What I Didn’t Say at the #TypeACon Town Hall Meeting

I just got back from an awesome weekend at the Type A Parent Conference in Atlanta. Despite the name, it’s not a parenting conference and it’s not for Type A people (specifically, anyway). It’s a blog conference!

I was a speaker, too! (Here’s me and my co-presenter, Heather.)

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Most of you know that my main blogging activity goes on over at Pintester, and I attended as Sonja Foust, the Pintester, but that blog doesn’t really lend itself to recaps and musings, so I’m doing that here, because I have some musings, people.

Specifically, I want to talk about the Town Hall meeting, which was unique to this conference (at least in my experience). It was a chance for bloggers to get up and talk about an issue that was important to them that may not necessarily have been on the program.

Lots of bloggers talked about negativity, flaming, bullying, and criticism. I, personally, didn’t say anything because I fail at thinking on my feet. But if I had been able to come up with something to say in response to that discussion, here’s what it would have been:

My fellow bloggers, I wish I could take away the hurt you’ve experienced from negative comments– and I know you’re hurt because you’ve been crying at the microphone. I truly, truly empathize with you because I’ve been there A LOT.

My blog tends to draw out some haters. I know you’re probably not familiar with Pintester, but it’s… shall we say… bawdy. I curse, I admit failure, I make a lot of penis jokes, and I’m a moderate democrat who sometimes says what she thinks. All of this invites criticism, and not always the constructive kind. I get emails and comments weekly, if not daily, telling me I shouldn’t swear so much or make jokes about Mitt Romney or draw penises on things. Some of these emails are polite. Most are not. Some are personal attacks on my character, intelligence, or appearance.

I’m not saying that for sympathy. I don’t really want your sympathy– and before you get mad about that, let me explain. I’m only saying that stuff so you’ll realize that I truly do understand where you’re coming from, because now I’m going to give you some tough love.

You need to get over it.

Yep, I said it. You know why you need to get over it? Because if you’re doing the whole blogging thing right, it’s going to happen again, and it’s going to keep happening. A certain percentage of your visitors will not like what you have to say.

I already told you that I get weekly– if not daily– hate mail, and some of you are probably floored that I can even stand to get out of bed in the morning, because you know how it makes you feel when you get just one nasty comment. But what I haven’t told you about yet is all the amazing comments and emails I get daily– the ones from people who’ve told me they needed a laugh because they’re going through a hard time, and they’re so glad to have found my blog, or the ones from the ladies who totally get my weird, dry sense of humor and dish it back in kind, which I love. I haven’t told you yet that my readers are the best in the world, and if someone comments publicly with something awful, I just sit back and let my readers tell them what’s what. I don’t even say a word.

Do you know what that is? That’s an abundant set of emails and comments– and I don’t mean “abundant” in the sense of lots and lots of numbers of comments, although sometimes it is that. I mean “abundant” in the sense that for every horrible, nasty, mean, awful, hurtful comment I get, there’s an equally lovely, sweet, funny, kind, amazing comment from someone else– and I am lucky in that my lovely, funny comments far outweigh the nasty, mean ones. I mean “abundant” in the sense that the reactions on both sides of the issue are intense. Sure, I get people who intensely hate me, but I get so many that intensely love me, and let me tell you, if I have to take the haters with the lovers, it’s a done deal, because the lovers make it SO worth it.

If you’re getting some hate, I’m willing to take a guess that you’re getting some love, too. And probably more love than hate, if you’re going to take an honest inventory. So get over the haters, my darling fellow bloggers. They’re not the ones you’re talking to anyway, and if they don’t like your blog, they’re free to go find someone else’s blog to read. Revel in the fact that you have an abundant set of comments, and remember that for every hater, there’s at least one lover.

I’m one of the lovers, just so you know. Keep doing what you’re doing, and kick some bloggy ass!