Why are we so willing to criticise each other?

Why are we so willing to criticise each other?

This post came about because, you guessed it, someone criticised my work. Again. And this time, it REALLY hurt my feelings. Something snapped.

I’m writing this a bit after the fact because I was WAY too emotional and hot-headed to do so in the moment…...praise be for restraint.

I’m not even remotely going to go into details because I think that would be a bit unkind and bordering on gossipy. Not that I’m averse to a cheeky bit of gossip you understand, but….ya know, enlightenment is calling.

But to be fair, I guess the title is a little misleading as I use the word ‘we’ to feel more inclusive. Less defensive. You got me though, I’m asking YOU the question.

Why do you feel okay criticising my work?

Not a trick question, I’m genuinely interested. Because personally, I don’t feel super comfortable criticising others content creation. I don’t proffer critique and back-handed compliments to fellow influencers and I certainly don’t leave negative reviews to fellow one-girl-bandits creating for free, for my pleasure.

Of course, that’s because I do it too and have been on the receiving end of one too many off-handed, helpful comments and know first-hand how unbelievably frustrating it feels.

Lucy Lucraft working pictures Brighton beach -1

Are we all fair game?

I’ve noticed a bit of a theme in content creation and those who have opinions about it (myself included.) And it seems to be a lot more okay to tell a podcaster the content they’ve created is……crap.

More often than not, I’m surrounded by a whole heap of incredibly positive and kind people who tell me nice things, which I am SO bloody grateful for. My podcast has brought me incredible opportunities and a whole load of joy. In truth, I never thought anyone would listen – I thought it would be a long hard slog to get any kind of momentum but in week three, iTunes noticed me and put me on their home page.

That was bonkers. And lovely…….and a little scary too.

So overall I’m profoundly happy that each week people join my Facebook group and leave me lovely reviews, include me in podcast roundups and DM me to tell me they liked an episode. But even so, I still smart at those occasional stings. For a few reasons, both human (we all like to be liked) and business (it never looks good to be told in public my work is crap.)

Why aren’t we allowed to be less than perfect? Why are we pitted against professionals in podcasting? Expected to be better than in any other content medium.

It’s so ungracious. Chatting to my wonderful (and anonymous) friend she pointed out the same criticism, namely that my older episodes aren’t as good, wouldn’t swing in any other form of content creation.

Of course, it wouldn’t happen. Imagine someone commenting on a blog post that you’re spelling was a shocker back in the day, or sharing an early Instagram post on stories with the caption: ‘dodgy picture alert!’…

I create the podcast for free for the listeners. It takes time, money and effort on my part and that makes it extra shit when I’m told it isn’t good enough. That I’m not good enough I guess.

When I realised this (okay, when anon realised this for me!) I got REALLY angry. And then I calmed down and realised it’s not okay to be that mean…..I will never do it. But it’s also not remotely my business what other people think about my blog, Instagram or podcast. It’s not my business at all.

So that’s where I’m at right now. Trying to unhook from anything that doesn’t serve me. While silently swearing at my laptop…..I’m a work in progress okay?

L x

13 Comments

  1. 29th August 2018 / 10:11 am

    Ah Lucy I’m sorry to hear this.

    I think in a way there’s a generational issue here, our generation were raised to think criticism was the only way through which we could learn. That there’s no ‘use’ in telling somebody their work is great, but it’s more ‘useful’ to point out how they could improve. That’s the cornerstone of academia really, theory, critical review, new theory….

    I think what is also really relevant here is we are often our own worst critics. We’ve been taught to listen to that voice inside that tells us we’re not good enough. And when somebody reinforces this view with criticism we listen and take it to heart, whereas we tend to shrug off praise and support as vain or self-indulgent.

    My first novel was published this month and my first review was a two-star trashing from somebody who admitted in the review they aren’t the target audience. So why take the time out of your day to potentially damage my sales and entire career when you know the book wasn’t for you all along? It’s hurtful and it was really, really hard not to focus on that review and if I’m honest it did make me question a lot, including the validity of the book I worked so hard on and love so much. It took quite a bit of getting over. The subsequent five-star reviews definitely helped 🙂

    But ultimately I think the goal is to get to a place where we ask for the opinions of those we value to help us improve, trust them to deliver feedback with regard for our investment and feelings, and are able to distance ourselves from the rave reviews AND the trashings because we know the work we’ve put in the world is a true and accurate reflection of where we are, at the time. Wow that was long. Anyway xx

    • Lucy
      Author
      17th September 2018 / 11:06 am

      You are WISE. So I basically high-fived the air while reading your comment because YES TO EVERYTHING. It’s just like that Brene Brown idea of having a post-it with the only people whose opinions actually matter on – so you don’t get sidelined by anyone else’s…easier said than done, but a good practice nonetheless I think!

