Dear Blogging Colleagues,
I am recovering from a bout of rage I suffered last night on behalf of one of my favorite blogs. It seems that another blogger decided to write a snarky post on their own blog which mocked the content of my friends’ blog. Now, I’m fiercely loyal to my friends and family, so I was immediately up in arms. I was so angry! And so frustrated because I felt that there was nothing I could do about it. It was out of my control. My dad always tells me to only worry about the things I can control. Don’t waste time on the things I can’t. It’s great advice, but I couldn’t put it to practice until I was done seething.
This morning I woke up with a lot less rage, and realized that there was one thing that I could control; there’s one thing that we can all control–ourselves.
This letter is an attempt for me to remind myself and you, my fellow bloggers, that we need to worry less about others and more about ourselves.
I’m a relatively new blogger at just over six months, and I don’t have a lot of followers. Many of the ones that I do have are just as new as I am, or even newer at a few months old. As we spend more time blogging, I have no doubt that eventually we’re going to deal with some sort of negative backlash to what we have created, and we will be confused, enraged, frustrated, and unsure about how to react. This seems to be a rite of passage for all who put their opinions and feelings out into the world via their blogs.
In my ripe old age of six months in the blogosphere, I have seen nearly all of my closest buddies hurt or angered by what another blogger or commenter has written about them on another blog or in their own comments section. Each has been criticized for different aspects of their blog, and each has reacted in different ways.
I have seen bloggers criticized for their opinions, their writing style, their reading choices, and now their self-created awards (how lame is that? how can you criticize someone for creating a way to give love back to their readers?).
I have seen bloggers react to backlash in different ways:
• respond in turn to the negative comment on one’s post, and if they’re completely off their rockers, give them a comment award.
• respond to the negative comment on one’s post and write a subsequent post discussing the issue.
• respond to the negative blog post by writing a responsive post on one’s own blog that provides a link to the critic’s negative post (the downside is that the offender get hits on their own blog).
• respond with a polite comment on the negative blog post which the critic may or may not approve.
All of these are perfectly good responses to the negativity. You could, of course, simply ignore it as well, but responding provides a release for your own frustration, and could possibly end up changing the negative commenter’s mind. Sometimes it was all a big misunderstanding that gets worked out via conversation. Also, all of the above responses result in a learning experience for your other readers and provide ample material for conversation amongst all.
What is NOT a good response to negativity is stopping what you’re doing! Do not stop writing, do not change what you’re writing, KEEP GOING!
You must keep in mind that for every person who doesn’t like what you’re saying or doing, there are five (or many, many more, as is the case with a few of my blogging buddies) who love it, and depend upon you to do what you do. It’s an age-old problem in teaching–the squeaky wheel gets the oil. The good kids are ignored for the one bad kid’s behavior. DON’T FORGET US, YOUR FAITHFUL READERS!
More importantly, don’t forget about you! It’s really easy to get caught up in the stats game, analyzing what readers like and don’t like, and writing more of what is popular with your readers. That’s great that you care about your readers. But, if you’re like me, you got into blogging for yourself. You started your blog because you wanted to write about what you cared about and finally got the guts to share it with the world. In the end, we (your readers) are just lucky that we get to read what you’re writing. You could just squirrel it away in a journal like most people do.
Your blog is yours. Do what you want with it. If it’s authentic, honest, and true, people will read it. Some people won’t like it, either because they disagree with you, or because they’re just rotten and need something or someone to pick on. In the end, you gotta blow it off because it’s not about them. It’s about you, and, in what should be a smaller sense, your faithful readers.
If anything, just realize that I’m writing this letter because I care that you keep doing what you love. I’m rather vanilla here on the blog, so I haven’t dealt with any haters yet (at least, none that I know about). And I know, judging by the other comments I see on your blogs and on Twitter, that I’m not the only one who feels this way about your blogs. If writing makes you feel good, and you have reached even just one person with what you have created, you should be thrilled. As they say, haters are gonna hate. Just keep on doing what you do!