Day 29: How To Handle Internet Haters

I was thumbing through some notes from photography conferences over the years and one that stood out was the following from Jenna Kutcher’s talk at last year’s Showit United:

Mo followers mo problems.

Internet hate is just something that comes with the territory. The more people you reach, the more likely you are to have someone throw some shade your way. The only way to get pure love from the internet is to limit your readers to your best friend and your mom. Don’t believe me? Let’s do a fun romp around Amazon. I want you to choose a good book you recently read. For me, I just read The Girl on the Train and it was such a fun read! So if I search this, I show just over fifty eight thousand reviews and 6% are negative. This means that 3,500 people hated it. Some reviews are:

In a word: crap.

I really don’t see what the big deal was with this book. It was so boring and I was over it halfway through.

Predictable plot, I accurately selected the killer while only 50% through the book. Waited to maybe be surprised or be proven wrong – nope.

how to handle internet haters denise karis photography blog

Ouch. Those are rough. But if the author had avoided those reviews at all costs, she wouldn’t have gotten the twenty seven thousand five-star reviews, she wouldn’t have had her story made into a movie, she wouldn’t have reached the other thousands of fans, and her story would have died behind her fear. That’s a much harder truth to face than that 6% of readers didn’t like your book.

Did you guys ever see the movie Ratatouille? In it, a food critic comes forward with the following bit of wisdom:

In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.

Deep down, both you and your haters know that the value of what you’re doing far surpasses their efforts to tear it down. No matter what it is. If you’re trying to give people something valuable, even if it’s not perfect, it’s from your heart and it’s incredibly valuable. Think of if everyone were too terrified to post online. There would be nothing for us here. The internet is what it is because of writers, photographers, artists, and creators just like you and me.

How to handle internet haters Denise Karis Photography Blog

OK, so what do you actually do when you receive a negative message/comment online? The first thing you should do is determine if they’re trying to be constructive or if they’re trying to hate on you. Some people genuinely want to help and it comes out in a less than graceful form. The best thing to do with a constructive comment is to thank them for their feedback. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just “I appreciate you contributing to the conversation, thank you so much for sharing!” Then, use it to get better. If their comment was “I could hardly hear you in this” then maybe it IS time to go over your audio gear.

If, on the flip side, they’re posting straight up hate like “You suck!” then there is honestly no need to reply. Some internet wisdom I’ve gleaned from over the years is “Don’t feed the trolls.” When you reply, when you engage, you’re feeding the comment, so make sure you’re feeding the positive on your platform. Reply to your positive comments, and leave the hate in the dust. Delete them, leave them, it’s YOUR page, so feel free to manage it how you see fit.

For more on this topic, I’m in love with this video from Marie Forleo that tackles this subject from more wonderful angles. Check it out here:

What are your thoughts? Any special tips or tricks to share in the comments? I want to hear from you and I’ll see you tomorrow for day 30: What I wish I knew when I started.

Day 98 is currently reserved for any questions you have throughout the next 100 days. To submit a question, please click here!¬† If you’re interested in supporting this project, please share, PIN and comment! Any other questions, comments or ideas, please feel free to email me at denise(at)denisekaris(dot)com

Denise Karis is an Arizona photographer who enjoys musicals, Doctor Who and breakfast burritos. IG @denisekaris

denise karis photography blog 100 posts in 100 days for photographers