When I first started my career in public relations, there was a critic at a popular music magazine whose name was Bob. Bob was admired -- and feared -- for his sarcastic wit and brutal honesty. So I always thought twice before I sent a review copy of an album to Bob. The last project I sent him, he ripped it apart with the use of only four words. And I had to admit, his four-word review made me laugh out loud. Though Bob was never ugly in his comments, he was always honest. And, unlike many critics, he knew what he was talking about.
Bob retired many years ago, but many "Bobs" have emerged to try to take his place. In fact, everyone who has a social media account of some kind fancies themselves a critic in today's world. If social media has taught us anything it is that critics are among us -- in spades. And unlike Bob, they can be hateful and downright mean. That's not being a critic, that's just being a jerk.
When you release the new book or music project you have slaved over and made your baby, prepare yourself for the "Bobs." They troll the internet looking for people and projects they can slam and rail against. They live for it. It makes them happy to be cruel. It is the the most vile part of the social media phenomenon. These same people probably would be too afraid to ask for ice in a restaurant, but they feel empowered to "anonymously" tear into someone else or belittle their work.
But don't be deterred. Share your music, your book, your film with the world. Though the "Bobs" can be loud, the people who will appreciate your work are still out there.
We were recently filming a music video on a busy street when we began apologizing profusely to two ladies who had to dodge our cameras. One lady turned and said sternly, "Don't ever apologize for art." Right. Not even when the "Bobs" of the world call it trash. Keep creating.