Wednesday, November 10, 2010

How To Win Friends And Influence People

Do I really have to lay down some ground rules?

It seems that I do.

This is my blog. It's my forum to moan, celebrate, criticize, lampoon, fantasize, parody, showcase and divulge whatever happens to be manifesting in my tiny mind at any given moment. It is not your blog and I do not take kindly to attempts - especially anonymous attempts - to hijack it in an attempt to perpetuate yet another blogging war that I have had no real stake in. If you have a beef that you want to shout about then kindly get your own blog and use it.

I am sick and tired of all the back-biting and bitching that is currently infesting the blogging world like a case of Herpes. In the last month I have heard of 4 blogs / bloggers who have been attacked, ganged up on and have suffered internet campaigns against them along the lines of attacks on public forums and bad reviews on StumbleUpon, etc. Their crime? Expressing opinions they are entitled to on their own blogs. At least one of these bloggers has closed their blog as a consequence after offensive comments were even directed towards their children. For Heaven's sake! What is wrong with you all?

Do you know why I started this blog? It wasn't to make friends (though friends I have made). It wasn't to achieve fame or notoriety. It wasn't to make money or sell other people's products. I really don't give a shit about any of that. It was simply to write and have my work read by (hopefully) likeminded individuals with similar goals. That is still my aim.

I am not interested in who did what to whom or who said what or even who is right or who is wrong in any given spat. I am not interested. And neither is the outside world.

I had the misfortune to get caught up in a blogging spat last month and without doubt it was the most tawdry affair I have ever been involved with during my time writing this blog. In the end I wrote about it (no, I am not linking to it: it's done and dusted as far as I am concerned) and received over 80 comments; the most comments I have ever received for a single blog post. At first I was pleased. So many supportive comments from people, most of whom I didn't even know. But then slowly the comments became darker. They were from people who just wanted to add their own twopenethworth to the row; to have a pop at so-and-so and perpetuate the whole nasty affair. These people have never been back to my blog since the affair died down and have not bothered to comment on any of my other posts. That says a lot doesn't it?

Well, I don't want these people back. They plainly have no interest in my blog or what I write. I'm not so in love with my stats that I'd regularly court that kind of trouble.

A couple of days ago another blogger wrote a post about the trouble I'd had and the trouble another blogger is currently having. The post expressed their dismay and was far gentler in tone than the one I'm writing now. It was a fair post too. However, they too have now been attacked and effectively blackballed. I received an anonymous comment last night on my previous post from the "blackballers" basically defending their position. They expressed no interest in my post at all; they just wanted to use my blog as a wall upon which they could scrawl their graffiti.

Well, I'm not interested. And I'm not allowing it on my blog.

This behaviour is petty playground tactics, people. It is not what I came to blogging about and it is not what I want to blog about. And if that means I get a bad review on some web site somewhere so be it.

I am happy with my little coterie of like-minded bloggers. I'm not interested in upping my stats or endorsing consumer products. I'm not interested in blogging awards or getting in with the blogging "in-crowd". I'm interested in the writing.

If you're not then simply go read someone else.

Take your gang warfare where it belongs - back to the gutter.



Share

63 comments:

Rol said...

I think your mistake is having so many readers. If you had 3 readers like me, you'd never have any of this trouble. Unless you were to say something nasty about Tom Hanks, in which case people would still be popping over to slag you off (illiterately) three years later.

The Dotterel said...

Well said, as always, sir. Quite what the latest trouble at t'blogging mill is I neither know nor care. Sometimes I'm glad I'm a mere man.

Sarah said...

Is there a blogging 'in' crowd? I'm never aware of these things. Mind you, I don't go looking either which could explain it.

Two maxims which people should follow more closely I feel are:
live and let live
do as you would be done by.

If everyone followed those the world would be a much pleasanter place.

rb said...

Well said, Steve!

Oops - actually this is the first time I have been here since all that silliness a month ago. . .

I seem to have dropped out of blogging (although I am relieved to say I was not scared off!). I do read quite often, Steve but it feels a bit odd to comment when I don't write any more and have nothing to link to.

