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Welcome to Michael's blog. Michael Andrew, (aka Michael The Maven) is a freelance producer, photography instructor, tech innovator, and when needed, disaster aid specialist. Disclaimer: Michael is a participant in Bhphoto & Amazon affiliate programs that provides an advertising commission if you purchase through links on this website.


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03.01.13         michael's insights  

Hate Me


If you ever put yourself out there in any kind of big way, there are people who will appreciate you, and there are others who will hate you.

This review on Amazon is a decent example, where the reviewer goes on to call me "a non-professional… intermediate level photographer": Amazon Review on the D600 Crash Course Training Video

I receive hate email on a daily basis, but you know what? I have also come to learn that if someone takes the time to craft an attack towards you, or your credibility, they respect you to a degree. If they truly didn't care, the response would be apathy and an empty email box.

I'm not saying all criticism is good, much of it (like random name calling) is nonsense, but I have also learned that it is wise to ask myself if there is anything that can be learned from what they are saying? Is this something that no one else is brave enough to bring to my attention?

When I first started making these videos, there was one guy who said "these videos are terrible because of the noise". That triggered me to ask myself, what am I doing wrong with the noise? We investigated it and found some ways to improve our audio quality and some of the microphones were we using. If you listen to my most recent Youtube videos, the audio is much, much better. This was something I wouldn't have known without the criticism, so yes, it was welcome. Not always easy to humble yourself to the degree to listen to someone who is labeling you as their enemy. The equivalent I see of this is if you are getting ready to go to war against someone, and they are shouting out their battle plan where they think you are weak. This can help you strengthen against future problems if you are willing to humble yourself.

In my mind, valid criticism will have some kind of usable information, suggestion, possible improvement.

Invalid criticism, (aka "hating") typically is more random, includes name calling, personal attacks, non-specific generalizations, etc. It's essentially just a person saying "I hate you". If they cannot validate why you or work sucks specifically, I have also come to learn that what we are seeing is a form of jealousy.

To summarize on Haters and Hating:

If someone came up to you and said "I respect you". That is clearly a compliment!
If someone showed you how to be better at what you do. This is also a good, positive thing!
If they came up and said "I am jealous of you!" that would also be a compliment!

So hating on, is really a form of respect, jealousy and sometimes a desire to help you improve! packaged in a way to help them deal with these feelings.

What they are really saying is "I love you, I just can't bring myself to admit it."

Having someone hate on you is one of the finest compliments you can get, so don't sweat it if it happens to you. And remember, if you do anything worth doing in life, even the very best of things, you will have haters! (I even had/have haters for going to Haiti and Japan after those disasters to try and help!)

I also know that for every 1 hate email I get, I get 20 that are positive and appreciative and let me know I made a difference. I know many, many of these individuals by name and of course this feels great to know, it keeps me going. If the majority like what I am doing, thats a good sign Im on the right track. Statistically, I also know that the more people I help and influence, the more haters I should have. It just comes with the territory.

Coming back to the Amazon review, there is MUCH truth to what he is saying. My goal is to teach in a very loose, informal manner, yes, as if you were talking with a good friend. It should be fun, easy & impossible to misunderstand. I am a specialist in helping beginners learn their camera very quickly and in a way that is effective, not to impress them with what I can do with a camera myself . That isn't the goal here. So in a way, he kinda confirms I am doing everything exactly the way I should be. Funny thing is, most people appreciate this style, but I recognize some do not. If I can have a complete beginner sit down, watch the video once, know their camera and take great pictures....that is an amazing accomplishment and I am proud of it.

When it comes to "Haters" I try to follow a few simple rules:

1. Check it for specificity. (If there is something specific, try to improve in that area. If there isn't, its just a GREAT compliment.)
2. Focus on what you can do & have control over (ultimately nothing else really matters anyway)
2. Focus on positive people, ideas, places & directions. Ignore generalized negativity.

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