Why I Won’t be Reading Your Comments Until After My Hike

Like so many others I’ve been trolled, here and on some Facebook forums. These days it’s pretty impossible not to if you have any kind of opinion. No need to feel sorry for me. I can take it. I stew over it for a period then make an adjustment or realize the troll’s opinion doesn’t matter.

Bloggers Getting Trolled

Before embarking on this post I did a bit of research on this site (read through other folks posts). There are a lot of really kind and supportive people reading these blogs and commenting. And then there are the few that ruin if for everyone. I read one comment from someone criticizing  the blogger for quitting his hike after two weeks. I read comment after comment of people supporting him, but this one person reamed him because he had the “audacity” to blog about his thru and then quit after two weeks.

Someone else commented on a shoe review saying that its impossible to prefer a shoe thats only been out for two weeks and then called their article garbage (seriously?). And my favorite because it goes completely against the common “hike your own hike” philosophy: a commenter blasted a blogger’s post and signed off saying, “also, if any miles are skipped or jumped one has NOT completed a thru-hike and that is universally accepted as fact.” I’m gonna have to whole heartedly disagree. HYOH.

The trolls will say ” you just can’t take criticism,” or “why are you being such a snowflake?” But my decision to ignore their comments (along with all you well meaning folks) for five months is for me and my well-being.  I know myself enough to know that reading these negative comments when I have so much time to think about them will needlessly eat up my time.

Social Media Is Not Representative of the Trail

I’m in a number of Facebook groups relating to the PCT and AT. I joined these groups for a number of reasons: for advice, a sense of community, as an outlet so I didn’t drive my friends and family bonkers with my excitement, etc. It’s clear that’s why many others are on these groups as well. My advice to anyone thinking of joining these groups and posting to them, be prepared for opinions to be presented as facts and more importantly be aware that anyone can post advice no matter how experienced or inexperienced they are.

I’ve heard a saying many times on all these sites “people are nicer on trail”. It’s so true. If you look on these forums and click on any post with a lot of comments there will likely be several folks with differing opinions, but some of them are outright mean about it. That is just so rare on the trail. The trail community is so welcome and inviting,  whether hiker, angel, or business owner. Sure you get your random outlier who might bring people down, but thats life. When I joined these facebook communities last year I had no idea there would be so much negativity and rudeness.

If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen?

Sure, I could stop blogging, but I don’t blog for you. I blog for me. I want to remember my hike. I’m unfortunate enough to have an extremely poor memory and the fact that I can go back and read my blog posts from 2010 and relive my hike is amazing. It’s a benefit that by blogging I can share this hike with my friends and family and any one else who might be interested. Why not just journal? Knowing myself as I do, I won’t. Blogging keeps me accountable to keep up with updating.

Bottom Line

My mental health is too important. I don’t want to stew over negativity of any kind, a thru hike is hard enough without that. So, as soon as I set foot on trail I’ll be limiting my social media. I plan to blog updates here, post pics to instagram and my private facebook, but I won’t be reading my comments here and I won’t be keeping up with the forums on facebook.

Also, I urge you to think about your comments and how they’ll affect the hiker you’re responding to.

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