Well, maybe not you, but a lot of people are. I’ve seen it happen numerous times: someone writes an opinionated blog post, rejoices over the multiple “I agree! Great post!” pats on the back he receives, then comes across a couple of comments that disagree with him or present an alternate point of view, and all of a sudden he goes on a rage bender and starts cursing about how everyone’s an idiot who don’t know what they’re talking about. The day (and possibly week) is ruined and an epic poutfest ensues.
How about Twitter? You tweet something that a few people disagree with and argue with you about, and now all of a sudden the world is out to get you and everyone’s just ganging up to pick on you. Or Digg? Someone came across a post you wrote and submitted it, and it got ripped apart by some anonymous 19-year olds who have nothing better to do than refresh Digg all day, reducing you to tears and vowing never to blog again.
The fact of the matter is that the Internet is like a great big public bathroom stall. Sometimes it’s clean, unassuming and well-stocked with supplies, but most of the time there’s piss on the floor, a deuce in the toilet, no toilet paper, and various atrocities scrawled onto the walls. Some people avoid them at all costs, electing to hold it until they get home. Others put up with them, going in and out to do their business and not letting it affect their day-to-day lives. Some even hook up in them (shudder), fully embracing these receptacles in all their germ-ridden glory. Whatever your approach, they’re not going away anytime soon so it’s up to you to decide how you’re going to let them affect your life.
Welcome to the Internet.
Every once in a while someone’s going to take a big steaming dump over a post you’ve written, a tweet you’ve blasted, a comment you’ve made, or an opinion you’ve had. That’s the great thing about the Internet — everyone’s entitled to his or her opinion, beliefs, viewpoint, whatever, whether it’s right or wrong. If you can’t handle less than 100% of people kissing your ass and fawning over everything you say like it’s the gospel truth, you don’t belong on the Internet because you’re too damn sensitive.
I actually know people – good writers – who have stopped blogging because a couple contrasting opinions and disagreeing comments scared them off. Folks who insist that sites like Digg and Reddit are useless for business simply because some anonymous douchebag downvoted them and said something mean one time. I find that sad yet fitting. If you’re unable to let this stuff roll down your back and shrug it off and cannot be confident in your messaging without letting some faceless bullies step all over you, you’re not suited for blogging, commenting, social networking, or any sort of online interaction.
The most successful people in any industry understand the importance of having a thick skin. I’m sure Jeremy’s heard tons of criticism slung his way, and he doesn’t give a shit. I’ve read gloriously negative comments in response to my blog posts on Digg, Reddit, here, everywhere. Do you think they stop me? Hell no. If actors and actresses quit the business every time someone said something mean about them, there would be no Hollywood. Truly successful people work hard and acknowledge that they will never be loved by everyone, and they’re okay with that.
Are you going to take your ball and go home every time someone yanks your pigtail? Good leaders and successful entrepreneurs don’t. People are assholes sometimes — deal with it. If you can’t, then maybe you shouldn’t be crapping in the public bathroom.