When one decides to become a blogger, she chooses to put herself in the public eye. Whether you have 5 subscribers or 500,000, having a blog puts you on the Internet for the whole world to see. A major part of blogging is the comments you get from your readers. While it’s awesome to get compliments and positive feedback, we all know that not every comment received on a blog is positive. What do you do when someone leaves a less-than-cheerful comment on your blog?
When you decide to become a blogger, you decide to put yourself out on the Internet, warts and all. You have made a choice to open up your life to the world, and complete utter strangers who don’t know or care how lovely of a person you are in real life.
Some people get pleasure out of causing others pain and will leave evil anonymous comments on blogs. I remember when I was pregnant, I had one commenter who would arrive every day around 10am and leave 1-4 comments on various posts telling me I was fat, ugly, tacky. The commenter would say that my child will probably end up retarded, and even said she bet my husband hated me and was cheating on me.
I have been blogging since 2005 and have received hundreds of anonymous comments that are mean-spirited, snarky, or just plain evil. And most of them, I publish. I don’t really get why one would NOT publish mean comments. If you have comment moderation, you are still reading those comments and still feeling the sting. Whether or not the comment ends up on your blog, it has still hurt, it has still had its effect. I usually publish the snarky comments because it shows that I really don’t care, and I am a bigger person than the commenter. Also, it is so wonderful and inspiring to see your loyal readers to go bat for you, attacking that mean commenter.
The only mean comments I do not publish are when they attack my daughter or husband, are racist, sexist, or offensive to my readers in any manner. The rest? Go ahead, make my day!
So you got a comment saying it looks as though you gained weight, or that your photos aren’t very good quality. Maybe someone wrote that they are sick of seeing you in that blazer, or those shorts make your legs look fat. This is not a mean comment, this is a critical comment.
If you got dressed to go out and your best friend told you that your jeans didn’t fit right, or your dress wasn’t flattering, what would you do? You would either accept her feedback and change your ensemble, or you would thank her for her comment but choose to wear the outfit anyway because you love it.
Your readers are virtual friends. And just like your friends in real life, they may not always have tact but they want to be honest with you.
Every time I wear my ankle booties, I seem to get a comment that tells me that they aren’t flattering. And I hear those folks, and actually I agree with them. But I love my ankle booties so I wear them anyway. Other commenters have offered suggestions on different pairings, or have mentioned that a certain garment doesn’t flatter my figure. I listen, and often I take their advice. I appreciate the constructive criticism of my readers, they are more honest than most of my friends IRL. They can hide behind a cloak of anonymity and tell me what others may be afraid to say.
Dance as though no one is watching you.
Love as though you have never been hurt before.
Sing as though no one can hear you.
Live as though heaven is on earth.
Seriously, blog for yourself. If you are true, if you are consistent, if you have a voice, the comments will come. Remember why you started blogging. If it is for comments and virtual friends, there are some amazing bloggers out there with tips on how to make your blog popular, just use a couple keywords in Google and you will be amazed at the phenomenal resources out there.
Mean Folks Outside Your Blog.
Recently, I checked my blog stats and saw that I had a bunch of traffic from a forum for mothers. I clicked on the link, and found two pages of people attacking my personal fashion. They said I looked chubby in a dress, my scarf was stupid, my tights made my legs look fat, my shoes were awful.
A few months ago, I found another forum that linked to my blog. This group of folks were even more mean-spirited, saying my husband was gay, my child was ugly and had a stupid name, I was ugly and fat. There was one person on the comment trail who was a friend of a friend and said I was just as ugly and stupid in real life.
What do you do when you are attacked on another person’s turf? You can show up and try to defend yourself, but you will usually be attacked with even more force. You can use your blog to oust the meanies and rally up a group of supporters, or you can ignore it.
Let’s say your blog becomes big. Really big. You have speaking engagements, you’re asked to be on the Today Show and you have a book deal and a show on the Style Network. Do you think everyone is going to like you? Newp. The more successful your blog, the more vocal your haters.
Haters are a fact of life for celebrities, and pretty much anyone who puts themselves out on the Internet. You need to get a tough skin, and you need to really think through how you will react. I have a circle of friends in real life who I use for a sanity check. When I find a link to a blog or forum where they are ripping me to shreds, I have a knee-jerk reaction to log in and give those meanies a piece of my mind. Instead, I email my Sanity Check Circle the link and wait for the feedback. They usually talk me off the ledge and tell me to ignore them.
And ignoring is a good idea. Don’t keep going back to see what else has been written, it will just add fuel to the fire. Just remember anyone who achieves success will also gain haters. It’s a fact of life, and a good opportunity to show how you handle grace under fire.
Note: While every blogger’s comment process is different, this is my personal comment philosophy. Every blog and every blog’s audience is different, and I respect the fact that not everyone will agree with what I have written.
Alison Gary is the author behind Wardrobe Oxygen, a Washington DC-based fashion advice and personal style blog. Alison has been blogging for six years, and loves everything about it, warts and all.