When it comes to sharing our art, our feelings, and our thoughts online, we allow ourselves to be vulnerable. But what happens when that vulnerability is attacked?
How do you deal with mean-spirited people? Do you reply? Do you ignore them? Do you try to justify your position? Do you allow them to knock you down?
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There’s no easy answer.
But hopefully these tips can offer some insight when it comes to dealing with hate mail, venomous blog comments, and even the occasional “you’re right, but you sure could have said it nicer” emails.
1. Check your ego at the door
Steven Lowell, author of The Voice Over Guide and Community Manager for Voice123 says it is never easy dealing with criticism but one thing you don’t want to do is let your ego get the better of you.
His suggestion is simply “check your ego at the door.”
If the negative feedback is about your service, address the issue by reaching out to the person privately and directly. Don’t be afraid to admit when you are wrong, then take action and move forward.
2. Don’t apologize for your point of view
Kimberly Gauthier, animal advocate and owner of Keep The Tail Wagging says, “Don’t apologize for your point of view. It’s your blog and you have a right to your opinion.”
“Instead, thank the person for taking the time to leave a message and, if you feel the need, clarify yourself or expand on your stance”. . . in a kind and respectful way.
3. Be true to yourself
Political blogger Ilene Angel says that when you are true to who you are, you’re bound to strike a nerve with someone. . . just don’t take it personally.
“When people get riled up from your work—either for or against you—it’s a good thing. You struck a nerve. Feeling strongly is a compliment. Feeling nothing at all is the ultimate failure.”
Ultimately, you’ll have to come to peace with what you’ve shared (content or imagery) by asking yourself, “Do I regret what I shared? Did I state the truth; my truth? and If I had it to do all over again, would I still share the same post?”
If you’ve answered yes, then you were true to yourself and that’s all you really can be.
4. Don’t respond to negative feedback
Erik Deckers, professional blogger of problogservice.com and author of Branding Yourself and No Bullshit Social Media says, “There are trolls on the Internet who get their jollies from saying mean and spiteful things to people in order to feel better about themselves.”
“Delete their comments (or emails) and don’t respond. You’re better than that.”
5. Remain gracious
Dr. Marlene Caroselli, author of Hiring and Firing and Principled Persuasion, says, “Resist the temptation to respond, to defend yourself, or to point out flaws in the poster’s thinking.”
“Instead, remain gracious, and keep a set of stock phrases ready should you choose to respond.”
One such stock phrase would be, “Art is subjective and opinions vary. Certainly, you are entitled to yours but I hope you will give my work a second chance by looking at my latest e-exhibit.”
6. Lift yourself up
Erik Deckers says, “Create a feel-good file or find the comments page on your blog’s admin dashboard.”
“When you get hammered by something negative, go read all the awesome stuff other people have said about you to cheer yourself up.”
I would like to add one more thing to the list above, and that’s to allow yourself some time to heal. Whether what is said is truthful or not, negative feedback still hurts.
It’s okay to feel hurt, just don’t allow that hurt to prevent you from following your dreams, sharing your art, or opening up about your life.