Confessions of a Social Media Someone

Confessions of a Social Media Someone - amber et cetera

For the last few years, I’ve let the trolls beat me down.

And I’d like to apologize for that, to both myself, and to you.

Let me back up and explain.


When I first started blogging back in 200something, I was a newer kid on the block and not totally sure what I was doing.

But I was freshly minted out of the corporate world and determined to take control of my professional destiny. So I started a blog, hung a shingle, and went after it.

I’d always loved the web and its potential because I was around in the early days of watching its impact on the nonprofits and volunteer communities I worked for, then again in the for-profit world. As social media rose in both popularity and utility, I fell in love with it on both personal and professional levels, and knew something big was afoot.

I blogged like crazy, I got some communications clients early, I learned as I went and I worked my butt off, participating on Twitter and (reluctantly) joining Facebook and dusting off my professional speaking skills, willing to take the stage for free anywhere just to get the experience and hone my knowledge around social media.

It worked.

I gained traction, respect, awareness, and clients. Then a client turned into an employer when Radian6 came along, because the chance to work with an exciting startup in the social media space in a social media and community role was too good to resist.

That job brought even more opportunity to build a community team, get out into the world to evangelize social and its potential, work with amazing clients and customers to do their social better.

It also came with a cost. One that I let happen.

With success often comes criticism. Sometimes, it’s warranted and fair, and worth considering for the sake of improving yourself and your work.

Then there are just the people who make a career out of being critics. I don’t mean thoughtful, considered critics who are in it to improve the world for everyone. I mean people who personally tear other people down, gossip, call names like children do, and make a mockery out of people and their professions.

I haven’t talked about this publicly much. Maybe ever. But I am now.

I ended up with this cadre of people who rarely mentioned me by name in public, but who would rip me apart behind my back to anyone who would listen (which of course comes back to me, eventually). I had one person — very well respected in some circles even today — look at me to my face and say that part of my problem was that I really needed to lose some weight or I’d never be taken seriously.

I had one career troll who took to calling me the “social media hostess” because community work had no apparent value in the world.  I had nasty emails from people telling me that I was nothing more than a fraud, a hack, some woman who came out of nowhere, made friends with a few of the right people, and got lucky. I had a couple people make nasty remarks about my being “too good” for people and behaving as such. And while I’ll admit that that criticism was likely even been valid at times (that’s another confession post for a different day), no one came and talked to me. No one sat me down for a kind conversation. Instead, I got publicly admonished in blog comments or in the gossip conversations because no one had the courage to talk to me to my face.

I was accused of sleeping my way to recognition, and the list of men that I was supposedly having affairs with was longer than I would ever have time for, were I so inclined.

I started listening to the criticism. I couldn’t distinguish between criticism that was warranted, thoughtful and potentially useful, and the attacks on me personally that were taking chunks out of my confidence and self-esteem.

I started listening to the attacks on my chosen profession that said that social strategy wasn’t a “real” job, believing that maybe I did just get lucky or that maybe I didn’t deserve any of the praise or the recognition I had received. I started hiding from kudos that came my way, pulled away from the social media community somewhat, even changed the focus of my job to be less externally-facing, turned down speaking engagements, throttled back blogging and participation online.

They had beat me down. And they had won.



Fast forward to 2011. My business partner, Matt, and I were sitting over hot dogs and beer and, aside from the social media community drama, talking about a missing piece in the social business world that we kept seeing.

And no one was really addressing it. So we decided we would.

I left my job that year, and we started SideraWorks, a consultancy focused on helping companies get a handle on the whole social business and internal collaboration beast.

Which meant I had a dilemma in front of me.

All the hiding I had been doing wasn’t going to work anymore. My social platform was still valuable, important, and something I’d worked hard to build. Here and there, people still knew I was out there and I’d get recognized on some list of social media professionals or women in tech.

Speaking opportunities still existed, though admittedly the faucet had slowed down some (so I had some work to do to rebuild that).

And I had to make peace with the fact that my profession was and is contributing something useful, important, and valuable to the business world. 

The success of my business depended on it.

I had to learn — really learn — that the people tearing me down were the petty people, the insignificant jerks who spent their time and energy throwing rocks at other people instead of building something useful themselves. They didn’t take massive risks and create things to be put out there and criticized, they simply took on the mantle as the “saviors of the internet”, tearing down anyone who remotely got in their way. Hell, they’ll probably show up in the comments just to be jerks again. It’s what they do.

My business partner has worked really hard at restoring my confidence in my work, assuring me that the things I write and create are valuable, that my strategy is sound, that the guidance I give our clients is good.

Instead of looking cross-eyed at being recognized in an article or a list of social media people, I am thankful that someone took the time to notice and acknowledge me, and I say thank you, with sincere gratitude (even the ones that are obvious link-bait).

I am feeling great about the content I’m building, the programs we’re designing for clients, because they ARE good. They’re worthy of recognition because they’re useful and valuable and built in the real-world for real companies with real problems. And they work.

I am participating online in a way that feels authentic and real to me, complete with a renewed enthusiasm for social media and online communication as a whole. Because all those years ago? I was right. This is important. It is changing things.

What I’d forgotten is that every industry or profession has opportunists, who are bandwagon jumpers and do crap work and make other people look bad who are in the same field. Every industry has its resident assholes, who are determined to stir the pot and create drama because they lack the confidence or the ability to just put their head down and do work. Every industry has its share of critics, naysayers, bullies, snobs, you name it. My profession is no different.

They don’t determine my success or failure. Only I do.

So, back to my apology.

To those of you who have been my friends and colleagues through thick and thin, who have stood by me through all of this stuff and actually knew it was happening, thank you.

To those of you who have always been a part of this community and wondered where the hell I’d gone or why I wasn’t around so much or why I seemed less-than-enthusiastic about my work at times, I’m sorry. You deserved better. If you’ll still have me, I’d like to give you reasons to be excited again.

To those of you who throw rocks, I hope you find something more constructive to do with your lives. But you won’t get my energy anymore.

And to my business partner, Matt, who kept pushing me and cheering me on even when I didn’t believe it myself, thanks for sticking by me.

So. No more hiding from my work.

I love what I do. I’m damned good at it. I’m going to blog, I’m going to write another book or two, I’m going to post like crazy, and teach, and build stuff and get incredible new clients and ROCK a bunch of stages this year, even if I’m having to rebuild some of what I once had.

Because I’m proud to do what I do. I am. I enjoy this work, I believe in its potential to change the world of business,  and I know it’s a place where I can make a gigantic impact on the the world through my experience.

I may have forgotten that for a while, but I’m not going to do it again.

Thanks for being here. I’ll see you soon.

  • Tomboy Tarts

    Terrible! People build you up and then they’re ready to take you down at the first chance. That must’ve been an awful experience. We just started out in this blogging business too but me, aka @persisshanker whom you follow on Twitter, I’ve had success last year with a one-off travel blog on Iceland. 4 months after it took off, some dude from the country slammed my knowledge and expertise that I had gained during my trip there and I was like, this blog is for tourists like me trying to navigate a country many are curious about but don’t have the correct watered-down info. But anyway it went back and forth there for awhile and it really crushed my confidence. After about another 3 months of blogging, I left it completely. So yea, keep ignoring these people. Just move on and keep working and success will always come your way. :)

    • Amber Naslund

      My skin has been too thin. And I haven’t always listened to the very advice I’d give others about who to listen to. I’m sorry you had that experience, too, and hope you find the confidence to get back to blogging again.

      • bakercreative1

        I appreciate your honesty in your blogs. It takes courage. It is human to doubt yourself along the journey. I too have self doubts along with many. It is easy for many to hide behind random names online. It is the darker side of social I often deal with daily for my clients. People can be down right cruel. I do believe in Karma. Wait for it… I say this with assured kindness, eventually life will give them a good slap. And for your miss steps it humbles me to see how you have learned and shared it. When I feel unsure and insecure I must remind myself, this is not a permanent situation, breathe, feel and it will pass. Remind yourself with every day I am getting a little stronger.

        • Amber Naslund

          As far as I know, the only permanent situation is death. :) The rest is negotiable. Thanks for the support and the comment!

