Haters to the left
Contributor
Written by
Angela Tung
October 2010
Contributor
Written by
Angela Tung
October 2010
I love writing for the web. I love writing for the web because I've found it a bit easier to get published online than in print. Information changes fast so you need more of it. I love it because I have the opportunity to reach lots of people, and with just a Tweet or a link, to reach a whole lot more. I love it because publication is often instantaneous, as is feedback. However, that instantaneous feedback is why I sometimes hate web writing too. I write a lot about love and relationships. I write about my marriage, my husband's infidelity, and our divorce. I write about dating again in my 30s and my struggle to both figure out what I want and to find love again. I try to write as honestly as possible. I don't write to make myself look good and others bad. I try not to cut myself a break, and admit to my mistakes and shortcomings as much as possible. Still, that hasn't stop people from calling me: a whiner, a nagger, a complainer, a princess, a bitch, manipulative, crazy, and immoral. I've been told that I must have driven my husband to cheating, that I deserve what I got, and that I'm encouraging people to get divorced. I usually let it roll off my back. Sometimes I even laugh, especially when it's obvious the snarker hasn't read the whole piece, or when someone writes me a long diatribe which clearly screams PROJECTION, and then ends with something like, "Do not respond to this message, as I care not to communicate with you further." Sometimes though the haters get to me. Recently I wrote a piece about finding out my engagement ring was worth much less than had been implied. I'd always been told how special and valuable my ring was, that I was very lucky my mother-in-law - who in the past didn't approve of me - had bequeathed it to me from her personal collection, and that my husband had gone to trouble of spending some exorbitant amount to get it reset. Because of the way my in-laws dropped money on antiques, I assumed the ring was in the $10,000 range so when the appraiser told me it was worth $2,500, I was pretty shocked. Understandable, right? Well, not to everyone. In the piece I call the ring "junk," which many readers took offense to. Their own rings cost that much or less, and they were certainly not junk. While just as many other readers understood I meant the term relatively and metaphorically, I still felt bothered. I didn't want the piece to make a judgment about what rings are junk or not, but to explore the idea of self-worth in relation to gifts and objects, and because maybe only half the readers got that, I felt like I didn't do a good enough job explaining my point. The question is: should I care? Do the offended readers have a point or are they, again, projecting their own unhappiness? Are they missing the forest for the trees? Should I have not used the word “junk”? Or should I not care, as long as people are reading and at least some are getting what I have to say? In a way, negative feedback is good. It tells me, very bluntly, where I wasn't clear, and encourages me for next time to write an "air-tight" essay, trying to predict where the haters will try to call me out. And in a way, positive feedback is bad. It can become addictive. Who likes me? How much do they like me? How many people like me? Why doesn't someone like me? How many comments do I have? Is mine one of the most read pieces of the day, the week? Or on the flipside, why don't I have any comments? Is my piece - and by extension, me as a person - any good? I'm finding as many challenges as opportunities with writing for the web. I need to remind myself that it's not all about making people like or hate me; it's not about how many comments or page views I get. I have to remind myself of the original reason for why I write. It's about telling my story as honestly as possible without worrying about what the reaction might be, while at the same time, gleaning the bits of constructive criticism from the mindless hate, and taking both the praise and insults in stride.

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