How to Respond to Criticism Online

social media social media calm social media for creatives social media for entrepreneurs social media marketing Apr 23, 2019

It’s happened to me. I’ve vulnerably shared my story or thoughts on social media and it was met with criticism.

It usually comes out of the blue. I find that (unless your subject matter is something controversial or political) most feedback is positive. After all, people are choosing to follow you and consume your content. Sometimes, though, you say something that hits a wrong note with someone else. Something you said unintentionally wounds someone.

I’m especially sensitive to this being a perfectionist Type One on the Enneagram. I have this inner critic that relentlessly judges my work so when it finally passes the high standards I’ve set for it and someone finds it lacking – I’m all at once shocked, hurt and angry. Typing this is somewhat difficult because I’m getting waves of uncomfortable memories of every negative comment, DM or email from a reader or podcast listener.

I never regret sharing, but have had to find ways to buffer the negativity.

What to do:

  1. Do Not Respond Immediately!! Do not react in the moment because your first response is coming from a place of guilt, shame or hurt. Pause and give yourself time to feel and acknowledge these emotions.
  2. Evaluate the legitimacy of the comment. Is it true? Did you speak out of turn or did this person misunderstand your words? That person may be lashing out from their places of hurt.
  3. Seek guidance. If you can’t see the other person’s perspective, ask an impartial person to help you see.
  4. Respond – if necessary. If it’s a public comment and they are out of line. You have every right to delete it. No need to engage. If you need to apologize, do so in private and consider editing the post or deleting all together.

Avoid engaging critics further to ask them to clarify or by explaining your intentions or making excuses. That’s what they want. 

I said in my previous post that it’s either all or nothing. You either prevent connection and stay in safety. Or, open yourself up and welcome whatever comes – both positive and negative. No payoff comes without some sacrifice.