Handling Criticism on Social Media

Handling Criticism on Social Media 1024 576 Reader Views

Social media is an inescapable aspect of an author’s life. It serves as a platform for connecting with readers and peers, but it’s also a stage for criticism, both constructive and otherwise. Learning how to manage the complexities of online criticism is crucial, as it can profoundly affect an author’s personal brand as well as their mental well-being.

Know When to Engage and When to Ignore

Don’t Feed the Trolls. While the internet can be a place for constructive conversation, it’s also a breeding ground for negativity and trolling. Recognizing the difference between constructive criticism and trolling is key. Trolls are not genuinely interested in contributing to the discussion; their primary aim is to incite negative reactions. Ignoring, muting, or blocking these profiles can save you both time and emotional energy.

Be Selective. Not all criticism is created equal. Some comments are poorly informed or inadequately articulated, while others can offer real insights. Taking the time to read and assess the quality of the criticism can help you focus on what truly matters. If you find a critique that is thoughtful and well-reasoned, it could be more beneficial for your growth than a thousand praises.

The Art of Response

Be Professional. Constructive criticism or not, maintaining a professional demeanor is crucial. A composed, respectful response not only reflects well on your personal brand but also sets the stage for meaningful interaction. Responding in haste or with animosity could alienate potential readers and harm your reputation.

Be Brief. While you may be tempted to give a detailed defense of your work, brevity is often more effective. Lengthy justifications may come across as overly defensive or desperate. Stick to the point, thank the critic for their perspective, and move on.

Don’t Be Defensive. It’s human nature to be defensive when faced with criticism. However, this instinct can lead to unnecessary conflict or stress. Instead of becoming defensive, try to see criticism as a tool for growth. This mindset can turn a potentially negative interaction into a constructive experience.

Take a Step Back

Avoid Immediate Reactions. Online conversations can be emotionally charged. If a comment triggers you, give yourself some time to cool down before responding. Emotional reactions can hinder your ability to address criticism constructively.

Consult With Peers. Before making a response, it can be beneficial to consult with others. A third-party perspective can offer invaluable insights into whether the criticism is worth addressing. Discussing the situation with a trusted colleague or friend can help you formulate a more thoughtful response.

Separate the Art from the Artist. Criticism of your work is not criticism of you as an individual. Making this emotional separation is challenging, but essential for your mental well-being. Remember, even the most celebrated authors face criticism; it’s part of putting your work out into the world.

Use it as a Learning Tool

Make a Note of Recurrent Points. If you notice a recurring theme in the criticism, it’s worth giving it special attention. Multiple readers pointing out the same issue could be a sign that there’s room for improvement in that particular aspect.

Thank the Critic. Whether or not you agree with the critique, thank the person for taking the time to read your work and provide feedback. This not only shows that you’re professional but also open to growth.

Consider the Source

Verify the Credibility.Before taking any criticism to heart, evaluate the credibility of the person providing it. Input from a seasoned editor or a knowledgeable reader in your genre is generally more valuable than feedback from a random internet user who may not fully understand your work.


Mastering the art of handling criticism on social media is essential for both your professional journey and emotional well-being. Being able to discern, respond, and learn from critique is a skill that will serve you throughout your writing career. Remember, you’re not alone in facing criticism; it’s a universal experience that can serve as a stepping stone for growth.


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