A Guide To Understanding Your Haters


Are you a writer, commenter, reporter, blogger or social media user? If you use the Internet to express your thoughts, opinions or ideas on the Internet, you've probably been subjected to a taste of the haterade.

The more you put yourself in the public eye, the more you expose yourself to haters. Unfortunately, that's a fact. Since so much happens on the Internet these days, it's pretty much impossible to escape an encounter with a troll. Nonetheless, knowledge is power. You may not be able to make your haters disapear, but you can certainly change the way they affect you.

If you're not sure where to begin, this diagram crafted by Ann Friedman is a great place to start. In fact, it's dazzlingly necessary. It offers a simple and effective "way to separate haterade from productive feedback." 

Before you start freaking out and go full-on Chris Brown on your Twitter account, think about where the feedback is coming from. Do you know the person who made the comment? Are they lovers or frenemies? The former support you and want to see you succeed while the later thrive on your losses. My personal piece of advice: don't be afraid to unfriend. Get rid of the frenemies in your life. If you can't (like if they are coworkers or family), make sure to limit how their say affects you. They are just jealous / envious / sad / frustrated individuals. It's their problem, not yours.

Now let's get to the real nitty gritty ... the feedback that comes from strangers. This type of criticism can come from two types of people: people who know what they're talking about and people who don't. The former are experts in your field and their criticism is constructive because they are judging your piece, not you as a person. They are critical of your arguments, not of your character. The latter don't have your level of expertise nor do they have the ability to engage with your ideas. You should give those that are less knowledgeable about your field less credence. I cannot stress this enough. Their ignorance is not your fault. Their hatred doesn't say so much about you as it does about them. You can choose to engage with them and educate them, but it's not a burden you should have to carry. If you're a writer, you should be concerned that your material is accessible for everyone, even those that don't have your qualifications.

However, the comments coming from people in your field should affect you differently than those coming from outside it. You don't need to school every single commenter or Twitter follower. That's exhausting. Your time and attention are scarce resources, so use them wisely. More importantly, arguing with a troll will often feel like this:

Who do you want to spend your energy on? The people who help you become better, or the ones that drag you down? The answer seems pretty clear to me:

Have you ever fought off a troll? Share your story or best tips in the comment section.

For more on pulverising trolls, follow me on Twitter: @feministabulous