Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I Wish I Blogs Had Existed When I was Doing My Psych Thesis...

So I've been blogging for a little over a year and a half now.
A friend convinced me to do it, and it's been a fabulous journey.
I've learned lessons from it though- some wonderful, some humbling.

Blogging shows you a certain side of humanity. The generous, compassionate and giving side, yes. But it also shows you the mean-spirited mob-mentality.

I've been fortunate to only receive a few nasty comments on here. And people were quick to jump to my defense. But I've seen a lot worse on other more popular* blogs.

I wrote a blog once that was mildly controversial, and Avitable made a comment about "taking umbrage" about what I had written. After I recovered from my awe that I knew someone who knew how to use the word "umbrage" in conversation, I analyzed what it was that I had written. As it turns out, the offending comment was something that I had wavered on including. I wasn't 100% firm in my belief in what I was saying. But it helped to move the post along, so I let it remain.

However, in my back-tracking, after being called-out for writing it - I realized that I didn't like the fact that it sounded like I was backing down. It appeared that I was simply trying to placate my readers, which wasn't the case. So lesson #1: I will never again write anything that I am not 100% willing to stand back and defend in the face of all the backlash. (Or in my case, one polite comment).

My next lesson? Well, if you've been here more than a few months- you've seen it. My Tabula Rasa post when I had to clear out virtually all my archives. I had said some things in my blog that...well they didn't gov over so well, so I essentially had to start afresh. The best advice I received as a result? From Britt: she told me that she writes as if the entire world is reading it. Don't write anything that you wouldn't want people to see.

So these are the lessons I've had to learn. And I think that I truly did need to learn them. But then there are other lessons that I see other people learning.

This goes back to my comment about other bloggers...

I read a post recently by one of my favourite bloggers that was on a fairly sensitive topic. I have no doubt in my mind that she expected backlash based on the content and subject-matter of her blog. I checked her comments throughout the day and saw that she did indeed get a range of responses. For all the "bravas" she received, there were as many "hey wait a minutes." Cool. You have to appreciate a post that generates 100 comments and makes people think.

But then I saw the other stuff. The comments that went deeper than the point of the post. The comments that said she was obviously referring to another blogger with her post. And why wasn't she just open about it? When this writer disagreed with this, the commenter then got personal with her.

Now I've seen this in blogs before. "If you're really objecting to someone else's post, why not just say so?" Are you for real?

How is that better? Are you telling me that you think it's better to say: "Hey, I hated this person's opinion (insert link and name and social insurance number of said blogger) so I'm gonna totally diss them here on my blog." Do people really think that is the moral high ground?

I for one have been inspired by many blogs that I've read, and have written posts as a result of them (uh, kinda like what I'm doing right now). And yes, if I feel that credit is due, and would be appreciated then I will link to them. But if it's a complete disagreement of their opinion, or if it has just gotten me thinking about their topic in a different way, I'm not going to call them out. 1. It's rude. And 2. Why do I have to?

But it's the mob mentality. That and the spark of not so much anonymity, but distance that the internet provides. Would you really get all personal with your friends, to their face about something like this? I would hope that if you took offense to something your friend said or wrote you would discuss it with them in a friendly way. Not get all personal with them in the comments section of their blog. That's not being a friend.

So fine, you don't consider yourselves friends with this blogger. They're just someone you read every once in a while. Again- courtesy. Don't get nasty and personal with them. Express disagreement, yes. But don't call them names. Just because you're staring at a computer screen doesn't excuse you from manners.

I know I'm being all Canadian here- but courtesy. And a little thought and time. Just cause these people are just words on a screen to you, doesn't mean that there isn't a real live person behind the typing.

End rant.

*This is not meant to be a comment about my popularity. I have a plethora of wonderful readers, and I am not complaining at all.



SpanishGoth said...

I suggest politely, with dignity, that you tell them to FUCK OFF

Princess of the Universe said...

Goth- isn't it like 4AM where you are? Get some sleep honey! xo

SpanishGoth said...

Now that I have come first and got that anxiety over with ;-)

If you want me to psycho-analyse what you have done, I will do.

Equally, if you want me to scare the shit out of the retards that have caused you offense, I will do so.

HA HA - just snorted Jack Daniels out of my nose

*slaps himself*

You could be talking about me :((

Princess of the Universe said...

Goth- Ohh I get it, you're awake cause you're drunk :P
Thanks for the offer though - I assume you charge less than my therapist did.

