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Dealing With Negative Comments About Your Art or Crafts on Social Media

Donna enjoys using her arts background to create fun craft projects with a special focus on using repurposed or handy household materials.

How do you cope with negative feedback about your art online?

How do you cope with negative feedback about your art online?

Why Do People Leave Mean Comments?

Like many artists and designers, I share photos and tutorials of my work on social media. What artist doesn't enjoy sharing their pieces with like-minded and creative people?

I recently posted a photo of one of my crafts on my Facebook page. Two of my friends (people I have known in real life for over 20 years) left some negative comments. I was surprised, and hurt, by their comments.

I've received mean or negative comments about my crafts before. Sometimes these comments are from complete strangers, some are from people I know somewhat through craft sites. But these comments always leave me feeling hurt and a little beaten up.

People will say that by posting your personal art to the world wide web, you are leaving yourself open to criticism. That you should either grow a thicker skin or not share your work online. This is probably true, but I don't think I would ever say anything negative about someone else's art or crafts on the internet. If I don't like something or think it is poorly crafted, I just move on and look at something else.

So why do people leave mean or negative comments about other people's art on social media? And what, if anything, should you do in response?

Five Reasons People Make Negative Comments About Artwork

  1. They think they're helping you by being honest.
  2. They might be trying to be funny.
  3. It might be an honest misunderstanding.
  4. They're using your post to draw attention to their own work.
  5. Some people just want to spread negativity on the internet.
People might think they are helping by being honest about your art on social media.

People might think they are helping by being honest about your art on social media.

1. They're Trying to Help by Being Honest

Some people may leave what seems like mean comments but are honestly meant as constructive criticism or helpful advice. This is fine if the artist has asked for feedback. I have a friend who often posts his paintings in progress on Facebook and asks for input. But if you have posted your finished project to a site to share it, then these constructive comments often seem poorly timed and misplaced.

After you've put a lot of hard work and creative energy into completing something, then share it with pride, it can be very hurtful to have others make suggestions and give critiques, particularly after you feel the piece is finished.

What to Do in Response

Delete or ignore their comments. To tell these people that they have hurt your feelings by leaving these comments, or that you don't want their input, would only hurt their feelings, and make them feel as bad as you do. It's not easy, but it is better to take the high road and say nothing.

I must admit that after reading my friends' comments, I sat there for a little while thinking about the mean things I could send back to them. But I didn't really want them to feel bad like I did. And their comments were not worth potentially ruining our friendship over.

2. They Are Trying to Be Funny

Oftentimes, people leave comments on social media, thinking they're being funny. I had a woman once compare one of my Christmas crafts to a cat's scratching post. I did not find it funny at all.

Most of us know from experience that implied humor just doesn't come through on the internet. These "funny" comments often come off as weird or cruel. And adding a smiley face to the end of your comments doesn't always help clarify your intent.

What to Do in Response

Delete or ignore it. If you try to respond, you may add to the confusion or misunderstanding. The person who left the comment might now take offense and retaliate. Or they might try to clarify their original intent, leaving you both upset and embarrassed.

3. It Might Be an Honest Misunderstanding

Weird things happen on social media. People think they're commenting on one thing, but they've left their comments on another page or under someone else's project. Or they don't read the information about the item they're commenting on. Or, even worse, they assume they know how something is made or what it is intended for and leave a comment that doesn't really relate to your artwork or craft.

This is careless of the person leaving the comment. But it could stem from a lack of computer skills or not knowing how to navigate on the social media site. Or, as sometimes happens, it could be a weird glitch where comments are showing up with your project that is really meant for another piece.

What to Do in Response

Generally, I would suggest deleting or ignoring their comments. If you can't delete the comment, you may want to clarify any misunderstanding if you think it detracts from your artwork or hurts your reputation. For instance, if someone leaves a comment, thinking your piece is from a clay mold but it's really a hand-carved piece of wood. But if you go into a long explanation, pointing out where they are mistaken about your artwork, you may just draw more attention to their comment. Other people may not bother to read your rebuttal.

People may leave negative comments about your art or crafts in hopes of drawing attention to their own work.

People may leave negative comments about your art or crafts in hopes of drawing attention to their own work.

4. They're Using Your Post to Draw Attention to Their Own Work

I get a lot of comments like this. People say things like, "I made something like this, but I used blue instead of green," or "I made something just like this. You can find mine at..." or "I saw something like this for sale at this store." These comments never serve to enrich any conversation about your artwork. Instead, the person leaving these types of comments wants to draw the viewer to their art, or at least establish themselves as the expert on this type of item or art. Sadly, they are looking for attention at your expense.

