As a blogger I spend a lot of time online. It also features a lot in my “day job”. As a result I see the highs and lows – the most helpful, lovely, supportive bits of online personas, and some utterly horrible ones too.
I’ve never really understood the compelling need to make a negative personal comment or judgement on someone else’s work, their views or how they live their life. Generally speaking, I don’t have the energy to.
I have once or twice been trolled, or at least someone has attempted to but I’ve not realised it until after the event. Their comments garnered nothing but a bright and breezy response from me. Occasionally I’ve received some snarky comments on Twitter from people I haven’t followed back and they’re offended. I have also seen some pretty unpleasant comments on Facebook and on Twitter, and occasionally even seen comments on blog posts that I’ve thought were quite close to the bone.
So what can you do if you get a negative comment online you don’t like or upsets you?
- Ask yourself if replying will make any difference. Remember it’s impossible to have a one way argument, two people need to be involved. Don’t feed the troll, no matter how tempting the urge may be. Remember that it’s not directed at you, not really. They don’t know you, so their remark says more about them than you.
- Someone disagrees with your comment or view? Okay, perhaps it doesn’t gel with their world view, or perhaps they’ve just misunderstood you. I’ve seen this with blog comments in particular. We are all entitled to feel differently and in the online world where we consume information so quickly, it’s easy to miss the tone, context or nuance of a post or comment which can completely change the meaning. Try not to correct them, but if you must act, acknowledge their view and perhaps reframe your comment or post. Don’t get drawn into a debate though, particularly on parenting, politics or religion.
- If they swear or threaten you, DO NOTHING. Don’t be dragged down into their level. Report to a group administrator, Twitter or similar, and block them. Who cares what they keep saying about you if you can’t see it? People who know you won’t care either.
- If it’s just plain old rude, remember that you are probably just the target of all their frustrations for the day. It might be unfair but we’ve all snapped at someone because something completely unrelated has frustrated it. It’s not that different, except online the negativity is for all the world to see and pretty much out there forever.
- If in doubt, switch off your phone or laptop, and go and do something nice. Occupy you mind with something pleasant like a walk, a book, or a good bout of rigorous cleaning. Odds on, if I’m doing something other than reading a comment over and over again, the gnawing ball of emotion in my gut will subside.
Have you been the subject of online abuse or negativity? How did you cope and what advice would you give? We all spend so much time online these days we need to support each other.