I read a post on the brilliantly concieved Blognonymous recently about cyber-bullying. The person wrote eloquently about how she had been subject to this insidious and very carefully thought out type of bullying. To bully someone on their blog and online must take effort; the time it takes to keep a blog going and comment on some, not to mention Twitter, Facebook and all the rest. It’s a pretty much full time occupation. To doggedly stalk and bully someone in this space, seems pretty hardcore.
It made me think. I have had a few negative comments here, nothing that would make me stop doing this, but certainly some that have kept me awake at night. It feels very personal, probably because I am so open in this space, maybe I shouldn’t be, but it’s the way I am. But as a result of being open and sharing my life when it’s criticised it’s hurtful, stands to reason.
There were some other extremely thoughtful comments (do read it if you didn’t catch it already). Some that talked about areas of the blogosphere (yes crap word but the only one available) that have made them feel bullied or in some way inadequate. I think this is interesting. I think this does definitely exist here in the parent blogging community. I only say this as an observer, I stress that I haven’t been the subject of any kind of vilification online, so I’m not talking from first hand experience. But certainly there have been times when I’ve become aware of bloggers who’ve felt almost ‘witchhunted’ by others. Mumsnet comes up reasonably often as a source of attack.
And this made me think further. The parent blogging community is quite cliquey. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I think the modern word is ‘tribe’. We do build our own tribes, it’s just human nature. It happens in real life too, you have a circle of friends, or a type of person you will most likely be drawn to. There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just the way we are as human beings. Some of us may have many different tribes that we fit into to, it depends on your personality I guess. I like variety and so have quite a diverse group of friends and many friends who don’t know each other. My husband’s the same, which is probably why two people who are so different fell inlove. Maybe that’s why I like a diverse variety of blogs. There are some brilliant ones out there.
There are some extremely friendly people in our little corner of the blogosphere (that word, sorry) who welcome all ‘newcomers’ – they certainly welcomed me. And there are those that are the kind of ‘founders’ of the whole thing, those who started parent blogging several years ago. Again extremely friendly and very generous with their knowledge and experience. Again I have had such brilliant experiences with them too.
But I suppose like any community there are those that can make you feel a bit inadequate, a little bit ‘uncool girl at school’ and it’s just life, that’s what happens.
For me, personally, I’m not sure it really matters. I think it all depends why you blog, if it’s about making new friends then these dynamics I’ve described might matter more, if it’s as a journal then they couldn’t matter less. I’m in the latter camp, but since starting my blog it’s evolved and become more than just a journal, it’s become my life on ‘paper’ as it were. Not only that but I’ve started to review products and had some very interesting opportunities as a result.
A happy by product has been the cyber friendships, some of whom I met at Cybermummy and some of whom I will hopefully see again. But I believe you need to keep it in perspective. It’s a wonderful distraction, it’s the best way I’ve found of off loading my muddled head and, I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, it’s the best possible support network.
So if you have been bullied on your blog then I really hope you have found a way to deal with it. You are most certainly the more interesting and happy person, otherwise you’d not be worth the effort.