What to Do in Response

The best thing to do is delete their comment. If you can't delete it, then ignore it. As above, responding would just draw more attention to their comment, and getting attention was all they wanted in the first place.

5. Some People Want to Spread Negativity on the Internet

The web seems to have created a population of faceless strangers who enjoy spreading negativity across the internet. I'm sure psychological studies have been done about this behavior.

Whether these people are jealous, unhappy with some aspect of their lives, or just get some thrill out of being mean, negative commenters seem to pop up on every social media site. For some reason, the anonymity of the internet gives these commenters the false boldness to post things they would never say in real life.

What to Do in Response

Delete their comments. Their comments reflect more on the type of person they are than on your artwork. If you can't delete their comments, then ignore them. To respond would let them know that they've hurt you in some way (which is what they want). You might also get into a war of words with them that could get you both kicked off the site. Their negativity is not worth ruining your own reputation.

More Ways to Deal With Negative Comments

If negative comments begin to really bother you, or if there is a person who persistently leaves mean comments, there are other steps to take:

  • Moderate your comments. Most sites allow you to moderate your comments so you can hide or delete those comments you don't want to show. If the site you are on does not allow for this, you might want to contact the site and suggest it.
  • Mark the comments as inappropriate. Almost all sites have some way to flag comments as inappropriate content. If a commenter is repeatedly reported for inappropriate behavior, they are usually kicked off the site or lose their ability to leave comments.
  • Delete your posted artwork. Sometimes the most subtle way to deal with mean comments, particularly if they are overwhelmingly negative, is to simply delete your post. Then come back to the site and share something you're really proud of and that people will love.

Copyright © 2016 by Donna Herron. All rights reserved.


Donna Herron (author) from USA on February 07, 2018:

Hi Dolores - Yes, I've had similar experiences and I think it's best to ignore or delete these comments to avoid any ongoing exchange. But it's been interesting to read others opinions on the subject. Thanks for sharing your experience and adding your comments!

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on February 01, 2018:

Hi Donna - while constructive criticism is often welcome, there are people who get a sick thrill from making others feel bad. On here, I have set my comments for approval. I don't want people to read crazy or weird or mean comments left for no sensible reason. On social media, I've had people close to me hijack what I meant to be a fun post to introduce unrelated and actually upsetting topics. I think when we read this garbage, we just have to understand the poster's point of view - that they are jerks.

Donna Herron (author) from USA on August 25, 2017:

Hi Besarien - Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I agree that negative remarks often say more about the person making them than the subject of their comments. That's why I think it is often best just to ignore them and move on. Thanks again for reading and commenting.

Besarien from South Florida on August 23, 2017:

Hi Donna, I'm truly sorry to hear it when people are harassed or belittled for something as harmless and close to the heart as crafting. If you think about it, though, it's kind of a back-handed compliment. They wouldn't continue looking at art that wasn't interesting and intrinsically valuable. No one was forcing them. They target according to what has grabbed their attention.

This is cyber-bullying. There are sadist people out there who enjoy causing pain. They are good at it. The anonymity of the internet lets them feel mighty expressing themselves when they spent 24/7 suppressing those urges when dealing with others in person. In real life, being a big jerk has consequences. Most cyber-bullies probably want to be bullies in every day life as well, but are too cowardly. Timely and imporatant topic and a thoughtful, well-written presentation. Kudos to you.

Donna Herron (author) from USA on February 10, 2016:

Hi MPaula - Yes, perhaps allowing a negative comment to stay shows honesty and an openness to accept other people's opinions. I think it depends on how much the negative comment bothers you or how it might affect how your art or crafts are viewed. Thanks for adding your comments to the discussion!

MPaula on February 09, 2016:

After I read comments on the site of my favourite pizza take out place, I mentioned it the next time I picked up a pizza. The one negative comment was that the shop closed early on the night they wanted a pizza. He told me that if that was their only complaint, he wanted people to know. That could be the same for negative comments you experience - they are too insignificant to matter.

I often sign up to receive other comments. One time, when I accessed a comment, I realized that MY comment had been inappropriate! I have no idea what I was thinking or if, as you mentioned, it was meant for something else, but I am sure happy it was ignored. (I couldn't delete it myself; I tried.)

Your article and others' comments are well said. Thanks to all.