      • Tomboy Tarts

        Thanks Amber! We did. We started Tomboy Tarts and we are growing. :)

  • Clay Hebert

    Great stuff, Amber. Transparent and honest. I’ve always learned a lot from you. Proud of you for publishing this and rooting for your continued success.

    • Amber Naslund

      Thanks, Clay. I appreciate that very much, and the continued support. Here’s to the next chapter.

  • donnapapacosta

    Keep doing what you’re doing, Amber!

    • Amber Naslund

      Thanks, Donna! I’m going to do my best. Keep me honest, okay?

  • Marketing Q and A

    Amber, I’ve always admired you and regularly told you that.

    And I’m delighted you have faced up to the real-life wombats and the invisible self-saboteur.

    I’ll refrain from the obvious cuss, but to heck with them. Like you say, throwing rocks never built cities.

    I’m proud of the evolution of you. Long may you continue to thrive.

    • Amber Naslund

      Thanks so much for this. I’m totally stealing “real-life wombats” to use in everyday conversation. Because wombats.

      And you can cuss here anytime. I do it a lot.

  • Andrea Goulet Ford

    I can only imagine the courage and deep conviction it took to write this, Amber. I share your philosophy wholeheartedly and it’s nice to know I’m not alone as I battle my own challenges. In the end, I believe authenticity will win. Always.

    This quote from Eleanor Roosevelt has basically become my mantra: “Do in your heart what you feel to be right; you’ll be criticized for it anyway.”

    Keep on rockin’ it. The world has a lot to learn from you.

    • Amber Naslund

      Thanks a million, Andrea. I kind of felt like barfing before I hit publish, but this was an important step for ME to put this out in the world. You’re definitely not alone, and I believe you, too, that the authenticity will win. I doubted that for a long time.

      I’m stealing that quote and putting it on the wall.

  • Matt Ridings – Techguerilla

    There are only a handful of people on this planet that I’ve worked with that I respect in such a deep, indelible way. Even though they are all supremely gifted in their own way, it’s always either because of the potential I see/saw in them, or the potential they made me see in myself. Most of those people I’ve dragged you around the planet to meet, so you know the special spark I’m talking about. Whether it’s the Paul A. Huber’s of the world, or the Miriam Warren’s, you carry the same spark. Never let anyone make you believe you don’t, or I’ll just have to keep kicking your ass. We are all heavily flawed beings, and some of us get by with that and balance out the scales with our pluses. But you my dear have the ability to tip the scales so much further than most of us, you just have to remember that it’s ok to pile all those rocks on the positive side of the scale even when your humility or instinct screams otherwise.

    Much love

    • Amber Naslund

      The only words I can really manage for that are “thank you”. Again. For everything.

  • davefleet

    The list of people that I (a) like, and (b) respect as much as you is a very short list indeed. You’ve done groundbreaking work and the things you continue to write, years after I first met you, continue to inspire and make me think differently about the work I do. No-one’s perfect and self-doubt is absolutely normal, but in my mind you’re much further along the scale than the vast majority of people I’ve met.

    Don’t let a few trolls beat you down – the oft-silent majority of us have nothing but love and respect for you.

    • Amber Naslund

      You’re such a good person, Dave. Thank you for always, always supporting me and being one of the people I can rant and rave with about all this stuff. I’m not proud of letting it all get to me, but there’s only one way to fix it. :)

  • Ann Handley

    Listening to you present yesterday, I remembered anew what a strong voice and perspective you have, and how much I missed it. I’m glad you’re back. We need you.

    • Amber Naslund

      Thanks, Ann. It feels good to be getting back to it. I’ve missed it. And you.

  • Ann Vertel, Ph.D.

    This is my first exposure to you, Amber, I followed a Twitter link here from @JayBaer. I savored every line over my first cup of coffee and just loved being in your space. Bravo! Never forget your strength is in your vulnerability. Court your critics – it also brings out your raving fans :-)

    • Amber Naslund

      Ann, I’m so glad to have you here. Thank you for reading, and for commenting. I was ashamed of my vulnerability for a long time, because some people made me feel badly for it. But I’m learning that it’s very much part of who I am, and what makes me embrace life in a healthy way. The critics will always be there. Sometimes what they say might even be worth listening to. But I’m going to work really hard at not letting the nasty stuff derail me any more.

  • Janet Fouts

    OK this post really ticked me off. I had no idea people felt this way about you, but I’m here to tell ‘em to PISS OFF!
    Amber, you are one of the most authentic, smart, generous and gifted people in the business. I’ve watched your career over the years and learned so much from you, including your posts like this, which help me when I have my own dark days.
    Unfortunately the very concept of social means we are more public that we might like to be and that isn’t always a good thing. But you’ve remained true to who you are through it all. People can think what they want but if they’re negative it’s more about their own issues and problems not yours. Stay strong, and know you have support from the people who really know.

    • Amber Naslund

      Hey, Janet. You’re funny. :)

      I know that to be true intellectually, but emotionally it took a while for me to catch up. The bad stuff, as Julia Roberts once said, is easier to believe. What I need to do is learn to accept the stuff that isn’t so awesome, but not let it define me. Work in progress, but I’m getting there! Thank you, as always, for your friendship and support.

  • Dale Yuzuki

    Hi – new to your work, and relatively new to social media as an ‘official’ part of my professional life.

    Excellent summary of the fact that there are unpleasant and unprofessional and just-plain-bad people online as in real life – those who one would have avoided in the high school cafeteria, at a university function, at a community softball game and at the work lunchroom. It is just in the social media world you don’t have the physical cues to understand the larger context.

    Thanks for the reminder that when you stir things up you have hit some kind of nerve in people that sets them off, and it’s okay to just ignore a lot of that noise and focus on the signal.

    This is where IRL folks who you know well (and know you well) are so important to give that honest feedback that makes you better.

    Reminds me of the fact that ‘the happiest people you know, you just don’t know very well’ (quote from Dennis Prager).

    • Amber Naslund

      Hi Dale, welcome and thanks so much for taking the time to comment.

      I *love* what you said about physical cues. I think that’s a large part of what happens online, no body language, no way to discern tone or inference. And just as many people are more brazen online than they would be in person, I tend to avoid conflict online and walk away rather than sticking up for myself like I would if that person were saying shitty things to my face.

      It definitely makes me grateful for the people that know me well and that I am learning to trust more than others. But first I have to trust MYSELF, and that has been an adventure in itself. :)

      • Dale Yuzuki

        Hi Amber, way back when (it was about 2 years ago) I went to a past-colleague to ask about his experience blogging, and he told me how nasty people could get behind a keyboard when in real life they were actually pretty reasonable folks.

        As one who likewise tends to avoid conflict and walk away, an online behavior of ‘not feeding the trolls’ makes a lot of sense. It’s clear you have enough proponents (with real-world credibility unlike some-random-person-with-a-keyboard) who will come to your defense anyway (that is if the nasty ad-hominum attack is public).

        Best of luck in the adventure of trusting the instincts! (As well as for the CrossFit!)

        • Amber Naslund

          Keyboards do weird things to people on both ends. I’m sure some psychologists and sociologists are having a FIELD day with this stuff these days.

          Thank you! Good thing THIS stuff isn’t part of the WOD. :)

  • hardlynormal

    You are AWESOME! I have always admired your brilliance, but more importantly, your courage to be emotionally honest with the world. I’ll never forget first time we met at Blog World. I thought you were like this rock star (still do) and you approached me and encouraged me. I went to your session that day and still use (or try to) some of the time management practices you shared. I have been to a gazillion sessions at conferences and really only remember a few, and your teachings made an impact! Then a few years later I saw you keynote and WOW I was impressed again.

    I honestly think the world of you!

    Now that Matt guy…eh :)

    • Amber Naslund

      I remember meeting you too, Mark, and you’re still awesome. :) Thank you for all the kind words.

