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. I TOTALLY agree with you!! What I don’t get is the holier than thou attitude from some bloggers. Pretty sure we all put our pants on the same way, one leg at a time. Why people feel the need to bully or belittle others, I’ve never understood it!

    1. Thanks Cheryl! What makes me especially sad is when posts like that are written with that “I’m doing this to help you,” point of view. I just don’t believe that being cruel is ever helpful. Compassion is always more effective!

  2. Thanks so much for that awesome post….. One of the reason I started blogging was becasue people are so nice on here, not like the real world where people do not want to help or even notice you are there. I agree with your post very much we are all here why? We are doing something we love regardless of what someone else things about anyone’s blog there are 5 people out there that are going to love it. THANK YOU FOR SHARING AND INSPIRING

  3. I was raised that you are to walk in love no matter what, and that includes when correcting people… you do it in love. I think it goes a long way, how you say things to people!

    It’s also really hard to judge tone on the internet, you write through your eyes and someone reads it through theirs, so even the most well-meaning posts can be read in the wrong light. But I agree… when it comes to name-calling… that’s not acceptable. Period.

    1. Shash, that’s a very good point and one of the perils of the Internet. Writing doesn’t always contain the tone we want it to and that absolutely can lead to misunderstandings. It reminds me of one of my favourite sayings: “You are twice as likely to be misunderstood when you say anything online, so you should always say it twice as nicely.”

      If there’s any subjectivity to the post, I give the writer the benefit of the doubt. I would want them to do the same to me. But when a blogger says, “People that say this are (insert label).” “People that do this are (insert rude name),” that’s where things cross a line for me. That’s the point at which I feel anything constructive is lost.

      And it concerns me to see posts like those starting to creep into the Canadian blogosphere.

      1. yup, name calling is never right. no matter how you slice it.

        Today I heard The Amazing Kreskin say that he’s noticed (in general) that the Western world lacks loyalty and seems to have a need to place people on pedestals to fulfill a desire to see them fall. If you watch any media outlet, you’ll see this is true. Who is being promoted one day – is being crucified the next. I hate that it’s crept into our blogging world. It’s not the world I want to be a part of, that’s for sure.

        1. It’s IS true, and it’s one of the reasons that I stay far away from the celebrity drama and a lot of the other sensationalism that media seems to so adore sharing with the world. It feeds people’s “love to hate” mentality but personally I would rather “love to love.” :) I hate that it’s creeping in too, but I do think that 99% of the blogosphere are the most amazing, supportive and wonderful women I could ever hope to meet.

  4. I’ve come across posts that have left me with a sour taste in my mouth, leaving me to think how abrasive it is. Thinking that the person writing it is trying too hard to be humorous at someone else’s expense. It’s sad though. I feel guilty for even clicking the link and I sure won’t share it either. This is a great post. I always find that people forget that they, too, at one point were at the bottom of the totem pole.

    1. Thanks so much for commenting, Nancy! It’s very true; even if you were a “blogging pioneer,” you were still starting small and trying to build a following at one point. I know exactly what you mean; I get that same guilty feeling. Because the titles always sound interesting or because it’s something coming from a big-name blogger or because those posts that throw around a few rude names tend to get Retweeted more, I click on it and then I just find myself upset that I gave traffic to a post that could end up demoralizing somebody….

  5. Well said, Kathryn! The comment that really hit home for me was, “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.” We all need to encourage and build up each other, not tear others down. If someone has an issue with a fellow blogger, take it up with that person… have some balls and contact them directly! Don’t write a generalized blog post to hide behind. Many times the issue is one of being new to the world of blogging and not understanding the etiquette, as you mentioned. I know when I started blogging, there were so many amazing women that reached out to me and really made a difference. Why can’t we all be “that person”? :)

    1. Thank you so much, Lisa! I agree wholeheartedly, and if you can privately approach the blogger with compassion and understanding, even better! :) I had the same experience and I’m so glad that most of the blogosphere strives to be “that person.” I hope one day we’ll reach the point where we all do!

    1. That’s so wonderful, Ashley! It does take awhile sometimes and it hurts me to think there might be bloggers that give up before they get to that point!

  6. This is such a great post. One of the things that frustrates me to no end is how these “bully” bloggers treat other bloggers. Have they forgotten that once upon a time they were newbies and had no clue what to do or how to do it? I always hestiated when I asked a blogger something for fear I would fall in that line of fire.

    The drama is sometimes too much and you get the ones who constantly have to stir the pot to fuel the fire again. It feels like high school all over again. Its sad because aren’t we suppose to be matter adults? As women we should be supporting each other and encouraging not trying to beat them down.

    I always appreciate the bloggers who have helped me along the way and I let them know that. The ones who will go above and beyond to help you with a little thing or perhaps a big thing. I always try to help someone if they ask me and if I can’t I let them know.

    1. I did the same thing, Cindy. I hesitated for over a year and it was only when one or two other bloggers reached out to me that I realized most bloggers were absolutely fabulous. But it seems like it is always the negative, attention-grabbing posts that get the most attention and that’s why I worry that new bloggers will end up feeling ostracized in a community that is just waiting to embrace them.

      Good for you for being willing to help others and for remembering those who helped you. I don’t care how big a blogger is or how many followers they have, I fully believe they ALL needed positivity and encouragement at some point. It’s a shame some of them forget that.

  7. I agree. The other day I was in a group and I heard from a few new bloggers that other bloggers refuse to help teach them how to pitch companies. They figured that no one wanted to share their ‘secrets’. I told them to email me personally and I would show them the ropes, that’s ridiculous, there isn’t any ‘secrets’ to pitching a company.

    Blogging for me (and I’m sure hundreds of women) is a way to have a place, a community of women and friends, to write about our lives and have fun…. to get away from all this (waves hand at reality) for a little while. I hate that other Bloggers push other women down, some of us need it, it’s the only way we can get out of our heads and do something that we can really be appreciated for. Bullying is not constructive and it’s not necessary and I get so fed up with all these Bloggers that find themselves too great and too important to help the new writers. They were once where they were, we all were, I’m not even that big. LOL. I’m technically ‘new’, but I’ve been in the way of forums, groups, websites, etc for over a decade and I have never, ever, in all my years working online, seen the drama and the bullying of community members as I have in the Blogging Community. That’s really sad when you think about how most of us all came into it to be a part of like-minded people that understood.

    Anyway. This is a great post and thank you for sharing it.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment, Manda! It’s so sad those bloggers had that response, but it’s wonderful that you were there to help them and show them that there are people willing to lend a hand to others in a pleasant and compassionate way.

      Seeing that negativity in posts and comments really makes me sad but fortunately there are also lots of people just like you and all the other amazing bloggers commenting on this post that make the blogosphere a wonderful place to be. I just hope every new blogger gets the chance to know that! :)

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