Thursday, April 28, 2016

Just Curious...Do You Write Honest Comments on Social Media

Good morning! A couple of weeks ago I read a post on Elements of Style, the gist of which was that Erin was having a bit of a rough patch juggling motherhood, work, and other commitments including her book, blog and a few more things. I noticed that there were lot of comments and so being the nosy person that I am I read through them to see what people were saying because obviously this post had touched a nerve.  There were positive and negative comments and everything in between. 

What I found interesting is that when someone left a comment that was perceived as negative or was in fact negative, the comments following it were often nasty, snarky comments about the person that wrote the negative comment. 

Erin even posted a comment defending herself and her post and then her husband wrote a response to the comments sticking up for his wife. 

I actually couldn't stop thinking about it for a few days and I wondered if you read a blog or another form of social media are you "allowed" to write an honest comment or opinion? Or do you have to say something nice or say nothing at all if you cannot think of something nice to say? I'm not talking about mean-spirited, bitchy comments, I talking about offering your opinion on a post whether or not it is the opposite of that person who wrote the post. 

The world of social media is a interesting place because it is open to everyone, the "haves and the have nots" the educated and uneducated, the well traveled and people whom have never left their town, the beautiful people and the not so, people who live exotic and exciting lives and people who just survive, I could go on and on but you know what I am talking about. The world through social media is incredibly small and yet at the same time magnifies the differences between people in so many ways.

The fact is that someone is always going to have more than you and someone is going to have less than you, you are going to have more than someone and less than someone. But it doesn't make you a better or worse person. Sometimes though people who have more are perceived as braggarts(sometimes they are) and those who have less get irritated by the people who have more and brag about it. 

I will say that anytime your hit publish you are putting yourself out there to be scrutinized by whomever reads your stuff. That's the way it is and so I wonder, what do people put such personal stuff out there? Are they really asking for an opinion? Are they gluttons for punishment? 

I personally do not leave a comment unless I have something nice to say. I have been on the receiving end of a few nasty comments and I do not like it. What's funny is they were often because someone tried to bake something that I posted about and it didn't work. Do I deserve to be called names because you made the cake and poured all the batter into a 6 inch pan instead of a 9 inch and it leaked all over your oven? 

That said, I absolutely believe that everyone is entitled to their opinion and I think it is sad that we are becoming a society where if you do not agree with someones opinion you are often criticized and bullied and that is not right either.  

So please share, what are your thoughts about comments in social media? Do you feel as if you can speak your mind or do you think you always have to say something nice? 

I hope that you have a great day! 


  1. I have thought quite a bit about this very topic. I stopped reading "Making it Lovely" several years ago when Nicole posted something political and the comments section became a horrible, mean place. It stayed with me and I felt crummy for days. In a nutshell, a few readers did not appreciate the blog going political and Nicole (and especially her "supporters") got nasty, which was ironic because the basis of their argument was "if you don't agree/have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" but they said it quite harshly. I didn't even comment, I just read them, but I felt bad and I've never gone back there.

    I've read excellent posts on this topic from Lisa Borgnes-Giramonti of "A Bloomsbury Life," Janelle Beals of "Isabella and Max Rooms," and just the other day from Kristy Linauer of "Addicted to Decorating." They all are with you in wanting an open exchange of ideas, welcoming both agreement and dissent, but expecting politeness and decorum. All express dismay at the rude or hateful comment. I often don't read comments sections just to avoid ugly stuff.

    The income-producing aspect of blogging has an effect on my attitude toward reader opinion. The more in-your-face the advertising, the more input from readers I think the blogger should put up with. Well, maybe my thoughts on this are changing these days, but I'm going to go with what has been my opinion for several years now.

    Right around the time of the "Making it Lovely" political comment, Nicole had also started doing posts along the lines of, "hey, look how we slathered COOL-WHIP all over our birthday celebration!" And Jenny at "Little Green Notebook" started asking her readers to fill out lots of surveys, presumably so she could make more money off us, while writing in the comments that she really didn't have time to answer questions. So as a long-time reader of blogs I was seeing readers becoming less allies or pals and more of a target market, and as such I think they get to become more demanding of the content-providers.

    On the flip side, I've noticed that some successful bloggers are becoming less concerned with pleasing/keeping all their readers and staking out more of a "this is what I do/think/say, if you don't like it, don't read me anymore" niche. Erin is in that camp. And I can't blame her. She has remained authentic through the depersonalization phase of many blogs, she has a big, supportive network, and if she can circle the wagons and keep out those she doesn't "like," why not?

    I'll sign off with that. My brain just stopped working. Must sleep. Good night. Please respond with more thoughts. I'm very interested in this subject.

