The wolf in the Netherlands

July 2022

Dealing with critique on Instagram

How do you deal with critique on the work that you post on Instagram? Do you start feeling like a bad person when someone says that he or she doesn't like your photo? Do you only give compliments to other people? If so, why?

When I was younger, I never faced too much criticism about what I created. At elementary school I was the best of my class, same at high school. I was good at about everything, from math to drawing and everything in between and pretty good at swimming too. I graduated from university with honors, never failed for a single exam, and did my PhD without any trouble. So many years I hardly got any critique about what I did and made.

Sounds great, right? Well maybe not. Because, in fact, in that way I never really learned how to deal with critique. Critique made me feel bad. It could make me feel bad as a person and consequently I also had trouble giving honest feedback to others, afraid to harm people. It took me quite some time to realize that saying you don't like what a person made, is not the same as saying you don't like that person. Saying that what someone made is not good, is not the same as saying that person is not good. And also: knowing and saying you're good at something doesn't mean you say you're a better person than someone else.

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It seems that on social media quite some people mix up these two things. People can't handle negative comments on their photos and see them as a personal attack. That's quite a pity as you can only grow from critique. People only saying your crappy photos are magnificent are not very useful for you to grow. And some people even seem to think they are a better person than someone else when they get more likes or followers. Pretty strange, right?

Instagram is feeding our fear for giving and receiving critique. It's a platform that supports likes-for-likes and where it seems that only positive feedback is appreciated. So when then we do receive critique, we don't like it and start feeling bad. Because we are not used to it and we make the same mistake as I did in the past: we might think that a bad comment about our work means that we are a bad person. Well don't think like that. Don't make that mistake.

So whenever you (partly) recognize what I wrote: think about it. Maybe give people the feedback their work deserves. Be honest and don't just give a positive comment in the hope to give a positive comment back. Give critique when you think it's needed or useful as that helps the Instagram community. You will help everyone. It helps you being able to give honest feedback and it helps the person who receives the feedback to grow. And don't make the same mistake as I did: don't think when you say that in your opinion a photo is bad, that that means that you say that person is a bad person. But be careful how you give feedback, and especially when you give feedback on a photo of a person. Saying that a photo doesn't look good is something else than saying that a person doesn't look good. So don't make it personal. Stick to giving feedback on what the person has created instead of saying something negative about that person.

I hope this inspires you or at least makes you think. Give me some honest feedback on this too when you don't like what I just wrote. I can take it. 😉

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Give me some feedback if you want

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