I know there is no going back, but to me on the sidelines of blogging, blogging seemed a nicer place a few years back with fewer cliques and wars and a larger number of quirky people who wrote what they wanted/needed to write not what they thought other people wanted to read.

You can tell I'm getting old . . .

Steve said...

Rol: I don't know where Tom Hanks finds the time to harrass you all the time...

TheDotterel: sadly being a mere man is no defence. I should know: I've already tried it.

Sarah: totally agree. As for the blogging in-crowd... if there is such a thing it would be like Coruscant. I however am happy with my moisture farm on Tattoine. See. That's how nerdy and un-in I am.

RB: things do seem to have got weirdly competitive and nasty of late. People seem be blogging for consumer ideals rather than artisitic ones and that is a great shame. I miss your blog and I miss your comments but at times like these I can't help thinking that out of the two of us you are the most sane. Hope all is well with you and yours! x

Heather in Lapland said...

Steve this all makes me so sad, not that I can't slag people off on your blog, hey, i've got my own to do that ;) but because people seem to be being dragged into petty fights, their blogs used as toilet walls to have all sorts of rubbish scrawled across in the comments section, it's ridiculous.

The last post you write about this quite a few people talked about what a stupid bunch of fools the mummy bloggers are and how you should stay away from them, I half agree and half feel very sad, because I guess i am one of those mummy bloggers, although I'm not keen on the label, and we're not all small minded, bitter idiots with nothing better to do with our lives than try to destroy other people.

It's all just so sad and disheartening.

Steve said...

Heather: don't worry, I'm not tarring all mummy bloggers with the same brush but inevitably others will and this will affect public perception. Keeping distant is the only answer. As for you, my dear, I don't consider you a mummy blogger at all but a blogger who happpens to be a mummy (like a lot of the bloggers on my sidebar). And you are most definitely definitely a friend. ;-)

TheUndertaker said...

Oh it does sound like you're in the thick of things. Maybe that is the price of 'blogging fame'?
Not that I would know, obviously, I'm with ROL on this one and the three readers thing.
Ignore it, if you can, I read your blog because I'm interested in you and your life and people in general. If people come to your blog and moan, well, they must be simply jealous and you can tell them where to go, surely...

Steve said...

TheUndertaker: oh I can give them a choice of 9 or 10 destinations if I really put my mind to it. ;-)

Emma said...

Just wanted to leave a comment saying that I always read your blog.. Mainly because Heather shares it via facebook so I come via that way.

I always read but never know what to say so never leave a comment. I however always leave your blog 'nodding' and thinking what a intelligent man he is. I sometimes shake my head where I dont agree , but then that's life.

I've seen you say it in your comments before about how you dont tar all mummy bloggers with the same brush , reading that always makes me smile.

As much as I dont want to be grouped in the same crowd as certain mummy bloggers who have there head so far up their own arses's that I see it everytime they open there mouth, I am. but I enjoy being a mum who blogs. If I'm not blogging about my son then I'm blogging about something parent related (or even the odd product, being the review whore that I am).

You wont find me writing abou spats or that other blogger that I despise because that's not want MY blog is for. I love the advice you have given Heather - keep distance , that's exactly what I plan on doing.

Keep up the good posts that keep me nodding :)

clareybabble said...

It's a real shame you've had to write this. I'm with Heather, I'm a mummy blogger and I do write a lot about my children, especially my son who is autistic. I like to think that non parent bloggers could read my blog and be interested, and not think I'm just a bitchy mum.
I would just keep doing what you're doing and ignore the 'blackballers', they'll soon get tired of it. This sorry affair makes them look bad, not you.

the fly in the web said...

I had had no idea that there was an 'in crowd'...or do they just think they are?

You just keep on doing what you do very well indeed...and keep on reporting bullying if it persists...but with identities, please.
Anonymity is too kind for this sort of social rubbish.

Steve said...

Emma: a nod's as good as a wink as they say. And thank you for highlighting a group of bloggers I'd overlooked (in fact I didn't realize I had any of these): bloggers who read but don't comment. You're just as welcome as those who do comment in my opinion. Thank you for being there.

Clareybabble: the sad thing is they make us all bad and give blogging a bad name. It's no wonder most of the media don't take it seriously as an art form... which is a shame, because I think it is and there are some wonderfully crafted blogs out there written by non-mummy-bloggers and mummy-bloggers alike.

