If you build it, they will come.
I literally (a few hours ago) JUST experienced the first, but I’m sure not last, mean social media comment on one of my videos promoting my book, Not Another Breastfeeding Book.
I thought I was prepared for it.
Of course I knew that when you put ANYTHING out there, you run the risk of people not liking it, making fun of it, talking 'ish to or about you, etc. Why was I to think anything different when trying to market my first book?
When you make something public and more people than your aunt Sally and friends from high school can see it, you start to enter, what I call, The Twilight Zone of the Internet.
This space is free game. Anyone can say anything with little to no repercussions, and boy can people be brutal.
I’m not going to lie. In the past, I’ve scrolled through some comment feeds and laughed at how out of hand they can get. I mean, some of the stuff people say and get riled up about are HILARIOUS!
But, when the comments are pointed towards you, it’s a whole ‘notha ballgame.
I deleted the negative comment immediately because I was so embarrassed, but it said something like, “Her lipstick is not her color, it looks bad on her.”
I know what you’re thinking. It’s not THAT bad of a comment, but it rocked my world.
I looked to see who the person was. She didn’t even know me, AND she was a mom too! We’re supposed to be ALLIES here!
So, yeah, I guess my first reaction was shock and disbelief.
I felt nauseous. I watched the video over and over again focusing at my lip stick shade. (Now, you’re probably going to look too.. hahaha.)
“Maybe it wasn’t the right color…”
“Now that I look, it DOES look kind of bad…”
“OMG I LOOK LIKE A CLOWN.”
“I can’t change it now though cause then I’d have to pay for a whole new video..”
“Oh man.. why can’t I do anything right?!”
“I’m going to text my best friend. She’ll fix this.”
^Pretty much an accurate order of the thoughts that went through my head.
And yea, I did text my friend for some validation that I desperately needed to hear at that moment. (I kept her name private because I don’t think she likes her biz all over the interwebs.)
My friend did come through, and she did send me some validating texts, and she did make me laugh. It helped. A lot.
But still, that comment is haunting me. It’s not even there anymore. I keep rationalizing in my mind why it’s not a big deal, and why I shouldn’t care.
She’s probably just having a bad day, and needed to take it out on someone.
Maybe she writes mean comments on everyone’s pages.
Should I direct message her and give her a piece of my mind? Or guilt her with friendliness?
I thought about this for a while today, and I found some tips that may help you if you experience some bullying online.
1.) Talk to yourself like you would your friend.
Take a step back and evaluate the situation from a distance. If this happened to someone you loved, what would you say to them? Most likely, you’d be a lot more kind, uplifting, and rational. We tend to be more harsh with ourselves than we would others, so in times like this, it’s essential to flip the script. Treat yourself like you love yourself.. because you should love yourself.
2.) Delete the bad comment.
People may have different opinions on this, but I say DELETE the comment, and BLOCK the user that is hatin’ on you. There’s already too much negativity in the world.. you don’t need that constant visual reminder that people can suck..really suck.
3.) Learn something from it.
While some comments can be hard to read, there may be some truth behind them. Don’t assume that something is wrong just because it makes you feel bad. For example, my whole lipstick situation. Looking back, I had my makeup done for the video because I just had a baby and I wanted to feel pretty before I got in front of a camera. The makeup looked fine, but I did look a bit off and unnatural when I reviewed the video, but I assumed it was because I wasn’t accustomed to seeing myself with a full face of makeup. The lipstick was pretty bold on my face, so maybe next time I will go with a more natural look. Keep in mind that this doesn’t let this lady off the hook. If she truly wanted to give me some solid advice, she’d privately inbox me and not try to embarrass me on my public video. But hey. Try to take what you can out of the message.. unless it’s completely uncalled for, which happens… a lot.
4.) Talk to someone you can trust.
Yes, we can rationalize all day why comments should be shrugged off, ignored, and/or laughed at. I get it. But, let’s be honest. Some of them can really hurt our hearts, and that’s okay. We’re human and we have emotions. If someone or a situation gets you down, reach out to someone you can vent to. Make sure this person has your best interests in mind. You want to be vulnerable with someone who wants you to win in life, not someone who may have ulterior motives.
5.) Be nice to other people online.
Now you know how it feels to be bullied online! What a blessing! Now you can have some empathy so that you don’t do the same thing to others. There are real people behind these pixels who have feelings, hopes, anxieties, and dreams. The Golden Rule never gets old. If you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.
6.) Don’t bully back.
Do you have any idea how much I wanted to comment back to this lady and open up a can? Ohhhhhhh you don’t even knnnnoooooowwwwwwww. I typed up stuff.. deleted it… walked away from the laptop… walked back to the laptop… typed more stuff…. You get the pattern here, right? First, I thought I’d be clever and act like I was responding politely and give her some kind of backhand compliment. Then, I thought I’d just shame her and try to get others to comment and jump on my bandwagon to tell her just how bad of a person she was. I’m just being honest here, guys! Then, I realized… nothing I say is going to make this situation better. If you try to communicate with these online ‘trolls’, it feeds into their negative energy, and they will most likely continue to say mean stuff.. just probably meanER stuff.. It’ll get ugly. Don’t bully back. Don’t try to embarrass or shame them in front of other people, cuz if you do, you’re JUST as bad as they are.
7.) Remember that they may have a story.
Just like they don’t know who you are, you do not know who they are. They may have been triggered by something in your post. Maybe they have some type of mental illness or handicap where they don’t understand how harsh they may have sounded in a comment. Perhaps they had a horrendous day, and needed to unleash their frustration somewhere. I could go on and on forever here. The fact is that NO, nothing justifies someone being cruel to someone else online, BUT sometimes there are extenuating factors at play, so try to always assume the best in people.. eeeven when it’s really hard.
8.) Walk away from the situation.
Man, if you are just hot and heavy in anger or sadness towards what someone said or did to you online, maybe take a day, week, month, whatever to decompress. We make the WORST decisions when they are based on emotion, so make sure that you have a level head before you react to something. This may take some time and some wine, so allow yourself to grieve the situation, and respond when you feel that you have dealt with your emotions appropriately.
9.) Don’t give up.
Don’t let the bullies win. Don’t let people scare you from being yourself, or marketing something, or creating something, or just having fun with something online. This is what they want! They want the power to make you feel small and stupid and embarrassed so that you don’t show up for yourself ever again. Don’t give your power to them, despite how hard they try to take it from you. Keep going.
10.) It will most likely get worse.
The most successful or famous people online tend to get the most hate comments. The more eyes on your content, the more availability people have to form opinions on what you are doing. Understand that EVERYONE has to go through this. Even if you are a perfect person and you have the perfect content, you are going to have haters. I’m not kidding. No matter what you do, assume someone is making fun of you. That sounds terrible, but I’m just being real with you! Even if you don’t do anything, someone is probably making fun of you. Heck, I’m making fun of you right now for not doing anything. Now go DO SOMETHING! ;)
**We're AAAALLLLLLLLLLL in this together! As Jojo Siwa would say, "Imma come back like a boomerang!"