If you’re a blogger, an influencer, a YouTuber, or a content creator in general, chances are you’ve already been the target of online hate.
While it’s true that the internet makes people more interconnected than ever before, it has spawned into a fertile ground for all types of online hate — from hateful comments to racist and xenophobic messages, from bodyshaming to slander, and even physical threats and harassment.
Hateful messages are menacing to say the least, they are like daggers that pierce through one’s heart. Sometimes, the effect of online hate can last for a long while, or even a lifetime.
Why Does Online Hate Thrive?
The unregulated soar of anonymity on the internet has undoubtedly given rise to this new breed of haters. Haters, trolls, and cyberbullies hide behind the cloak of faceless profile pictures, silly aliases, and dubious usernames.
Oftentimes, hateful messages come from ignorance. People tend to misinterpret your actions or work, and assume something wrong about you.
Sometimes, it’s simply jealousy. This may be a hard pill to swallow for haters themselves, but it is what it is. When a creator becomes more popular or even when ordinary social media users post their achievements online, they are getting noticed by people sitting on the sidelines. Your achievement could be a sense of dread for the hater.
This goes to show that haters hate because of frustration and jealousy. You are the embodiment of their unfulfilled dreams, and that’s why even when you do nothing wrong, they channel their energy hating you and your work or achievements.
Most of the time, haters also pick on people whom they believe as being different from themselves. This could be due to different political or religious beliefs, sexual orientation, occupation, race, or even physical appearance.
1. Shaking It Off + Other Ways to Cope With Online Hate
There are also instances when haters hate just for the sake of it. As Taylor Swift perfectly puts it in her smash hit “Shake It Off”, haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate. From the song itself, shaking it off is an effective way to deal with hateful messages online.
But there are mechanisms that are equally as effective as totally ignoring online hate.
2. Stick to Your Core
This means that whatever you do, do not become a hater or a cyberbully; don’t be the person who hurt you online. It’s normal that when you are at the receiving end of a barrage of hateful messages, you may want to retaliate.
Responding to these messages angrily or viciously won’t be of no help. If you do this, you yourself become a troll or hater.
3. Show Some Empathy
Does this mean you have to agree with what the trolls or haters are spewing? Nope, of course not. By showing empathy, you’re simply putting yourself in the hater’s shoes and seeing the world through their eyes.
When you receive online messages, try to think that the person who wrote the message is just having a bad day. You may leave a comment saying that you fully get it that not everyone in the world is a fan of your work or your achievements. With this type of empathy, you will be able to let go of the hurt sooner than expected.
4. Offer Some Help
Since haters are channeling their frustration by trolling or posting negative comments, it may be of help to them (and to you as well!) to offer them a helping hand. Let them know that their comments are being noted and you are open to hearing them out. In the process, you can offer your haters some helpful tips or advice. Remember: haters are envious people who are frustrated about their unfulfilled dreams. It has nothing to do with you!
5. Educate Your Haters
There are times when haters or trolls flood you with false, fake or incomplete information. If possible, take the opportunity to educate your haters and correct their misconceptions. In educating them, it’s best you stick to the topic at hand and don’t attack your haters personally. Remember: you must not become a hater yourself!
6. Don’t Dignify
Sometimes, the best way to deal with online hate is to just ignore or block the hater altogether. Remember, haters love attention; and when you reply to them, you’re quite literally giving in to what they want and adding fuel to the fire. Pretend that the people who made the hateful comments do not exist.
Do not dignify their lies, nasty comments, and vile behavior. Prioritize your inner peace.
7. Don’t Take It Personally
It’s called “online” hate for a reason. When people disagree with your content or with what you post, the truth is, they do not react to a person, they actually react to a screen. So don’t take it personally! The amount of hate these people post on their screens is nowhere near the amount they would spew in a face-to-face setup. People often keep their hate to themselves in personal settings.
8. Look at the Bright Side
It truly pays to be an optimist in situations like these. When someone hurls a tirade, a hateful message against you, it means that you’re getting noticed. This means your work offers value, because if you were doing something that doesn’t matter, haters would not care at all. It goes to show that you are making an impact.
Haters usually flock to where the attention is, and the hateful comments from those faceless and anonymous trolls also show that you are on your way to success, or you are already reaping the fruits of your hard work. Again, do not focus on the negative side of things.
9. Take a Break
When online hate becomes a handful and starts overwhelming you, it may be best for you to go offline and cut yourself some slack.
10. When All Else Fails: Threaten Them With a Lawsuit
In the most extreme cases of online hate, or when you have a well-founded belief that someone is tarnishing or defaming your reputation, you may want to consider threatening them with a lawsuit. Their freedom to speak up does not come with the freedom to hurt you. This will shut them down and allow you to post in peace again.