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Haters: How to Deal with Negativity on YouTube

30 Nov, 2023

Experienced creators on YouTube are acutely aware of the negative comments they receive, some of which may be justified, while others are not. Even the most innocuous videos are not immune to hateful remarks. The motivations behind these disparaging comments remain a mystery to many.

What strategies should one adopt in response to negative comments? How should one react, or better yet, distance oneself from such negativity? Together, let's explore effective approaches.

YouTube serves as a platform for self-expression, offering individuals the opportunity to showcase their unique personalities and potentially gain popularity.

It is a global broadcasting platform that unites viewers and creators from all corners of the world. The journey to becoming a popular YouTuber lies within our own capabilities and efforts.

However, seldom is it discussed what lies behind this pursuit of popularity — the extensive knowledge required for a successful venture into self-realization on YouTube. More crucially, the seldom-addressed aspect of this journey is the reality that popularity can be challenging, painful, and at times, overwhelming.

Popularity often carries a significant psychological burden.

Once you open up to the world, you become the subject of universal attention, not only to wonderful and kind people but also to a vast number of inadequate, rude, and tactless characters.

Creators constantly face criticism and negativity, but the problem is that most of them simply aren't prepared for it. So remember the first golden rule:

The merit of your work is determined not by a handful of negative comments, but rather by the predominant majority of viewer responses.

Just keep this in mind, or you'll start devaluing your own efforts and achievements after a couple of unkind comments under your video.

Another important guideline to remember is that it is common for people to watch videos without leaving comments. This, too, is a normal aspect of viewer engagement.

Any reactions from the audience are a challenging task for creators because motivating someone to take action, like writing a comment or hitting the like button, is difficult. It means you've managed to elicit a reaction beyond their expectations. So much so that they wanted to do something for you.

But with haters, it's different: they write their comments because it makes them feel better. They aren't interested in how much effort went into the video. After all, they probably have no idea what it means to create content.

What does vlogging really mean?

To achieve any level on YouTube, you have to sacrifice many things—personal time, time with family and friends, finances, and sometimes even health.

For instance, editing videos for hours is no easy job. Sometimes you want to pluck your eyes out and pack them away. Whatever you do for YouTube involves hard work: scripting, developing ideas, some background hustle that goes unnoticed—figuring out and choosing equipment, coming up with how to set up the background, work on your image, watch competitors— the list goes on and on.

While some anonymous person atrophies their gluteal muscles on the couch, sending a comment about how terrible your video is, you've performed so many different maneuvers and invested soul and energy.

Critics are used to saying, "Oh, vloggers... maybe you should find a real job? Go to the plant or Chick-fil-A!"—and they can't even imagine that being a vlogger is, in fact, a job, no different from others.

For prominent creators, it can sometimes appear even more challenging. They are often not burdened by time management. Someone can get up from the chair at 6:00 PM and bid farewell to work, while a vlogger has no boundaries for work—they work all the time. This is not to devalue anyone's occupation but rather to explain that the reality of vlogging is not as glamorous as most people think.

People don't understand how much courage, mental energy, and time it takes to create a YouTube channel. If it were so simple, wouldn't everyone quit their jobs and start "posing for the camera" and raking in millions?

The ratio of successful channels to those that have thrown in the towel is colossal: YouTube boasts over 50 million channels, but only 29 thousand have garnered over a million subscribers. In total, only 17 million out of 50 million even have subscribers; the rest simply exist without uploading any videos.

The disparity is strikingly vast. When content creators realize that success on YouTube is not solely about easy money and fame, their enthusiasm often diminishes rapidly.

Those who persevere and continue working on their channels and content are courageous, persistent, and resilient individuals who have traversed an enormous path of learning, growth, and self-improvement.

For those who give up, don't blame yourself: enduring the life of a YouTuber is challenging, and its pace and development are unlike any other job. And to make it easier for you, remember that you are not alone.

Vlogging is a profession without fixed schedules and boundaries, and it can be emotionally taxing. This is due to the constant interaction with a diverse audience, among whom, as previously noted, not everyone harbors positive intentions. Consistently producing quality videos demands a level of inspiration akin to being creatively charged around the clock. However, one must ponder whether those who leave devaluing comments under your videos ever consider this aspect.

How to deal with haters

The foremost notion to dispel is the belief that hate comments are a personal attack. Engaging in self-questioning, such as 'why me?' or 'what's wrong with me?', only breeds apathy and demotivation. Instead, it is more constructive to view the negative comments on your channel as a form of release for the commenter.

Yes, you don't deserve this. You don't even know this person and haven't done anything personally wrong to them. Perhaps your content is aimed at helping people, and they still continue to write nasty comments. Unfortunately, there's no escaping from it.

And why you in the first place? But try to imagine for a moment how many emotions are bottled up in people. And this is not about justifying the haters. Of course, they should deal with their own problems, but sometimes it's better to vent negativity under someone's video or post than to unleash anger on family members, for example.

If you approach haters with even a bit of pity, like "man, life must be hard for you," and come to the understanding that, most likely, the reason is not you — then it becomes a hundred times easier.

Agree, what happy person would want to spend their happy time on a video they don't like? And especially on comments about it. It's one thing when someone makes a remark about the video, and another thing is blatant hate.

Image generated by StabilityAI DreamStudio

What to do if negative comments Impact you mentally

Remember: you set the rules for behavior on your channels. You are at home, and your viewers are guests. Inappropriate, unwanted, and especially aggressive comments are inappropriate behavior.

