| Page 1 | << Page 2 >> |
Learn to Compartmentalize Internet Criticism
Those that are just starting to blog have probably considered but failed to truly prepare themselves for one thing: dicks on the Internet. And I don’t mean your Google image search gone horribly wrong.
Whether it’s well reasoned, lazy and cruel, or a nonsensical mish mash of emoticons and the word “fag”, criticism will find you the second you put your opinions on the Internet. This is a given. However, it’s impossible to judge the effect that kind of feedback can have on you until it happens. You may fancy yourself “thick skinned”. But it’s entirely plausible that your entire weekend can be ruined by one person spending 5 minutes of their day to call you an idiot.
This is all part of the sustainability of your blogging habits. It’s tremendously difficult, but you must learn to put the Internet into a box that will wait while you live the rest of your life, otherwise it will drain the emotional energy from you and keep you from exploring and growing in a public forum. I suggest setting designated times to read and respond to criticism. It also just helps to be prepared for difficult feedback from even innocuous seeming posts.
Wives are very useful when keeping your blog separate from the rest of your life. They won’t even need prompting to remind you, usually with thrown pacifiers and mysteriously misplaced laptops, that there’s a time to “put the damn computer away already”.
Be Willing to be Wrong
Again, you may imagine that you’re good at receiving criticism (a valuable learned skill). But since much of the feedback you’ll get will likely include personal attacks and general “meanness”, you may find it particularly difficult to take those counterpoints seriously.
However, just because HungLikeSnuffleupagus64 nests his arguments in statements about your bathing habits, it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have a point somewhere in there. Remember that the give and take is the whole point of a public blog, and that personal growth is your end goal. You may not be able to change your critics’ minds, but it would be a shame if you couldn’t even affect your own attitude.
Research everything, even the absurd and angry comments, and know that just because your post is already in print on your site it doesn’t mean that you’re not still wrong.
I personally find it counterproductive to silently change a post’s actual content once it’s published, but I have no qualms putting “EDIT” notes at the top telling future readers about stuff I got wrong, or things that needed fleshing out.
Now having said that…
If it’s Right Stick to Your Guns
There’s a fine line between keeping an open mind and being a wimp. If you have a controversial opinion, AND you do your research after the criticism, AND you feel you still have a point, keep right on making that point.
Dissenting opinion is interesting reading, and while it may make some people mad you may be confirming a silent majority that don’t have time to kiss your ass about it in the comments. Don’t be bullied off your point by negative feedback, provided you’ve actually listened to it and taken it into account. That due diligence is the difference between hard headed stubbornness and just commitment to your ideals.
Those “silent” allies might find you in unexpected ways. While you’re less likely to get random acts of kindness on the Internet, coworkers and strangers are much more likely to lend support in a less public venue. And at least at the moment the haters are much less likely to plaster you with verbal diarrhea in public, let alone trick you into looking at cellphone pictures of their balls.
10,000 views is a baby step, but it feels good just the same. Thanks to the readers that have tolerated the site so far and helped me grow as a person.