Chris posted on the dangers of revealing personal info on your blog. I’d like to explore the issue of negativity a bit further: a surefire indicator that you’ve made your mark in the blogosphere is that you receive hate. What is it, why does it happen, what to do about it?
What I mean by hate
When I use the term “hate” I mean any type of negative language that is not meant in a constructive spirit; for instance, if someone says “Gee Andy I thought this Handling Hate post was a bit boring, I wish you would go back to the Monetization Makover series”, that would not qualify as hate.
What would qualify as hate:
- Consistent trollish comments meant to degrade, hurt feelings, slander, etc.
- Name calling / hate posts which go beyond disagreeing with your ideas and instead ridicule your religion, appearence, sexual orientation, etc.
- Certainly any type of threat or violence (although keep in mind if something reaches this point it is time to call the police AND your personal attorney)
Why does it happen?
- For some reason people say and do things on the Internet that they would never do or say in the real life.
- Jealousy: however hard you work to make something a success, you can be assured that others will try just as hard to tear it down. The beauty is, if you’ve built something truly good, no amount of hate is going to bring it down (although it may hurt your feelings).
- Stupid kids: I also think a lot of it comes down to the matuirty level of much of the blogosphere. I suppose it mirrors the Real World: it just isn’t that high. Further, there are a lot of teens and young’ens on the Net who may not know exactly where the “line” is (I know that when I first got on the Net, I sure didn’t).
The funny part is, I think the more successful you are, the more hate you get. Usually (*exceptions) if you’re getting hate, you’re doing something right.
What to do about hate
To me this question does not have one answer; it depends on the situation you’re in and what type of hate you’re getting.
- Constructive hate: this is the best type of hate. Someone tells you how to make your blog better, without attacking you. In fact this isn’t really hate at all! How I’d react: read their criticism (with a grain of salt), and possibly act on it.
- Good-spirited hate: hate that pokes fun at you but isn’t really mean spirited (e.g., parody). How I’d react: Either ignore it, or participate/reply (showing you have a sense of humor and humility will usually win you more fans). Again, this doesn’t really qualify as hate.
- Comment trollers: How I’d react: If they do it once, moderate their comment as you please. If they do it twice (or thrice, or whatever threshold you like), ban their IP, as well as username (if applicable). Remember it’s your blog and you can do as you like!
- Slanderers: If someone states something untrue about you, which they know to be untrue, with the intent to do you harm, you may have a legal case (in the USA, at least). No I don’t think you should use the legal system to solve all of your problems but if it’s slander that’s harming your biz, you should definitely act.
- Name callers / racists / personal insulters: This one is a judgement call. If you think the person is an ***hole but harmless, you may wish to highlight their behavior (without namecalling back); you’ll be surprised just how many readers will come to your defense, and the hater may lose some reputation. However depending on the seriousness of the hate/insult, you may wish to do any of the following: ignore the hate; (if the language is very offensive) send an email complaint to their Web host; or if it’s really bad see the next point…
- Threateners / weirdos / stalkers: You never know about people, esp. on the Net. There are a LOT of crazies out there. Don’t take any chances. Seriously. If someone has threatened you, it is time to call the police AND your personal attorney.
Personal reflections on hate
In the past I’ve gotten some hate and haven’t reacted very well. In hindsight, yes, I wish I would’ve handled things differently. I’ve also hated on people more than I should have (though I’ve never gone “too far” of course).
Part of it was that I was young & foolish, and part of it is that when it happens to you for the first few times, it really blindsides you, and you’re not sure how to react. Sometimes I just reacted too fast, when I probably should have “slept on it” before replying / posting / emailing.
But burnt hand teaches best. These days, when I see something like this, I’m less inclined to think “those bastards!!” and more inclined to think “Wow I’m in great company there” instead, and have a quiet laugh.
(As I side note, I find it odd that this poll has only received 12 votes to date, either it’s turning most members off from participating, or that forum just isnt very popular.)