Its a well known fact that when you enter your ideas into the public mainstream, you are immediately susceptible to both positive and negative criticism. Its a very rewarding feeling when someone gives you positive feedback, but in most cases people tend to take the negative criticism to heart. Theres nothing wrong with that initial reaction, but if you plan on making a career in this field, its imperative to train yourself on how to react when these situations arise.
The internet has become a breeding ground for cynicism thanks to the anonymity of comment threads on any given blog or media related website. Lets take YouTube for example, a site that people frequent often on a daily basis for unique content. When YouTube first started out, the comment section was an informative place to read suggestions and opinions shared by fans of the same subject matter at hand. Today when you visit a YouTube video, theres a good chance you’ll stumble upon comments that have nothing to do with the content at hand. Many of which are focused on personally attacking another user, or even just shouting out obscenities for the sake of chaotic behavior.
Other websites like Reddit, Twitter, or even Facebook for that matter, are places where trivial issues get brought into the foreground thus sparking intense debate which typically ends up with immature slander. The people who devote such massive amounts of time to these online arguments are usually the ones who will be expressing negativity when it comes to your own content. Of course there are some who will offer genuine disdain towards what you do, and will say so in a more civilized manner, but the majority of negativity online comes from your standard armchair bully. Someone who has nothing better to do with their time than to spew immature hate speech towards others whilst hiding behind their user name.
A Deserted Wasteland
In some cases the negativity won’t be so direct, and can appear in the form of getting zero response from the general public. Many of us operate the same way when we come up with what we believe is an amazing idea. We get so excited and anxious to share it with the rest of the world, only to find that nobody expresses the same amount of enthusiasm as we do. Its like when you see something online that makes you laugh your ass off, and you can’t help but share it with your entire contact list. Upon doing so you get no reaction, or maybe just a chuckle at best.
Its very easy to fall under the spell that everyone will love what you have to offer, and think “How could anyone NOT like this?”. This is dangerous territory to tread on, as it usually ends up leading down a very dark and lonely road to nowhere. Thats not to say you should be basing your creativity on what the general public likes, and forming ideas based upon trends in pop culture. Its just a word of caution to beware your own enthusiasm, and make sure you stay grounded at all times.
Tips on How to Combat Negativity
The most important lesson to be learned, is never to take things personally. You have to be prepared to take the good with the bad, but there are a few ways you can deal with the bad…
Disable Comments on YouTube
YouTube is the number one source of cynical comments on the internet, and theres no good that can come from such incessant trolling. If you feel its too much for you to moderate, simply disable the comment function on your videos. After all, the reason people are there is to see your video, and you can always provide another location where they can partake in discussion. You can even direct them to your social media pages to start a discussion, where in most cases a standard troll won’t go through the effort to follow everyone there.
Interact With Your Audience
Its bad business if you put yourself out there, and completely ignore your audience. Get in touch with them by responding to comments, sending out personalized email blasts, encouraging people to contact you, and even reaching out to them for feedback. A great way to engage an audience is to create a survey and find out exactly what they like and don’t like about what you have to offer. This will provide you with valuable insight, and also show people that you value their opinions.
Give People a Reason to Come Back
Providing unique content is key to gaining a good audience, and will keep your creativity fresh. Once you start establishing a solid audience, it will attract more people who like what you do, and in turn will defend what you do if any trolls arise to spread slander. The more people you have on your side, the more trolls will realize its not worth spewing their hatred.
Kill Em’ With Kindness
A great way to completely disable any armchair bully or troll, is to reply with nothing but positivity. Thank them for their honesty, and let them know you appreciate their ability to share so candidly. Don’t be sarcastic, make sure you’re dead serious. Its the exact opposite of what they expect, and will throw them completely off guard. You only have to do this once, and can continue to ignore them after the fact, but showing them that their negativity isn’t working will quickly remove any leverage they had towards bullying you.
Block and Ignore
There are some rare occasions where you might run into an extremely arrogant and unstoppable idiot who is going to make it his life mission to screw with you. In this case you want to block them if possible, or just simply ignore their comments. If you can’t find a way to block their user name or IP address, simply delete their comments immediately before they have a chance to poison the water so to speak.
No matter what kind of negativity comes your way, you need to make sure it never derails your true goals and creative vision. Over time it will become second nature to you, and you will develop a thick skin when it comes to dealing with such behavior. The worst thing you could do is give in to an online bully, and convince yourself that they are speaking in truths. Listen to and trust in yourself, absorb and appreciate the positive feedback, and ignore all the negative hate that comes your way. Twenty years from now its not going to matter what some pathetic little prick said about you on a blog, but it will matter how you decided to deal with such comments. Teach yourself to deal with this now, and it will surely benefit you in the years to come.