SpanishGoth said...

Nice idea.

I'm STILL awake because American muppets fucked the entire system up for Europe and I spent 2 days fixing their "fixes" and now I can't sleep.

Shana-Marie said...

Ahh, beloved interweb drama. I've faced a fair bit of that in my other lifetimes, and other blogs... (by the way, I figured out how to add your open id to my LJ, so you can read all my skeazy back entries there... trust me... there are times it gets pretty bad, and it goes back 4 years) ...and it's just scary how some feel the need to engage in this kind of drama. Especially when it's on the internet, where in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't really matter.

I'm sleepy... and unsure if I'm making any sense... so I'm going to bed now

James said...

Ah, you made some good points Princess.
Yes, the odd knobhead does exist in blogland but in general they(we) are pretty well behaved I think. I have seen much more of the mob mentality on forums. Why two folks can disagree and then everybody else has to pile in I don't know. Someone in a white coat should do a study on it for sure.
I wish you a happy day.


Glamourpuss said...

Hmmm, yes, this subject is a bit of a raw nerve for me. I'm of the same opinion as you; if I disagree with someone, I'll write a polite comment but would never insult someone - either on their blog or my own. It just seems to petty, and frankly, if we don't like what people write, we're not obliged to read it.


mr zig said...

Great post! One more thing that I really "love" is when someone doesn't agree with something you wrote, and decides to talk to others about it via e-mail, but not actually address it with the person. I've had this happen a couple times! Are people afraid to tell me personally that they didn't like what I wrote? - At least they are not doing what you wrote about, and bashing me on their blog (although sometimes my comments have not always been that nice :)) - Anyway, wow, this is a long comment - what I'm really trying to say is "thanks for writing this post" - I hope the right people read it! :) hehe

Chief Rock Chef said...

Interesting thoughts. I haven't really seem much bad stuff on blogs - like James, I have certainly seen it in discussion forums and wish there was a way of electronically banging heads together...

Avitable said...

Britt definitely has it right. If you're going to write something, be prepared for the whole world to see it, and make sure you write something that you actually believe and can and will defend.

Miss Britt said...

Here's the thing.

EVERYTHING you blog about is inspired by something. A life event, something you saw on TV, a t-shirt you saw that made you think of that time in high school when you and your friends ditched school and got arrested at the mall. Whatever - it's all the result of a mental chain reaction.

I never dive into the back story unless it's relevant to the end point. Because a) it's boring and annoying and b) it detracts from the point you're making.

That's ESPECIALLY true if you were inspired or sparked by something someone else wrote/did/said. Especially in the blog world - because the INSTANT you call attention to the spark, the mob mentality kicks in, sides are drawn, and the entire point you wanted to right about is missed for the sake of some manufactured bullshit.

I think it's because people who read blogs open each page with a preconceived message in mind, something their looking for in the posts they read.

If it's not there, they make it up.

OR - I'm just being a bitch today. LOL

brandy said...

It's funny that you wrote about this because just yesterday I witnessed my first case of 'blog drama' between two bloggers I enjoy. And it was sort of the same thing- one was writing something clearly aimed at the other writer, in less than nice ways.

I have no solutions today on how to fix it all, but I will just say that the whole thing hurt my head.

It must be the Canadian in me ;)

Princess of the Universe said...

Goth- The Americans broke Europe? Wow.

Shana - I'm SO exploring your archives now!

James- why didn't I ever get a white coat??! Must be a Grad School thing...

Puss- you have handled the drama on your blog with infinite class. xo

Zig- I guess if your post results in emails you must have really hit a personal note with the reader...

Chief- I think you should invent that.

Av- Britt is my hero - except in the vocabulary contest- you win there. :)

Britt- Not bitchy. And you'd be entitled if you were. xo

Brandy- why are we so polite & stoic up here? We need to get a bit more drama going on... :P


Shana-Marie said...

Heh... don't say I didn't warn you! I can't even read more than an entry or two without closing the browser! But I can't bring myself to delete them...

Princess Pointful said...

Gotta agree with you on this one, my dear.
We all have posts we don't agree with, or blogs we don't really like. I think a well-written disagreement to a particular post is okay, but I don't see why people need to take it to much more personal levels.

Z said...

Great post, many good thoughts here...And I agree with Miss Britt - every post is inspired by SOMETHING, do we always have to explicitly say this???

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