The fly in the web: I know. I broke my own rules about naming names but to be honest it's what these people want and I refuse to add fuel to their stupid little fires. Before you know it you've got a whole chain of blogs sucked into it and the smoke can be seen from miles away. Much better to suffocate the whole thing by starving it of oxygen.

fenngirl said...

Steve, I like your blog and you speak the truth. I am going to be a regular reader - no spatting from this subscriber. x

Modern Military Mother said...

Ahem! I'll think you'll find you are in the 'in crowd!' Lessons learnt my friend 'out damned spot!" seriously I like to follow the mandate of the lovely ginger Tate 'Bovvered!'

Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip said...

This whole thing depresses me. I too, like you, started blogging simply to write. I enjoy writing and it is fun to find like-minded people who enjoy reading each other's posts. But the whole culture of in-crowds and blacklisting and backbiting that seems to have overtaken some of the blog world is incredibly disturbing. Didn't we all graduate from high school already? Steve, I applaud your efforts to be candid and true about what you are doing with your blog. And I hope everyone will have the decency to respect that.

Steve said...

Fenngirl: and no spatting is the only rule. Be most welcome!

MMM: I'm part of the in-crowd? Blimey. I must have seriously effed up somewhere then! ;-)

Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip: so do I but I am not holding my breath as bitter experience tells me different.

Modern Military Mother said...

Me & Bradley - You & Katie - what more of an 'in-crowd' do you need? There will always be Camelot!

Nota Bene said...

I feel the need to slag you off. Not sure what to say though, so I'm just going to keep reading and commenting until I build up to it...

Steve said...

MMM: damn right. Uther won't know what's hit him!

Nota Bene: I await with baited breath. When you're ready. In your own time.

EmmaK said...

Well said Steve. In a way I'm jealous - i've always been told in real life that I'm provocative and aggressive yet I've only had one troll come on my blog in four years. I feel a little hard done by - apparently you can ignite passionate emotions ;)

Steve said...

Emma: it's the power of my words, baby. Sadly the skill doesn't transfer to real life though I have been known to piss a good many people off. Does that count as a passionate response?

misssy m said...

Here! Here1 Keep on writing Steve. Leave all that nonsense to those who have nothing else worthy of reading on their sites. i too am not interested. I'd much rather read about the etiquette of ogling women and your latest celebrity (made up) encounters.

There is no such thing as an in crowd- we're all just sat at our own computers. The writing is everything.

Steve said...

Misssy M: made up encounters? Madam, I'd feel slighted were it not for the fact your comments are true...

misssy m said...

Oh and Emma- you've a short memory, I started commenting on your blog easily 3 years ago!

No- joking- what i meant to say is- you got some flak over your obesity post- but at least it was on topic!

autumnraven said...

Trolls suck...but kind of glad for it. The trolls that led to the post on Wanderlust's blog led me hear...and I like. :)

Steve said...

Misssy M: on topic flak is always to be preferred - at least it indicates the reader has engaged with what you've written.

Autumnraven: always happy to be the silver lining in someone else's dark cloud...!

Kelloggsville said...

bugger! take a bit of time out of blogging to catch up on Christmas plans and the reading you diverted me with and I've missed it all...probably not a bad thing...juxtaposition : would love to be in with the blog-in crowd but it sounds like a difficult place to be...maybe I'll just continue to hang in my own lala land...ps how are the dwarves?!

lgsquirrel said...

I thought this issue was over but it seems the conflict has just shifted its battlegrounds. If you humans don't get along, us squirrels will inherit the world even sooner than we planned.

Steve said...

Kelloggsville: lala land is the place to be; all the best people hang out there and the conversation is never dull. You've foxed me on the dwarves though...!

lgsquirrel: we're all nuts anyway - it's a win-win situation for you guys.

libby said...

Goodness gracious Steve...what a hoo-haa. I read you, enjoy your blog, am I in your coterie? (blatant plea for inclusion there isn't there?)
Let's hope this is the last time you have to address this daft issue...

Gorilla Bananas said...