Donna Herron (author) from USA on January 28, 2016:

Very well said, Glimmer Twin Fan! Humor and well-meaning advice can often be misinterpreted online. There are a number of reasons why people may leave negative comments - some of these comments may be intentional, some may be left for other reasons. I think it is usually best to delete or ignore these comments. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

Claudia Porter on January 28, 2016:

I've wondered about that too Donna. I've had some negative comments, but not from friends..I just ignore those comments. Sometimes I wonder if people may not realize who wrote an article. The tags can be confusing. I would be upset too if a friend said something negative. That being said, my profile picture in twitter used to be of a project I had done and I was talking to an acquaintance who happens to speak her mind quite freely and she made an offhand comment about it. I was taken aback, but then I realized that people really do look at arts and crafts with different eyes and I needed to remember that. I did change the picture because of that comment and it still irks me a bit. I also think sometimes it's hard to communicate or understand when someone is being sarcastic or is joking online. I can be quite sarcastic, but am very careful when writing online because it doesn't come across really well online. As for my comments, I don't leave a negative comment on something. If I don't care for something I move on. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. Phew...I guess this topic was pretty meaningful to me! I don't usually make such long comments! LOL! Have a good day Donna.

Donna Herron (author) from USA on January 27, 2016:

Hi Jill - Thanks for your kind words of support! I think there is some other stuff going on with my friends, which has little to do with me or my crafts, but contributed to their negative comments. But I see and experience these types of comments on other social media sites too, often from complete strangers. Thanks again for reading and commenting!!

Jill Spencer from United States on January 27, 2016:

Your work is so wonderful, Donna, that I'm amazed you received unkind comments from these "friends." I guess it is best to ignore them; however, I have found that "friends" who take pot shots at you to your face often do it behind your back as well. They may not be worth having. I mean, with "friends" like that, you really need a friend!

Donna Herron (author) from USA on January 27, 2016:

Hi MayberryHomemaker - Thanks for your support! I think my friends thought they knew me well enough to be honest with me. However, their honest comments were posted on a site for hundreds of other people to see. It was not a private conversation between just us. I did delete my post and I'm trying to put it behind me. I'm going to take your advice and keep doing what I enjoy! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

Donna Herron (author) from USA on January 27, 2016:

Hi Millionaire Tips - Yes, I think sometimes people read into comments a tone or intent that the writer/commenter did not intend. But generally I think you can tell when a commenter means to be helpful and when they are intentionally being negative. I'm sure that you would never leave comments that were meant to be negative or hurt someone's feelings. Thanks for reading and joining the discussion.

Thelma Raker Coffone from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA on January 27, 2016:

Ouch...I'm sure that hurt very much. The biggest problem I see is that you had known those people for 20 years. What were they thinking?? I would delete their comments if it is possible to do that. They will get the message if they notice the comment is gone and you won't have to acknowledge it with your own comment. Try to ignore the situation and keep going with what you enjoy doing so much.

Shasta Matova from USA on January 27, 2016:

I hope that I haven't posted comments which were perceived as negative. I think the best thing to do when you are hurt by the comment is to read it again and think of it from the commenter's point of view. I find that expecting that most people have good intentions really helps interpret the comments correctly.

Maybe they were truly trying to be helpful - not so you would redo the piece, but so you would know for future use. Take it as a learning experience and decide whether to use that advice. If I am making a mistake that can be corrected, I would like to know, so I tell others. I can choose whether or not this is a "mistake" or if it is worth correcting, but at least I know that someone considers it one.

I often tell people I made something similar - not to get attention, but to show that we share the same interests and to show that we share a bond.

Donna Herron (author) from USA on January 27, 2016:

Hi Charles - This sounds like good advice. Perhaps explaining the creativity and merit of your art or crafts would silence some online critics. Thanks for reading and sharing your insight!

Donna Herron (author) from USA on January 27, 2016:

Hi Sally - I recently read a blog post from a crafter who was going to stop make crafts because she had gotten so many negative comments about her work. I felt horrible for her and started wondering why people might feel compelled to post negative or mean comments about someone else's work. I hope this hub helps people who are feeling beaten up by these comments.

Thanks so much for your always encouraging and supportive comments! I truly appreciate it!

Charles W Taylor from United States on January 27, 2016:

What I believe is respond to the negative comment is to be positive, calm and make the post better for the viewers by defining the reason why it is helpful for the viewers.

Sally Gulbrandsen from Norfolk on January 26, 2016:

Hi Donna,

I am sorry to hear of your experience on Social Media. I would just delete comments such as you speak of. So far I have been fortunate, only one rather strange comment lately littered with !!!!!???? etc. which I deleted. I refuse to be drawn into anything like that. You keep on doing what you do, you do it so well.