Lessons in social media: Delete sh*t. Stop giving trolls credibility. Write for your TRUE audience.
There was a time when I rarely deleted mean comments. I let them stand. I thought I was being "intellectually honest." I let people call me names. I let people crap all over my thoughts and feelings because, you know, I thought it was the open-minded thing to do. I had this one commenter to whom I gave DOZENS of chances to play nice. And every.single.comment was negative. Always finding fault. You know what I finally realized? THIS IS NOT MY PROBLEM because no matter HOW I say something, trolls find fault with anything and everything. These are the people who wear the lenses of "believing the worst" and everything they see, they criticize.
It wasn't until I started writing my book that I realized how much my writing had been affected by nasty comments. Since I write about religion (a notoriously divisive topic!) I've adopted this defensive stance. I'm constantly trying to pre-empt detractors. I'm so worried about saying it THE RIGHT WAY with offending ANYONE that I literally can't write a sentence without all kinds of equivocations. I realized I was writing FOR the trolls, instead of for my TRUE audience.
I'm done with that. Today, a "fan" on my FB page left one of the most cruel and nasty comments I've ever read. And it was a tipping point because it involved my daughter. Yeah, THAT crosses a line. You don't mess with my babies.
So, from now on, I'm deleting sh*t. Because guess what? I know 99% of my audience loves me--maybe they don't agree with everything I say, but YOU LOVE ME.
And I want to write to YOU. I don't want to write from a defensive posture. I don't want to write from this place of second-guessing.
If I let the trolls silence me or even ruin my happiness, I'm not being true to YOU--those of you who keep reading, those of you who love me, who see me, who GET IT.
If I write for the trolls, I'm not being true to ME.
True, comments are the secret sauce of blogs and I love me a good discussion just as much as the next person. But for far too long, I've given trolls WAY too much credibility.
Why did I give trolls so much credibility? Why did I automatically dismiss all the good comments and then focus--with laser-like intensity--on the mean ones? It's like I gave the nasty commenters PhD's. It's like I imagined them sitting in their million-dollar pent houses above Central Park, coming up with all these erudite thoughts. And I was all: YEAH! That person is SO RIGHT! I totally SUCK as a human being!
Hello. In reality, people who leave consistently negative, crappy comments? They ARE, undoubtedly, the most UNHAPPY people in the world. Can you imagine how much energy they spend on critical and negative? Dude! How exhausting! And when I allow their comments to stand, I just enable their toxicity.
Moderating sh*t is ridiculous. I should just be FLUSHING it (or using it to fertilize my vegetable garden--who am i kidding? I don't have a veggie garden!). Responding to stupidity is a WASTE of my time. From now on, it will be summarily deleted. No explanation. Yes, I will BLOCK YOU FROM MY SITE. With impunity. Without explanation.
Because here's the thing: I wouldn't allow someone to treat me like that in real life. And now, I'm done allowing it on my blog.
The rest of you---THE MAJORITY OF YOU--deserve the best of me. And I truly am an open, kind, empathetic, loving, funny, personable human being. I will delete mean-ness because I want to be FREE to give YOU my best, freest and most open-hearted writing. Yes, we can ALL get along!!
***p.s. this has to be the fastest written post in the history of my blog. i literally banged it out in 10 minutes.
***p.p.s. lesson of the day: don't let the ignorant comments from random strangers ruin your happiness! Enjoy life! Be YOU! Also, the hillllllls are alliiiiiiive with the sound of muuuuusic***