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A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy
Inside A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy

Someone is wrong on the Internet….

And haters gonna hate.

Conversation online (and by conversation I include both articles and posts as well as social media) can be tricky. We’ve all seen “someone being wrong,” and snark, and hurt feelings, and “that’s not what I said” and “haters gonna hate.”

It’s tricky and it’s complex.

I know I’ve written things that weren’t read the way I intended and have been angry or frustrated at what I’ve seen as misinterpretation, or not reading what I wrote how I wrote it.

I’ve seen people say they wrote one thing, yet given how many varied people see it as something else, I’ve thought, well what you think you said and what you actually said are two different things.

I’ve seen people react from hurt by not listening to the conversation or criticism and just using “haters gonna hate” to disregard what may be valid criticism. This sometimes gets tied into, I have the right to write whatever I want but once you react you’re hurting my feelings and being mean.

Messy, complicated, and if you’ve been online for more than a month you can think of instances of this without me linking. (And what does this have to do with books for teens? These types of posts/responses happen just as often in both the book blogosphere and library blogosphere as they do in other online areas.)

Which is why I want to point out to a very classy, very well written, thoughtful response and apology to criticism and reaction to a post: Dear Internet: Sorry about that motherhood post. When my open letter to a childless friend went viral, the blogosphere attacked. The worst part? They were right by Janine Kovac at Salon. (Note: I missed the original post and follow up, but I suggest you do read Kovac’s original post as well as Mary Elizabeth William’s response, linked to in Kovac’s apology, to get a flavor of what led up to the apology).

Why I love Kovac’s apology: she explains her intent and apologizes while not doing the fauxpology “sorry you’re offended.” She owns her words. She was hurt and surprised by responses but did not shut down, did not block out those responses, and instead thought about it and considered it and actually said “I wish I didn’t have snarky thoughts. But I do. I gave voice to them and created an image of me that is not my best self. It was a mistake.”

It was a mistake.

I hope that I can be as open to the responses to things I write and say.

About Elizabeth Burns

Looking for a place to talk about young adult books? Pull up a chair, have a cup of tea, and let's chat. I am a New Jersey librarian. My opinions do not reflect those of my employer, SLJ, YALSA, or anyone else. On Twitter I'm @LizB; my email is


  1. I read this when you tweeted it this morning and was impressed. Thanks for bringing it more attention. If we all responded this way (note to self) the Internet would be a far healthier place.

  2. Thank you, Liz, a post well put and one I hope I remember when I need it!

  3. Thanks for linking to that follow-up piece. I had read the original and found it insufferable but I appreciate that the author does some good and thoughtful apologizing and ruminating in this piece.

  4. Elizabeth Burns says:

    Brandy, I hope to keep this in mind, myself. I also hope it’s a sign that more people are going to take deep breaths than ramp up attack/defense mode.

    Carol, I cannot imagine you ever needing it!

    Sarah, thanks. I loved that it was a real apology, and it showed thought. It also shows, I think, the risk of giving in to snark so publicly. What is OK for a direct message or tweet or over drinks does not translate well to public forums. I know I sometimes forget that when I talk on Twitter, it’s more than the handful of people I’m currently talking to who “get” that i tend towards sarcasm.

  5. Wow, that is downright inspiring. Thank you for linking to it. I also would hope to show such grace in a situation like that. It’s a hard thing to do.

    • Elizabeth Burns says:

      It is hard. Seeing someone do that? I just hope I can both recognize it and have the guts to do it.