blogging

How to Deal with Internet Criticism

Carol Burnett once said:

Words, once they are printed, have a life of their own.

Carol Burnett

Carol’s quote came to mind recently, when I received some strongly-worded criticism in response to a post I’d made, on a social media group. Whether my words were truth or lies, seemed less relevant than the individual opinions of the responders making the comments.

It seemed some people relished an opportunity to vent their spleen, albeit in an anonymous way.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Pexels.com

Normally, I’d be a little rattled by heavy-handed criticism, but I’m no longer surprised by being hammered with a critical counter-argument, at least on social media.

And yet, in distancing myself from reacting to the negative commentary, I began to feel like some kind of stone-hearted internet troll.

Aristotle was unsurprisingly philosophical about criticism:

“There is only one way to avoid criticism: Do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”

Aristotle

I wondered should we ignore all negative feedback and scroll on, or respond to critical comments? If so, how?

Criticism of others’ opinions via the internet, and indeed, cyber-bullying, itself, has seemingly reached pandemic proportions. Thankfully the blogging world is mostly immune to negativity, but it did make me wonder how others dealt constructively, with heavy-handed criticism.

An American Politician, Sam Rayburn once said,

Any jackass can kick a barn down, but it takes a carpenter to build it.     

www.wiseoldsayings.com

Marc and Angel advocated creating space between hurtful words and feelings.

“Accept that someone else’s opinion is NOT your problem.”

“How you seem to someone and how you actually are, is rarely congruent.

Even if they get the basic gist of who you are, they’re still missing a big piece of the puzzle. What someone thinks of you will rarely contain the whole truth, which is fine.”

Marc and Angel

A measure of acceptance that we are all flawed and that we are all different, is echoed in this anonymous saying from wiseoldsayings.com

Criticism is the disapproval of people, not for having faults, but having faults different from your own.  

Perhaps we can all agree to disagree?

Have you experienced reactive negative criticism on the internet to a post you made?

How did you handle it?

Is there a better way to respond?

124 thoughts on “How to Deal with Internet Criticism”

  1. Well as much as I would love to take the advice on hate speech, I sometimes want some sort of feedback. I get none. I don’t even know it’s reaching people who might like it .. great article btw 🤗

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Apurva and your welcome comment. I usually visit blogs if readers have taken the trouble to leave a comment or two. It seems courteous to say the least. I must miss one occasionally but it is expected when you get to senior years. How long have you been blogging?

      Like

      1. Yes. It takes effort to create words foro all the thoughts. I understand some kind of appreciation or feedback keeps up the confidence to write. I have started writing from Almost 2 months now. But I have took an year to actually make it work

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That sounds very sensible. Give it a year and you may well be addicted, like me, but in a nice way. Don’t concentrate on followers, but rather a nice community and hopefully comments along the way.

          Like

  2. Now I realize why this page has been open so long. It took me down a long thread of thought. You always manage to get to the heart of the matter. Any jackass can kick a barn down, but it takes a carpenter to build it was a quote that was worth copying and I did, then got lost like the butterfly that I am. I have a file of quotes from Marc and Angel as well probably decades old. We are apparently meandering a similar path in life. To be a better human has always been my goal. There is so much good in this post and the comments that I know I will always end up spending more time here than at many blogs. I had a few hurtful comments in the beginning and almost let it stop me in my tracks. Then I decided it was either more about them than about me or I was misinterpreting what I read. I learned somewhere early on, (certainly not from my parents) that if you can’t say something nice, keep your mouth shut. Criticism is always unwelcome on it’s own. You are already a very wise woman to understand that the issue is usually the person offering it. Happy November, Amanda.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Marlene but I fear you think I am much wiser than I actually am. I still have to work hard at the getting of wisdom. It is a W.I.P. The posts are a way of reinforcing what I have read and learnt and hopefully they might also create a spark in someone else somewhere in the world that needs to hear it too.
      If you and I can spread kindness in the world and help during our lives, then we can be satisfied that we have lived well and fruitfully. Like you, my parents equipped me with very little emotional ammunition or protection. I was wise enough to quickly realise I needed more knowledge or I was going to sink. I still find it incredible that I am able to gain so much from just a few words quoted on a screen. You have been a big part of that journey, at least in blogging, Marlene. I so appreciate that and I can’t imagine why or how someone would find fault with your blog writings. Again though, if we think of the criticism, in terms of it actually being about what is going on for that other person, it is a lot easier to stay strong, be objective and not feel rejected/insulted/hurt. Often that is exactly why the other person is being mean, because ironically they are angry/rejected/feeling hurt about something. That might be related to you and it might not. Only they know. If they don’t make the connection of their emotional reaction with the inital trigger that was the cause of their mental pain, that mental pain they feel doesn’t extinguish but gets deflected or passed on to other or even sometimes is turned inwardly towards themselves via self harm or substance abuse. I wish I had known this 40 years ago!
      Happy November to you my dear friend. Thanks for a fantastic comment.

      Liked by 1 person

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