      I’m learning that vulnerability is something that I can give back to people around me. I find it helpful for myself, sure, but I also find that it can be encouraging and a safe place for others. It makes me more emotional and sensitive than some, but I’m learning that it’s okay that that’s me, too. I’ve believed for a long time that my emotional side was this flaw to be ashamed of. It sometimes gets me in hot water, but I also now know that I don’t want to change it (maybe just turn down the dial sometimes when it needs to be). Fundamentally, it’s a big part of my identity, and something I’m learning to embrace instead of vilify.

      • hardlynormal

        I strongly recommend listening to

        really kicked my ass in a good way.

        • Amber Naslund

          I love Brene’s work. I can honestly say it’s had a part in healing from all of this and learning to love myself as-is. I just got your gift of the audiobook. You are sweet, and thank you so much. xo

          • hardlynormal

            Seth Godin wrote a post about audiobooks that changed his life. I was like “ya right” but bought a few for road trip last summer. I was not prepared for Brene’s book. I would listen and then have to pull over I got so messed up I could not drive. Enjoy

  • Carolyn Stephens

    There are smart, talented, beautiful people all over the world who don’t recognize their own value. Sadly the majority of them are women because we are still judged on appearance more than intellect. I swear, we could win a Nobel prize and if, on our way down from the stage, somebody would say, “You’re fat!” we’d slink back to our seats feeling like shit.
    I second the motion made by Janet Fouts. Piss off!
    “Never let them see you bleed and always have an escape plan.” ~Q to James Bond in The World is Not Enough

    • Amber Naslund

      I’ve done a lot of thinking about this, clearly. And I’ve never much put a lot of emphasis on the gender divide, because I think that focusing on my gender does exactly the opposite of what’s intended by striving for some kind of equanimity.

      But I have to face the truth, too, that there IS a certain amount of this that is misogyny, plain and simple. From both men AND women. So I need to recognize that for what it is, then put it down and let it go.

      Love the Bond quote. :)

  • Saul Kaplan

    You, my friend, are a special person and talent. You’re an inspiration accelerator catalyzing something bigger than yourself. We are better for it and I for one am grateful.

    • Amber Naslund

      Saul, this means more to me than I can say. Thank you so much for being here, for being a never-ending source of inspiration and support, and for being a friend. I really appreciate you.

  • HiltonB1

    Amber – I, like others who’ve commented below, have silently followed you for a while. Your honesty, candour and belief in building something better is brilliant – and in short supply. Having the courage of your convictions will draw fire from those who haven’t either the courage or the convictions to do what you do. I’m drawn some fire from my writing so understand the hurt it can cause. No matter how bold we may appear, we’re still human. In some cases, its been thoughtful, well meant and actually forced me to reconsider my world view. I relish those folks – they make me better. The trolls? Well they can sod off and go back to their cold, dark, lonely place under a bridge. They add nothing. Stick to it girl. We need more honest, candid, empathetic people in business today.

    • Amber Naslund

      Thank you so much. See, I guess I never really identified it as “courage of my convictions”. In fact, I don’t think I was sure WHAT I believed. But I’ve been paying very close attention to that. And the clarity it’s been giving me really helps steady the ground beneath my feet.

      I’m all for thoughtful criticism. I really am. The problem is that I can count on one hand the number of people that have bothered to deliver criticism to me with kindness, compassion ,and thoughtfulness. And THAT is the problem. You’ve got it right about empathy. We’re missing it in vast amounts, and I hope I can be part of changing that.

  • jeffshuey

    Well, I have been fortunate enough to meet with you in person a few times and I have a very different perspective than the trolls and haters. I know it’s hard to ignore them, but as you said … they don’t define you. You are an incredible thinker, writer, speaker and person. I appreciate your candor, your sense of humor and your ability to be both vulnerable and powerful … often at the same time. Keep doing what you know to be right. I’ve got your back and I would shout down anyone that tried to put you down. I would tell them they don’t know what they are talking about and should find (as you said) something else to do. I’m glad you are rising above it. I’m also glad you have the guts to post about it (you are one of the few people that can and will — kudos to you). And, finally, I’m glad you are you. Keep up the great efforts and please ping me anytime you want a well-deserved pat on the back and a huzzah. For you ARE getting it done … and I look forward to seeing what comes next and I hope to see you at SOBCon in Chicago this June.

    • Amber Naslund

      Thanks again, Jeff. Like I said on FB, it’s really nice to know that people have your back. I have unfortunately forgotten that sometimes, choosing instead to focus on the people that would make me feel lousy about myself instead of the people who make me feel good.

      I think there was always something about “being sure” to stay humble and open to the idea that I might not be all that and a bag of chips. Being open to criticism. Instead, what I did was open myself to abuse, believe it, and ignore almost ANYTHING good. As with many things, I had the balance and the perspective all wrong. But I’m getting there.

  • MarkEdwards

    You don’t know me, but I certainly have followed your work for many years and have learned a massive amount from you, sometimes one tweet at a time. Today I learned a great lesson from you with this piece. Thank you for sharing, thank you for showing your resolve, and most importantly thank you for being there for those of us who will never be as smart, talented, and gifted as you.

    • Amber Naslund

      Thanks so much, Mark. I’d debate that last sentence, but I appreciate the sentiment and the support, and that you’ve stuck around. Don’t be a stranger. :)


    I applaud you for returning. I will continue to follow you from your blogs to your dogs because you add value to me. :)

    • Amber Naslund

      Thanks Neenz!! Speaking of pups, how are those adorable ones of yours? They’re growing so FAST.

  • Shauna Nicholson

    You’re awesome, Amber. Great post.

    I’ve had a lot of the same types of things happen, including some particularly distasteful rumors circulating in my early years; oddly, in fact, I just recently learned of some of them this year… People are weird. I’m not as “public facing” as you are these days. I admire your position here.

    Bottom line: You’re not alone. Go you. Hell yes.

    • Amber Naslund

      Shauna, hey! You’re the best. I’m so sorry that you had to go through similar things. It sucks so much. People are weird, and they can be indescribably cruel. I don’t quite understand it. But go US. And hell yes, indeed. xo

  • Meredith Gould

    Echoing everyone who has thanked you for writing this post and moving forward, continuing to be the fabulous contribution you are to the world of digital. Trolls, ugh.

    • Amber Naslund

      Ugh indeed! I might be a little slow on the uptake, but I think I’m finally learning to put them where they belong. Out of sight. :)

  • drewmclellan

    Amber – 1, Assholes – 0.

    Here’s the good news. The jealous jackasses of the world make themselves evident pretty quickly. So you just let them keep braying away…. we see the truth for what it is.

    And the truth is — you have always been one of the most consistent people in the social space. You share what you know, you think out loud when you’re not sure and you pose more questions than you answer. You wear your smarts and your heart on your sleeve and invite us to come along.

    That’s why we stick around.

    • Amber Naslund

      I adore you, Drew. Thanks. :)

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  • meganjeniferharris

    Amber, I first learned of your work when I was studying for my Master’s Degree in Internet Marketing in 2011. I started following you and since then have barely missed a word! The realness that exudes from you every. single. day. no matter how challenging, terrifying or insecure it seems, keeps me coming back! I learn so much from you and truly appreciate your willingness to lead, make changes, and take action on that which you strongly believe. Remember 30-30-30: 30% will LOVE you. 30% will hate you and 30% won’t care. Someone will always fall into one of those three. I learned this on page 214 of James Altucher’s Book, Choose Yourself! I strongly believe that your odds are higher in percentage for those who LOVE you, flaws and all! Thank you for being you, and please, please, keep living your truths out loud! Your work is serving and will continue to impact a multitude of people in profound ways!

    • Amber Naslund

      Megan, you’re the best. I love having you around. I have really done a disservice by forgetting all the people who are such voices of friendship and support. I’m not going to screw that up anymore! And I love James’ book. This is my year to choose myself, and I’m glad to have friends like you by my side.

  • Mitch Joel – Twist Image

    Sending you a virtual hug, Amber. Your work, character and contribution speaks for itself. Your growing network and those that care about you is true and real. I have thin skin and my technique seems to work: I don’t ignore because I don’t know. If something even smells mean (instead of constructive), I delete it. Physically, digitally, whatever. I’d rather create than poke holes in other people’s creations, so I connect with similar folks and, literally, remove the rest. I hope you can do the same for yourself. It will give you much more positive time to create instead of worrying about others. Those people are wasting their own time by putting others down, instead of creating something meaningful. What a waste of life those folks are.

