Well before the advent of the internet threatening to “write a letter!” has been both funny and a sign of grasping for straws. It didn’t take long for websites to get the same treatment. It didn’t matter how serious or disgustingly mundane that website was, clicking on the hatemail link was a sure fire way to get a laugh. Bad spelling, mixed metaphors, and insults that are almost poetic in their creativity are certainly entertaining.
It’s certainly not fair to be on the receiving end, but I’ve always said that receiving hatemail simply means you’ve made it. Any topic that reaches a wide audience is guaranteed to meet disagreements. It’s also guaranteed to offend someone. It’s only natural that people who are offended will reach back. Manners go out the window, but it’s expected.
But I don’t want to focus on the bad in this, more so on the words “wide audience.” This means that the topic has been heard. It got out there! People are talking about it. That’s wonderful news, because it means you’ve got an audience. There’s people out there to talk to.
The size of the audience is great, but more important is the fact that you’ve reached them. They’ve looked your way, listened to you, and rather than ignore you, they formed an emotional response. Certainly many more people feel great about your message, but you’ve got an audience willing to reach back.
It’s far worse to be ignored. There are plenty of others fighting for your audience’s attention. When you can beat the noise and go from something that people like to reaching them emotionally it shows that you’re message is important. They’ve invested time and energy into it.
I write this because it’s happened to a blog I follow. The always interesting A Writer’s Path has posted recently about this topic, trying to vent out the frustrations. And that’s fine. Nobody likes to be berated, but I can’t help but be happy about it. He’s got people emotionally invested in the site. A lot more good ones, happy to respond to show support, but just as good are the bad ones. Love, hate? It’s all good. They’re involved. Now post that hatemail so we can laugh at it!