When the Comments are Mean

When the Comments are Mean

Almost 2 weeks ago, this post (which is an abbreviated version of this post) was promoted on the Huffington Post’s Facebook page. It was a blogging dream-come-true for me. For most bloggers, this is the main goal of being a HuffPost Contributor – to 1.) get promoted to one of the main pages and shared on social media in order to ultimately drive traffic to your own site and 2.) to be able to say you did it. I’ve had a couple posts shared on social media by Scary Mommy in the past (also a blogging goal of mine) and they were mostly well received with just a few trolls here and there. You can’t please everyone, after all. However, this post seemed to spark outrage in the 100+ FB commenters. I tried to tell myself to stop reading the comments throughout the day but I just couldn’t. I felt such a vast range of emotions throughout the day (mad, sad, and embarrassed, to name a few) and it really had an effect on me that I wasn’t expecting. I learned a lot about blogging and putting myself out there through this experience and I want to share some of that with you.

Make sure your message and tone is clear. My message got lost somewhere. Somehow, what some readers took away from my article was that I am mad, obsessed with my daughter’s looks, that I only want people to say she’s pretty, and that I am “freaking out” over something I should be thankful for. None of those things reflect my reality at all. I really just wanted people to see my daughter and not just her glasses.

Tell the whole story. I think one of the issues was that the version I posted on HP wasn’t the full version. It didn’t give context to the vast range of emotions that come with Sweet E’s glasses. I had lots of people comment that I should be grateful that she doesn’t/didn’t have anything wrong with her. I am, of course. Her story could have turned out way different than it did and I am so thankful it didn’t. Perhaps if I had told the whole story and provided more context my message would have been more clear. But maybe not.

People are mean and very bold behind the protection of a computer screen. I’m pretty sure no one would have called me a “whiny bitch” to my face like they did on FB. Yes, that actually happened. Nor would they have told me that they feel sorry for my daughter because I am her mother (yes, that happened, too) or that I should seek counseling because I clearly have issues (yep, that too). I wanted so badly to respond to those people and tell them that they were wrong, that they misread my post, and that they had it all confused. I wanted to defend myself and tell them I’m a good mother, but I didn’t. I reminded myself throughout the day that just a couple days prior, internet trolls were fat-shaming a 99 lb. Olympic gymnast from Mexico and this is nothing compared to that. An Olympic gymnast, for goodness sake! But I digress…

My skin is thicker than I thought. I’ve always had thick skin but this was like putting my feet to the fire… and I lived to tell about it. And you know what? I might be a little more gun-shy next time I post to Huff Post, but I definitely will again. I share my experiences and my truth. Not everyone will like it or agree, and that’s okay. The nasties out there don’t know me; they read a few hundred words that told a fraction of a story and casted judgment solely on that. Maybe I deserved it. Maybe I didn’t. But I know in my heart of hearts that their judgments are not accurate.

Haters are Gonna Hate. But there are lovers out there, too. Huge thanks to those who commented nice things or said that they have experienced similar things in their own journeys and lives; those poor, sweet people got clobbered once they commented. And an even bigger thanks to those that sought me out and sent me private messages showing their support. That means the world to me. I’m also grateful for the ones who were respectful even though they disagreed with my thoughts and feelings (I’m down for a respectful conversation all day every day) and for those who came to my site to learn more before jumping to conclusions.

Focus on the Good. There were roughly 130 or so comments that were angry, vicious, and just downright mean. But, there were over 1.8k “likes” on the article itself and a couple hundred “likes” and “loves” on the FB status. So, math says that there were significantly more supporters than opposers; it’s just that the opposers had a much louder voice and probably always will. I had to remind myself of this to keep me from pulling the posting down all-together. I almost did (because I thought it must’ve been so poorly written in order to be so misread and elicit such a negative response) but changed my mind, thankfully.

My husband often says that he admires me for being able to put myself out there the way that I do; that he couldn’t do it. But until this experience, it was easy for me, honestly. This whole thing taught me to be more empathetic to those who are constantly in the limelight (not that this was the “limelight” by any stretch) in that we only see a small fraction of their lives and are so quick to judge. I think from now on, I am going to focus more on giving the benefit of the doubt and learning more before formulating an opinion.

And, I’m going to keep on writing because in the words of my girl Teresa Giudice, haters gonna hate but I’m gonna love love love.

Have you ever been trolled on social media? Tell me about it!

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36 Comments

  1. August 24, 2016 / 5:50 pm

    This has been one of my fears about blogging and using social media. I’m nervous about someone or a large group of commenters being “mean”. I really like your tips, and I am going to remember your suggestions here. Also, sharing your post with others. I’m sorry you had a few people not be very kind to you. I think the way you’re handling it is great and also helping other bloggers!

    • August 24, 2016 / 5:56 pm

      Thanks for the kind words, Jennifer! Don’t let the fear rule you… do what you want to do and (try to) ignore the haters!

  2. Amanda
    August 24, 2016 / 10:24 am

    You are so right, Shannon! People do get very brave hiding behind their screens! You see this a lot with celebrities too (how cool that you have something in common with celebrities!!). And, mom shaming is just a whole other problem on its own… It’s easy to judge other moms when you only get a fraction of the story and you’ve never met them. You are brave for sharing your stories on a daily basis, trying to help others, and shame on the haters! I’d hate to see what people would say about them if they were under the same magnifying glass 🙁

    • August 24, 2016 / 4:33 pm

      Hahaha! I don’t know that my experience is anything close to the level of celebrities but thank you! I appreciate your kind words and support so much!