    • Amber Naslund

      I am absolutely doing just that. I have contemplated turning off comments on blogs for that reason, and I have gotten *really* good and unapologetic about unfollowing, unfriending, deleting, and ignoring. Which then brings out its own set of snarky attacks, but whatever. My online participation and platform is not a democracy.

      I’m really working on giving the energy to the people that lift me up rather than those that tear me down. They’re the ones who have deserved it all along and I have shorted them while I let jackasses rule my thoughts.

      Thanks for the vote of support and your steadfast friendship, Mitch. I hope you know how much I value you.

  • ernohannink

    Just glad that you are no longer hiding. The world needs people like you that really want to help and create a better world. We just do.
    I can see how the haters can bring you down, me, anybody.
    Like Brene Brown said, you will just have to stop reading those comments. You can find online what stupid comments she got/gets on the videos of her TED talk.

    I truly believe that this is the female era. I see so many strong women doing great things and using social media to spread their words. Go. Go.

    This will become a better world.

    • Amber Naslund

      Thanks, Erno. I’m tuning that stuff out, and I’m not apologizing for it anymore. I used to. I thought it made me “closed minded” or not receptive to criticism. But there is a difference between opening your mind to someone who has earned trust and respect and giving anyone access to your brain and feelings. I’m not going to do the latter anymore.

      Thank you for your support and friendship. I’m determined to get over there one of these days so we can hang out in person.

  • Charlene Burke

    Oh Amber, it’s good to see you again! I’ve been one of your silent supporters since 2012 when I first met you at Explore Nashville. I own an agency and so far I’ve managed to avoid the trolls, but that’s only because I’ve not had to put myself out there, front and center. This is my year to do so and I’m trying to gird myself for what will come. Though my specialty isn’t social media per se, it’s research & analytics & reputation management while conducting workshops and inhouse training on how to use the social media tools & platforms for sales. I am bookmarking your post and hope that I remember to check throughout this year. While I don’t have a business partner to lean on, I do have a small group of fellow business owners that have become my greatest cheerleaders, and I think I’ll be leaning on them quite a bit this year. Thank you for coming back. Thank you for sharing your experience. Thank you for being you!

    • Amber Naslund

      Thanks so much, Charlene. I hope it helps when you hit those rocky moments. It’s been a rough ride so far at times but I am convinced that I’m coming out the other side better and stronger for it. My best to you for your upcoming year!

  • Mark W Schaefer

    A great, brave post (which is one of your hallmarks by the way).

    I have fun in my career every day but the more successful I am, the more bullies and trolls I attract. Even though I am a centered person and normally look at these folks with pity (what has happened to a person when they only find joy in hurting others?) I still find myself spending more and more time defending and deflecting bile from the Blog Supremacists.

    In Seth Godin’s most recent book he noted that the reason he does not accept comments on his blog is that he is so thrown off by trolls that when he experiences that hateful criticism he can’t focus on anything else. So he simply blocks it out to the extent possible.

    We live in a broken world and the social web amplifies that darkness, unfortunately. Here is what I have to look forward to: All this work to help, mentor, connect, and provide amazing free content every day results in increasing amounts of toxicity aimed at hurting me.

    The fact is, once you overcome the shock of your first bully troll, you simply must develop a mental survival strategy or you will be suffocated. I never imagined I would be in a career where a significant life skill is ignoring anonymous personal attacks. Some days I dream of spending my days in a nice quiet corporate cubicle away from this madding crowd.

    • Amber Naslund

      Pretty much everything you just said.

      And, apparently like Mr. Godin, I am hyper-sensitive to the hateful stuff and internalize it way too much. Everyone can tell me not to listen all day long, and I get better at it as time goes by. But partly it’s in my DNA to be sensitive, and I’ll never fully be able to just let that stuff roll off my back.

      I have very seriously considered going back to a regular job, and have come close more than once. But at the end of the day, this whole process has led me back to the truth that I love what I do and believe I’m good at it. And I don’t want someone else to take that away from me.

      So I’m finding those mental survival strategies, steeling my resolve, and I’m determined to make a “comeback” and charge ahead.

      I really appreciate having a friend like you out there, Mark. It’s a rough and tumble industry sometimes and I hope you know I’m always here for an ear or moral support, because I really really really get it.

    • Marcus Sheridan

      Mark, profound points…I’m sure this won’t be the last time I see you write about this.

      At least, I hope it won’t.

  • Kim Yuhl

    I am just another voice lending support. I’m someone you don’t know but I am a fan. YYou touched me way before this. I saw your Creative Live presentation a while back and I tweeted something to you. For the life of me I can’t remember what it was and it was probably nothing – but you responded. Many people in your position don’t. Then you were rescuing dogs. And you have had a fan ever since. I am glad you are taking back your power. You should know from this view, it was never lost.

    • Amber Naslund

      Thanks so much for that, Kim. I really do appreciate it. The support in the last day or so has really put emphasis on how much GOOD there is surrounding me, and reminding me that my energy belongs there, not in those darker places. Thank you again. :)

  • servantofchaos

    You’ll make a gigantic impact on the world not just through your experience, but by participating. Great to see you in such good form, Amber!

    • Amber Naslund

      Thank you so much, Gavin. I hope we can sit down over lunch and beers again one of these days. :)

  • Gordon Diver

    Not much to add beyond the wise words below; other than my gratitude for your efforts; generosity and kindness.

    • Amber Naslund

      Thank you so much, Gordon. I really appreciate it.

  • Kaarina Dillabough

    Although you don’t know me (and I don’t “know” you, although I’ve followed you for ages), I believe I represent many of the nameless,faceless throngs of supporters who, in our own quiet way, support those who provide true value, honesty, integrity and meaning, and add to our own lives. You do that. You put yourself out there. You haven’t “failed” anyone. Kudos to you for seeing that there’s little we can do about the haters: it is their problem, not ours, and if you see it from that perspective, (even when it’s hurtful), you don’t have to take on their baggage.

    Success is wonderful, but it also attracts its fair share of those who can only build themselves up by putting others down. And when/if you’re high-achievement oriented, it stings deeply, because you remember the one cruel remark rather than the hundred great ones.

    I’m happy for you:) Know you have many supporters and those who are in your corner. Be strong in your convictions to be true to yourself. I always say I don’t have a thick skin but I do have broad shoulders. Sometimes the weight on our shoulders becomes almost too much to bear, but that’s when we turn to those we admire and trust, and know that we truly can move through and beyond the most difficult of times. Wishing you well: always. Cheers! Kaarina

    • Amber Naslund

      “And when/if you’re high-achievement oriented, it stings deeply, because you remember the one cruel remark rather than the hundred great ones.” That’s pretty much it in a nutshell.

      But I’m going to change that, because look at this string of comments. You all are incredible, and deserve so much better. I’m very rich in friends and support, and I’m making a pledge to focus THERE instead. I’ve always valued our connection, Kaarina, and hope there are many more moments to come. Thank you.

      • Kaarina Dillabough

        There will be many, many more moments to come :)

  • Tom Webster

    The late David Foster Wallace wrote, wisely, that the only thing we can control is how we choose to thing about things–a practice I struggle with every day. I am glad you are thinking kindly about yourself.

    • Amber Naslund

      I wonder sometimes how much of that we CAN control, too. But I’m definitely focused on giving myself grace and standing where I’m happiest, regardless of what that brings out in others. It’s a choice, for sure, but it’s one I have to make.

    • cloverdew


  • delwilliams

    Amber,I recently had a birthday, turned 49. Here’s what I know for sure, hurt people can’t help but hurt others. Second, it’s none of my business what people think of me, because there is little that I can do to change it. Three, never give your power away, and when you take on the views of others about yourself, it is giving them the power to control you. Fourth, as Scott says, you are not the jackass whisperer, so stop trying to make sense of these trolls, bullies, etc. And finally, stay in peace within. Glad you are back.