  2. 29th August 2018 / 7:22 pm

    I’ve not got to the point where I’ve been criticised for my (online) work yet, but I can only liken it to 1) jealousy and 2) the somewhat problematic thing of social media making humans less human-like, and therefore open to nasty comments. Any consolation I love your podcasts and blog and you seem like an all-round good egg! x

    • Lucy
      Author
      17th September 2018 / 11:04 am

      Yes! I think that is totally it – we sorta dehumanise people we follow and their work. Thanks so much for your lovely comment you dreamboat! x

  3. 29th August 2018 / 10:36 pm

    Um, that comment is nonsense. Your early podcasts are great. And very genuine – ok, they’re not as slick as a radio broadcast, but – hey, here’s a thing. I’m listening to podcasts partly to make a connection with another human. You rarely get that level of access on any other professionally produced broadcast media. So – with the greatest respect to your anon friend – do one.

    And I have been criticised for not being sufficiently critical on my blog. But I realised early on that it’s really easy to write snarky pieces – dressed up as objective criticism – and it’s much the better route to offer real encouragement. So that’s the route I like to take – even if I think something’s dire, it’s likely that someone’s put their heart and soul into it, so who am I to knock it down? Ok, one caveat – if it’s a bit of corporate BS I’ll happily swing for it, but that’s about it.

    So, no. We don’t all feel it’s ok to criticise. And I’m happy to call anyone on it when they do – whatever the justification.

    • Lucy
      Author
      17th September 2018 / 11:00 am

      Criticism for lack of critique?! INSANE. I agree with you – we don’t all feel the need to criticise and it’s not really okay/saying anything about the cricisisee (a word?!) xx

  4. 4th September 2018 / 9:01 am

    Cool rant…. We always get criticized, all the time.

    Its best if we just take it like a pinch of salt. And let it fly away….

    Cool blog btw, will come back soon and read more stuff…:)

    • Lucy
      Author
      17th September 2018 / 10:51 am

      Agreed!

  5. 17th September 2018 / 6:28 pm

    I’ve had quite a lot of criticism over the years – from work-based bullying from “alpha” males to snarky blog post comments pointing out spelling errors.
    It used to sting A LOT.
    I think I’m a little more sanguine now because I have come to see that most people’s dickish behaviour is a reflection of their internal monologue.
    That doesn’t excuse the dickish behaviour, and with practice I have gotten better at calling that out without – hopefully – shaming the person/dickhead.
    I try to remind myself that they are just projecting their crap on to me becasue its easy than sitting in it (probably in their pants, in their mum’s basement).
    We only hear from the dickheads, becasue most people who have a ‘meh’ response to our work just move on indifferently.
    Keep on truckin’ love. Your work matters xx

    PS: just realised I haven’t commented on a blog post for MONTHS. #bringbackblogging

  6. 17th October 2018 / 12:43 pm

    I recently read the French-born novelist Anaís Nin quoted, “We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.” Struck me again in this context. Love your honesty.

    • Lucy
      Author
      7th December 2018 / 10:10 am

      I love this! My daughter is named after Anaïs Nin!

  7. Bibi
    29th October 2018 / 9:19 pm

    Oh no, that hurts. I had my first semi-critic comment on Insta this week on a post that supposed to motivate to be more kind to others. What a coincident, right?

    Maybe Podcasts attract more negativ criticism, because you have no face while consuming. With every other outlet you have visuals. Without that barrior people get emotionally distanced from the thought that there is an actual person behind the content.

    I really enjoyed your Post!
    Have a lovely day,
    Bibi

    • Lucy
      Author
      7th December 2018 / 10:09 am

      Oooh yes, I think you’re right. It probably does feel even easier to criticise a faceless voice!

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