  3. August 24, 2016 / 1:32 am

    Thank you for sharing! People can be so cruel! That is one thing that has held me back from posting on a site like HuffPo.

    • August 24, 2016 / 8:33 am

      I feel like the benefits outweigh the risks. Don’t let potential haters keep you from doing what you want to do!

  4. August 23, 2016 / 9:54 pm

    Great advice! I haven’t been published on HuffPo, but I have had some rude comments on my blog and FB. Haters are definitely going to hate. Might as well save my energy for a more worthy cause!

    • August 23, 2016 / 10:13 pm

      You have?! Luckily I havent gotten any negativity here yet. I agree about saving energy!

    • August 23, 2016 / 6:32 pm

      Thank you, Sami!! I appreciate the kind words! I hope you don’t get any more rude comments!

  5. August 23, 2016 / 5:43 pm

    People can be so cruel when they’re writing from the anonymity of a keyboard. They just read things from their own perspective without considering there could be an alternative/great context. I definitely agree with you on tone and telling the whole story. It helps to make your intentions clearer. But you’re totally right that you’re never going to please everyone! You just have to write for the people who appreciate and understand your material! 🙂

    • August 23, 2016 / 5:45 pm

      Yes! Thank you so much!

  6. pamperparenting
    August 23, 2016 / 5:00 pm

    Very good points to remember. I’m glad your skin is thicker than you thought. 🙂 I hope mine will be, too, when the time comes…. .

    • August 23, 2016 / 5:19 pm

      Thank you!! I hope the time never comes for you!

  7. August 23, 2016 / 4:56 pm

    Don’t you wonder what these people do in the meantime of waiting for a new post to pop up so they explode their hate all over it? I mean really, what do they do? How miserable must someone be that they can’t want to tell people their negative opinions? Well, like you said, they hide behind the computer, you may never meet any of them, and you won’t let them stop your progress. Sorry you had to deal with it.

    • August 23, 2016 / 5:19 pm

      Yes! I mean, what happened in your day that made you that mean?! Thanks for reading and for your support!

  8. August 23, 2016 / 4:54 pm

    Aahh…such great advice! I don’t like getting “those” comments!!

    • August 23, 2016 / 5:18 pm

      They’re definitely not fun!! Thanks for reading!

  9. August 23, 2016 / 3:48 pm

    Haters gonna hate <——– Truer words have never been spoken. Its unfortunate that people can be so big and bad behind their computer screens.

    • August 23, 2016 / 5:18 pm

      Agreed! Just gotta keep on loving…

  10. August 23, 2016 / 1:12 pm

    First..I’m really sorry this happened to you. People can seriously be so mean. I think that so often we refuse to look at the big picture and are so quick to jump down each other’s throat, especially with the safety of a computer screen between us!
    Secondly, I really appreciate you writing this and sharing your feelings. It shows a lot that it hurt you, but you are getting right back up and continuing on! It will only make you better!

    • August 23, 2016 / 5:18 pm

      Thank you, Suzanne! Everything in life is a lesson, right?! Lesson #1 – Down with the trolls! LOL

  11. becauseisaidsobabymarla
    August 23, 2016 / 1:08 pm

    The big difference between mommy bloggers and internet trolls is that we are openly putting ourselves out there to share our honest experiences. Like you said, these people simply have keyboard confidence. They don’t share honest stories about birth or breastfeeding for the world to read! I read the article and I understood your point clearly.

    • August 23, 2016 / 5:17 pm

      Thank you SO MUCH! You’re so right. I appreciate the support and kind words!

  12. August 23, 2016 / 10:33 am

    Trolls have not visited my site yet, but if they do, I plan to delete the comments without recognition. The point of blogging is to share information and encourage each other. I hate that you had to figure out how thick your skin was in this process, but at least it taught you more about how strong you are!

    • August 23, 2016 / 5:16 pm

      Thanks, Erin! I haven’t had any negativity on this site, luckily but I would probably delete them, too. Nobody needs that in their life!

  13. August 23, 2016 / 9:53 am

    Loved this post. Thanks for sharing your honest feelings about something not so fun as a blogger contributing to a bigger platform. Don’t mind them! Your post was great! 🙂

    • August 23, 2016 / 5:16 pm

      Thanks, girlfriend! You know I’m forever grateful for your support! xo

    • August 23, 2016 / 5:15 pm

      I hope it never happens!!

  14. August 23, 2016 / 9:23 am

    Don´t let them get to you, your writing is great and like you say, there will always be haters! So keep up the great work and definitely don´t stop posting on Huffpo!

    • August 23, 2016 / 5:15 pm

      Thank you, Tineke! I appreciate the kind words and support so much!

  15. August 23, 2016 / 8:08 am

    People are so much bolder when they are simply typing to a stranger. Many of them would never say such terrible things face-to-face. It’s a definite drawback to social media!

    • August 23, 2016 / 5:15 pm

      A drawback for sure! Although, if some one called me a “whiny B” to my face, I would probably laugh at them. LOL

  16. August 23, 2016 / 7:59 am

    Sometimes is so hard to take things the right way online, I am glad you shared this. My favorite is haters are gonna hate, so true. Theres nothing we can do either!

    • August 23, 2016 / 5:14 pm

      Thank you, Susie! It makes me wonder how many things I have misread online, too. Ya know?

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