    • Amber Naslund

      Thanks for all of this, Del. Sage advice. Especially about giving away power. If they gave out awards for that, I’d win them all. :)

  • Douglas Karr

    @AmberNaslund:disqus you’re someone who I have amazing respect for. Your transparency is sincere – and your insight is always something I looked forward to hearing. You blew me away a year ago at #SMMW with your keynote.

    I’m not sure social media is too far separated from life altogether, though. You know me… I can be a real ass sometimes. But it’s because I have built a wall against this continued barrage of crap that comes flying every time my name is published somewhere. I’m a ‘c-level’ to your ‘a-level’ and the heat is sometimes unbearable down here, too. Add to it that I’m a fat guy and those jokes come a flyin’.

    You don’t need advice, nor am I giving it… but I make it through each time asking myself – “What qualifications does this person possess who is criticizing me?” Typically it’s NONE. One ‘friend’ even told me he would unfriend me if I continued speaking the way I was on social media. I informed him that I had enough friends. My friends don’t criticize me, they cheer me on. They encourage me. It sounds like you’ve surrounded yourself with those friends, too. That’s awesome.

    I hope it’s clear from the support here that 1) You’re not alone and 2) You’re appreciated in this community more than you’ll ever know. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Amber Naslund

      Doug, thanks for that. I’m quite humbled, actually, by the support and response to this post.

      And those of you who have treated me with friendship and professional respect are the ones who have deserved my energy and attention all along. I promise to put my energy in the right place moving forward from here.

      I always try to ask myself the same question, but get caught in the trap of believing that if I think someone “isn’t qualified” to give me input that I’m being a snob or elitist or something. But the truth is that I’m protecting myself, my heart, my spirit and my capability to do good work for myself and for my clients by not letting just anyone and everyone have a say into how I feel or what I do.

      My therapist is really helping me learn that, but professionally I’m finding great rewards in walking my own path. Thanks again for the support. You’re one of the good guys and I for one am glad to have you around.

      • Douglas Karr

        You’ll do amazing work whether in the spotlight or behind the scenes! Thanks!!1

  • rhonda hurwitz

    “You are what you do, not what you say”. Your work speaks for itself.

    • Amber Naslund

      Thanks, Rhonda. I need to make peace with that, too. Getting there. :)

  • Karla Campos

    Rock on Amber and welcome back! I can really identify with your article as I have experienced what you talk about here, a lot of people definitely do criticize and talk and it can be hurtful. You have probably figured out that this negative talk is just a reflection of people’s insecurities, I’m glad that you shared this with us.

    • Amber Naslund

      Thank you, Karla. It’s definitely a reflection of them, but more importantly, the fact that it gets to me at all is a reflection of *my* insecurities. Which is where the work needs to be done. Thanks for the support and the comment.

  • Sean Smith

    Thank you, Amber!

    While I have not had the same scale of success, that you have, I certainly have had the same experiences! If you had added not being taken seriously, because you chose to work out of a small community, instead of in or around a larger city centre, this post could very well have been written about ME!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, for starting my week with an inspirational read!! Now I feel like I can (and will) go out and Crush It!



    • Amber Naslund

      Thanks, Sean! Glad you found it helpful, and I’m wishing you all the success in the world.

  • Mark Collins

    Amber, you’ve always been one of the nicest people I’ve known in the Social realm and very good at your job. Forget the rest and keep on going mate, IMHO Social needs more of you :)

    • Amber Naslund

      Thank you so much, Mark. I dunno about more of me, though. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone!! :)

  • SimplySocialMedia

    Thank you! I can’t tell you how much I needed this today. I have been hearing two peoples nasty words in my head for weeks. Some people live to be nasty.

    • Amber Naslund

      Yep, and we’d be better served if we could direct our energy in places where it’s actually useful and valuable instead of letting them get to us! Easier said than done, but worth the effort.

  • Raymond Morin

    Thanks for sharing this blog, miss Naslund. It will helping me to develop a mental survival strategy, as Mark said, or I’ll be suffocated under all those trolls and bullies of my small community who just try to undermine my motivation. And, the more smaller your community is, it seems that the more direct are the attacks. Sometimes, I would like to move to another country, and re-start on new bases.

    • Amber Naslund

      That’s for sure re: small communities. It makes difficult situations hard to ignore. Wishing you strength and resolve and lots of success. Thanks for being here and sharing.

  • Jenny Brennan

    Janet, I love your post, it’s so honest. I too have had instances in recent years with trolls, primarily on Twitter and stupidly thought you had to put up with that kind of thing (I don’t anymore). Its like anywhere in life, once you start to do well others are waiting to criticise. I never heard of you or your blog until today thanks to @markwilliamschaefer:disqus but keep doing what you do and smile while you do it! Take care Jenny

    • Amber Naslund

      Thanks, Jenny. I’ve been paying attention to the wrong things, but that’s shortly going to change.

  • Jennifer Henczel, Marketing Mo

    This has happened to me too. The ‘old boys club’ has trouble with new people coming onto the scene…in any town it seems. They take to slander and manufacturing stuff that just isn’t near to true. I find I work better collaborating with competitors, but those with old mindsets don’t know how to do that. They literally can’t conceive of how to go about building a community that way. I have found that building a thriving community is the only way to go. I naysayers and trolls always go away eventually. I appreciate you posting this and sharing what is, unfortunately, a common story among those of us who are trying to work within the new paradigm.

    • Amber Naslund

      Thanks, Jennifer. They’ll eventually run out of energy. And as John pointed out, this is much more about the self-doubt that the troublesome people stir up and shine a light on. THAT’s the real issue, and the one I’m working very hard to straighten out.

  • Steve Woodruff

    Amber, count me as one of the many who has liked and respected you right from the get-go. As for the attack-dogs who aren’t content to just poop on their own lawn – well, just unsubscribe from those messengers. We all know what the nutritional label of their crap looks like…

    • Amber Naslund

      Thanks, Steve. You’ve always been outstandingly kind and supportive and I appreciate it so very much. Unsubscribing the messengers only solves part of the problem, though. I have to fix ME, so that’s where the work comes in!

  • Cait

    You go, girl!!!

    • Amber Naslund

      Thanks, Cait!

  • Ian Gordon

    The chasm between how we see ourselves and how others see us always amazes me. I find the way you are able to share your thoughts and feeling through your writing incredibly courageous. I often get quiet affirmation or encouragement by reading it. Thank you. I need to be less quiet.

    • Amber Naslund

      Thanks very much, Ian. We’ve all got our inner demons, and I find it helpful to both share them and help other people know they’re not alone either.

  • Berniejmitchell

    Send me their names and I’ll get them for you! ;-)

    I STILL refer to your blog post about ‘Build Your Community Before You Need It’ from Brass Tack Thinking in my sessions and talks. Thank you!

    I am hyper-sensitive too, (even though I’d tell people to ignore it themselves) over the last few years I have had several ‘rocky mental patches’ and at those times even a slight kick in on-line from someone you never will meet somehow dominates your day in such an unreasonable manner – if though you know this is nuts!!

    On the funny-(ish) side…. I used to run a big Linkedin Group and when someone was snarky WITH ME I’d ring THEM up and apologize for ME being stupid – this was fun. The ‘on-line basher’ was always more than a little thrown by the “live call” and was never quite as evil as I thought.
    I never rang them up to retaliate – in fact I was calling them to stop me over thinking it all day.

    Just for the record – I took a lot of lead from your Brass Tack blog, the way you juggled everything and the post you wrote when you left Sale-force – that was brave, it is like leaving a rock band to go solo.

    Last point – I like to introduce negative people to each other and then run away! ;-) xxxx

    • Amber Naslund

      Ha! Thanks, Bernie. No names needed.

      I really appreciate your kind words, and glad that BTT helped you out. Rocky mental patches suck, and they can definitely pull you down sometimes when you lose perspective. But I’m feeling stronger than ever and I’ll get through this. So will you! Best of luck to you, and thanks for your support.

  • Warren Whitlock

    Thanks for your good example here and everywhere. I’m continually impressed and inspired.

    • Amber Naslund

      Thanks, Warren. I appreciate that a lot.

