I love writing. I love blogging. I love creating videos and podcasts. These are all creative outlets where I get to share some industry insight, throw out an opinion or to help start an interesting conversion.
A recent blog article of mine shared an opinion I hold about shutting down my Instagram account for my Dragonfly Marketing business. It was initially shared out via Smallville, who I contribute to regularly and then Mumbrella picked it up and shared it.
I must say I was pretty stoked when Mumbrella published it. What great exposure I thought at the time. Validation is a wonderful thing.
Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, I was updating my website as I prepared to launch my very first book and I stumbled across said Mumbrella article.
I reread the article out of interest and then to my horror, I made the mistake of reading the six anonymous comments left underneath. One was positive and the rest tore me to shreds. Like, I’m talking, nailed me.
I sat there a little stunned for a moment. And then I reread the comments. I could feel my confidence start to waiver, my passion for writing dwindle slightly, my imposter syndrome start to creep in.
Then I stopped. I reread my article again from the perspective of my critics. I switched my mind to curiosity and wondered, why would people feel so strongly about this topic to be so mean? For goodness sake, I shut down an Instagram account, big deal!
What has this article threatened within them? How do my words and my opinion impact them so negatively that they feel like they have to berate me so sarcastically in a public arena? Who are these people?
And that’s when I noticed it. Not one of these commenters left their name or any trace of their identity with their slurs. At that point, my level of giving a shit about their negative insults dissipated.
However, I couldn’t stop thinking that it was unfair that their anonymous defamations were tarnishing my reputation.
So I exercised my right of reply. I responded to each one of them. With my full identity visible – because I am not afraid to own my words and my actions.
I agreed with the points that they made that I thought were valid and thanked them for my opportunity to learn from this feedback. I also responded to the comments I felt were unfair.
In hindsight – this may be the wrong way to go about responding to trolls. I’m certainly not following the advice I provide to my clients which is to ‘never feed the trolls’.
But it made me feel better.
So as I reflect upon one of the unfortunate realities of being someone that is brave enough to put myself out there by contributing content to the world of marketing, I thanked Brené Brown for bringing these words to my attention….
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
…and I look forward to sharing many more opinions in the future.