It's a question we bloggers discuss and fret over, and over, and over again. How open should we be on our blogs? How much should we share? What about the crazies out there who will cyber-stalk us and send us creepy emails? or worse?
To be honest, I've never given it much thought. And I've not had to suffer any consequences of my decision to not give a damn, either. (another great benefit of NOT being an uber-popular blogger!) I have been lucky, in ten years of basically living my life online, that I can count on one hand the number of very negative comments and creepy emails I've received.
But negativity and critique is something you'll have to get used to if you write online. A lot of bloggers actually get really nasty comments, have posts about them on sites and forums dedicated to discussing bloggers, and some probably feel threatened.
I actually don't think this is necessarily a result of opening yourself up online, journalists and other writers incur a lot of negativity also, and they don't generally talk much about their personal lives. The Internet has created a forum for people to talk and write about things they might not have before. IN WAYS they might not have before.
But I do think it FEELS worse when you post pictures of yourself online. It feels like people are attacking you – all of you – especially if you also make yourself vulnerable by talking about personal issues on your blog. As soon as you get a comment that disagrees with you, it feels personal.
So, it's up to you how much you choose to share on your blog, but once you do, be prepared to deal with whatever consequences come from it.
Negative comments on your blog
I don't think you should delete negative comments, or comments that disagree with what you're saying, but it's your blog, you decide what you allow there. When you do get a well-thought out negative comment, or a disagreement starts, take a step back and DO NOT RESPOND for a while. If you're like me, you'll immediately get defensive, emotional, and start writing a novel about why you're right and the commenter is wrong. Nothing good will EVER come from a heated response.
When you're calm, and able to look at the comment from a relatively objective point of view, start writing a response, and then wait to publish it for a while. You want to be measured, mature, and understanding, not defensive and antagonistic.
You don't even have to respond at all – but monitor the conversation and if it starts to get to the point where you need to step in, then do.
*do NOT feed the trolls. You know the trolls, the commenters who just leave negative shit to stir things up. Their comments are not constructive at all, and they're generally really hateful. Delete or don't delete, but definitely do not respond.
Negative comments on another blog or forum
Generally, I'd say why would you even read those blogs or forums (don't follow the trackbacks!!), but sometimes it can be a learning experience to read what others are saying about you; only if it's “constructive” and not destructive, though. But, certainly NEVER ever respond to those comments on the other blog or forum – do not get involved in an argument on another bloggers turf.
Ultimately, how much you decide to share about your personal life on your blog will be determined by how your readers respond to it, and how much you feel it enhances your message. For me, overcoming struggles and “issues” have always been a big part of my life, and therefore are a big part of my blog, and my readers identify and relate, so I will keep opening up, and dealing with consequences as they come!
How much do you share on your blog? How have you dealt with any negativity?
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