If you are willing to put your words out there for the world to read, sooner or later you will have to deal with some less-than-lovely comments about your thoughts, writing and beliefs.
It’s commonly said, that to be a writer/blogger you must have thick skin. It’s certainly not easy putting your heart and your thoughts out there everyday, knowing that any one could find them and comment on them, but it can be rewarding too! Learning to handle rude comments gracefully as a blogger is a huge step! Before anything else, you have to remember not to take the comments personally. You will never be able to please every one, and the internet allows many people to feel free to say things that they would never say in person, simply because they can hide behind their computers as they do it! Don’t let a rude comment get you down, or keep you from chasing your goals as a writer.
But still, what should be done when you come across some one saying rude things on your blog?
There are 4 main ways to handle rude comments:
- Respond – Breathe deep, and then reply in a diplomatic manner. Don’t be rude, remember that your response to this comment could potentially be seen by all of your readers. Reply in a way that represents you and your blog. If they have stated something incorrectly, you can clear up the confusion. If they clearly didn’t read all of your article, you can alway quote certain sentences back to them in your comment, to clear up confusion and make them realize that they need to read the entirety of your post before jumping to conclusions. Keep this post in mind from Jon Acuff, that your readers will come to your writing with their own filters. Make sure that you are communicating in such a way that they cannot assume you are being rude or disrespectful to them. My very first rude comment came on a very personal post that I had written. (It’s the first comment on the post). Some one called me “evil” and “messed up”. I politely replied to their comment and we ended up having a discussion about it right there. It eventually inspired a second post on my blog, as it helped me to view things a little bit differently. They ended up attacking my faith a little bit, and while we didn’t end up seeing eye-to-eye on it, it definitely afforded me a lot of self-reflection, and for that I was glad (although it wasn’t the intent of the commenter).
- Ignore/Delete – Some comments do not deserve a reply. It is your blog and you have the right to delete comments as you see fit. If some one is using derisive language with you, or attacking you personally (not just disagreeing with your post), that would certainly be a good time to delete their comment without a second thought!
- Write – Lastly, if you feel that the their comment warrants a fresh discussion, or if you’ve realized that maybe you have changed your mind on something, write a new post addressing their comment in your own way! A few months ago I was interviewed by a writer-friend of mine on babble. She interviewed me about mine and my husband’s love story and it eventually got picked up by yahoo shine. It was exciting, but the comments that ended up on the yahoo article were literally some of the rudest comments I’ve ever seen in my life. It wasn’t on my site, so I didn’t have the liberty to delete them, and I didn’t have the time to personally respond to the dozens of rude comments pouring in on this one little post about the happiest time of my life. While some of them were clearly just there to be as rude as possible, others seemed to have some genuine concern and confusion in regards to specific details in the article. I wrote a follow-up post on my own blog and addressed a few of the concerns that were stated there. Not every one came and read the post, and that’s fine. I’m not worried that there are some strangers who think I’m crazy for getting married so quickly. But, for those who were concerned the answers are there. It was also a fun way to get to share more of our story with my readers as well! The personal touch of a follow-up post can be a nice experience for every one, as many other people might have had similar confusion or concern, but weren’t brave enough to voice it.
- Disclaimer – If I’m writing on a controversial topic, sometimes I will make a disclaimer at the end of the post stating that if any one comments trying to spark debate I will delete it, because that’s not what this particular post is about. Putting your words out there, is in a sense, inviting people with differing opinions to comment and share their thoughts as well, but if you want to keep your site debate-free, that is also your choice. It does helps to have that stated up front, so people are not upset if they have taken the time to share their thoughts on the argument, only to have them deleted. I did this once when I was sharing about the Shot at Life Campaign that Walgreens was doing a few months back. I was excited to share about the program, but did not want the post to turn into a heated debate about the pros/cons of vaccines. That wasn’t the point of my post, and I wasn’t interested in policing conversations about it, so I simply stated that at the end of my post, clarifying that this was not the place to debate the topic, but if any one was concerned they could email me and we could discuss it privately. No one seemed to have a problem with it, because I handled it before the comments came up. All of my readers who feel differently than I do on the topic, were respected, and invited to converse with me personally if they felt the need. No one did, but it was a friendly way of handling it than cold-deleting, any comment that was of a different opinion than my own, as I know I have several followers (including my own sister) who feel differently about vaccines than I do.
These are the 4 main ways to deal with rude comments. I use each of them at different times, and when I’m in different moods.
Have you come across any rude comments on your blog yet? How have you handled it?