Bloggers Beware

I am a relative newbie to Blogging and Social Media but I’ve taken to it. Yes, I get some crazy, although never mean (not yet) comments on my blog posts but I enjoy the process of writing, the discipline and the consistency that this form of self-expression requires.

Responsible blogging and developing a following takes way more time, effort and true grit than I could have every imagined. I currently spend hours on research as I am trying to hone in on what interests the market I’m trying to reach. Ideas are constantly percolating and I’m quick to take them and run with them. But I’m also trying to carve out a special place in a blogging and tweeting world that is teaming with ideas and writers. I follow thirty blogs regularly that aren’t my own and there are at least twenty-five more whose door I knock on when I have the time. I take this writing thing very seriously and want to give others the attention I’m seeking myself.

But then there are the blogs that rant and rage and commenters who use blogs as a platform for their unattended and not yet medically managed anger. They make me cringe. They make me rethink putting myself out there in such a personal way. The level of mean, nasty and altogether crude interactions astonishes me—and I’m a mental health professional!

Do we live in a bullying culture? Robert Trestan, the civil rights counsel for the Anti-Defamation League, believes that we do and that no anti-bullying law will truly work until we change the culture. If I were ever unsure, I no longer am.  Bullying in cyberspace seems to be a common occurrence.

Why can’t people just walk away from a blog or an opinion that they don’t share or like? Why stay on the page when all you have to do is close it or scroll down? Of course these interactions are much like the comments that surface about TV programs a la Miley Cyrus (she's certainly not the first to create a storm) and ones about books with material some consider offensive? But things on the internet often progress to a completely different and more aggressive level. As a mental health professional I understand that certain blogs and people who comment in a rageful manner are the same people who cut me off on the highway, tailgate (not the fun kind) and scream out the window shouting expletives when I do something they don’t like.

It’s so easy to set up a blog now—and it’s free. You can basically write about what you want—there are some limits relative to pornography but the “experts” at this even find a way around that too. At times it scares me and makes me reconsider the path I’ve chosen to be “Liked” and "Followed". Unfortunately, I’m not a stranger to anger and rage. I’ve seen it up close and been touched by its ugly hands, I just never imagined, really imagined how much rage there is out there.

You can turn your head away, restrict comments on your own blog, hope that the moderators of other blogs are diligent about moderating and contain the haters and ragers. But you can’t contain it completely—it’s part of our world and as bloggers, in a sense we are taking it on. It’s sometimes disheartening to see and hear how much anger and unhappiness is out there. In the worst of cases (threats and pornography being at the top of the list) you can contact law enforcement. You can also contact facebook (and do so) but from what I hear it takes about 72 hours to get a response and the offensive comments and material have to meet their criteria—Google this to get an idea of what that is. Blogging is a great experience but we can’t overlook the risks of putting ourselves out there.


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