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Random Thoughts: When You Put It Out There

One of the things that I never really thought about before I started blogging was that when you put your opinions out there for the world to see, there are people that are actually going to see them. Duh. You’d think I might have known that, I mean that was my intention in the first place. Write reviews, write articles and get people to read them. Some might even like them.

But as with anything I do, and this has always been the case with me, the idea of something and the reality of it don’t always cross paths early on. They will eventually, but not right from the start.

So of course, getting comments still thrills me. I’m the idiot sitting here with a Cheshire cat grin responding to comments left for me. Well, most of them anyway. Actually, I don’t think aside from spammers I’ve had anything too hurtful posted about me on my site, yet. I’m not foolish enough to think it won’t. But for now my site is small and my audience tends to be people who like to read the content I have. That may change and that’s okay. But I’ve heard of other bloggers, much more popular than I, who have received negative comments on their posts and reviews.

Now, I am person who believes that everyone is entitled to their opinion. And even me believing it or not doesn’t really matter, because people have their opinions regardless of whatever I think or feel.

I just wish I had realized what to expect when putting content out there before I actually did it. That way, when the anonymity became awareness and awareness brought with it both the positive and the negative, I would have been more prepared.

As far as criticism goes, I like to think I’m thick skinned enough to handle constructive criticism. That, of course, doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be affected if I were criticized. But the variety that is constructive is something to learn from, to think about, to possibly even grow from. The other kind of criticism, the hurtful kind, I just try to shake off.

But when you put it out there, there has to be that level of expectation that people aren’t going to like what you have to say. And because it’s out there, those individuals have every right to have their opinion about what you’ve said. You’ve put it out there. Now, if they choose to respond in a less than respectful way on your blog, if it’s hurtful, I think that merits a deleted comment. Why should you be reminded, day after day, of something negative or insulting. It is your blog. It’s the one you nurture and grow and you should not have to be constantly reminded of something hateful.

Of course if the comment is made on a public forum, then it will remain there whether you like it or not. It may be hurtful and it may piss you off, but that’s the problem with putting it out there. It’s one of the drawbacks. You’ll have those who love you and shower you with endless praise, but you’ll also have those that hate you or just simply want to make your day a little bit worse. Or, they just might disagree with you.

When you put it out there, there will be positives and negatives. You can’t please everyone, and the more in the spotlight you are, the more likely someone is going to want to take it away. If you want the positive feedback you have to expect the negative. It’s easy to forget when we are surrounded by our friends and our regular site visitors who share similar passions and the same enthusiasm we do. But the Internet is a big place, and our friends aren’t the only ones seeing what we have to offer.

There are people who enjoy controversy. They enjoy stirring the pot and battling just for the sake of it. I’ve read over some of these all out wars on quite a few blogs and on Goodreads – I can never get to the end because they just become redundant after awhile.

But last week, after reading what turned out to be a horrific comment battle on someone’s blog, I found a link to an author posting (and I wish I could remember who wrote the post so I could link it here and give her credit) where she gave the very best advice on the matter I’ve heard.

She was talking about authors, but this applies really to anyone who puts what they have to say out there for people to read. If you’ve received negative feedback, or a negative comment, say nothing. Ignore it. Go against everything in your entire being which makes you want to respond. That makes you fight to stand up for yourself. Just say nothing, she advised.

And for me, I think this has been the best piece of advice I’ve received. And I’m glad I heard it before a similar situation could happen to me.

If you say nothing, the word doesn’t get spread further. If you say nothing, no one can challenge your response. If you say nothing, it just ends there. It’s one crappy comment, that is all. It may ruin your day. It may make you so angry that you compose nasty responses in your head. You want to lash out at that person for saying something that you know is going to stick with you longer than any positive comment you’ve ever received. And you may not be able to let it go, not really, but if you don’t say anything, it doesn’t build up steam. It doesn’t go anywhere. It just goes away – at least publicly if not from the back of your mind.

Since I put it out there, I have received some negative feedback on what I’ve had to say. Nothing gut wrenching, so far, thank goodness. But enough so that it bothers the heck out of me. It makes me want to respond in the worst possible way. Does it suck? Absolutely. But I’m well aware that it was inevitable, and it will happen again and again. As long as I want to continue to put it out there. Especially since my reviews tend toward the positive, or seem that way, as I don’t spend time reading or reviewing books I don’t enjoy.

And I know that not everyone will like books that I have. I don’t like books that other people swear by. That is the wonderful part of being a human being. We are all very different. I think I would be so bored if we weren’t.

But unless I’m joining in a debate or discussion, I don’t negatively comment on what someone had to say. I may offer that I’m sorry they didn’t enjoy a book that I did, but that’s about it. I usually won’t even bother to comment at all. But that’s just what I choose to do. It’s not right or wrong, it’s just that once again I don’t have a lot of time to go seeking out things that I disagree with and posting my viewpoints.

However, outside of the book blogging community I have always been one to get caught up in the drama, and to rally around those I think are being mistreated. I have often been warned to stay out of fights that weren’t mine to fight, and I am trying hard to stay away from the battles that rage on these review sites and not add in my two cents. It’s hard enough not to respond to negative comments I’ve received on my own reviews. My opinion won’t change anyone’s mind in these situations and will only turn the fight my way, and I have so little time to fight. I barely have time to read these days.

So, is putting it out there worth it? Absolutely. If you never put it out there to be seen or judged how can you know its true worth? Often friends and family will tell you that it’s amazing when it just might not be. And if feedback only comes from your family do you really believe they’re being honest or just being kind because they have to be?

I so much enjoy the good things that come along with putting it out there. Perhaps it is the first step for me in gaining some courage to do other things I might not normally do. But I now am well aware that when I put it out there for the world to see, that there are some that will enjoy it and some that won’t, some that might agree and some that have a differing opinion. And then there will be those who just want to be mean.

How is this different, though, than any other thing in life? So why not take the risk and just put it out there.

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