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Dealing with Online Hate: What to Do When People Are Mean
By Tanwi Dixit
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“The less you respond to negative people, the more peaceful your life will become.” ~Unknown
I work for a website that creates videos on lifestyle, fashion, food, travel, fitness, and more.
Our channel has a massive following from all walks of life, and we receive a lot of love but also a bit of hate. Even though many people are involved in the production of a video (directors, videographers, editors), the comments, feedback, and of course the hate is usually directed at the face you see on camera, and that is the anchor—AKA me!
When I started out as an anchor, I had already been modelling for a couple of years and felt comfortable in front of a camera. When videos came along, I took it up as a challenge, as an opportunity to test myself and see what I could do.
Luckily for me, I really started to enjoy it. My initial videos garnered a huge response and some crossed hundreds of thousands of views. I was slightly intimidated but on a high as well because of how well they seemed to be doing.
But slowly, as I grew into my role as an anchor, I realized that there was a whole other side to being in the public eye that I never knew about.
For me, being on camera meant putting forth a good performance and getting appreciation or criticism on it. I believe that each one of us has the capability to deal with constructive criticism; we all want to grow, we all want to improve, don’t we? The problem starts when the criticism loses its perspective and becomes destructive and downright hurtful.
One fine day, after the release of my latest video, I sat at home scrolling through the comments section and came across a really mean comment. It stung me. And I couldn’t help myself. I went down the rabbit hole of reading all my videos’ comments and found tons of negative ones. It was one of the lowest moments of my life.
And oh, people are creative! The comments weren’t simply restricted to whether or not I was doing a good job as an anchor. They covered everything from shaming my body to even threats of physical harm. It close to shattered me to see all these mean things written about me by total strangers.
Now, I know that we don’t all have to face the same amount of hate that people in media do. But in today’s age of social media, each one of us has dealt with some negativity on our Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. And as someone who has dealt with a lot of it, I feel strongly about this!
Below are a few things I did to deal with this trolling that really helped me out. I hope a few of these pointers can help you deal with hate when it comes at you!
1. Know your haters.
The kind of comments a person posts on social media speaks a lot about the person him/herself. What you need to realize is that a person who’s incessantly trolling you is probably at a very sad and unhappy place in their own life.
Would a person who’s living a fulfilled life hide behind the screen of anonymity and spend their time being mean to some random person on the internet?
Internet trollers are in most cases people who are leading unfulfilled, sad lives who want to vent out their frustration by blasting random strangers. Do you really need to take the opinions of such people seriously?
2. Distinguish between constructive and destructive criticism.
Let’s get real, no one likes criticism. But do we need it in some doses? Yes, we do! Not just on the internet but also in your personal life, taking criticism and working on your flaws is the best way to grow. The trick is to recognize whether the criticism is constructive or destructive.
For example, a comment telling me to work on my accent and pronunciation is constructive for me, because I know it will help me improve my diction.
On the other hand, a comment posted with the sole aim of body shaming me doesn’t need to be taken seriously. I can chalk it up to an unhappy person nit picking someone else to avoid acknowledging and addressing the things they don’t like about themselves and their own life.
3. Joke about it.
A trick that I learnt pretty soon into my breakdown was to stop taking things too seriously! I have a couple of close friends with whom I sit and read all the negative comments written about me and have a good laugh! (If you need a little help finding the funny in the mean, Google “celebrities read mean tweets.” When you don’t take the hate personally, you can’t help but laugh at some of it!)
4. Weed out negativity.
If at any point you feel that a person is getting too much for you to handle just weed them out. It’s very easy to do this on the internet, you simply block them from all possible platforms, and VOILA! Bye-bye negativity!
This might be slightly more difficult when dealing with people who are in your life on a day-to-day basis. But if a person regularly tries to pull you down, it’s not worth keeping them in your life anyway.
5. Open up.
Talk to your community and you’ll realize that everyone is dealing with hate in some form or other. What helped me the most is watching funny YouTube videos, where YouTubers answer back to hateful comments on their videos. Superwoman is one of my favorite YouTubers, and her video answering back to her haters was a savior for me.
Not only does this put a humorous spin on the situation, it reminds you that everyone is facing this in today’s world, which makes it easier to deal with, because you realize it truly isn’t personal, no matter how personal it seems.
Irrespective of how you choose to deal with the hate that is thrown your way, never be afraid to be absolutely and unabashedly yourself. Some will love it, some will hate it, but you don’t have to let their opinions get you down!
About Tanwi Dixit
Tanwi Dixit is passionate, determined, and always curious; she’s someone who’s always hungry for new experiences. Travel, food, or books, her life revolves around exploring new things. Working as a writer, model, anchor, and blogger, she wants to share all her experiences with readers and try and help them out in even the tiniest possible way. Visit her at tanwidixit.com and on Instagram and on Facebook.
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