    1. I could not agree with you more about some blogs, some blogs are all about promoting their "wares" and services" thats ok, I just don't read those all of the time.

      As for Erin, I am excited that she is so successful, but I think sadly sometimes she comes across as a braggart. I think many find it offensive and that is why they make nasty, negative comments.

  2. I love Elements of Style, and hadn't seen those comments. Yikes. First of all, the reason to read blogs usually is because they're about pretty, happy things for inspiration or else useful info. They are a quick escape to foreign lands, perfect interiors and wardrobes, like flipping through a magazine. So if posts are about how great things are, that's because nobody wants to read about how to do things badly. So I don't get why she was slammed for having presented a certain kind of perfection. But I don't get why she was slammed for admitting things weren't going perfectly.
    When posts are about dress A vs. dress B or decor, I'll say when I don't care for something, but it's not to say the thing is wrong, just that I prefer something else. But when people post things that are more personal, I definitely stick to nice comments only. Still, people can take anything the wrong way. I commented on a blog to say I liked the post (about happiness) and that there was even scientific research to back up what the blogger had written. A stream of vitriol followed from other readers about how I had ruined the atmosphere with intellectual gobbledygook. Sheesh!
    But even in real life, I have made a big effort to throw kindness around like confetti, as it says above. I try to make a point of smiling at people in stores and on the street. Especially moms with kids and even more especially if the kids are acting up--a been-there-done-that solidarity. I give directions to lost tourists. I let old people cut in line. My husband and kid don't like it--mind your own business, they tell me--but I do think that if scowl begets scowl, then smile will beget smile. The vast majority of people aren't psychopathic criminals, so they shouldn't be treated with suspicion.
    On the other hand, don't even THINK of cutting me off on the road. ;)

  3. Personally I follow blog's and I follow people on IG because I enjoy what they have to say, and I love looking at the photos they post. If I didn't I wouldn't follow them in the first place. So if and when I comment it's because something has really peeked my interest or something is really great and I have felt compelled to let them know. Helpful criticism can be extremely useful if it is delivered with tact and if it is asked for, sometimes people will say, "please be honest and let me know what you think". However, as a general rule if I don't agree with an issue or dislike a post I will walk away and say nothing. Most people put so much time and effort into writing blogs (I know how many hours it takes) and I think they deserve some respect, if we don't like something I would rather keep quiet than be rude and negative.

  4. Well-put, Elizabeth.

    Social media has changed everything. EVERYTHING.

    There are so many levels upon which I could comment regarding this issue, but one interesting thing I've personally experienced lately is how social media can sneak its way into your thinking pattern on how YOU VALUE YOURSELF. Likes and followings suddenly become a gauge to measure your worth as a writer, an artist. I have to shake myself out of this unreality when my numbers drop or my "following" doesn't grow, and get back to a spiritual level because all these inventions shape our pysche to sometimes foolish dimensions.

    I want to be kind on or off social media. I have experienced a few weird situations that warranted a personal phone call with the person behind the comment.

    I also think that it's hard enough to maintain friendships with people you see often in person at work, at home, or in daily life. If there is a problem, you can at least talk it out and feel around the nuances of your relationship. But on-line, people have often taken it into their minds to OFFEND, HIT and RUN. That, I can't get used to.

    So what do I try? Kindness...then leave it at that.

    Great, thought provoking post!

  5. I only leave a comment if it is positive. If I don't agree with the writer I am silent. There are a lot of bloggers that like to spread their religious and political views. You'll never see me comment on those. On the other hand, I have received my fair share of nasty comments. If the comment is anonymous, I ignore it. If they leave their name, I always respond to them nicely. When you put yourself out there you must take the good with the bad. The one thing you will NEVER see is my Mister defending me. I can do that all by myself, thank you. Great post, Elizabeth.

  6. Seems more people are negative , at least the ones around me, than positive. That negativity seems to grow with some people to meanness very easily. I stick with Thumper. If you can't say something nice don't say anything at all. I can't find enough positive people to surround myself with. Where are they?

  7. Good morning Elizabeth,

    Interesting discussion - I do not ever leave negative comments and I get really upset when I receive them. I saw the exchange on Erin's blog as well and couldn't believe people were SO mean to her. If there is a blog that consistently upsets me, I just stop reading it. Our blogs are our "happy places" and everyone who writes one is generally doing it because the writer feels they want to share with others - the only thing that really gets me (and usually causes me to stop reading) is when bloggers become overly commercial and it is all about "selling" things. If a blogger is selling their own "product", I love it, but when they are only advertising things to get paid, they lose me really fast. Just my two cents...

