Image by Alles-Schlumpf
The blogosphere isn't that different than your daily “real” life: you wake up and get started working for the day. You interact with people–colleagues, friends, your family. You experience a range of emotions– joy, exhaustion, anger, annoyance, excitement.
This is all to say, that since “real” life and the blogosphere have so many similarities, there's one you can't ignore: personality conflicts.
The simple fact is with 6.9 billion people in the world, you're not going to like them all. With millions of blogs on the internet, Twitter, and in our own fashion neighborhood, you may not like everyone you encounter. Maybe you think another blogger leaves the most thoughtless, nonsensical comments. Perhaps you've worked with another blogger and the experience left a lot to be desired. Maybe you've become besties–and then all of a sudden, like happens with friends, you have a horrible falling out.
We're lucky because the internet provides us with a certain degree of separation that our daily life doesn't always afford us. But if you're trying to run your blog professionally, trying to network and build relationships, chances are you can't totally avoid your “miss list” of bloggers. No man is an island, especially when you're floating around millions of blogs!
- Identify the source of the issue: Do you hate that blogger because you're really jealous? Do you think they come across as snobby– but worry you come across the same way? Often times what we dislike about others is what we dislike about ourselves.
- A tip I picked up from a work colleague– read everything in the best possible light. Tone is so hard to gauge through words. Unless you want to use excessive winky faces to let people know you're being sarcastic, playful, or humorous, lighten up on what and how you read it.
- Realize that everyone's sense of ethics, habits, and goals are different from yours–and they're going to take different routes to reach them. You DON'T have to work with bloggers who vary from you–there are enough talented bloggers who will share your vision and style that you can focus your energy on. Don't focus (and waste) that precious energy on anyone else!
- You can keep conversations cordial, but not read their blog, follow them on Twitter, engage actively in conversation, etc. In my own experiences, there are people in my life (before blogging and after), that I just communicate poorly with. Every effort just became this struggle to get our points across and for the other to understand them. Eventually I realized– it's just not worth it. It's not worth putting all of that energy in to communicating with someone you just can't communicate with.
- What if you're caught in the middle of a personality conflict? What would you do if you had two best friends who disliked each other? Don't take sides. You can listen amiably, support both parties, or take a neutral “not interested” stance.
- Talk to the person in question about your problems. Email them if you feel they're leaving a series of inaccurate or confused comments about your posts. Talk to them if some business dealing or blogging partnership hasn't worked out in your best interests or comfort levels. It's possible they aren't aware that there is a problem.
Essentially, use the tools and tactics you would in your day-to-day life and modify them (like you would any conversational habits) for your online communications. Have you had to deal with a personality conflict online? How have you handled it without resorting to name calling (or tearing apart their comments for grammar/content/logic/any other piddly excuse to show your superiority circa 1999-2002 online interactions)?