If someone doesn't like your hairstyle, lipstick, or a silly tie you chose, you don't have to tolerate negativity, especially from unfamiliar or completely unknown people.

If you have strong nerves, you can even make a joke on the subject. However, if any comments bother you, just ban and end the conversation.

A reasonable reaction to what you don't like is to close the tab and leave. An unreasonable one is to write something like, "The videos are good, but your left thumb is distracting, it's so crooked." If they don't like it, let them go.

On a positive note, if you have haters, it means you're popular. Seriously! This is the only way you should look at it. But don't descend into narcissism, and certainly don't try to use it to turn your channel into a "Scandals, Intrigues, Investigations" show. Just silently acknowledge it as a good sign, and then do what you think is necessary—respond with kindness, make jokes, ignore, or delete.

Also, pay attention to who is writing to you. It won't be difficult to go to the user's page and see that you won't find a name, face, or voice there. In fact, there's no special significance to the person's activities in society. So why should the opinion of an anonymous person bother you at all?

And those critics who think their very important opinion helps creators should try applying a similar approach to themselves.

Many commenters hide their hate behind such phrases:

  • It's just my opinion — yes, and I hear it, but it violates my boundaries and comfort when presented in an inappropriate form, so I have the right to react as I see fit.
  • I say this because I want to help — anything not explicitly asked for by a person is not considered help. You've probably heard the phrase "doing good." As long as the creator in the video doesn't explicitly say they're waiting for your opinion in the comments, it's not help but simply a cover for your rudeness and lack of manners.
  • It was just a joke; you don't have a sense of humor — anything related to personal insults cannot be a joke in any way, and trying to convince the creator of their inadequate reaction to your comment is nothing more than gaslighting.

Whether one agrees or disagrees with this viewpoint, it is imperative to acknowledge that no one should be subjected to negativity and devaluation.

Cyberbullying: how to learn to live in the negative side of the internet

Cyberbullying is intimidation and harassment using digital technologies. It can occur on social networks, messengers, and gaming platforms. The goal is to scare, anger, or shame the target.

No one is immune to the possibility that ordinary hate can escalate into this type of persecution. This goes beyond a couple of anonymous haters; it's full-fledged harassment with the aim of morally or even physically destroying a person.

If you find yourself subjected to such attacks, unfortunately, the only effective solution is to step away from the media life, at least until you stabilize your mental state and learn to navigate the aggressive online space.

If you're experiencing cyberbullying, don't hesitate to talk about it with friends and family, and seek help from a psychologist. Everyone occasionally needs help and support.

However, even without severe harassment, you may suffer psychologically from ordinary hater attacks, and that's normal. Remember, there's nothing shameful about seeking help. If you're confident you can handle the negativity on your own, let's try to be more rational here.

What should one do when confronted with such negativity?

Firstly, consider analyzing your channel's metrics. These statistics are free from emotional biases and clearly indicate the performance of your channel and videos. If the metrics show growth, maintain average values, and there is no significant loss of subscribers (excluding YouTube's view deductions), then understand that a few negative comments are merely the personal opinions of the individuals who wrote them.

Continue to pursue your passion. It is advisable to avoid engaging with negative comments; critics will likely continue regardless of your response. The key to handling negativity is not to internalize it, but rather to continue doing what brings you joy. Remember, it's impossible to please everyone. Just as you wouldn't engage in a pointless argument with a stranger who insults you without truly knowing you, similarly, it's best to disregard baseless criticism.

Most importantly, even if you make a mistake, it doesn't automatically validate your critics. Everyone has the right to err, and it is through these mistakes that we grow and develop expertise. So, embrace your mistakes as opportunities for growth.

How to turn hate into benefit for your channel

If reading comments demotivates you, then don't read them. Yes, it sounds easy, but in reality, there is often the temptation to check what's under the video and find out the current mood.

However, keep in mind that your mental health is more valuable than any comment from a stranger, so refrain from reading when you're not ready.

Also, remember that comments don't convey intonation, so some people may not mean anything negative; you just interpreted it that way based on your current mood.

Perhaps the most valuable tip to consider is that each comment, regardless of its nature, serves as a signal of engagement to YouTube's algorithm. These automated systems do not discern the sentiment of the comments; they simply acknowledge their presence or absence.

In fact, negative comments can even help you. Thanks to them, you can create a list of words that bother you the most, add them to your blacklist, and comments with similar words simply won't appear under your videos.

You can do this in the Creator Studio, in the settings, under the Community tab. Scroll down a bit, and you'll find the "Blacklist" section where you can add all the unpleasant words. If someone uses them in the comments under your video, those messages will simply go for review, and in the chat during live broadcasts or premieres, they may even be blocked.

Importantly, do not allow yourself to be unsettled by a few negative voices if the majority of feedback on your video is positive. The comments of such detractors do not represent the overall sentiment of your community.

It's crucial to remember that these negative individuals exist primarily in the virtual realm of comments. Their actions may stem from fear, loneliness, or sadness, leading them to spread negativity online. Therefore, it is vital not to undervalue your efforts. If the negativity begins to impact your mental or physical health, do not hesitate to seek professional support. Prioritizing your well-being is of utmost importance

Always take care of yourself! Good Luck!


Sasha Lerman

Copywriter, writer, editor. Development and promotion on YouTube, as well as many other exciting topics.

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