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Dear MMB: How Do I Deal With Mean Comments?

Dear MMB,

I got my first mean comment the other day. I deleted it right away, but it has crushed me. I don't want to blog anymore because it's not fun. What should I do now? Was I wrong to delete it? Do I need to respond? How do you handle the haters?

~bring my blogging back

First of all, congratulations are in order. If you're getting mean comments, then You. Have. Made It. in the blogging world.

Seriously though, the first time you get a nasty comment, it hurts... A lot. It makes you question why you blog, and who you're really blogging for.

Are you wrong to delete a mean comment? No way, because it's your blog. It's your safe place on the internet. There is nothing wrong with deleting comments that personally attack you, because personal attacks on the internet are never okay.

Here at MMB, we get our fair share of "haters". There's not a day that goes by that we don't hear, read, or receive something that is meant to put us in our place.

We've been accused of feeding addiction, glamorizing death, encouraging contention, and of being "drama whores." We've been told we're frumpy, fat, terrible writers, awful mothers, shameful Mormons, and more. You name it, and it's been said.  BUT.

We are still here.

We are still blogging.

We all use our blogs and Twitter as a platform for our voices. Is it narcissistic? Of course! Because everyone has something important to say. And we are all allowed to express our thoughts and opinions. The internet is a big place, and there is plenty of room for everyone.

Just remember, no one wins an online fight. Ever. Furthermore, those situations make the people on the sidelines a little bit uncomfortable. (Though we do admit, it can be fun to watch... you know, when it's not YOU.)

Our advice for dealing with mean comments:

  1. It's not you, it's them: Rarely is a mean comment about you, the actual blogger. People have bad days,  they mis-read your post, they don't "get" your humor, or something else that, had you been speaking to them IN PERSON, would never have been an issue. So they jump the gun and type out their response, and hit publish. It never crossed their mind to re-read the post, to make sure that they actually understood where you are coming from. THEY are having a bad day. THEY are the ones that need to rethink their words, their timing, and their actions. Not you. (Usually.)
  2. Not everyone is going to like you: And that's okay! We can't all be best friends all the time. You don't have to like someone, but you can be civil. You can disagree thoughtfully, politely, and passionately, while using compassion and respect.  Most mean comments left online are anonymous, and here's why: 1.) Because they KNOW that they shouldn't be typing what they are typing. and 2.) they're scared... because they know they shouldn't be typing what they just typed.  
  3. The Commenter is probably not your target audience. If you blog about being a mom and changing dirty diapers and your nasty commenter is ripping you to shreds because of that? NOT your target audience. Not everyone is going to like every single blog they come across. That's like saying everybody likes the same books/music/movies. You are allowed to like what you like, and dislike what you don't. Just because a blog is popular, doesn't mean it's a good fit for you, and vice versa. They are not your target audience, so don't sweat it. Your people will find you eventually, and then it will be puppies and sunshine all around. 
  4. Trolls. Trolls aren't just those hairy old creatures that hang-out underneath the bridge taunting Dora and Boots.  They are actual people online who like to stir the pot. They leave mean, passive/aggressive comments... or tweets, or Facebook status updates, or etc, that are INTENTIONALLY meant to hurt, cause conflict, and create drama. The rule of thumb when dealing with a Troll is this: Don't. Feed. The Troll.  Never. Never never ever.  Ignore. Ignore. Ignore.  We can't emphasize that enough. *IGNORE* Trolls are looking for attention and in order to make them go away, you simply ignore them. Eventually, they'll find someone who does give them the reaction they're looking for, but don't let it be you. And do us a favor, and don't become a troll to others by engaging the original troll. (how many times have we said troll so far?) When you come across something that you don't like, and it either encites an emotion from you, or in your book is just plain wrong? Don't engage. People LOVE to send stuff out onto the internet just to cause controversy. So again we say:  Ignore. Ignore. Ignore.
  5. Comment Moderation: One of the best ways to get rid of mean commenters is to not publish their comments on your blog. It’s your blog, your space, your HOME on the Internet. You can delete the comment forever from your blog so that it won’t even show up as “deleted by an administrator”. And if you have someone that consistently leaves comments that you don't like, have a friend be your moderator. That way, they delete all the crap, and you just get the good stuff. 
  6. The Delete Button Is Your Best Friend: Don’t be afraid to delete stuff. In real life, if a person were to say those things to you, would you sit there and do nothing? Would you let someone come into your home and berate you in front of your family? NO! You would walk away, or kick 'em out of your house. YOUR BLOG IS YOUR HOME. Deleting is your right. You don't have to leave anything up that you don't want to. However, be mindful not to overuse the delete button. Like we said earlier, you can welcome different opinions, and you can be civil; even your most loyal readers aren't going to agree with you 100% of the time. Besides, sometimes those mean comments are so ridiculous, you just have to laugh. 
  7. Take the MMB Break—Mommy McDonald’s Break: Whenever one of us is getting frustrated with something on the Internet, inevitably the other person will say: “You need a soda." Then we head to our friendly, local McDonalds, where the servers know our names, and get a large soda (Diet Coke for Elisa and Dr. Pepper for Caroline) before getting back online. We all get frustrated with people and things we see and read on the Internet. In the heat of the moment, you want to prove how right you are, and how horribly wrong they are. You do dumb stuff, and you say even dumber stuff.  When you feel yourself getting frustrated, take the MMB Break.  It works Every. Single. Time. It gives you the few minutes you need to clear your head and helps you come to your senses. (Because once it's OUT THERE, you can never take it back. Just ask the screen shot fairy.)
  8. Have a Confidant: We all need someone that we can run to when people are being mean. When we were kids, it was our mommy. Now as adult it’s your spouse or your most trusted girl friend. You need that person that you can tell what is happening and they can be the voice of reason and talk you off the ledge. They are a necessary part of blogging and once you share your woes, and wallow in it together, they will help you see the humor and push you forward so you can move on.
  9. Think before you type. Never say anything online that you wouldn’t say to a person’s face... in their front room.... in front of their mother. THINK before you type. It’s one thing to vomit things in the heat of the moment during an actual conversation, but it is quite another to do the same in the comment section of another blogger. You are writers, choose your words wisely.
  10. Print out the comments.  Now that sounds kind of weird, so go with us here for a second.  They are hurtful and that's what they were designed to do, hurt you. Nurse that hurt. Examine the comment. Could anything be taken from it to help you be a better blogger, parent, or person in general? If so, then take what you can learn from it and toss the rest, then plant those printed out comments firmly on the ground in your driveway and run over them with your car.  We promise you, you'll feel SO. MUCH. BETTER.
In all seriousness though, CONGRATS! on getting your first mean comment and welcome to the world of blogging! Go forth and blog with confidence! And, remember this: the delete button is your friend!

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