Blogging is a weird job. It has a lot of perks, but like all jobs, has drawbacks. Let’s talk about haters and mean comments.
I had a goal to reach 10,000 on Instagram so I could have the swipe up feature in stories. (This allows you to link to blog posts or products.) But my Instagram growth was very slow.
On top of that my Pinterest impressions had dropped by 50 percent! (That’s where I get 40 percent of my blog traffic.)
So I decided to try TikTok. I even applied to be a TikTok partner where I would get paid to make 40 how-to videos in 2 months. I took it seriously and made 50 15-second videos of my best DIY content. And I got 10,000 followers in two months there!
After that I continued making videos for TikTok, but only a couple times a week. My account grew to 100,000 after a little over 4 months. I have a few videos that got over 1 million views.
How I grew my TikTok account
- posting every day for 40 days
- with my BEST tutorial content
- videos 15-25 seconds long
- using voiceovers
- captioning each step
- using viral TikTok music
- using 5 hashtags
TikTok followers came over to Instagram and quickly got me to 10K. My page views to my blog almost doubled (use your bio link to your blog, not Linktree) and my Etsy shop had never done better. My Pinterest impressions went past 10 million when I posted the same TikTok videos to “Story Pins.” It was working!
(Now that I have graduated from the learning fund, I now get paid a small amount depending on how many views my videos get daily.)
But that came at an emotional cost. When your audience expands, so do the comments. Most are kind and genuine, but there are the handful that make your heart pound and suck the air out of your chest.
I’ve had plenty before from Instagram, my blog and Pinterest, but they were sporadic so I could shake them off. But when you read 15 comments in one sitting like:
- “Looked better before.”
- “You have no idea what you’re talking about.”
- “People don’t do this. It’s tacky …”
- “I know it’s your house … but this hurts me to watch.”
- “The first one was bad, but this is way worse! 😂😂😂”
- “You are a toxic mom.”
- “I hope your house burns down in a fire so you can see you should have saved your photos.”
- “I hope this doesn’t become a trend.”
The first TikTok that went viral put me in a 2 day funk. I almost quit actually. All I can say is that if you are trying to grow your following on social media, be careful what you wish for. The larger the audience, the harsher the criticism. I had no idea painting shower tile and photo books would be so controversial!
And can we talk about that the fact that the people who leave these comments usually have private accounts with no profile pic and 4 followers? I can’t picture any of these people sitting behind their screens typing hateful things even though they lead a happy, fulfilling life. Because they’re not happy. They are hurting and insecure.
But it’s giving me thicker skin and I respond with things like: “I hope your day gets better” or “thanks for your perspective, but don’t forget you’re commenting to an actual person.” Even humor if I can muster it. “Well user67893, if that’s what we have to worry about I’d say life is pretty good!”
I want to show kindness to those who need it because hurt people hurt people. What’s interesting is how many people like my nice comments to the mean ones! They notice. And a few of the mean commenters have even apologized.
But I don’t respond to the people looking for a fight. And I delete the ones that will start a string of comments directed toward the bully, because that’s what they want — a negative response from as many people as possible. It’s gross.
Social media boundaries
I’m not being blown along with the wind anymore though. I will not allow social media to dictate my mood or take up too much of my time, so I’ve been creating boundaries.
- My notifications are turned off.
- I pretty much stay off social media on the weekends.
- I take breaks when I know I need them, even delete the app for a few days so I’m not tempted to scroll.
What I have learned from social media
I do not get my validation from likes or follows. That has nothing to do with who I am. And I want to be real and humble, not make someone think my life is perfect. I never want to stir up feelings of jealousy or comparison.
Build people up. If anything this experience has made me the biggest comment cheerleader ever! I want to build people up, not tear them down.
If you respond to mean comments, do it with overwhelming kindness and it usually squashes it. It does not feel better after a nasty quip back that sparks an ugly argument that no one wins.
