This week the Belgian blogosphere was struck by a wave of hate comments. At least 4 of my closest bloggerfriends (that I know of) had to deal with being called ‘fat’ or ‘ugly’ or received similar nasty comments. Therefore I hereby officially crown this week to be ‘week of the haters’. Even though I have yet to receive my first hate comment, I was -and still am- pretty troubled about what my fellow bloggers are experiencing. With this post I try to understand a bit what is going on and give some tips on how to handle situations like these.
About haters and hate comments
It has been known cyberbullying is on the rise and unfortunately it has found its way into the blogosphere in the form of hate comments. First of all, it’s important to make a distinction between critique and hate comments. It’s not because someone doesn’t agree with what you’re saying or doesn’t like your outfit, that you can call that comment a hate comment. A hate comment is usually a personal, mean and offensive comment that has no other purpose than to hurt the person it was meant for. So it’s actually all about the way the comment has been put. The author stays mostly anonymous so you can’t directly confront him, which makes him feel powerful. One must always approach comments with caution, since there’s often a thin line between what the author of the comment meant and what the reader of that comment thinks the author meant. Even emoticons can’t always help us get a clear situation here. So when you do leave a comment, make sure that it is clear when you’re serious or when you’re just joking, because it can be misinterpreted and in turn, can lead to awkward situations (and fierce discussions on Twitter, that turn out to be blown waaaaay out of proportion).
There are a lot of explanations why people post hate comments. They are often motivated by anger, revenge or frustration. Some do it for their entertainment because they are bored and have too much free time on their hands, so they look for an easy victim; someone who doesn’t fit the beauty ideal, which means if you even have size 38 you already fall out of that category. Or on the contrary, when you do look like princess Barbie, you get picked on out of jealousy. Take the FB hate page of Chiara Ferragni (The Blonde Salad) for example. Gorgeous girl, but somehow people take the time to study her photo’s to find traces of acne and whether or not she had a nose job. Pretty sad if you ask me. So no matter how goodlooking you are, if you’re successful, it’ll never be good enough for the haters.
What to do when you get a hate comment
I know it’s easy for me to say to try and ignore the hate comments you receive, but that is my advice if you want to be able to get some sleep at night. And believe me when I say these people aren’t worth your time! Don’t react on the comment, it will only give the hater satisfaction, since he’s looking for a reaction on your part. Depending on how serious the comment is, you might just simply want to delete it. When someone is spreading lies about you, I’d recommend to delete the comment from your blog, and if you’re lucky (if the author isn’t anonymous) confront the author via a personal email.
Instead of asking yourself what this person has against you, you must ask yourself why did this person bother to write such a thing on MY blog? You don’t have to look too far for the answer, because it’s so obvious I’ll tell it to you straight. SUCCESS. You are obviously successful or definitely getting there (if you just started out) as a blogger and that might cause a little visit from the green monster (aka jealousy) for some people. So you have to look at it from the bright side; your blog is out there and you are making a name for yourself and that can attract 2 kinds of people; fans and haters. No matter how hard it is ( since we tend to have more attention for the negative), try and focus on your fans. They love you and what you’re doing, so keep doing that! Let the haters motivate you to cross boundaries with the help of your fans. Just don’t let them get under your skin!
What to do when you see a hate comment on another blog
When you see a personal and nasty comment on someone else’s blog, the only thing I can say is: react! The blogger needs the support of his fans more than ever. What you musn’t do, is lower yourself at the level of the hater. Show that you disapprove of the behavior of the hater and that you support the blogger whom the comment was aimed at. But by all means, don’t react with a hate comment towards the hater, as in calling him names, judging his looks or saying things you don’t even know for sure. Attacking that person is unprofessional and will only make things worse. The last thing a blogger wants is a bitchfight in the comments of a post he poured his heart into and is just asking for some relevant comments concerning the subject.
Oh and finally, my haters, wherever you are, I’m patiently waiting for the day you’d drop me a hate comment. 😉
Note: the ‘his’, ‘he’ or ‘him’ in this article applies just as much for ‘her’ or ‘she’.
Have you ever received a hate comment? Or did you see it on another blog? What did it say and how did you react? Please share in the comments!