  • David Murray

    Amber, when I first got into this space you were one of the first people I learned from and I continue to do so in many ways. I for one am glad you are here and I am equally glad you are coming back to support this profession publicly. We need you.

    • Amber Naslund

      Thanks, my friend. I’m glad you’re here too.

  • ducttape

    Hug, hug – okay, now the truth :)

    The so called trolls and haters aren’t the problem, never were – it’s your own doubt that you have to overcome – do that and you’ll soon be able to deal with the fact that what others think of you is none of your business.

    You’re the only person you have to please. Do your best work on behalf of your clients and projects and pretty much job done. All the rest of the stuff is manufactured to please your ego.

    Spoken dadlike out of love!

    • Amber Naslund

      Well I sure didn’t start going to therapy because of trolls! Of course you’re right. It’s the self-doubt that’s really the issue, the jackasses just inflame that. This is all a journey and while I don’t always have it all figured out, I’m willing to do the work to get there.

      Thanks, as always, Internet Dad. :)

  • Carrie Morgan

    Amber, it’s scary to be real and open to vulnerabilities online but, idiotic trolls aside, that’s part of what makes people love and connect with you. It’s easy to let other people’s garbage create a crisis of confidence when that little inner voice of negativity in our heads actually believes them. But, IMO, the reality is that negative people are letting out THEIR own self-esteem issues. It’s usually not about the person they are venting on. Kudos in a MAJOR WAY for rising above other people’s crap and finding your own way. Being strong. Not letting trolls define who you are. You make us all proud.

    • Amber Naslund

      Vulnerability is just part of what makes me me. The confidence crises however I could do without! :) What I’m really trying to figure out is how to have confidence and assurance in my own work and direction without needing the validation from the rest of the world. I’m not perfect yet, but I’m getting closer, and I’ll take that. :)

  • Todd Wheatland

    Amber, I don’t know you but congrats on sharing such a gutsy post. You’ve already won.

    • Amber Naslund

      Thanks very much, Todd. Appreciate you taking the time to read and leave a comment. And hi! Nice to meet you.

  • Laura Click

    Hi Amber – Thanks for your brave post. I think your story just proves how much we all need mentors and a network of support. Truly, we all need constructive feedback and to be held to task when we’ve lost our way. But that comes from people who care about you – not the ones trying to tear you down.

    While I’ve not had this same experience in the social media space, I’ve definitely had times in my life and career where I let someone else’s opinion of me pollute my thinking. That’s a tough place to be. And, while it totally sucks that there are people out there who like nothing more than to tear others down, it’s up to us to pull ourselves up. You’ve done that here. And, you’ll continue to do that.

    I hate you’ve gone through this, but I think this will only make you tougher and prepare you for what’s to come. Thanks for sharing your experience and teaching us all the importance of community.

    • Amber Naslund

      Hi Laura. Support networks are good. But in my case, I over-rely on even those. I have to get comfortable in my own head, knowing that I can stand on my own two feet regardless of whether I have a support network or not. And it’s already made me a stronger person, it’s helped me reach out for the help I needed in some aspects, and I’m learning a ton.

  • Dave Marler

    Amber, I’ve found your contributions to be courageous and insightful. I stumbled upon your work just before your TED talk in Atlanta and have followed you ever since. I don’t have the visibility, and in turn, the mean, hurtful responses you have had to endure. However I can relate to your self-doubt.

    I have a supportive wife and family but can’t seem to shake my own feelings of underachievement. My nature is to be quiet, understated and lacking in ego and bravado. It’s just damn hard to believe my work, in various arenas, is making a difference.

    I am blessed to lead a performing arts group with an annual budget of $315K in a town of about 32,000 but still question my accomplishments in life. I love to write but too often convince myself that nobody wants to hear/read what I am thinking.

    It’s not so much the external critics I struggle with but more so those pesky internal voices that are never satisfied. I suppose the secret for me is to continue the debate with myself as I seek to find and accept my value.

    And for you, with your already established bonafides, perhaps the secret is to rise upon the respect and accomplishments you know you have earned and to ignore the haters. I know I’ll be watching and hoping for the best from afar. All good wishes…

    • Amber Naslund

      Hi Dave, So glad to have you here. Self-doubt is pretty rampant, isn’t it? Man. If I had a dollar for every person who got bogged down by it, I could stop worrying about it all on my own island somewhere. :)

      The internal voices are always the *real* issue. How others end up making us feel is really just a symptom, a reflection of the doubts we already have about ourselves. We all have something of value to contribute to the world. I really believe that. It’s convincing ourselves of that that is always our biggest achievement.

      Thank you for commenting and the kind words, and keep at it with the important work you’re doing too. It matters.

  • owengreaves

    Hey Amber,

    One of strengths & weaknesses of the Internet, as in your community as well, many behave like they are still high school.

    I have followed you for years and enjoy your presence online, and I truly enjoy your writing, I wish I had a simple solution to trolls & people that tear others down.

    I hope you have worked through the head games and will continue to share your art.

    Many blessings, and stay the course, you will be rewarded.

    Owen Greaves

    • Amber Naslund

      Hi Owen, I’m so glad you’ve been around all this time. Thanks for the support. Yeah, some of it is just immature garbage. And I’m definitely working through all the mind games, finding strength, and learning how to forge ahead. You’re stuck with me for a while. :)

      • owengreaves

        If I can be of any encouragement or help, I’m easy to find. I would hardly call it, “being stuck with you”, you matter more than you realize, what you do is needed, the world needs you even if a small few don’t. Like most minority groups, they’re the loudest, but that’s about it : ) Feel free to reach out, you can find me here

        Have an awesome day, and go make the world a better place through who you are, and what you do. That’s an order ; )

  • Becky Johns

    As someone who internalizes negativity the way you describe and who has felt my own version of burnout and the need to regroup and take ownership of my future…I thank you for writing this.

    I really loved reading it. It’s rare that someone who has been hurt is willing to put their feelings out there in a way that doesn’t just beg for compliments but instead, shows growth. So I say two thumbs up for the honesty it took to write this and the courage it took to publish it. It has always seemed to me that the people who excel most in careers like yours are the ones who have the capacity to truly care what people think, because that skill helps build on the good and it helps find solutions for the bad. The unfortunate part is it’s impossible to ignore the bad, and it’s magnified when it becomes personal. It takes an incredible amount of strength to take criticism, and rather than dismiss it or hide from it, to try to pick it apart and find something that could be true to work on that will make you better. Seriously impressive!

    What’s that saying – if you love something, let it go and if it comes back to you, you know it’s yours – seems as though you proven to yourself you really love what you do. Many people go their whole life and never seem to do that! Keep kicking ass, Amber.

    • Amber Naslund

      Hey, stranger! Ah, burnout. I’m so sorry you went through that, but I’m very proud that you’ve taken the wheel and decided to steer your own ship. Brava for that.

      I don’t ever really want to STOP caring what people think. I don’t want to turn that off. I just want to learn to have a better filter for what matters and what doesn’t, and I want the core of my confidence to be strong enough to stand on its own. That’s what I’m working toward.

      I’m glad to be finding my footing again, and I can’t tell you how grateful I am that you stopped by to leave a comment. Thanks. :)

  • Faith_Azreal

    Hi Amber,
    You were one of the first people I followed when I started work in this space. I have learned so much from you and continue to do so everyday. You are fun, witty and most of all so
    honest and human (sans the usual ever-irritating marketing gimmicks) with everything
    that you teach and do. Thanks for being around, thanks for helping out.

    • Amber Naslund

      Hi Faith, Thank you so much for that and for the kind words. I really appreciate that you took the time to comment, and I’m glad to have you around, too!

  • Steve Ziemba

    Keep up the great work. I love what you stand for and often use SideraWorks as a point of reference when teaching social media. Cheers!

    • Amber Naslund

      Thank you, Steve! I appreciate that so much. If there’s ever anything we can do to help, just send a note!

  • JosephRatliff


    I’ve read your material (including the Now Revolution) off and on over the years. Now, seeing this willingness to pour out your soul like that and be vulnerable at a time when some “asshats” were trying to put their thumb on your head…

    … I’m disappointed with myself for not reading you more often.

