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How to deal with hate online

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During the Q&A round of my Athlone workshop over the weekend someone asked me how I deal with hate online. After giving a lengthy answer to numerous nodding heads I figured it was a topic I should summarise on here since so many people experience it. Whether you’re an online influencer or avid Instagram user, negativity online is rampant and you need to figure out a way to protect your online space, something I speak about in depth in my book Fairy Tales. As a well known blogger I’m picked apart daily in some way, shape or form; whether it’s my facial features, body type, or lifestyle choices, negative comments are a regular occurrence. For me, visiting someone’s Instagram account and leaving a nasty comment seems incomprehensible. I’ve never felt the urge to discuss my distaste over another individuals appearance or choices, however there are so many out there who deem this perfectly acceptable. In fact, some people go as far as to create boards and discussions about this. How people have the time and desire to do so again is incomprehensible, I’m personally far to busy working on myself and creating my perfect life. If you put yourself online you should expect and accept hate right? Wrong. If you work in a ‘normal’ job fellow co-workers don’t tell you your nose looks wonky, that your skirt is vile or they don’t mean to sound bad but hate how you create spreadsheets. If they did and continued to do so it would be considered and investigated as bullying. Putting yourself online is a job, and just like any other job we shouldn’t have to face bullies. The delete and block buttons are there to utilise in the same manner as firing. One of my favourite quotes is supremely fitting here.

“Every obnoxious act is a cry for help”

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“What you think about me has nothing to do with me”

You must remember that a stranger who feels the need to be nasty has their own issues. Be empathetic towards the fact that they’re in this position and get kicks out of hurting people they don’t know. It’s not about hiding behind a keyboard, these people are actually announcing their unhappiness and insecurities to the world of your comment section. Some individuals even create blogs and content out of mocking or judging others. Imagine having to resort to that in order to gain a following who think you’re keeping it ‘real’; their followers tend to be individuals who have been blocked by other pages and require a family of fake followers to vent with. When you look at it like this you can simple feel sorry for said individuals. It’s not about only filtering the good comments either, it’s about drawing a line at constructive criticism and being an asshole. Only you know your heart, soul and moralistic values, your loved ones know you and that’s essentially all that matters. Someone visiting your page for recreational reasons simply cannot know you so therefore their words cannot affect you. Protecting your online space is like maintaining bubble wrap around your brand or the person you portray online. The words bounce off the wrapping and simply cannot penetrate because they’re just judging and touching the surface of your curated content. Your opinion of someone else is not their problem in the slightest; internal happiness and health are all that matter and if you’re unhappy or have an unhealthy obsession or opinion of someone online that’s your issue to deal with.

Joanne xoxo

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