I will admit, the picture above has no real relation to what I'm about to talk about, but let's pretend there's a seriously meaningful, er, meaning behind it. You see those sunglasses? They're blocking out the haters. You see me standing alone in the dark alley? That's a metaphor for how lonely bullying can make one feel. But the light at the end? That's another poetic metaphor for just that - there is light at the end of the tunnel!
Okay so I'm trying to make light of the situation, but we all know I'm never one for a super serious blog post. Either way, the topic of online bullying is something I'd like to address, in true, rambling Steph form.
I won't divulge into this too much, but I've been at the receiving end of both real life and internet bullying multiple times, probably just like most of you reading this! Last week I had a few comments regarding a certain blog post of mine, and they weren't exactly the nicest. No biggie. I mean, I like to think of myself as fairly thick-skinned (that saying always grosses me out for some reason) but a few months back it was enough to turn me into nothing short of an emotional wreck. In fact, that's probably an understatement. Now? Well, just call me the..hater see you later...er. Okay, I'll work on a better name, but you catch my drift. What I'm trying to say, is that when it comes to dealing with internet nasties, I like to think I've got a few tricks up my sleeve.
You know what they say - any press is good press. I mean, it's a little general, but it's pretty much true. If you're a good person (which I'm sure you all are!) the bad things being said are probably pretty inaccurate, which means you don't need to take personal notice of them anyway. For things like this, I like to think of it as the previous: it's all good press. If someone hates me enough to continuously come back to my site, then hell, I'll just go ahead and think of them as one extra unique visitor per day. It's a crappy thing to do (categorising people into being just a number, that is) but if it helps, I'm all for it. Just delete the nasty comments and subconsciously say thank you to the visitor for upping your analytics.
The next thing I like to do is to actually take the comments on board. Now obviously, if the comment is something along the lines of 'You're a *insert insult here* then please, feel free to block and delete that comment and person entirely. Bad vibes are not where it's at. But when it's a comment with a purpose, even if it's one that's not worded in the kindest way, I do like to take a little time to actually consider what these people are saying. Once upon a time I had someone tell me my videos on Youtube were too long and boring. Ouch. But hey, if they were thinking it (and happened to say it too) then maybe others were as well. And maybe they were just too polite to say anything about it. So I took that on as creative criticism, and voila! On the next video they complimented me and even apologised about the comment the time before. Score.
This leads me onto another way to deal with online bullies. Kill them with kindness. I said this on a Twitter chat the other night, and so many people agreed. Remember when your parents told you ignore the bullies? I was never very good at that. In fact, I'm still not very good at that, only now - instead of getting angry - I get friendly. Seriously friendly. If bullies (both online and off) don't get a negative reaction, they'll soon stop having fun. It's your blog/website/Youtube/whatever, and they're the ones encroaching on your little space. Have some fun of your own. Smiley faced emojis are my secret weapon.
Now obviously one way to get rid of trolls is to delete them and/or simply ignore them, but let's face it, once you've seen a nasty message you may as well have it imprinted on your forehead for the rest of the day. One way that I've found to decrease the amount of negative comments even popping up on my blog is to address pretty much every issue imaginable in that one blog post. I mean, take this post for example. I'll be the first to admit that I am no psychology genius nor am I a poster-girl for anti-bullying. I blog, these are my thoughts, and that's pretty much all this blog is ever for (and the odd blog post about how much I effing love leather jackets). I tend to tackle any negative issues straight up, so that when/if anyone trolls the comments saying the same thing, I'm prepared for it. I know my downfalls, I know there's probably eighteen different typos in here and I'm fully aware that I've probably said something stupid within the past few paragraphs. Guilty as charged. So just as long as I'm aware, these commenters can't hurt me. Sticks and stones my friends, stick and stones...
How do you deal with the h8rs?