    I just wish more people could see what happens because we’re all human on the other side of the monitor. Seth Godin is right, these hurtful, inhuman remarks and actions can hurt. And as humans, we all have a little self doubt inside. It’s what makes us human.

    Thank you for the outpouring of human goodness Amber. :)

    • Amber Naslund

      Thanks, Joseph. It’s either way too easy to forget that there are other people on the other side of our venom, or the web shows us way too many of the people that simply don’t care about that fact. It’s the downside, but there are lots of upsides, too. Thanks for the comment!

      • JosephRatliff

        And from watching your TEDx talk today about mental illness (I have a son who has mild autism), you’re a caring and thoughtful person indeed.

        That is absolutely the upside. :)

  • Ike Pigott

    Welcome back.

    • Amber Naslund

      Thanks, Ike. Feels good to be back.

  • Daria Steigman

    Soon after I started my business, I jettisoned a couple of “friends” who somehow decided I must be staying home all day eating bonbons and living off a (very, very imaginary) trust fund. Their approach was incredibly passive aggressive, and I didn’t need them and wasn’t interested in dealing with their crap. A friend said at the time that “people who don’t wish you well wish you ill, and they weren’t wishing you well.”

    The difference today is that technology has amplified the ability of “mean,” petty, and/or jealous people to be mean — often without actually having to face the person they’re badmouthing.

    Glad you’ve got ALL your mojo working for you again.

    • Amber Naslund

      Daria, it’s unreal how people are willing to make all kinds of judgments. When I left Radian6, everyone figured that I was just sitting pretty, and while I did get lots of support and encouragement, I also got LOTS of snark. We so love to throw rocks at successful people.

      And you’ve got it right about amplification. There have always been jerks, now they have megaphones and attention. Makes it that much more insidious and prevalent.

      Thanks for the support. You’ve been one of my earliest connections and always a good friend. I appreciate it.

  • John Jolley

    Thanks for the brave post and for not letting them beat you. I enjoy the content!

    • Amber Naslund

      Thanks, John! There will be more to come.

  • Paul Sutton

    Hi Amber.

    You won’t know me, but I’ve been a fan of yours from across the pond for years ever since I read The Now Revolution (still one of my favourite communications books). And, like many others, I noticed it when you all but disappeared.

    Your writing (and speaking, from what I’ve seen) has always been honest, brave and authentic. I particularly remember your TEDx Talk on depression from a couple of years back which, as a fellow sufferer, was inspiring to watch.

    I don’t have anything to say about the haters. But I just want to say ‘welcome back’. You were missed.

    • Amber Naslund

      Hi Paul, thank you so much. I was always a little surprised that people noticed, to be honest. But it’s nice to know, and I really appreciate you saying so. I’m sorry for your struggles with depression but you are most definitely not alone on that front! Thank you for welcoming me “back” and I’ll do my best not to disappoint!

  • Stewart Rogers

    Like many here Amber, I’m a fan of your work and am shocked that you’re had to endure the bile and vitriol that seems to come with any success in social these days (I truly wish that weren’t the case).

    I don’t usually like all these ‘motivational quotes’ people throw around, but I saw this the other day and think I’ll make an exception:

    “The human capacity for burden is like bamboo – far more flexible than you’d ever believe at first glance.”

    Glad you’re back. Looking forward to your future insights, just as I have those of your past…

    • Amber Naslund

      Hi Stewart, thank you. I like that quote, it’s definitely been true for me this year and there were many times when I really thought I’d just about had enough. :) Thanks for sticking around, and looking forward to getting back in the saddle.

  • John M. Lee

    Hi Amber: I have been reading your work since 2008 or so. I have always had the utmost respect for you and your work. I had a social media consultancy for five years before becoming the Director of Social Media for a mid-sized restaurant chain. Monitoring our social pages everyday most certainly exposes the trolls. We are not perfect but we try our best. To publicly indict a 150-unit chain because of a bad server in one location is ridiculous. And, to bring it up again and again in posts, messages and comments on others’ posts is tiresome indeed. Congratulations for rising above the lowly. Certainly look forward to keeping up with your posts in your new endeavor.

    • Amber Naslund

      Thank you very much, John. I’ve been on the brand side too and worked with many of them and it can indeed be tough. Though I have to say that I could always take the jerks in stride when it was aimed at my company rather than something personal. In any case, I really wish those folks would find something better to do. :)

  • geofflivingston

    What an amazing blog. If I caused you some of this pain during our disagreements, I apologize. I know how this feels, and I just hope that you enjoy your renaissance and live life to the fullest. Giving ourselves permission to be free and to do such things as your post suggests is really what life is all about. Namaste.

    • Amber Naslund

      Thanks, Geoff. I wish you well.

  • 40deuce

    I’m really sorry to hear this Amber, but glad to hear that you are fighting back.
    People don’t know what they’re talking about. Even when you and I were “competing” against one another, I still always looked up to you as a smart, passionate, driven and respected individual. In fact, if it wasn’t for what you were doing at the time, I probably wouldn’t even have my job right now.

    I know from personal experience that life and the people in it can sometimes be a struggle, but you just have to keep fighting (and I have to tell myself the same every damn day).

    Keep on doing what you’re doing, because no matter how many haters there seem to be, there’s a lot more people like me who love and respect what you’re doing. So keep on doing it.

    • Amber Naslund

      Hey Sheldon, thanks. My biggest critic and “hater”, of course, has been me. That’s the part that I need to focus on most, and as that starts to come together, the rest of the nonsense seems to matter less and less. Thanks for stopping by to comment, and I wish you the best in your next adventures too.

  • jonmikelbailey

    As you should, because we need more Amber!

    • Amber Naslund

      Thanks, Jon-Mikel. I’m very glad you think so.

  • Andrew Begin

    Thanks for sharing, Amber. As somebody who is just starting off on the speaking/educating path, I really appreciate and value your story, and I will most definitely keep it in mind when the trolls come around. As they will.

    • Amber Naslund

      Thanks, Andrew. They always do, but do your best to keep them in perspective. I didn’t. :)

  • Dave Delaney

    I’ve always been a fan and a friend. Wish we could hide under tables more often though.

    I wasn’t aware of the abuse. I’m sorry to hear this. You’re such a kind, funny, smart person. I’m amazed people would be so lame. Trolls sucks.

    Know you’re always loved and respected.

    • Amber Naslund

      Dave, you’ve always been one of my favorite people from this crazy little universe. Thank you for hiding under tables with me and being a positive voice in a sea of weirdness. Miss you tons!

  • Michael Ash

    Great post :)

    • Amber Naslund

      Thanks, Michael.

  • MassiveImpressions

    What is that audience doing? You peek your nose in there, and maybe make a peep or two. The next thing you know you’re arguing and wasting your time. Avoid the emotional vampires and trolls. Have fun. Enjoy even the negative PR. You have to if you’re going to keep going, make a profession out of this.

    • Amber Naslund

      I don’t waste my time arguing, but stuff hits and hurts sometimes just the same. I’m refocused now and think it’s going to be a good year. Thank you!

  • Jason Stum

    Wow. Thanks for the honesty and openness, Amber.

    This is the first time I’ve ever been to your blog (You can thank #NewKlout for serving up this article to me) and I’m happy to have discovered it like so many others before me.

    Keep on doing what you do. You ROCK!

    • Amber Naslund

      Thanks, Jason. This blog hasn’t been around too long; I used to write at Brass Tack Thinking but I retired that blog to focus professionally over at SideraWorks. So I hope you’ll hang out there AND here so we can get to know each other!

  • Pan Aveyard

    Bravo Amber.
    It’s good to have you back ;)

    • Amber Naslund

      Thanks, Pan. Good to be back.

      • Pan Aveyard

        I was knocked down and then had to get back up again in another aspect of my life, so I’ve grown to respect anyone that has the strength to make a come back.
        I’m to happy to once more consume your content ;)

        • Amber Naslund

          Comebacks are part of the best in the human condition. I’m glad you’re back up and swinging, too.

