The old print journalists got their reader feedback through snail mail. You'd have to be a pretty ticked off reader to go to that trouble. But with the convenient Feedback buttons located on everything they write, bloggers can now feel the hate instantly.
When you write a blog for as long as I have, you learn to grow a pretty thick hide. Now that readers have only to click a button to tell you how much they hate you, you're pretty much a sitting duck when it comes to criticism. At first, I didn't think I'd ever get used to it, but I have. I have become the Teflon Blogger at this point.
Some e-mails I receive, however, still manage to shock me in that the person writing so clearly missed the point of what I was actually saying in my blog. Still other e-mails make me want to go out and buy a bulletproof vest. Here are some of my "favorites":Toni is a sexist bully. After I referred to my husband's habit of not closing cabinet doors to illustrate a point about people who don't complete tasks in the workplace, I received this e-mail:
"I am very tired of women hating on men. Do you feel better about yourself by bashing your husband? Honestly, if you pick losers, I think that says more about you than it does your significant other. Secondly, bashing the male population does not make the world a better place; in fact it makes it a worse place to live for all involved. I don't think you see how negative comments like this work their way into the self perceptions of young people. That negative self image rots their view of themselves. Furthermore, I am disgusted to think that I subscribe to a male bashing publication that quite honestly is most likely all male in the first place. So that leads me to wonder if you are qualified to be in the position you are in, do you not understand who your audience is? If you ever bring up the argument the same money for the same job, ask yourself if you are truly qualified for the position you are so lackingly filling."
Funny, he refers to my husband as a "loser," and yet he calls me a male basher. I thought about referring this guy to one of my past blogs, Lessons my big brothers taught me, but I'd honestly prefer that he didn't hang around anymore.Toni spelled a word wrong! I wrote a piece about the emotional phases one goes through after a layoff, using a still-sensitive experience of my own as an example. The piece contained a typo, from which one of my readers made this leap of logic: "Apparently the company from which you were laid off made a good choice in letting you go." Yeah, because we all know how corporations like to ferret out those who are capable of hitting the wrong letter on a keyboard. Toni's in the wrong line of work. Another reader had a problem with my advice and suggested that I seek other employment, "like being a garbage collector." I decided to do that very thing and, thus, this list was born. Toni just sucks. One e-mail came with one little question: "And you get paid to write this crap?" Not enough, my friend, not enough. And the winner is... My all-time favorite e-mail arrived a day or two after my mug shot began appearing on my blog. It read simply and eloquently, "You have an ugly face." I e-mailed the gentleman back, thanking him for his keen observation and wishing him good luck in the fourth grade. He responded with "I was just kidding." What, he couldn't have settled for a knock-knock joke?
Toni Bowers is the former Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.