When you first start blogging you can get quite desperate for comments; you want to be heard. You take your post and you promote like crazy, on every single social media platform you can find. And then to your delight someone (who isn't your mum) leaves you a comment.
You’re elated! It’s worked, someone has left you a comment. You do the happy dance around the room.
And then you read the comment, and your heart sinks into your stomach. They've left you a mean comment.
They don’t agree with your opinion. And they have the audacity to say that in their comment. It feels like they’ve taken an axe to your post and chopped it into a million different pieces.
Immediately you delete that comment – how dare they leave a mean, negative comment on your post. It took 60 minutes to write, and all day long to promote. How dare they?
Let’s get a few things straight here…
- Someone who doesn’t agree with you isn’t being mean.
- Someone who corrects your grammar isn’t being negative
- Someone who takes time to leave a comment and steer you correctly isn’t being horrible
A mean comment is when someone calls you or your other commenters names, incites hatred of some kind, insults you etc. If you think someone disagreeing or offering an alternative opinion is mean, what till you get one of the really horrid comments. Women who defy convention are frequently threatened with death and with rape, and I wouldn't wish that on anyone, but it helps you put what you think is a mean comment into perspective. Because you are new to blogging, you fear the worst when you read a comment that doesn’t agree with you, and that's okay.
When reading your comments, read them with a neutral frame of mind. You cannot read their accent, hear their pauses, see the body language, so assume and read everything in a neutral tone.
I once read an interesting blog post from someone with a personal blog.
The content was chatty and engaging but littered with typos and grammatical errors that even I noticed (and I make a point to be oblivious to them), I clicked through to her about page and there it was: a rant on negativity. It seems that she was getting a lot of comments telling her of the typos and telling her to use spellchecker. She explained she was dyslexic and this was her site. She didn’t want the advice and no one was making them comment. Her concluding point was these comments were negative and nasty, and she would not publish them.
My heart went out to her. The poor woman had no doubt been relentlessly hounded by writers and well-meaning commenters and couldn’t handle it. She felt her only solution was to delete the comments. I guess that’s one way of handling things… I have to confess that part of me wondered what exactly these people were saying to her. Even the most well-intentioned comments can be written in such a snarky way that even when you know the person that you wonder why are they doing this?
More experienced bloggers will tell you a negative or mean comments can really spark a discussion. Which is just what you want on your blog post. But you also need to reflect a little – is the commenter telling you an unwanted truth? Gosh, they hurt, but the intention behind then often isn’t to wound but to help you. Of course, if you are showing off your expertise and someone trips you up it can feel like the end of the world. Or at the least the end of your blogging career…
If you say your ideas are fresh but you are just repeating what 300 other bloggers say, then a comment stating that would hurt but it wouldn’t be untrue, would it? My personal thoughts are that when blogging, you lose a lot of your own ego. Ego that you didn’t realise you had… You become humble and a stronger, better person for it.
These comments will also help you become a better blogger.
Overcoming mean and negative comments
If you are doubting the intention behind the post, reach out. Email the commenter thanking them for their time and ask if you could schedule a chat – you’d like to expand upon their feedback if possible. Very few say no. Once you are chatting and getting to know the person then you can make a judgment call – helpful or pain in the bum.
When you reach out you are starting a friendship that can last a long time, transcend your blog and seep over into real life.
So over to you – have you left a helpful comment, but it’s been taken the wrong way? Have you deleted comments that were negative?