I won’t let my children have social media accounts for as long as possible. (I say this with absolutely ZERO judgment of other parents’ rules.) I’m 41 and know my self worth, and can barely handle the intense criticism. How could a teen deal with it? Even 25-year-old me would have crumbled. These cruel things could stick with them for a lifetime and result in serious self doubt. And I wonder about the addiction to praise and applause as well. How will time on social media distract from kids developing real life friendships?
Social media breaks are 100 percent necessary. I take breaks when I feel emotional, vulnerable, weekends, vacation and when it’s family time.
Positive influence on social media
Some people think that social media is bad and we should just get off all together. Actually, I did quit Facebook this year because I hated the way I felt every time I left the app. But my Instagram feed is full of people’s projects, creations and ideas. I leave feeling inspired.
What you see in your feed is up to you! Don’t follow people who are not uplifting or make you feel less than.
And what if all wholesome people left these apps? People would still be there and without positive influences present. I want to bring inspiration and kindness to these people full of hate. God can use everything for good.
I am looking at this as a sort of training ground. Maybe I will start a gospel centered TikTok next. But I know if people are offended by shower tile, they will definitely be offended by the gospel! So I will have to be better prepared than this. But what an opportunity to reach people we would never ordinarily meet!
Sharing controversial content
Last year brought about so much change that it seemed we couldn’t agree on anything. I don’t think we’ve ever seen so much negativity on any platform. People were angry, confused, anxious, scared. They lashed out and some even lost friends over these issues.
Personally I’ve learned a lot about myself this year and what I am called to do and not called to do. This is personal to me, not everyone. I learned that I am not called to have an opinion on every issue in the world. I am not called to give a personal “statement” on each controversy.
God calls some people to speak up and gives them them clarity and discernment and courage. Instead, when I speak up I am easily hurt by comments. If I have chosen a gray area to have a public opinion about, I can wonder if I am indeed correct. It’s part of my personality to see both sides of matters.
That is why God has called me to preach the gospel, learn it, share it, talk about it. If I’m uninformed or speak incorrectly about a trendy issue, that could water down my trustworthiness and competence on the Bible in others’ eyes. Not to mention, I waste valuable emotions and time on being hurt by people and rehashing ugly comments. I am not able to shake off what idealists are. And that’s ok! I’m called for something else.
If someone attacks me because I believe the Bible, that’s different.
18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. JOHN 15
I can stand on the Bible, its credibility, its accuracy. It is timeless, not trendy. So I will spend my time speaking out to others about Jesus. He will be my focus. And if people would follow Jesus, a lot of these other social and political issues would be resolved.
Though open to the Spirit, the only controversial content I will probably ever share is Jesus.
Where do we go from here?
I’m out of the numbers game now. I don’t care. In fact, it wouldn’t bother me one bit if my Instagram account stayed the size it is now. Feels safer with friends I’ve made and has more of a community feel.
I love the relationships and sharing for fun without the pressure of harsh criticism and need to be perfect. (Because if you and your project are not perfect, believe me, people are happy to point it out.) I can share with a smaller audience what I can’t share with a large one. I can show mistakes and be vulnerable. That’s how I started out blogging and that’s how I want to stay.
Social media has taught me that it prefers me to have one lane, that people want one subject from me and I should adhere to it. It is preferably DIY and home decor. But the problem is that I am more than that. I love God, I wreck my heart to be a good parent, I care about people, I learn ways to save money, I grow new interests year by year.
God forbid you see me as a person blindly obsessed with the way her home looks! I love to make things lovely, but I also want to make the world more lovely where I have the opportunity.
Side note: How bloggers make money
If you’re curious about how bloggers make money or interested in blogging yourself, here is my free definitive guide to making money blogging.
The bulk of my income is from the ads on my blog. (That’s why social platforms help me, because they drive traffic to my website.) Then there are several other sources such as my digital planners on Etsy and affiliate links.
I also donate 20 percent of all these profits to Christian ministry organizations who help people in need, especially children.
Thank you for being here and for your support! I appreciate you. (Especially those of you who don’t leave me mean comments ;)