March 23, 2016

Tell Her.


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One of the most amazing things about social media for me is that I can go up to someone (online), tap them on the shoulder, and say “hey, I really like that thing you did!”

I use my Twitter feed to praise people a lot. Some people might find this a bit “sickly” but screw them: I just like telling other writers/bloggers/creators that I like what they did. It’s genuine emotion. I know how it feels when someone says it to me, so I like to pass it on. A big circle of cheerleading.

We – us Internet Users – we scroll a lot. We scroll right past things and in our heads we often think “that’s cool” but then carry on scrolling. Most people, actually, don’t comment, or “like”. They just passively watch, scroll and look. Recently, at events, I’ve had a few people say “I really liked that your blog post you wrote the other day” and then go into detail about the bits that affected them, but I would never have known unless we had bumped into each other in person that day. It’s OK not to comment, but nothing beats that feeling of knowing someone’s read and enjoyed your thing.

I think it’s important we tell people when something has moved us or inspired us. A little tweet, a “like” or poke, or GIF or sometimes an email that just says: “hey, no need to reply but thanks for writing that thing today.”

Whenever I get nice emails, like this one about IRL Panel, it has a lasting impact on my whole day. That’s what made the IRL event so special, we really FELT the feedback and response. It was amazing to hear so many different reactions and it meant we could strive to make the next one even better.

Before the Internet, if you’d read a book, or watched a film, or saw a painting in a gallery you loved, you wouldn’t be able to say, directly to the artist, that you liked it. You couldn’t call them up and say “hey, you don’t know me, but I love your work.” Back in the day, you could probably try and write a letter to them, but it could get lost in the post, or you might not even bother because you’d think “ah they’ll never read it anyway.” You’d just think in your own head: “that is incredible!” and the artist in question would never know and you’d move on. But now a days: it takes 10 seconds to send a tweet. And no matter who that person is, they probably will read it.

So, I’m creating a new kind of “Tell Her” game. It’s when you tell someone (can be a guy too!) that you like their work. One of my favourite modern rom-coms is Ruby Sparks written by Zoe Kazan, my girl crush. She writes and acts and is just an all-round inspiring person to me. So I told her on Twitter, and she replied and sounded genuinely thrilled that I liked her movie. I didn’t expect her to reply or really be bothered about another person liking her film. But that’s the thing: everyone cares about how their works received! Even proper successful people! I love telling people when I like their work, and you never know when they might appreciate it. Your comment could have a lasting affect on someone. They could be having a bad day.

We assume people have their shit together all the time – and maybe some genuinely do. But most people want to hear from you. We assume that a compliment will just go into the vacuum and no one will really care if you like their stuff. But it’s not true: most people will always be grateful that you tell them when you like their work. Your random compliment could inspire them to keep going; it could be what’s standing between them and their next piece of work.

In a world where most people have no issue telling others what they don’t like, let’s try and spread a bit of empowerment instead. Tell her.

20 Responses

  1. Laura says:

    Well let me be the first to say – I really liked this!

    It’s a funny thing to make or create a thing and send it off into the world, online or irl, and those little acts of actively liking totally add up.

  2. Nicole says:

    HEY I LIKED THIS! But really, I did. Good timing too, because I was thinking about this kinda thing just this morning! I got a text from a friend about how she was in a situation where she basically was internally telling herself, “Remember what Nicole said on her blog.” Her message ended with, “Thank you for writing all of your blogs because I learn a lot from them.” And it felt GREAT! Knowing not only that she read one of my posts, but that she liked it so much that she actually took the time to tell me just made me so happy. It made me feel like YEA. THAT’S WHY I DO THIS. So yeah. Very good point, as always, and even though the thought of “Have I been commenting on too many of this person’s posts? Will they notice? Will they think that’s annoying?” crosses my mind sometimes, I will continue to tell people when I like their things because LET’S TELL HER.

  3. Yes! This is something I try but sometimes fail to do – it makes my day when people tell me they enjoyed something I’ve created and I love to think telling them the same could put a smile on their face.

    (and I loved Ruby Sparks, too)

  4. Emma says:

    HOORAY a fellow Ruby Sparks lover! Thanks Sarah xxxx

  5. Emma says:

    LOVE IT. Thanks for your comment. And yes, it’s such a good reminder to KEEP WRITING isn’t it, when you hear from someone on the other side of the screen xxxx

  6. Emma says:

    thank you thank you. xxxx

  7. Martha says:

    Could not agree with you more! It’s so nice to read a positive comment from someone, it’s an appreciation of your hard work and dedication. I genuinely love reading a thoughtful comment on my social media and getting the sense that someone actually enjoyed my creative venture. I also love to share comments because it’s a great way to further the discussion – hahah I just like to chat! I’ve just started following your blog and judging my this post, I’m going to enjoy!

    Martha xo
    Martha Dahhling

  8. yvonne says:

    I am a big fan of telling people how much I love their work. I have never had a problem with that. I believe telling people validates their work – It reassures them that their work is not in vain. . Thank you for this post. And I love your work.
    Yvonne x

  9. I totally believe in “Tell Her.” It does something to the confidence. I try to share the love as much as I can. Enjoyed this post.

  10. Great nessage! I love when I get comments on my blog. That’s one of the biggest reasons I started blogging – connection with other people who love books as much as I do. I also write about family and other things. But I was sick of not having people IRL who wanted to talk about books and bookish things. I read a lot of other blogs, and I try to comment often. It does feel good to know something you wrote resonated with someone else.

  11. Katie Lynn says:

    This is fantastic. I am a regular reader of a blog that a while back the author was considering discontinuing a regular feature (something that she would feature every Wednesday or whatever), and when she mentioned it on her blog the comments went NUTS. Turned out no one was commenting on that feature for whatever reason, so the author was under the impression that no one cared for it. Now I try to always comment when I see something interesting or I feel I have something to add to the conversation for just this reason.

  12. Jody says:

    I have just started following you and what a great way to start.

  13. Tamara says:

    Thank you for the reminder that the words on the screen are written by a person, and that a kind word is easy to give and important to hear. I’ve been volunteering for an organization called World Pulse ( that trains women to use digital tools to empower their lives. My role is to provide an encouraging word for people who are taking a risk by sharing their stories–sometimes very personal stories–in a public forum. Please check them out. I’m just an online volunteer, but intentionally saying nice things to other women has changed my outlook and attitude, too. I think they are right in line with your positive message here, and worth a look. Thanks again for spreading a little bit of positive thinking.

  14. Laura says:

    Well said – and well done. Really liked this post.

  15. Freddie says:

    I couldn’t agree more! And I remember you once tweeted me about my site, made my whole week!!! You’re the best my Emma <3 xx

  16. Anita says:

    I have been trying to do this online more but also in everyday life. I have been sending more messages to friends when I think of them in a positive way. I think we can all be more thoughtful.

  17. Nadia says:

    In the spirit of #tellher I would like to tell you how glad I am I came across your blog today. You are amazing. Thank you!

  18. Yeni says:

    I think this is a really good idea. I am definitely a ghost consumer of social media but this sounds worth a try!

  19. I really like what you said here.

  20. Rosanna says:

    This is pretty much my mantra.

    Sometimes I will text me friends ‘you looks awesome today’ or ‘you are gonna rock this shit out of this day’ – we don’t live close anymore, but I like them to know I will always cheerleader for them no matter the distance. I love to give praise an often compliment people I see on the street.

    Share the compliment and make someone’s day, it can end up going a long way 🙂

    Great post!

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