Are critics and trolls getting under your skin while you navigate the vastness of the internet? Do their harsh words and negativity affect your self-esteem and confidence? Fret not, we have just the solution for you. In this blog, we will delve into the art of dealing with critics and trolls online. Harnessing the power of patience, resilience, and self-reflection, we will equip you with strategies to withstand their attacks and emerge unscathed. By understanding their motivations, employing effective communication techniques, and focusing on self-care, you can protect your mental well-being and maintain a positive online presence. Let’s embark on this journey towards reclaiming control over your online experiences together.
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How to Deal with Critics and Trolls Online
I recently received a message from someone who had encountered a critic online. This critic provided no constructive criticism, just a simple statement of dislike. This encounter left the individual feeling sad and enraged, and it made them contemplate giving up. Unfortunately, many beginner photographers experience similar negative encounters online, which can discourage them from sharing their work. On the other hand, there are also talented photographers who choose to keep their work offline due to fear of criticism. This is a tragedy, as the internet was meant to be a platform where we all freely express ourselves and share our work. However, we cannot deny the reality that if we choose to post our work online, criticism is inevitable. In this article, I will share some perspectives and strategies that have helped me deal with criticism online, and hopefully, you can implement them when facing critics on your own corner of the internet.
The False Assumption
There is a false assumption prevalent online that by posting our work, we are inviting criticism. While it is true that people will criticize our work, there is a significant difference between the reality of criticism and our intent for sharing our work. Artists share their work online because they have something to say; they want their audience to engage with their message. They are not seeking a simple rating out of ten. Unfortunately, some individuals believe that everyone needs to hear their opinion, and they have no qualms about criticizing the work of others. As artists, we must accept that criticism is an inevitable part of sharing our work online.
Categories of Criticism
I categorize criticism into three different types and approach each one differently.
Artistic criticism is offered by professionals who have dedicated their lives to studying and understanding the particular art form. These critics are deeply informed and are not personally involved in the art they critique. They provide their opinions in an unbiased and dispassionate manner. The finest artistic critics aim to teach average individuals, like you and me, how to engage with and appreciate a particular art form. Their insights help us comprehend the context and appreciate the art on a deeper level. As an example, I have been listening to film critic Mark Kermode’s podcast for over ten years. His analysis of films and their historical context has enhanced my appreciation for filmmaking.
Constructive criticism does not require professional expertise. It is offered by individuals who genuinely care about the work and the artist behind it. This type of criticism is recognizable by its polite and respectful tone. It provides helpful information and suggestions for improvement. Constructive criticism also demonstrates humility as the person sharing it acknowledges that their opinion was not solicited. Personally, I have never felt compelled to jump on someone’s work online to tell them that I think it is terrible.
Unconstructive Criticism and Trolls
Lastly, we have unconstructive criticism and trolls. This type of criticism is not helpful or respectful. Instead, it aims to hurt and bring the artist down. Trolls often use provocative and offensive language. They derive pleasure from causing strife and negativity. It is important to remember that trolls are not worth engaging with; their opinions hold no value.
Dealing with Criticism
Now that we have established the different types of criticism, let’s explore strategies for dealing with each one.
When faced with artistic criticism, it is crucial to approach it with an open mind. Understand that these critics have invested time and effort into studying the art form. Consider their feedback and determine if it aligns with your artistic vision. However, if the criticism comes from a place of jealousy or ill-intent, it is best to ignore it. Remember that artistic criticism is meant to guide the public, not the artist.
Constructive criticism is an opportunity for growth. Embrace it with gratitude and be open to suggestions for improvement. Engage in a respectful dialogue with those offering constructive criticism and use their feedback to enhance your work.
When faced with unconstructive criticism and trolls, the best approach is to ignore them. Do not allow their negativity to affect your artistic journey. Surround yourself with a supportive community that encourages growth and provides constructive feedback. Remember, trolls thrive on attention, so denying them a reaction is your best defense.
In conclusion, criticism is an inevitable part of sharing work online. However, we should not let it discourage us or prevent us from expressing ourselves. By categorizing and addressing criticism appropriately, we can maintain a positive mindset and continue to share our work with pride. Remember, the internet should be a place of self-expression and support, so do not let the loud minority deter you from sharing your art with the world.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to Deal with Critics and Trolls Online
Q: What are critics and trolls online?
A: Critics are individuals who provide negative feedback or express disagreement with your work or opinions. Trolls, on the other hand, are people who intentionally provoke and harass others with malicious intent, often using offensive or abusive language.
Q: How should I handle criticism online?
A: When encountering criticism, it is important to stay calm and avoid taking it personally. Take the opportunity to learn from constructive criticism and respond politely. Engage in a respectful dialogue rather than entering into a confrontation.
Q: How do I identify trolls online?
A: Trolls can be characterized by their provocative and inflammatory language or actions. They often seek to provoke an emotional response and disrupt online discussions. Look out for repetitive negative behavior, personal attacks, or outrageous claims that aim to incite anger.
Q: What is the best approach to dealing with trolls?
A: It is generally advised not to engage directly with trolls as this only fuels their behavior. Instead, ignore or block them to prevent any further interaction. Focus on positive engagement with your audience and do not let trolls derail your discussions.
Q: Can I report trolls to the platform or website?
A: Absolutely. Most platforms and websites have reporting mechanisms in place to deal with abusive or harassing behavior. Familiarize yourself with the reporting features and report trolls who breach the platform’s guidelines. This helps maintain a safe and respectful online environment.
Q: How can I safeguard myself from trolls and criticism?
A: You can safeguard yourself by setting strong privacy settings on social media platforms, reviewing comments before they are publicly visible, and removing offensive or inappropriate content. Additionally, surround yourself with a supportive network and focus on the constructive feedback rather than the negative noise.
Q: Should I respond to all criticism I receive?
A: It depends on the nature of the criticism. Constructive criticism that provides valuable insights can be acknowledged and addressed. However, repetitive or baseless criticism may not require a response. Use your judgment to determine when a response is warranted based on the merit of the criticism.
I hope you find useful my article How to deal with Critics and Trolls Online, I also recommend you to read my other posts in my blog at this link.
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