When you’re a writer, you expect that your opinions and ideas won’t always be met with unanimous warmth and praise. Especially when you write about controversial issues like the fragility of black masculinity or Lena Dunham’s use of the term ‘butt sex’ on Girls. My desire to create content was never motivated by a need to win an online popularity contest. It’s nice when people support my views and that support then turns into page views. But more than anything, I just want an open forum to express my views. And I’ve created a site and a business that allows me to do so.
That said, some comments really get under my skin. If you were tuned in last week, you already know how I feel about the guy who wastes his finger strength typing ‘Who Cares?’. But other types of commenting that really drive me nuts are:
1. When people completely miss the point of the article and disagree with statements that were never made
2. When people comment, and it’s crystal clear that they’ve never read the article
3. When people use the comments on my blog posts to get into feuds with other commenters
These things happen all the time, and though they REALLY bother me, I don’t invest the time or energy in getting involved. I’ll acknowledge when a commenter has presented a good argument, whether it’s in support of or against my opinion. I’ll join in on conversations that I feel are productive. I’ll definitely course correct if someone is clearly just a despicable human being (like the guys who advocated fat shaming other guys).
But one subcategory of comment hate that doesn’t bother me is when commenters express that they don’t like my writing or my blog entirely. And you’d think that would bother me the most as it’s the most personal. It’s unintelligently worded constructive feedback on my entire online existence. When someone insults me as a person, like the guy in the God, Another Gay Group (GAGG) Facebook group that called me a faux social justice warrior that searched for controversy in everything, I take offense. But when someone leaves a comment like the following, I just brush off my shoulders.
“I usually hate your blog, but this post I can get behind.”
I could’ve gotten all Kanye in my response and destroyed his character after exploring what’s surely a lame ass Facebook page. But putting that type of negative energy out into the universe just isn’t worth it. Instead, I simply commented, “Thanks for your honesty!”. Because I’m a stand up guy. And because I don’t have time for the bullshit.
In fact, I feel kind of honored in a sense. When someone disagrees with me so strongly that they publicly express it, it means that I’ve done a great job of stating my case. It means my writing was clear enough and persuasive enough for you to understand my point of view. The fact that a reader was moved enough to do anything is rewarding enough to me. Regardless of whether someone despises my point of view or loves it, they took the time to read what I have to say. And that’s the whole purpose. To reach a wide audience with my writing. To educate readers about issues they may not have known about. To encourage conversation about key events.
Besides, since childhood, haven’t we always been told that you’re doing something right if people are talking about you? I guess, when it comes to online writing, you’re nobody until somebody hates you.