Tough Love or Blog Bullying…You Decide!

There has been a disturbing trend in the blogosphere recently and after mulling over it for the last few days, I’ve decided to speak out about it. I’ve seen similar behaviour in forums and on blogs in the past but in the last few weeks, it seems that there have been even more articles, Tweets and conversations that are just downright cruel to other bloggers. And why?

Well, believe it or not, some bloggers haven’t been interacting online long enough to know what is and isn’t deemed “good form” in the wild world of social media.

wheat and sunsetThese posts, comments and conversations aren’t necessarily meant to be cruel. On the contrary, I think in some way they are meant to be informative and inspiring. But honestly, is the blogosphere really so horrible at expressing itself that the only way we can inspire is to toss out generalized insults or to call newbie bloggers horrible names?

The tough love tactic isn’t a new one; it’s as old as human nature itself. The problem is that it very often has the exact opposite effect. Instead of lighting a fire of inspiration, it digs a pit of despair. And the people that a well-meaning blogger intended to help may just end up throwing in the towel instead. It’s easy to say that if anyone is willing to give up so easily, they probably weren’t meant to be doing this in the first place. It’s even true to a point. But does that really ever make such depreciation right?

Why can’t the same messages be sent with compassion? Why can’t the same lessons be taught with a desire to truly help another individual instead of a desire to make what you write “sensational?” We put on a good show of pretending that we’ve come a long way as a civilization, but the sad truth is that women are still notoriously unappreciated and undervalued in our society. Many women suffer from horrible self-esteem issues as a result. So why are we compounding that problem by attacking other women under the guise of “helping” them?

If you’re one of the new bloggers that’s stumbled across one of these blog posts and you’re now doubting yourself as a result…don’t! Do what you need to do and learn as you go! If you mess up along the way, you’ll fit right in with everyone else that has ever started a blog. Ever. But if you keep going, eventually you’ll figure out what you want to do with your blog and why, and that’s all that’s really important.

And if you’re one of the bloggers that thinks cruelty will help women learn to be better bloggers, I’m not going to try to convince you otherwise but I sure won’t be sharing your post. There’s enough negativity in the world and on the Internet already. If I can be sure that what I write was discouraging to nobody and maybe, if I’m lucky, encouraging to one, that’s all I ask. I’ll save the sensationalism for the people and the posts that deserve it. My fellow bloggers do not.

What do you think? Is there any redeeming feature of a cruel post with good intentions, or is it just blog bullying?

63 thoughts on “Tough Love or Blog Bullying…You Decide!”

  1. Thank you for this post! I am always shocked at the mean approach, it just seems so unnecessary. If I saw one of my kids trying to “teach” or treat another kid this way, they would be punished, so why is it okay for grown women to bully other grown women? I understand being frustrated, but in communication with anyone, it is, as I teach my kids, “nice to be nice”.

    1. Thank you so much Crystal! That is a great analogy; there’s really something amiss when we expect our children to treat their peers better than we do!

  2. I fully agree. Constructive criticism and teaching always comes more successfully from a place of positivity. If the lesson needs to be taught in a harsh or abusive manner, it’s usually counter-productive. Squashing a spirit for their efforts isn’t the way to do it. Support and Encouragement are far more useful.

    I’m with you, Julie. Sitting in my happy bubble. :)

    1. Well said, Lisa Marie! It’s supporting one another that makes the blogosphere so wonderful. Thanks so much for commenting and for sitting in your happy bubble! :)

  3. Fabulous post!
    All too often we see this, using shocking language to get attention for our ideas…yet at the same time the hard stance alienates someone. I am of the mind that kindness breeds positivity and am happy to stay in my happy bubble.
    This I’m proud to share!

    1. Thank you, Julie! You are absolutely one of the “happy people” and I’m so glad to have you as a friend. :) Nobody deserves to feel alienated!

  4. Great Post!!! Everyone is new to blogging at some point, and they should remember how it was when they started , its not easy getting started. Think about the questions asked to others and the help they offered , I know, I am just starting out and have tons of questions. So far I have been lucky in finding the right bloggers to ask questions and get informative and helpful tips from, which I appreciate very much. Lets all stay positive and help one another.

  5. I think it’s just one more example of rude behavior that seems to be becoming the norm in our society. You can’t walk down the street or through the store without hearing sprinklings of the F word. The phrase “I’m sorry” seems to be a rarity; many people seem to be of the “my way or the highway” mindset. The poor manners and sense of entitlement extend to the highways as well. We put on a face of tolerance (striving for political correctness) but at the same time are often intolerant of people with points of view different from our own. Tactful responses to such situations are an endangered species. And on and on…

    Thanks for writing about this. I appreciate you taking it on!

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your views, NCSue! That’s a fabulous point; there does seem to be a lot of that same intolerance in the everyday world too! I think what worries me most is seeing it creep into the blogosphere. Sacrificing tolerance of others to create something that shocks people into reading just seems too much like the way bullies operate to me…Thanks again for your perceptive comment! :)

  6. Thank you for writing this! Blogging can be a tough thing to get into – there is such a fast learning curve that it can be so overwhelming for us all, new and seasoned ;)
    I wouldn’t be where I am today with my blog (and by no means am I huge either- just want to say that!) without the help from many other bloggers and for that I am truly thankful.
    I try to be as helpful as I can whenever someone needs help, suggestions etc. because that is how blogging should be, in my mind. We should all be supportive to one another. Just like in the real world. It’s give and take, right?!

    1. Exactly Amanda! I was very much on my own for my first year or so of blogging and I could not be more grateful to now be a part of such a wonderful network of bloggers. If I’d seen a post back then like some of those I’d seen recently, I would have been afraid to reach out to anyone and the thought that a new blogger might experience that makes me feel so sad!

  7. It seems like bullying is everywhere now. It’s unbelievable.

    I saw this type of “bullying” actually with one of the blogs, I would consider “big.” It’s so sad.

    I’m not the biggest blogger out there, but I feel like after a few years of experience I know a lot, and I try to help anyone whenever I can.

    What do they think it is? Tough love?? They were new once too. Everyone needs a little help every once in a while.

    I’ve also experienced bullying from not only Bloggers, but PR agents. Because my blog involves rats, people decide to not associate with me, or call me out about how “rats are disgusting.” It’s like.. Okay – Maybe rats aren’t your favorite thing, but that doesn’t make ME a bad person. I’m nice to every body, even if they are mean to me.. I guess it’s just the way I am..

    1. Good for you Amanda, but I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve gone through things like that personally! It’s hard enough to be a new blogger and come across posts calling you names because you’re not experienced in social media. It’s far worse for it to become a personal attack on you!

      I try to help everyone I can too. I have never felt cheated or “burned” for doing so. I like to think it’s one of the reasons my blog has done quite well. I’d rather spend my time being nice, but seeing name-calling or bitter posts about the silly things bloggers do makes me angry. As you said, we were all new once. We all made mistakes. Don’t make a new blogger feel bad because of it.

      And just for the record, I quite like rats. ;)

    2. I read your blog several times a week Amanda. Not because I like rats but because I like you as a person! You are super nice & friendly. It pains me that people are rude & judge you on what you choose to have as pets!

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