Sunday, July 17, 2011

Anger, Thick Skin, and Patience

I've had an online presence now of four years. And I've learned several hard lessons along the way, in addition to my 40+ on earth.

-If someone angers you, take a few moments before you respond. Instant retaliation may make you feel better, but it could also do serious damage to your relationships.

For example, take my temperamental friend. I was in a Very Good Mood one day, but caught her in a Bad Mood. Instead of being happy to hear my cheerful voice, she snapped at me and hung up. An hour later, I received another angry response from her via email. I almost posted a snotty answer and hit 'send'....but then thought about what I knew about her in our then-twenty-three year friendship.

Long story short, if I'd posted my knee-jerk reaction, we probably wouldn't be friends at the moment. But because I took the time to figure out she was under heavy stress due to a recent divorce and my phone call bore the brunt of that stress, she took me to lunch a month later and unburdened herself in tears. She had been at a low point when I called, and now knows she can count on me to listen when she's overwhelmed.

Same thing goes for blogging: If you don't like what someone posts, remember YOU have the power to STOP READING. Don't email the blogger and blast them for their opinion; if something offends you, don't keep reading! Or, do what I do. Return the next week, to see if the offensive material continues. No one is forcing you to keep clicking their link.

Item #2:
-If you're going to put yourself 'out there' on the web, via publishing or blogging, develop a thick skin. You're not going to please everyone, and there will always be someone who feels the need to email you or comment on your 'wrong' attitude.

In fact, if you want to know how many people read your stuff, post something controversial. Back in 2007, I posted some lyrics of an Adam Sandler holiday song. I wasn't getting a great deal of comments at the time, but didn't think anything about it several hours later. And then I opened my email.

Imagine my surprise when I found a 'get that offensive shit off your blog IMMEDIATELY' email. Being a newbie, and not wanting to step on any toes, I took it down and tried to do damage control. But it was too late; I lost a scheduled interview and those who had read my fledgling blog stayed away for about a month.

And while this was going on, I was fuming. The 1st amendment gives me the right to post what I want, right? So why could I post sexual content, poke fun at historical figures, but not post lyrics to a song which at the time was playing on public radio? It made no sense. And later, when the topic came up on someone else's blog, I raised my question again. And discovered my new friends hadn't seen my old post, but agreed the fallout from it had left many people scratching their heads over the super-critical 'morality police'. So another lesson learned here is, weigh all sides of an issue before jumping to conclusions.

And finally, Patience.

-If you write it, they will come. Don't act like a spoiled brat when posts aren't commented on, or you feel overlooked. Maybe you've not posted the information in the right place, at the right time, and with the correct links?