    Have a wonderful Wednesday!! xoxo

  8. Interesting blog post and interesting responses. I say this because I follow blogs where they relate to things I'm interested in or enjoy the writing style of the blogger. I very rarely comment however having said that I did once. Not negatively but in agreement to a degree with the blogger I expressed my feelings. To my dismay another reader misinterpreted me comments then proceeded to chastise me not only in the blog I followed but also in her blog. I found that very disturbing. If one is expressing an opinion based on another's blog I didn't feel it appropriate for another reader of that same blog to go to the extent that she did (I used to follow her blog also but because of her uncalled for rant have eliminated her from my favourite reads)....p.s. I never make personal attacks nor am I rude.....

  9. I'm a bit on the fence about this. A blog I follow, which is a photoblog, is nonetheless political at times- the author is on the left of things, which is perfectly fine with me. The problem is when she writes a post that can be political, she ends up attracting negative comments from one individual that come across as personal attacks. The individual in question doesn't subscribe to any blogs, just shows up and acts like a troll. I have no problem treating someone like that with their own measures, and have frequently insulted him in turn.

  10. Luckily, I rarely got negative or nasty comments, but I think that's because my content is mostly neutral and not nasty. Every so often, I do write a snarky post, and usually regret it. I get snarky comments back and some very nasty ones. I think if you're not nice, others feel they can be the same.

  11. When you go public with your ideas, feelings etc. you must also expect reactions and try to deal with it
    Personally I never would flatter somebody but will always feel free to say my honest opinion in a kind way without being disrespectful.

  12. Blogs to me are like art or music. Some I love some I don't. As far as opinions, I comment from the heart so if I feel the post has struck a nerve, I wait a bit before posting a comment to see if that is what I am really feeling and is it really necessary. Some posts are about venting and others just exude the excitement or pride of the writer. In either case, feelings are involved and that is where I pause. If my comment brings more joy to their joy, great. If I disagree or am feeling indifferent about the content, I hold off. I usually find that by doing so gives me a new perspective. Once the words are typed and read, you can't take them back. Personally, to me, blogs are a forum to express feelings, etc. and to each of us, those are important. The good with the bad is the result and we each get to decide how to respond. I choose the good.

  13. A very interesting topic...I like you only leave nice things. The world has plenty of ugliness in it....I want to add only positive, beautiful happy things:) I am always floored by those who are less than kind and there are plenty out there, they say the internet is for haters and its true in that they can hide behind their screens and say what they wish. Normally their mean spirited comments say way more about them and their feelings on life than it does about the person they are hurting. That is my opinion at least:)

    That said, if something is said to express an opinion but its not said in a hateful way..I am fine with that. The minute it becomes mean however, that is an absolute no.....I just fail to see what good can come of it. Blogging is personal as is other forms of social media, and I give credit to anyone who puts it out if its not for this person or another, they should skip along to another blog that is more their cup of tea!!

  14. A really interesting post! I personally like and adhere to one of your quotes, "Throw kindness around like confetti!". And, as I have told a friend lately…"the view is always better from the high road".

    Have a great week!
    xo Elizabeth

  15. I will only comment if I have something nice to say. The bloggers I follow aren't interested in stirring up a discussion and causing problems (although I'm sure there are plenty of bloggers out there that do just that , an example is a political blog). Going to my blog is a happy place for me, and I think it should be for other people too! I think constructive criticism is okay, especially if the blogger is asking for an opinion about say option A or B, but I think hateful comments are never okay.

  16. look at the comments you generated have lovely readers.
    as in life, the old adage about saying nothing if not nice, should carry over into social media but boy it does not! i have to say that nothing comes to mind about any bad comment i have received, perhaps my readership is lower unlike say joni webb who has received so many inappropriate comments, down right nasty.
    life is short, if a post does not meet with your approval, move on
    so allow me to say "i have only enjoyed everything you have written and adore you for your heartfelt comments along my life's journey" YOU are a treasure!

  17. Elizabeth, I was scrolling through Instagram Sunday night and found a post by a favorite. It was a sweet picture of her children's feet taken in church that morning. I don't usually read the comments, however, the one on top was critical of dressing her son in blue jeans for church. My first thought was are you kidding me? I was pulled in, hoping to find a response. There were positive comments and there were negative comments totally off the subject. It just became nonsensical. I think sitting behind a computer gives one the sense of anonymity, and therefore, the freedom to say anything they want. I don't see the point to leaving a negative comment. I read blogs for pleasure. When I respond it is meant to say.... thanks and well done!

    I don't have the time nor the energy for negativity!


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