I've been an active blogging member of the fashion community for over 4 years now, and in that time I've noticed tons of changes: in the types of content that people post, the way blogs are managed (and the fact they are managed at all), and what motivates people to blog. I'd probably be a shitty blogger if I weren't actively keeping an eye on what was going on in the community– it's part of the job, right?
Because we're actively watching what our peers do, it becomes really easy to criticize them and the whole of the fashion community, and I believe it's necessary that we do. While criticism may hurt our feelings, make us doubt ourselves, and make us question the actions of our peers, it also shows us how we can grow. Sometimes it can help guide our moral compass– would I do that as a blogger? It provides us the opportunity to have open discussions with our peers, and ultimately can prove to be a great educational opportunity.
Putting our lives on display on the internet opens all of us up to criticism. I've had people comment on how my own blog is run and how I interact with people. Instead of getting defensive or ignoring their comments, I (hopefully) try to be open and accept criticism as a way I can change my site. I've had people come to me with criticisms of how IFB runs– and I try to openly accept that feedback (and pass it along to the IFB team who CAN make changes).
When criticizing–or being criticized– it's useful to keep a few things in mind:
- Choose to accept and acknowledge criticism of your site and your self. This may require developing a thicker skin– easier said than done. It means weeding through negative or hateful comments and recognizing the gems within them.
- Understand the intentions of the person behind the comments. Are they coming to you because they believe it is a way to better your site? I know that those who come to me about IFB believe the site is great and that these changes could make it better.
- Be vocal, but kind, in your own criticisms. Most of us have a few friends we can bounce ideas around with. So if you notice a change that seems weird, talk to them about it! No one is perfect, and expressing your voice especially with communities is only a way to make it grow and become stronger.
- Go directly to the source. Have a comment or concern about IFB, your favorite blogger, or another community you're part of? Take it to them. Go to those managing the site to express your concerns. Talk to them via email, rather than leaving a nasty comment, directing a Tweet at them, or flaming them in a post.
- If you wouldn't say it to someone's face, reconsider what you're saying. One thing I love about writing classes is that you're forced to sit in a circle and give criticism directly to the writer. It's a lot more difficult to give criticism when you're looking them in the eyes. I'm really guilty of this myself, but if you can't say directly your thoughts to the blogger or community in question, consider where your feelings are coming from.
How do you respond to criticism? Do you have a policy on your blog against critical comments? Have you found critical content written about you or your site, and how did you react to it?
Image by BitchyMode.