When we were too short-staffed to make it to a couple Black History Month events, though we made it to others, I was called a racist and harassed. When we ran an advertising insert from The Onion, angry conservative parents were on the phone accusing me of spreading lies and pornography. Our adviser put my mind at ease by assuring me that public criticism and pushback were signs that others were reading the paper and cared enough about what we had to say to share their own views.
Still, there is a tremendous amount of responsibility in being the final line of defense in what is presented to the public, and the criticism can at times be hurtful and hard to take. As a case in point, last Wednesday on Weddzilla, I shared the shot list I discussed with my photographer in advance of my wedding day.
Though I did get positive feedback, I also got some negative feedback. On Facebook and Twitter, photographers left comments implying that I was obviously a bridezilla, that I didn’t trust my photographer, and that I was crazy to have ever suggested that others might want to do this. Since my list included the more standard and expected shots, along with special creative shots I hoped to have captured, these readers felt it was unnecessary to go over such a list with the photographer at all, saying that he would automatically know to capture most of those pictures.
While I can definitely see their point, I didn’t see the harm in having a conversation with my photographer before the wedding day, letting him know which standard elements we would be including and which we’d be eliminating. For example, I clearly laid out in my list who the key family members were that we wanted pictures with, that the groom was taking the unusual step of walking down the aisle with his parents, and which elements of décor we were including in our setup. Does doing so make me a crazy bridezilla? I certainly don’t think so, especially since I also clearly stated that I in no way wanted to stifle the photographer's own creativity.
In public forums, it is so easy to comment and criticize without knowing where someone is coming from, what their story is and what their intentions are. It is also easy to forget how hurtful certain comments can be. Finally, it’s important to remember that those we "meet" via blogs and online forums are real people, including the editors of these publications. Do we make mistakes on occasion? Yes. Do we hurt just like anyone else when we’re called names and criticized? Yes. Are we perfect in every way? Certainly not.
I love what I do and certainly don’t let others' actions ruin my experience. But I’d be inhuman if I said the pressure and criticism didn’t affect me at times, just as they affect everyone, making me reevaluate how much of myself it’s OK to share as a blogger.
How do you deal with criticism and pressure in your life? Does fear of criticism lead you to limit how much of yourself you share with others, whether in person or on your blog?
(Photo Credits: Alex Neumann Photography)