B is for Blog Bullies

Bullying is a huge topic that has been getting a lot of attention in the past couple of years. Last week, the documentary “Bully” opened in theaters and received both praise and criticism from various factions. I’ve become a bit obsessed with learning all that I can about bullying and trying to figure out where my research, writing, and advocacy skills–and the fact that I’m a mom–might help me make some sort of contribution. Between school bullying, cyber bullying, and workplace bullying, there are countless issues to address. I certainly don’t want my child to bully anyone, or to be bullied by someone else; and beyond being a personal concern, it’s something that needs to be dealt with on local and national levels.

Like many writers, I’m a mom and a blogger, but I’m not a “mommy blogger.” No offense to anyone who is, but there are certain aspects of being a part of that community that just don’t appeal to me. Aside from hearing about the physical battles over “swag” at blogging conferences, for example, I’m put off by the general snarkiness of some bloggers, as well as those who comment on other blogs. Don’t get me wrong; the behavior is not limited to mom bloggers. I’m talking about anyone who makes offensive comments on blogs and forums, or otherwise makes another blogger or writer feel uncomfortable, and even unsafe, sharing his or her opinion.

I’m a relatively new blogger, so I guess you could say I’m still trying to find my voice and figure out what would be useful and interesting for people to read about. One of the topics I like discussing is current events, but I don’t consider myself too controversial, so hopefully I won’t have to deal with bullying behavior by visitors. Some forums and comment areas seem to bring out the worst in some people, who mistakenly think that they’re somehow protected or even anonymous online and can say hurtful and ignorant things. Why? Just like physical bullies, I guess it makes them feel good to build themselves up by tearing others down.

Do you know any blog bullies? Have you ever been insulted or harassed on your own blog? Have you joined anything formal like “Blog with Integrity” or a similar pledge to stand up against bullying? Or do you have comment policies that are either explicitly stated or implied on your blog?
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5 Comments

  1. Great post. I try to avoid the contrversial on my blog, because I don’t want it to ve a sarcastic, snarky hurtful place. But, sometimes I feel like that muzzles me. Certainly I posted about politics during the 2008 election. Recently I witnessed verbal bullying between two friends on my facebook page. Neither of then would act that way in real life, and they are two of the most conservative people I know, but they just wouldn’t take a moment to understand each others position. It was painful to witness. I started thinking, in the aftermath of the recent vile, inflammatory comments of R. Limbaugh re Ms, S Fluke, how ridiculous our politicians and media folks have been, each time a new controversy using inflammatory, derogortory language and pointing the finger at the other side, claiming “but you’re worse! You did it too”. We certainly wouldnt let our children get away with that childish claim. Isn’t it time we start demanding thatbour politicians and media reporters/
    commentators do the same and grow up?

    Reply
  2. I totally agree, Anne! They (media/politicans) set a terrible example in how they behave. I don’t think we can even begin to hope for raising the level of discourse until there’s some personal accountability on all sides. And that goes for trolls and other online bullies. If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t say it online! We’re not a bunch of robots behind these screen names, we’re thinking and feeling human beings.

    ~Lynn

    Reply
  3. Hi Katie! Thanks for the nice comment on my blog.

    I have a lot of experience with “in-person” bullying, but so far I’ve gotten nothing but kind comments on my blog. It’s probably just because not enough people read it though. The only subjects I intentionally avoid are ones that might hurt someone’s reputation. Otherwise, I say what I want and figure I can handle a little opposition if it ever comes.

    Reply
  4. katietesta

     /  April 2, 2012

    Anne – Thanks for your comments yesterday and today! It’s interesting how personal interactions have changed because of blogs and online forums.

    Lynn – Yes, what you said.

    Lisa – Thanks for visiting! I agree that you should be able to say what you want on your own blog without having to deal with nasty comments. Some people harass others just for fun. On the other hand, it might be easy for something you say to be misconstrued by someone who doesn’t know you that well. Lots to think about as a new-ish blogger!

    Reply
  5. I am also a mom and a blogger, but not a mommy blogger. I do read several mommy blogs, but it’s just not a format that interests me as a righter. I don’t want to be boxed in and labeled, or try to fit my various interests into a niche. I have nad a blog since 2008, though it wasn’t until 2010 that I really started writing regularly, and I decided at that time that pretty much nothing is off limits topically, but I try to maintain a reasonable amount of anonymity if I am writing about specific people. Part of the reason is that my blog is therapy, really. It keeps me sane. I’m controversial, sarcastic, personal, political, religious, snarky, and more, and I haven’t (yet) encountered blog bullies.

    All this being said, I do moderate the comments on my blogs, and if something ever is personally offensive or out of line, I won’t publish it. As you continue to blog, you will find your blogging voice, and you will develop a following that appreciates your style & substance. It’s fun and gratifying. Enjoy it. I’m following…

    Reply

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