Once you’ve published that blog post, tweeted, facebooked, pinned it and pimped the hell out of it, it’s exciting to get a notification of a comment – it’s why we held the comments challenge back in June (and we’ve already got the next one planned!) Comments are lovely, like a little happy note from someone you might not know saying “Hey! This is awesome!”.
Sometimes though, you’ll get a comment which isn’t as positive as the others – so how do you deal with negative comments? (And how can you use them to your advantage?)
First – read it objectively – is it really negative? Bloggers are so quick to shout about “haters” but perhaps the commenter is trying to give you some helpful advice, albeit in a slightly clumsy way. In an outfit post for example, a commenter might say “I don’t really like those sunglasses, they don’t suit your face” Instead of getting straight on the defensive (and hey, that’s totally natural!) think about what the commenter is awkwardly saying, and carry on the discussion, ask if they have any suggestions (sometimes, an objective viewer can help you find the perfect item for you) – it’s always a good thing to carry on a discussion with someone if you are able to turn it into a positive outcome.
The default reaction to most negative comments is “well, they’re just jealous”. But in reality – especially with the awkwardly worded comments like our example above – is that many “negative” comments are coming from people who have been regular readers of yours, but who may feel unhappy with any new changes that your blog takes. “I write for myself” comes up in so many of the blogger chats asking why you blog, but lets face it, how many blogs close down because they’re not getting the following that they had hoped for? Try to see where the commenter is coming from before writing them off as a jealous hater troll.
Of course, comments can sometimes just be rude – “you’re fat!” “you’re ugly!” – and while it can be really tempting to respond back in the same vein, wait until you’ve calmed down a bit and, if you feel it requires a reply, be over polite. Ever heard the phrase “kill them with kindness”? There’s nothing more irritating to these people than being overly nice back – “Thanks so much for your concern!”
As well as choosing whether to respond or not, you might want to think about whether you would delete comments or not. (This might be something worth including in your comments policy so no one can say they weren’t aware) Deleting the comments means that you can ignore it and keep your blog a happier space, but this could anger the commenter, and cause them to leave even more horrid comments. Leaving them up shows that you’re not affected by these comments, but could then encourage your loyal readers to defend you – which is a very nice thing to do! – and cause your comments thread to derail from talking about the post.
How do you deal with not-so-positive comments?