So that's why you moderate comments. I was briefly visited by an infamous troll who gave up after I kept on deleting his comments. He mellowed over time and is now allowed to comment freely on another blog I visit. He still has the same obsessions, but has learned to keep them in check. It's a bit like training a dog.

Steve said...

Libby: you are, like, totally in, girl.

Gorilla Bananas: Victoria Stilwell says I should use cooked chicken... but your way sounds more fun.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Trolls must be the pimply, single inadequate men who blog in their mothers' basements because they haven't got a life that Andrew Marr was lampooning the other day.

Seriously, I think a lot of trolling is done by those jealous of others able to string a coherant sentence together. If they had any creativity of their own, they'd be far too busy creating with it to have any time for mealy-mouthed thoughts of trying to destroy others' words or reputations.

Funny how most of them are way too cowardly to post a comment using their real identity. Don't they realise that says more about them than their messages ever could?

At the end of the day, all trollers achieve is to show the world how pathetic they are. Who they think they are impressing, I cannot begin to imagine.

Steve said...

Laura: yep - if they had any creativity of their own, they'd be far too busy creating with it to have any time for mealy-mouthed thoughts of trying to destroy others' words or reputations.
- that's it right there; in a nutshell. When I make my fortune with my novel writing I shall head-hunt you for my media spokeswoman. Promise.

vegemitevix said...

I must say I understand where HEather is coming from, as I'm a mum who blog also. I don't want to be labelled as a mummy Blogger for this very reason. Personally I don't think of you as a Blogger at all. I see you as a writer who blogs, and hope that I too fall into this category. I love your eclectic mix if subjects - sometimes serious, sometimes funny. Most of all I love it when you share part of your own story, which you do with flair and skill. Please don't be discouraged. We, your fans, love you you to bits.

Being Me said...

The cyber-troll is one of the most fascinating of humans, in my opinion. I mean, who are these individuals, IRL, I wonder? In what community do they exist and display this sort of hanging-on to facts and circumstance? I could hazard a guess that they'd be terribly insecure (and fighting desperately to convince themselves and others that they're "all that and more" to cover up the fact that they rely solely on attention - any attention - to feel worthy).
That they could dedicate so much deliberate time and energy to online negativity is really so sad (for them). I am most of all very disappointed that they're probably largely women - mothers - which begs the question: if this is how they interact and treat fellow adults, what the hell are they teaching their children? You can separate that sort of behaviour from how you parent and what you pass on. And that, in itself, is tragic (to me).

Look, I'm all for speaking out when your passion compels you..... but I truly hope this is the last you feel you need to say on this. You're throwing morsels to the peanut gallery. Let's collectively stop feeding them and maybe they'll starve, eh?

Being Me said...

Oops, I meant of course to say you "can't" separate.... d'oh.

Steve said...

Vegemitevix: I would class all the bloggers in my sidebar as writers who blog... it's part of why they are there and why I continue to read their blogs and yours is most definitely included. ;-)

Being Me: you and my wife both; her reaction to this post was "oh you're not still going on about this?!" I guess she has a point - and you too - and to be honest there isn't much more I can say on the subject anyway. I think this post says it all and I mean every word. Time to get back to writing about the minutiae of my mind... ;-)

susie @newdaynewlesson said...

For me this whole type of thing has been taken a whole new level with me since I was the "victim" of an act of violence at work. (I wrote about it on my blog so I won't get into it here)

At first I didn't recognize it as such, the same way some bullying can not be so apparent.

When I finally internalized what happened I was faced with keeping more or less quiet, not rocking the boat and letting things get smoothed over or for filing a formal complaint and eating shit. (Kind of the way a rape victim is raped a second time during trial).

I finally decided that although i am going to be paying a high personal price, i will not succumb to bullies. The problem these days and why violence and bullying is so rampant is because everyone is afraid to stand up and say this is not acceptable, i will not be bullied or treated in an unacceptable manner. That is not the message I want to send to my kids.

Good for you for standing up for your values.

Mark said...

I think there is mentality amongst some bloggers that is similar to those people who get all aggressive in their cars, swearing and fingering other drivers. Stop behind them at the traffic lights and they look all sheepish and desperate to pull away.

Keep writing what you want.

Steve said...

