In one of my of blogging Facebook groups, someone shared a post about a blogger who made a bad PR choice, I guess you could say. She sent out several emails to various local restaurants asking who would like to host her family of five for dinner on Christmas Eve, and she would, in return for five free meals, share pictures on Instagram, tweet it, Facebook it, blog about it, etc. Well, someone leaked this email, and now many people are in an uproar about how dumb and bossy and egotistical (she doesn’t have that large of a following) this woman is for wanting a restaurant to give her not only one, but five free meals. She’s a greedy monster! All of this represents to me . . .
The scary side of blogging
I love blogging. I love sharing my advice. But, it’s also super scary. I’m putting myself out there into cyber space for anyone to read. I am opening myself, my home, my family, my parenting, my beliefs, my writing, to anyone, friend or foe. And I honestly have a hard time handling negative comments (as well as worry about creepers).
In my course of blogging I have received some negative comments. People who have judged our lifestyle and financial choices. People who judge how I parent. And I don’t like it at all. It hurts me. I second guess myself. I doubt. I fear. I even cry…. and I’m not much of a crier. These negative comments stay with me, despite the hundreds of positive comments I have received.
Second Guessing the Sharing of Reality
It’s this scary side of blogging that makes many bloggers second guess “putting themselves out there.” It’s a fear of hate, of judgment, of condemnation. I try very hard to be honest on my blog. I try hard to showcase my imperfections and my faults. I am not a perfect mother or wife or Christian. I don’t edit out toys and laundry in the background of my photos, or make sure my kids are in the cutest outfits, or that their hair is brushed. I share photos of myself in jeans, T-shirt, glasses, crazy hair, and no makeup. Because, honestly, that’s how I look 80% of the time.
I try to present my REAL life, my real home, my real self. This is partly because I don’t want to contribute to the other side of blogging – the fake, unrealistic depictions of homes, parties, children, crafts, parenting, etc. that makes people feel bad about themselves because they aren’t living in a Pin-worthy home full of pin-worthy crafts and foods. That’s not my life. It’s likely not yours. I’m a real person, living a real life. And I don’t have all the answers. I sometimes blog to ask for advice!
Despite my efforts to be real on my blog, there are still many things I don’t share, topics I still hold back on. One of those topics is politics. I don’t like to share my political beliefs because I don’t want to be criticized, nor do I feel it is what this blog is really about. In real life, I might start a political dialogue with you, but not usually on the internet. There are other things I don’t share publicly on my blog, things about my marriage, my parenting, and my childhood. Some of these things are just personal. Some are sensitive topics. And some are just none of everybody’s business. I want to be real and open, because in real life, I am an open book. You can ask me just about anything and I will answer you honestly. It’s just part of my personality. But, my blog, is not a true portrayal of who I am 100%, because it can’t be; because I have to protect myself and my family.
Blogging is about building relationships
Blogging is kind of like trying to make a friend with everyone you meet. On the one hand you want to put on your “face” and smile and act like your life is in order, but on the other hand, you know that by putting on a show, a facade, for everyone, it means you’ll never have a true friend, someone who really knows you and can help you when you just can’t keep your game face on any longer.
And in blogging, you want everyone to like you, because the more popular you are, the more people read, comment, share, like, and follow you; which ultimately means more revenue from advertising and sponsored content.
Bloggers need readers!
Otherwise we lose our steam. Pouring out your heart (and much of your time) into any endeavor is tiring if after a while you aren’t seeing any fruit for your efforts. All bloggers need comments and feedback in order to be motivated to continue to write. Bloggers thrive on building a community and building online friendships.
I have often worried and stressed about some of the posts I have written. I wonder who will read it, and if they will like it; if they will understand me. Honestly, my biggest fear is that no one will read it! It’s nerve-racking, especially on posts that I have spent hours writing and editing, and putting tons of though into! Blogging about your real life is like letting your freak flag finally shine around your group of acquaintances. They’ll either think you’re hilarious and/or interesting, or totally weird and/or annoying.
That is the scary side of blogging: opening yourself up to anyone with an internet connection to mock and judge you. You hope to make best friends, but sometimes you make bitter opponents. Just like this poor blogger woman, who was simply trying out a PR business idea for her blog. It may have overstretched and over-reached, lacking tact, but all the business owners she contacted had to do was click “delete” on that email. But, no: one decided to be offended by her proposal and share it with the world instead.
When blogging takes a negative turn
Now thousands of other have mocked not only her business idea, but her, as a person, calling her horrible names, mocking her haircut, fashion, and looks. They have flooded her blog and email with hate comments and mail. They have put her entire family in a negative spotlight.
And my heart aches for her!
Because I never, ever, want something like that to happen to me! But it could. . .
I could, because of my little bit of cyberspace, hurt not only myself and my business, but my family and loved ones. And that is scary. That is horrifying! And the worst part? She didn’t even choose to share this publicly on her blog; someone else decided to share her email. Someone else threw her into the news.
Haters gonna Hate
Why is it that people today get off on bashing one another in the first place? I think the great disservice of technology is the fake sense of empowerment and protection and animosity it gives to people. They think they can say whatever, be a bully, a jerk, and thoroughly enjoy doing it. Too many people now enjoy hating others, enjoy looking for things to criticize, to put down, to taint, to defile. Some people choose to take another’s life and choices personally, even when they don’t even know them at all! Why do so many of us get off on hurting one another?
It’s so very, very wrong.
Because, for every self-conceited, self-righteous, know-it-all, holier-than-thou person who bashes, hates, criticizes, judges, condemns, and laughs at another without much of a second thought, thanks to the faceless internet, there is a real person on the other end being very really affected by those words.
Our words are powerful
The choice of words, especially written words, are very important in the building of relationships. It is more important than ever to be careful about what we say and how we say it. The problem with the internet and blogging is that you can’t hear someone’s intended inflection. You can’t hear their emphasis, their passion, their reasoning, as intended, without seeing their face or hearing their voice. You lose much of that sense of personality in the written word.
And it’s tough as a blogger to make sure you don’t have any typos, grammatical errors, or potentially offensive passages when you don’t have an editor, an English degree, or all the time in the world.
So, let me remind everyone, that what we write, as bloggers – and as email and social media users – is important.
Can we please be forgiving? Can we please be understanding? Can we please stop looking for ways to be offended? Can we stop judging every little word, sentence, or typo as a personal reflection of one’s character? Can we look for the good? Can we write friendly comments? Can we disagree civilly? Can we stop hating?!
For as much as we like the faceless, anonymousness that is the internet, can we please remember that you are a REAL person talking and interacting with another REAL person Be the better person. Be the one who stands for what is true, what is real, what is honest, and what is good. Don’t use the internet as a place to troll out others to make miserable. Instead look for people you can uplift, help, share, and encourage. Don’t be the jerk. Be the good.
Help me and many others overcome our fear of the scary side of blogging.
About the author Katelyn Fagan
The author of What's up Fagans?, she is a stay-at-home mom to twin daughters and a bouncing baby boy. She loves her simple life and works hard to make it great. She reads books, exercises, draws, sings, teaches, and much more.