‘This blog post’s a waste of space’, ‘We’ve all been talking and what we think is…’ or ‘ Oh dear. Time for your feedback then’.

Time for most of us to find our blood pressure rising, if even slightly, at the prospect of negative criticism. If not, you may want to discuss your psychopathic tendencies with someone – and soon…

At web content meet-ups I’ve been to, along with increasing traffic, the top topic everyone wants to discuss is snark.

And most of us know searing criticism, sarcasm and satire that is often hilarious. Gawker, Private Eye, The Onion and The Poke act as effective checks on how the powerful and publicized behave.

But snark also undermines and demotivates. We feel misunderstood, naive, ashamed of our output and sometimes, who we are. ‘This was not my aim’ we feel with maybe no recourse to debate and comeback.

Some philosophies then to survive snark attack:

It’s their bad stuff

Your critic may be a total jerk with many issues. Commonly, they may be dumping off their own sense of inadequacy on to you. You can only resolve to share as little of their planet space for the least time possible.

Their location is alien

Their users/market/audience may be quite different from yours and their attack may help you clarify this.

You’ve engaged and provoked them

You’ve not been BORING, today’s cardinal sin. You’ve registered on their radar. Copywriting experts like Jon Morrow say snark comes with the territory when you want to create impact in the blogosphere.

They may be mere snarkers – not suppliers

When someone savages you with criticism, and they don’t supply any content or output themselves, then maybe it’s time to suggest they do. And you’d love to see it.

You’ve learnt something

Well, you know, it’s just possible your idea was rubbish and it’s good to get early indications of this. You can dust yourself down, lick those lashes, and get on with the next one.

Your critic may have been generous and insightful enough to suggest what you could do more or less of, next time. Meltdown or tweaking, at least you have direction.

You know how to rumble them

And if they’ve not been generous and insightful enough to suggest alternatives to what you’re doing – when possible, ask them what they suggest you do more or less of in future…

No suggestion forthcoming? Then you can assume the snark is more for their benefit than yours, and that it is motivated by envy as you dared to venture a view, have great breasts or pecs (or both even) and can speak 7 languages…

It’s a snark stage of evolution

Snark often comes from someone commenting as ‘anon’ or a pseudonym with no traceable location.

But as the web evolves and our critical thinking over what sources we connect to increases, people who post this way will be less and less relevant and regarded.

Quite soon I reckon, we may look back and regard these online times where snark prevails as Neanderthal days.

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By szcz

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