Susie: you're right we all have to stand up and say no. The more people that do the less bullying will occur. Sadly it's become part of our culture and it's going to take a sustained effort to reverse it.

Mark: I mean to. I shall get on my bike and stick to the cycle lanes. The journey might take me longer but it's a darn sight less stressful.

Alienne said...

I thought you had been a bit quiet recently; back on form I see! I couldn't agree more - it is your blog and you can say what you like; if people don't like it then they don't have to read it and I see no point in making nasty and anonymous comments. As you moderate you can at least weed them out easily.

I just post really boring stuff so hardly any one reads it and even less bother to comment! At least it is safe though!

Veronica said...

YES. Exactly.

Well written. If nothing else, I found your blog out of the whole ordeal, so I'll count that a win!

Vicky said...

Hey I agree with Rol, I only have 27ish readers and have no problems LOL

Lori @ RRSAHM said...

Heya Steve, I just found your blog :) Hi! Great post,love your work. I think it's important, to stand up to bullies like this.

I'm amazed at how far these people are willing to spread this, with no proof of what they're saying. The onus is on them now.

Nice to 'meet' you! :)

Owen said...

Well said Steve. Spoken like a true curmudgeon. Perhaps we could start a Curmudgeon Club ?

In any case, quite simply, I agree. It is about the writing, and should remain there, in that place where we come here to appreciate a most talented gentleman.

I confess, I said a thing or two a little more sharply than is my custom in relation to all that noise there not long ago, but the thought behind that emotion was in defense of your good self... Who I hope to see untroubled and continuing un-molested along the high road you have chosen, of excellence in writing, and excellence in living...

So, to quote the only Latin I know : Illegitimi non Carborundum
(Don't let the bastards wear you down)
And keep the aspidistra flying !

Steve said...

Alienne: I've had the lurgy for the last few days which has affected my output! And you're right - if you don't agree with or like someone else's blog why bother spending time and energy on it? Simply go read someone else's.

Veronica: thank you - and I shall be popping over to your place shortly. So win-win!

Vicky: hmm... plainly I'll have to prune a few readers / bloggers then...! ;-)

Lori: you too - thanks for dropping by; hope to see you again.

Owen: your passion on my behalf was a great boost - thank you. And love the idea of a Curmudgeon's Club. I'm thinking something suitably Jeeves & Woosterish where we could play a few rounds of whiff-whaff over a Restoration walnut dining table...

London City Mum said...

Hear hear!

*puts away spray can*

LCM x

Steve said...

LCM: spray can? So it was you who left that graffiti? You know, I tried ringing the number you left but it said you were unobtainable... ;-)

Wanderlust said...

Well said. I finally closed comments. Enough is enough.

Michelle Twin Mum said...

Gosh Steve, I had no idea shit was still going on. I am sorry to hear this. I love your writing, your wit has me in stitches.

I try to keep away from the arguments and keep my nose clean!

Mich x

Steve said...

Wanderlust: definitely. Time to move onwards and upwards.

Mich: keeping one's nose clean is always to be recommended!

Keith said...

With you 100 % on that. Your like minded bloggers salute you.

Steve said...

Keith: I am honoured by their and your salutations.

missbehaving said...

Oh, I thought WE were the 'in crowd'. :)
Your blog is just too darn good, some folks can't stand that.

Steve said...

MissBehaving: we are the in-crowd. Just don't tell anybody. It works better that way. ;-)

Nikkii said...

The reaction (and what work it must have been) to a few "oh really, there you go now" comments last week from Total Arse Hole has to be one of the most bizarre things I have seen in three years of blogging.

I consider myself in good company :)

Steve said...

Nikkii: alas, you are too cryptic for me... either that or I don't read enough!

Nikkii said...

Oops - I thought you too were targetted after commenting on Kristen's blog - am I reading too far between the lines then? lol!

Steve said...

Nikkii: no, I was but targetted anonymously (of course). So I'm not sure exactly who the assholes were just that there were some...!

Nikkii said...

A few of us who were targetted referred to the source as Total Arse Hole (Total Art Soul - say it fast...)

Steve said...

Nikkii: alas I am none the wiser. Guess I'm just too darn thick!