Ann Friedman considers the question:
A younger woman who works in media recently wrote to me, “How did you build up a thick skin? Something I’ve always struggled with is not taking things personally and getting upset when people say things that hurt me — in comments, on Twitter, etc.” I explained to her that I have a hierarchy of haters. High-order haters are those who really know how to hurt you; they may have real power or influence in your social or professional world. These are the folks you might consider responding to, or otherwise defending yourself against.
Low-level haters are usually people of little professional or social consequence to you. These are the folks who call you fat and ugly because they disagree with your views on, say, the federal debt. The lower a hater is on the pyramid, the more likely it is that the best response is to ignore him — while taking pride in the knowledge that, wherever the hater falls in this hierarchy, his or her very existence means you’re succeeding in having an impact.