Whether on social media, blogging, or creating a business, these days it is all about cultivating a community around a common interest. I’ve seen so many people defend the “rights” of the community when it comes to leaving negative comments. It hurts me so much to see the people creating the blogs, businesses, and online content suffering and struggling in the wake of negative comments from people who are disrespectful. I’ve heard all kinds of strategies for dealing with negative comments, like “killing them with kindness”, but I am tired of that. Why should a negative nelly command more of our attention because they act like a jerk? Negative comments are not welcome in my house and they are not welcome on my blog or social media. This morning I read this article from Hank Green and wanted to share my perspective:
Stop Screaming in My Home by Hank Green
I fully love and embrace this new outlook on community and how we as content creators treat the members of our community. It is refreshing and empowering. We need to stop cow-towing to the lowest denominator in our communities and instead put effort into serving our most dedicated fans and followers.
I spent the last week on an adventure in Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains with a group of creatives and several bloggers. The topic of negative comments and nastiness in the blogging community came up. Some shared how they get negative comments and the judgments can bring them down and discourage them from sharing. Negative comments hurt no matter how tough your skin is. I have thought for a long time about why I rarely (if ever) get negative comments on my blogs or social media. It could be that maybe I am not prolific or popular enough to get the kind of attention that statistically would yield at least a few negative comments a month. I don’t think that’s why at all. The simple answer is this: I do not allow it.
It is a privilege to interact with anyone online. We have so much connectivity and the ability to reach just about anyone – it is a very exciting time in our history and we are still learning how to navigate this new dynamic. Interacting with negative people is part of that dynamic that we need to deal with – but that doesn’t mean we need to be doormats. People act like trolls and leave negative comments for all kinds of reasons – they are upset, they have a mental issue, they are lashing out … honestly, I don’t care what the reason is. I am not their therapist, I am not their guru, I am not their healer. No one is entitled to read the content I have worked on for hours and then leave a turd comment on it. They can go somewhere else to get healed and then come back into my community when they show they are ready to do it with respect. It’s not my job to school them on commenting or on how to properly interact with me. You’re nice or you’re banned. And I am not even sorry about it.
I have moderation set up on my blog. Anyone can comment but no one can’t see it until I allow it to publish. You can set comments to auto-publish if the commenter has a history of approved comments on your blog.
For YouTube and social media, set up notifications for comments so you can review them as they come in.
You will have to read comments to see if they are negative but this is the first step in letting negative people know that your blog or site is not the playground for their nastiness. I delete negative or nasty comments immediately. If the comment has value, I will leave it but it’s rare that anyone who is leaving a jerky comment has “value” to add. Negative comments don’t see the light of day as it should be. I never respond to negative comments. Why waste my time and energy on people who are giving me nothing valuable? The hurt is deeper if you respond and start a back and forth. None of us should feel that way, ever.
On social media, I block people who leave negative comments or send me nasty messages. Social media is part of our work as business owners and content creators – we don’t need someone’s nonsense cluttering up our feeds and disrupting our day. We have work to do! When you look at the numbers, 5 people blocked out of 10,000 makes no real difference in your engagement – you are not missing out by blocking people who are acting like turds.
On your blog, mark negative comments as spam so they will be blocked from commenting again. With some plugins, you can even block the IP address of the commenter from being able to visit your blog in the future. Try to leave a negative comment, they’ll lose the privilege of seeing any of my free, amazing content online at all. And that is how we all should feel about our content. It’s like baking a plate of yummy cookies and someone walks by, takes a bite, and then says they taste horrible. Would you stand for that in person? I didn’t think so. So let’s not stand for that online either.
If people see negative comments, they will play off of those and leave a negative comment. Since there is no published history of negative comments on my blogs and social media, it’s like my blog and social media is not welcoming them. Trolls will go where the trolling is easy. If you don’t have any negative comments, there’s no negativity for others to feed off of when leaving subsequent comments.
If you are struggling with negative comments, stop allowing those people into your house. We have such an amazing opportunity right now to define our own space online, define how we want our community to look and feel, and to be in charge of our own destiny. We should never allow a few people to drag us down and discourage us from the good, amazing, inspiring ideas we have to share with the world. You have a mission and the strategies I share above can help you to focus on that mission.
What is one struggle you’ve had with negative comments? Let me know in the comments (ha ha, don’t be scared!) and we can talk about it. Join in on the conversation with other positive creatives in our Facebook Group Smart Creative Social. See you there!
A craft industry professional for over 14 years, Jennifer Priest has been featured in major publications and online by the likes of Apartment Therapy and MSNBC. Jennifer's digital marketing consulting firm, Smart Creative Social, has a prestigious client list in the craft and hobby industry, connecting influencers with brands, developing digital marketing strategy, and guiding clients in creating a solid social media strategy for their brand.
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