  • Lori Johnson

    Amber, I agree – “great brave post”. And I am so thankful that someone tweeted this. I’m dealing with some trolls and bullies myself and this truly helped. Stay strong sista!

    • Amber Naslund

      Thanks, Lori. I’ve been astonished at the response, and admittedly surprised (and maybe a little sad?) that the idea of being vulnerable is brave. But it’s reality, and I’m hoping that getting it out there helps someone. I know very selfishly that it has helped me to write it, so thank you for reading and commenting.

  • Davina K. Brewer

    Here via a good @markwilliamschaefer:disqus post. First let me join the chorus of ‘nice to have you back,’ even if I am late updating my blogroll link. Second let me also co-sign everyone – including you – who questions what keyboards do to people, worse when they hide behind a screen name. Lastly, let me confess that while I haven’t really heard a lot this kind of snark or backbiting aimed at my direction, even w/out any of your kind of success I’ve ‘felt’ it nonetheless. Everything from the ‘if only you looked better/thinner’ to the ‘who are you to be blogging an consulting.. you don’t even have a book or the right # of followers?’ It’s crap and can grind you down if you let it and exhausting to fight that fight sometimes.

    This year’s resolution was “I choose Me.” I’m choosing me, the balance of personal and professional; and the hunt for the right career opportunity b/c I’m not gonna settle. I choose to believe – scratch that – I emphatically state that I can, I do great work because I bloody well do. I am smart, I am capable, creative and professional with my own take on things. Lines on a resume don’t to the work – I do. Sorry for making this about me, not you – but then that’s part of this social experiment, we connect and realize we’re not in this alone. It’s easy to say it and hard to do it, but we do have to get past the snipes and trolls, give constructive criticism it’s do – then get back to doing what’s best for us. Hat tip for this reminder, thanks. FWIW.

    • Amber Naslund

      Thanks, Davina. I’m really glad to hear about your resolution. It’s a good one, and not unlike mine. Not being alone in all of this – life – is one of THE most important things I think we can recognize in others. Thanks for making ME feel less alone, and for taking the time to comment.

  • Jose Albis

    When you are out and about, being your awesome self, leadership is present. When you are a cause in the matter of where this is going, you have an army of loving onliners to support you like right here, right now. I hope you reach when help is needed because your inspiring self is missed and has no replacement. Glad to see you back.

    • Amber Naslund

      Thank you so much, Jose. You were so nice and welcoming to me when I came to Victoria and I hope we get the chance to visit again.

  • Stephanie Nelson

    So this post really spoke to me, as your posts usually do.

    When I reached out to you a couple years ago to see if you’d be free for lunch while I was in Chicago, I fully expected to get a “no” back. Not because of any preconception I had of you. But because I had the voice in my head saying, “Why would someone as accomplished as she is meet you – a social media biz newbie – for anything?” And the troll behind that was myself.

    Thank you for sharing your advice and insights – that day and through your blog! Whether some of us tell you on a regular basis or not, it is appreciated! :)

    • Amber Naslund

      Thanks, Stephanie. It’s never (truly) occurred to me that someone “accomplished” should behave as such, within reasonable limits of life and schedule of course. If it weren’t for several people more experienced than I, I never would have had some of the help I had. Although I’m sure I screwed that up plenty of times, I can honestly say that anyone who believed my intent – ever – was to behave as though I was “better” than someone, they didn’t know me very well.

      I’m glad to know you, and hope we get to catch up for lunch again soon.

      • Stephanie Nelson

        I agree. I don’t think “accomplished” folks SHOULD act like they’re better than others. Sadly, I’ve often found that to be true, so when those like you do give of your time and knowledge, it’s refreshing and a real boost!

        I’m with you, too, on knowing that I wouldn’t be where I am without the words of wisdom and little pushes from those that came before me. I try to pay that forward now, in honor of those that helped me!

        I’ll definitely let you know when I have my next trip to your neck of the woods. Catching up would be great! And if you find yourself in Charlotte, let me know! :)

        • Amber Naslund


  • Pamela Calabrese

    You must be making a real difference out there! I see this happen with all the time with great ministries also. These people that you call trolls are sick miserable people who want to make others miserable with them. There opinions are worthless.

    • Amber Naslund

      I’m trying, Pamela, but I’ve been hiding from way too much. And I imagine similar things happen in all sorts of spaces and professional places. It’s a human pattern, not specific to an industry. And it’s a hard one.

  • Marcus Sheridan

    Amber, it’s refreshing (in an odd way) to read this post, as it’s something that so little talk about yet anyone that has “been there” certainly understands. Cheers to you for where you’ve been, where you are, and where you’re going.


    • Amber Naslund

      Thanks, Marcus. I know we haven’t had the chance to spend time together but I’m sure you know a bit about what it’s like. Hope we get the chance to say hello this year.

  • Tabatha

    It amazes me that there are people who think that because they’re behind a screen they have the right to say whatever they want to others – especially when no one has asked. The part of your post that hit me the most was the having to lose weight part. I’m a big girl; I have been my entire life. I have tried to ignore the (sometimes very obvious) fact that I do tend to get looked over because I’m not taken as seriously as my less-rotund counterparts. Nevermind the fact that I’m intelligent and know my stuff; my ass is just a little too wide to be taken seriously, apparently. I would be lying if I said I’ve been able to completely block it out – I’m a sensitive person, and I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to do so. However, because I’ve had the great fortune to watch people like you, Amber, who are intelligent and determined and keep on going, it makes me feel that you know what? Who cares? I *can* do this. We *CAN* do this – and we will.

    You’re amazing, lady. Just amazing. <3

  • Tim Burrows

    Thanks for posting this Amber. It took guts to do this, just like it takes guts to put yourself out there for the criticsm.

  • Jess Kalbarczyk

    This was a great post Amber. I have to say that over the past 5+ years working in the industry, I’ve off and on followed you. I have the experience working with major brands and now I have found a place I LOVE in higher education, still carrying the social media torch. Not to brag but yes to #humblebrag… I’m actually out there DOING the work. And as you know, there are those BS’ers out there who love to try to bring us down when we make things happen. Anyways, I’ve followed you and even have bought your book. I’ve tried reaching out to you a few times, only to chat because I felt as though we had a lot in common. You didn’t reach back too much and I did take it personal. So much so I may have bought your book, but I haven’t read it. Juvenile I know. Hell, you’re busy and have a lot going on. I know that, now. That being said, I’ve always respected you. You’re one of the FEW women in social who tells it like it is. I’ve tried to do the same. And in fact over the last 2 years have had to deal with a good amount of trolls and bullies. It’s brought me to tears, I’ve stopped blogging because of it and it’s frankly driven me crazy. I’m in a much better place now and I’m looking to find the right time to get back into blogging, sharing my story and my ideas whether people agree with it or not. I have always admired you from a distance, always wishing we could have at least had a chat because from what you’ve shared I think we have a lot in common. Yes, I’m a thin-skinned person too, and I take things personal…I don’t like that I’m like this but like you said it’s in our DNA. All we can do is find the tools to use in order for us to get through those obstacles. You’re doing that, so definitely rock on. I’m getting back on track to following you and hopefully we’ll cross paths one day and maybe even share some war stories. More of us need to really stand together. We’re still very strong, INTELLIGENT and extremely hard working woman, we need to really stick together. So going forward i plan on following your blog again and hoping I’ll be inspired to get back into blogging and more! Thank and truly…best of luck.

    BTW, to that “guru” who told you that you’d land more gigs if you lost weight…I’d have no problem giving him a swift kick where it really hurts. But that’s another matter which I’m sure you’ll cover because it is a problem in our industry. Ok…rant done.

    Thank you!

    • Amber Naslund

      Jess – Thanks for such an honest comment. And sincere apologies if I ever made you feel like I was deliberately being unresponsive. I never aim to do that, so I’m glad you’re here to give me another shot at that. You’re always welcome to send me an email at, too.

      I think you’re right that we all need to support each other. Everyone has their armor chinks, but maybe if we focused more on building up the people we appreciate instead of tearing down the ones that we don’t, we’d all be a little better off? I don’t know for sure, but my gut says yes.

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