The upside of being flamed
The Cajun Boy hits the nail on the head when he describes one of the biggest upsides to opening oneself up to the crazies of the internet by blogging:
After a while, writing on the internet thickens your skin to the point where you’re easily able to easily differentiate between valid criticism and hateful venom-spewing. At some point, the hateful venom-spewing fails to even faze you any longer, while the valid criticisms are accepted and processed rationally and learned from.
This has certainly been my experience, and I’ve seen it in others, too. Bloggers in general are pretty sanguine when it comes to being flamed on the internet or in their comments sections, while non-bloggers tend to get much more exercised when people criticize them online. I’ve lost count of the number of journalists who have put up a blog entry or two and been shocked and excited at some of the comments they got in response; eventually, of course, you just tune that kind of stuff out altogether.
That tuning-out makes bloggers much less defensive when it comes to their work — which means that a thoughtful and pertinent response is more likely to be taken seriously, even to the point of the blogger happily admitting that he was wrong. Blogs are tentative and conversational things, and just as a well-informed interlocutor can make you change your mind on an issue in conversation, a smart commenter can do the same thing on a blog.