Last week, I commented on a blog post on the Mika Epstein’s blog – also known (or perhaps more commonly known) as @Ipstenu – on Handling Negatives.

In the article, Mika talks about the fun that comes with developing plugins, themes, and generally any product where customers can share their thoughts with you. And if it isn’t obvious by the title, she covers how to handle negative feedback.

It was a good read and fun discussion and it definitely rings true for anyone who is an open source developer, but I think that it rings true for anyone who’s an aspiring developer, photographer, videographer, blogger, and so on.

So, I thought I’d share my thoughts on the pervasive negativity on the Internet and how it’s hit home for me.

Here’s my bottom line. That is, if you don’t read anything else in this post and you stop after the next sentence, this is what the key take away is:

If you’re releasing anything to the public, you will be criticized.

Of course, it normally takes a short period of time before anything rolls in. Nonetheless, it’s inevitable.

When I first started writing this post, I began to differentiate between managing negative feedback on projects and negative feedback on blog posts, but the more I wrote, the more I realized is they aren’t much different:

  • You release something for public consumption.
  • Most people are quiet about it. This usually means either they are indifferent or they like it.
  • A few people will give positive feedback or constructive criticism.
  • A few people will give negative feedback and may be extremely mean.

It’s a fact. There’s no way around it. But when I got involved in my startup, or blogging for other sites (let alone my own), or trying to publicly share my work, and I began to receive negative feedback, there’s one piece of advice that I wish someone – and by that, I mean anyone – would’ve given me:

It gets easier the longer that you do it.

Here’s how I see it: If it’s true that for every thing you release to the public is subject to both positive and negative criticism, then it’s not going to change with the more stuff you ship. You’re increasing the potential for negative feedback.

But here’s the thing: you begin to develop a thicker skin.

At the outset, negative feedback hits close to home and positive feedback fades into the background, right?

This does change. You recognize that the positive feedback usually results in discussion, helpful criticism, or positive dialog, where the negative feedback kind of just fades into the background.

Negativity on The Internet

So if you’re working on anything that’s publicly available and are receiving negative feedback (which is certainly not the same as constructive criticism), or you’re on the fence about doing so, don’t let the trolls and the naysayers dictate whether or not you keep at it.

Every single one of us who blogs, builds products, shares photographs or videos, publishes for major sites, and so on go through the exact same thing. We’re all criticized, but we’re getting thicker skin.

Plus, it’s just as much fun to share your work as it is to see what others are sharing. Ignore the trolls.

My guess is that others can chime in on this as I know a number of bloggers, photographers, developers, videographers, and so on so feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.