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. It is really disappointing to hear that there is a divide like that in the blogging community. (I must be under a rock, because I didn’t know this was going on.) If I was giving advice I would say take your time and find out what you want out of blogging, and most importantly make a couple of connections/friends and let things take their natural course.

    1. Part of the problem, Pam, (and the reason this isn’t more talked about, I’m guessing) is that I really do think bloggers writing these judgmental posts mean well. It’s their way of trying to point out the “faux pas” that a blogger might make. It just worries me when I see it being done in a way that might break people down instead of lifting them up. I agree with you wholeheartedly, a few close friends and a bit of confidence go a long way! :)

  2. I thought this was a great post. Some examples would have been nice to really see what you were getting at as I can see that constructive criticism could be seen as bullying depending on how your day was going but you are right that name calling takes it to an unnecessary and nonconstructive level

    1. I pondered that long and hard, Leslie, but I wouldn’t have felt right about linking to posts I feel are cruel. For one thing, I don’t want to give them more traffic. For another, I would have felt somewhat hypocritical about doing so, like I was borrowing the popularity of abrasive posts to boost my own site. Suffice to say the ones that inspired me contained some names and negative labels and in life or online, that’s simply not something I think is appropriate. Thanks so much for commenting! :)

  3. There are a few people on Twitter who I do think are bullies. Some blog some do not. It seems if you do not think the same way as them, then they 1..they will call you out 2. call you names 3 unfollow. I am pretty secure in myself and thick skinned however it still irks me. It makes me sad to see some new bloggers question themselves because of these people and their comments. I think each person needs to find their own groove and see what works for them. As a blogger I have some strong opinions about certain subjects, however I would never bully someone for not agreeing with me :) BTW I have followed your blog since you began, way before i even blogged.

    1. I remember, gingermommy! :) Seems like a long time ago, but it was really only a few years, wasn’t it! I’ve noticed a lot of that on Twitter too, I think because it’s so easy to press that little “Unfollow” button…but no matter where it is or how it’s being done, labeling anybody is never a good thing…

  4. There’s no need to be rude anywhere…online or offline. I’m allergic to negative and drama filled people so I stay away from them. A blogger has every right to vent, but they should also remember to be diplomatic. I think in the long run they end up damaging their own reputation and business in the process.

  5. What a wonderful post Kathryn! As a relatively new blogger it is very inspiring and also comforting to know there are kind people, like yourself, who care enough to give of your time and knowledge. It’s also been so nice to read all the positive responses to this post.
    I also need to say this – you have reached out and helped me several times. Not once did your even hint that I was inconveniencing you in any way whatsoever. In fact, quite the opposite, you encouraged me to contact you at any time and ALWAYS responded in a caring, kind and helpful manner.
    As Jennifer said in the comments above, you are an inspiration and a role model…hopefully someday, I’ll have the knowledge to be able to “pay it forward”.

    1. That is so nice of you to say, Monica, and I am so glad I was able to help you! You are a wonderful blogger and I have no doubt you’ve already paid it forward many, many times by sharing your stories and experiences on your site. :)

  6. For the most part, I try to be very positive and upbeat online in both my blog and social media interactions. I really don’t care for negativity – I have enough of it in my work life and occasional family drama! As for personally attacking people or a group of people that I don’t even know? That’s not only inappropriate, but downright morally wrong. I’m glad I haven’t seen these posts.

    1. You are amazing, Alex, and I agree completely! I’m glad you haven’t seen posts like that too and I’m so glad to have you as a blogging friend. :)

  7. Great post Kat. I have completely stopped reading many bloggers because of these kinds of posts. They are not necessary and they paint a bad picture of seasoned bloggers. For some, it is a lame way of getting increased traffic (and I’m glad you never linked to any of them here). For others, it is a way of falsely displaying how experienced they are (kind of like, “everyone has all of these problems, take it from me, I’m the expert so work with me instead”).

    It makes me sad to those bloggers trying to further themselves by pushing everyone else down. I am a woman and I am a blogger and I really don’t have time for that crap. I encourage, motivate and help. If you can’t do the same then I have no time for you.

    This post is why you rock Kat. We should catch up soon.

    1. Hurray!! Good for you, Sheri! That’s exactly how I feel and exactly why I didn’t link or mention any of the specific posts I’ve seen recently. This comment is why YOU rock! :) And absolutely we need to catch up; it was beyond awesome meeting you in real life at BlogWest!

  8. I’ve been so lucky to have found such a supportive group of bloggers to attach myself to. It makes me feel like Superman, in that I feel like I can handle or take anything that comes my way. Thanks!!

    1. YES Chris!! It makes all the difference in the world, doesn’t it? I could never express how much the support and friendship of the blogosphere means to me and that’s why I’ll do everything I can to make sure that every new blogger gets to experience it too!

      And you ARE Superman. Didn’t you know? :)

  9. I think the biggest problem is that it is sooooo easy to hide behind our screens and ‘say’ things we would never say to someone’s face. You are an inspiration and role model for rookie and seasoned bloggers. Happy to call you a friend.

    1. Awesome point Jen! We should write like the people we are talking to are standing in front of us. And right back at you, my darling! So glad to be one of your friends and I can’t wait until we get to spend time together in person again! :)

  10. There’s a big difference between helping and criticizing, unfortunately most people do choose the latter. Yes everyone is entitled to feelings and their say but there are nice ways to go about it without being rude or mean to others. Nobody is perfect but if we took the time and put energy into being positive instead of negative toward others the world just might be a better place :) Great post!

    1. Well said, Alyssa! I think a little more kindness and a little less abrasiveness is always a good thing. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! :)

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