Dealing with Negativity Online (& in Life)

October 30, 2009
By Lisa Barone in Online Marketing

Abby Johnson from WebProNews scored a great video interview with Bloggess Jenny Lawson during BlogWorldExpo a couple weeks ago. If you haven’t watched it, you should. Not because Jenny is adorable and hilarious (though she is), but because she shares her secret for dealing with haters, trolls, and those absolutely set on trying to ruin her day. And it’s Friday. You could probably use a double dose of awesome.

Jenny’s secret is to choose to find the humor and to laugh. Because, as she so eloquently puts it, if you can’t find a way to appreciate the people who love you AND those who love to hate you, you’re missing out. It’s a lesson I’ve continually learned, accepted, and epitomized over the past year. I now find people who hate me HILARIOUS and I’ve come to find that the critics are often wrong.  You’d be surprised what that does.

The Internet gives you license to be and do whatever the hell you want. You’re given that free of charge at sign up. What you have to bring, however, is the strength to be it.

Jenny could probably waste a lot of time apologizing for offending those who prefer stereotypes. She could probably bite her tongue and be less clever and less who she is. She could probably be softer and not quite as ‘outspoken’.  But then she’d probably suck. She wouldn’t be delivering keynotes that induce giggle tears or working on a new book.  Instead, she’s chosen to say, “screw the haters” and to find the humor when people take time out of their obviously not-so-busy schedules to fling misspelled insults at her. You always have a choice – to take it in and let it affect your business or to laugh it out.

Laugh.

Sure, it’s not always easy, but the haters were never your audience. They’re not who you’re after. Do not let them affect or alter how you’re talking to that audience. That’s who you focus on, no matter what.   Success happens when you stop caring about the peanut gallery and bleed every ounce of what you have on making things better for your audience.  Everything else is your comic relief. It’s not your fault they’re too sensitive for the Internet.  The best way to deal with unprovoked criticism and haters is to say, “thanks”, giggle, and to realize they don’t matter.  They never did. Opt out.

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