinating. Had you given into their vitriol, their minds might never have shifted. So long as you believe in what you post (and not “post” simply to shock the world), you have no reason to apologise.
Know That it Has Nothing to do With You
The truth is there are a lot of people out there who think they’re God’s gift to social media. They post at every opportunity and on any publication, over and over again, typically speaking from a very personal place. They will find something offensive in anything – you will post something about “life’s-nice-to-haves” and they’ll respond, “Some of us can’t afford such luxuries and work hard for the little we have. We’re not all capitalists, this is why London has become so shit.”
Never let someone else’s negative energy affect you. It has nothing do with you and everything to do with them. Some people are going to be chronically unsatisfied, which is unfortunate. But if you march on proudly, believe me, positive reinforcements will eventually mount up.