How To Deal With Negativity Online

In this day and age, the majority of us are online. In the beauty, hair and make-up industry, the majority of us use multiple platforms, whether it be a blog, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Unfortunately, that means you are also open to criticism and it’s not always easy to handle.

So we’ve come up with a guide to help you deal with any negativity you receive on the world wide web.

1. Accept you’re in the public eye.

When you create any kind of online profile, you do so knowing that others will have access to that side of you. While you make yourself accessible, you will be open to people’s comments and opinions.

2. This is your space.

Just because you are online, however, does not give others the ‘right’ to comment negatively. It’s your own space that you are welcoming others to. This means you determine which comments you consider appropriate and you control who has the ability to post (depending on the platform).

3. Remember the positives.

On social media, nine times out of ten you will receive positive comments. They will be kind, encouraging or even simply enquiry about something you’ve posted. And then there is that one comment that doesn’t make you feel so light and fuzzy. You can bet your bottom dollar though that, when you go to bed that night, it will be that one negative comment that is spinning around your head instead of the numerous positive ones. It is human nature to want to please everyone and dwell on it, but if you can train you brain to automatically click over the remind you of the nine positive comments you will be all the happier for it. Rather than give power to that one lonesome person, hand it over to the nine others who had your back!

 

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4. Give it space.

It can be the worst feeling in the world to read a negative comment. Your heart can start to pound and you question everything you’ve done up until that point. At this point it’s wise to step away from the source of negativity; shut down your laptop, lock your phone, walk away and try to focus on something else for a while. This will give you the chance to calm down before making any rash decisions and, hopefully, allow you to put some space between you and the negativity.

5. Determine if it’s worth a response.

There are two kinds of negative comments: constructive criticism and just plain nasty. Being able to understand which one you are looking at is key to providing an appropriate response. A troll is very easy to spot – they will be blunt, hurtful, offensive and generally completely unnecessary within the online conversation. They comment simply to get a response out of you and/or others online. There are also those people who feel low about themselves or are simply having a bad day and want to make others have a bad day as well. When a comment is not necessary or constructive, your cleanest, most efficient method to deal is just hit delete and if it’s from a repeat offender, block the user to avoid any future unpleasantness.

6. Embrace constructive criticism.

On the other hand, if the comment is genuinely making a valid point, it’s a good idea to learn how to recognise constructive criticism. In fact, if you know how to take critique from others, you will consistently learn and grow. If someone makes a suggestion on something that didn’t work in your video, or let you know that you had a spelling error in your caption, this information is actually helpful and can help you improve the content you put online in the future! Take on board the helpful comments, thank them and embrace it.

7. Don’t go on the defence or offence.

If you choose to comment back, avoid getting overly defensive or, worse, offensive. After giving it some time and space, come back with a clear head when you write your response. It’s also best to avoid getting roped into commenting more than once. Write a response, end it and leave it at that. If a commentor tries to goad you into responding again, ignore it; you’ve said your piece and any further discussion will just prolong those negative feelings.

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Some things to think about:

+ Keep in mind that any negative comment you receive says more about the person that it does about you. They are either deeply unhappy, insecure or just having a bad day and want others to have one as well.

+ When responding to anyone online, always go out of your way to be kind, courteous and polite. There is a lot of room for misunderstanding when you don’t have body language and tone of voice to help you carry your meaning.

+ Have a control plan for yourself so that if you do receive a negative comment, you know how to deal with it and feel better. It might be that you speak to a friend first about it, or you hit delete. Then you go and put on your favourite ‘feel good’ song or watch your go-to comfort movie. Treat yourself to a hot chocolate from Starbucks if you have to! Just know how to feel good vibes again and shake that nagging, uncomfortable feeling.

+ Be aware that when somebody comments some unkind, offensive or just plain rude, it might not only be you it is affecting. It’s important to deal with any such comment quickly as it can incite other viewers, readers or subscribers to comment back as well, in support or disagreeance. You want your online space to be a happy peaceful one, not a place of argument and tension. Deal with the source of the problem quickly before anyone else feels the need to do so.

+ Finally, acknowledging and understand your weaknesses and insecurities can be important when it comes to the online world. This is the reason why you can laugh some comments off while others stick with you and tie a knot in your belly. Someone can state a totally unrealistic and completely irrelevant remark about you and it means nothing. But if you run a blog and you know writing isn’t your strong point, a comment telling you to go back to English class can knock your confidence. Or, perhaps you’re developing your own make-up channel but you don’t have perfectly clear skin. If somebody were to comment and tell you how ugly you are without make-up, it could easily leave you even more insecure about your skin and avoid making videos in the future. Work on accepting your perceived ‘weak points’ and the next time a troll on the internet tries to target them, they won’t catch you quite so off guard.

Rachel x

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