I could pick several people, but for this exercise I am going to take the following three people. Gert Buelens, a university professor and expert on the novelist Henry James. Paul Verhaeghe, a very respected Belgian psychologist and author of several books. Abram Muller, by far the leading expert on anything to do with Slovakia, translator of several Slovak books to Dutch and succesful organizer of many tours with tourists.

Do the same and think of the most respected, most succesful person you know personally. Or for this exercise you can pick three of them.

Now ask yourself:

  • Do these people comment on Instagram posts, Facebook posts, YouTube videos or whatever other social media outlet you can think of? Very unlikely.
  • Do these people ever post abusive comments? Absolutely not.
  • Do these people ever make negative, aggressive or frustrated comments online? Absolutely not.
  • Do these people choose to have time to hate online? Absolutely not.

So…

If you ever get a negative remark online from some total stranger, what does that tell you?

That the comment is being made by a total loser… That’s the harsh truth… The best way to react? Do not react. Delete the comment. Ignore it. Haters online feel insignificant. By giving them attention, by getting into online fights with them, you are giving them exactly what they are looking for. By not responding you reinforce their feelings of insignificance.

They might actually start looking for a better way to get some fleeting boost of external validation.

Also, if you are putting out well-meaning positive content, remember this:

‘If nobody returns fire you are bombing the wrong targets’.