Let’s be honest: no matter what anyone says, no one likes or wants criticism or harsh feedback. Especially not on a creative endeavor or something that has creators being real and vulnerable. Authors, actors, and musicians are often told not look at reviews and critiques. Many tell aspiring artists to not Google themselves, to stay out of forums, and avoid seeking out any kind of responses to their work. But influencers and creators don’t have the luxury of avoiding reviews: to engage with their audience, they have to look at them.
If someone wants to critique your videos or give (often unsolicited feedback) on your content, they drop it in the comment section. Creators can’t not go in their comments, so you will have to face some harsh criticism at some point. And sadly it’s not all helpful – in fact it’s often not helpful or nice at all. Every creator and influencer struggles with rude comments at some point. They’re hard too overcome and move past, and sometimes it’s even harder to figure out if they’re valid or just vicious. In this article, we’ll provide 10 steps you can take to accept or reject the feedback you receive.
A quick note: this isn’t going to be the perfect, fool-proof method for every single creator out there. We all bring our own emotions and experiences to the table. You may find something here doesn’t help you, or by the end you may think we forgot something vital to you and your wellbeing. Toss out anything that doesn’t suit you and keep the things that do – whether or not they come recommended by someone else.
Consider the Tone 🤔
Social media is the Wild West: most people are out for blood and not everyone wants to help you. And just like an iconic gunslinger, you have to give the comment a quick scan to see if they mean harm. Does it seem like they’re attacking you? Or being overly rude, borderline hateful? Tone can be hard to read over text, but you can tell when someone is being outright malicious. If you find them condescending, bullying, or confrontational, it’s likely they won’t be any help. Keep scrolling and know they’ve got a giant bee in their bonnet over nothing.
Think About It…for a second! 🕰️
If you come across one that doesn’t seem like the commentor was being mean for sport, don’t just write off. Actually take a moment to think about that negative comment, what it’s saying, and decide if you want to put stock into it. They may be raising a valid concern or a opportunity for improvement. What are they critiquing you about? Is it something that you like or can’t fix? Try not to mull over the comment or let it consume you, but do spend a little time thinking it over. You want to see if there’s a nugget of truth there, but if you can’t find one or really have to dig for it, then that comment isn’t worth anything.
If you think their advice is sound, or if it’s something you were already considering changing, then make the change. You don’t have to thank them or even acknowledge their comment. Just take it under wing and keep on going.
Are They Alone? 👯
Are they the only ones saying it? Or has your comment section suddenly turned into an echo chamber of people telling you that aliens really are blue? If you keep getting this comment from multiple people or across videos, it might be something you want to consider changing. If they’re the only person saying it…take it with a grain of salt.
Be Aware of Your Mindset and Emotional State 💔
If you aren’t in the right headspace to read a mean comment, don’t do it. Or if you aren’t in the best place to consider whether or not a mean comment was genuine, don’t do it. And if you’re feeling really emotional to evaluate a piece of criticism, don’t do it. Seriously. The state that you’re in will influence so much of how you interact with those negative comments. You may end up feeling like you never want to create again, or you may feel like they deserve a scathing response right there. Take stock of the emotions you were already feeling, how they might be affecting you in the moment, and if this is really the best time to be listening to them.
Your emotional state might also alter your interpretation of the feedback and whether or not you think it’s necessary. Something that sounds important and valid when you’re feeling beat down might not matter so much when you’re in a better mood. And something you dismiss when you’re already angry might make more sense once you’ve had time to calm down. Pause and consider how your feelings might be coloring this interaction.
You Don’t Have to Respond to Everything 🛑
It can be tempting to reply to every single critique or negative response on your videos. It’s often your knee jerk reaction and with good reason. But one of the last things you want to do is add fuel to the fire, and often commenting back does just that. If someone is being a bully in your comments or giving you advice you don’t need or want, maybe they don’t deserve a response. And if all you can think to say back is something just as mean, just as hurtful, just as scalding…then keep it yourself. Let them make a fool of themselves – it’s much more satisfying that way.
Besides, ignoring a problem tends to be a good way to make it go away. Bullies will only keep at it if they’re getting their desired reaction. Turning their own ire right back on them is usually what they want, so don’t give it to them.
Focus on the Good 🔬
It’s likely that if you have one person saying some negative bullshit, you’ve got dozens more saying how much they enjoy your content. Focus on those! Read the ones that make you feel good, even if it means you go back to a previous video and read those comments. Some creatives will keep pictures or copies of positive responses and reviews for moments like these! When a few bullies get you down, don’t be afraid to go back and see what your supporters are saying.
You can also turn to the video itself. What did you like about it? Did you enjoy making it? Do you like the song you picked or the shirt you wore? Were you happy with it when you posted it, before someone commented something mean on it? Remember the good thing about this video and the content you make, and focus on why you love it.
Get Some Support 🫂
No matter if your want to actually put someone’s feedback to use or if you kick it to the curb, it can be hard to read negative comments at all. Bottling up that feeling won’t do you any good, so find someone to rant to. This can be someone who knows about social media or not; this can be a close friend, a therapist, or a family member; find a shoulder to cry on and do a little venting. You’ll feel better in the long run!
And if you should be considering what the commentor said or are putting too much stock into this negative response, they’ll tell you too. You get your bad feelings off your chest, and have someone helping you evaluate the interaction. A win-win!
Remember Why You Started 📝
You probably started to make content because you enjoyed it, not because you were actively looking for problems or people’s opinions. And like we said earlier, you probably loved that video when you posted it! Don’t let one bad comment derail your process or sour your experience. Your content should make you happy. It doesn’t have to be everyone else’s cup of tea so long as it’s yours.
Unplug For A While🔌
If you really can’t escape how that bad comment bad you feel, then put a lot of distance between it and you. Take some time off of social media! Go for a walk, draw or paint, play with your pet, go swimming, take a nap – whatever will make you feel better, make time for it. Spending some time away from social media will clear your head and make that rude comment seem a little less jarring.
Move On – With or Without Change 💼
Not every piece of feedback has to be taken on. If you disagree with someone’s critique, you can definitely ignore it. And if you ended up really liking what they had to say, that’s good! Keep it in mind moving forward. But you have to move forward. Don’t let one mean comment from one hateful person ruin your experience with social media. Accept how you’re feeling, decide if you want to validate what they were saying, and get back to posting. This is just one bump in a long, exciting career.
Sometimes the hardest part of getting criticism is deciding whether or not you actually need to pay attention to it. The first couple of times, it can feel genuine and well meaning. When considering if you want to apply this feedback or reject it, ask yourself:
- Is this actually beneficial?
- Will it help me or improve my content?
- Do people seem to agree with them?
- Do I want to change this thing?
You don’t have to answer “yes” to hit all 4, but it should hit at least a few of these. And if it doesn’t hit any of them? Or doesn’t hit the one you think is the most important? Leave it in the comments and keep moving.
Sadly, negative comments are something most creators will encounter in their posting career. Everyone has their own ways of dealing with them and overcoming the emotions that follow in their wake. We hope this article provided a few useful tools to help you push past. 🧡