Dealing with Coverage on Other Blogs

By Amy Lupold Bair

You can’t do much about negative blog posts or comments about you on other blogs, although many a blogger has stayed awake all night worrying. (It doesn’t seem to help.) You can easily post a comment that responds, but you may not want to respond when you’re feeling angry and emotional because you may post something you would regret.

You’re taking part in a public conversation, and free speech means that people can openly express their opinions about you, your blog, your opinions, your business — you name it. You can find negative criticism hard to take, especially when you feel it’s unjustified. Before you send off an angry email or post a vicious comment, sit back and take a little time to consider your options. If you can be objective, try to understand exactly what the other person is criticizing and whether the critic has a point.

Here are four ways that you can handle a case in which another blogger posts a negative statement about you or your blog:

  • Point to the negative coverage on your own blog and get some other opinions on the issue without taking a position yourself.
  • Ignore the post and comment about it only when someone specifically requests your opinion.
  • Post respectful comments on the blog in question and constructively add to the conversation there.
  • Counter the criticism, in a respectful manner, on your own blog.

Whichever path you choose, make sure that you deal with the comment in a respectful manner. You can easily escalate a conflict online because you don’t have to deal with people face to face. The anonymous feeling people get when they’re on the Internet can lead them to behave in ways that they wouldn’t in person. Try to take the high road as much as possible, if only because an uninvolved reader is more likely to see you as right if you handle things more courteously than your critic.

In some cases, criticism of an individual or business on a blog has led to legal ramifications, from copyright violation to libel. If you feel that the negative comments about you online might fall into the legal realm, consult with a lawyer about the best course of action.

You might not be the only target of criticism: Some bloggers use their blogs as a way to publish attacks on everyone, from public figures to private individuals. Some other bloggers might even attack your readers and ignore you. Deal with these kinds of situations quickly and with as much care as you can provide. Think of yourself as the referee in a situation that involves personal attacks from one member of your audience to another, and look for ways to defuse the situation and prevent future occurrences.