14 July 2014

Hey, trollers, leave us blogs alone!

(To the tune of "another brick in the wall"..... Obviously)

Dear readers of online content who leave nasty, personal, hurtful and unnecessary comments on blogs,

Blogging is a lot of different things to different people. It can be a job, a hobby, a creative outlet or a form of socialising. 

For me, it's a hobby. I love my blog. It acts as a diary of the early life of my children. It keeps my mind active in an otherwise toddler-centric world. It makes me laugh, and occasionally makes a few other people laugh. Most of all, it gives me something to do that makes me feel like ME, not like "Mummy". Very occasionally it reaches a wide audience and gives me a small feeling of accomplishment. 

I also read blogs. Blogs make me howl with laughter, blogs make me smile, smirk, empathise, understand. Blogs teach me things I didn't know.

If I really like a blog, if I appreciate the blogger writing it and want them to know I enjoyed it, I will leave a comment. If it has opened my eyes or taught me something I will thank them. 

But here's the thing. If I read a blog that I disagree with, one that I find offensive, or one that makes me think "ergh, what idiot wrote this", you know what I do?


If I'm so incensed by their awful blog, by their hateful and inaccurate drivel that I can't help but read to the end and absolutely HAVE to express my disgust... You know what I do?

Tell my husband or a friend. "I read a pile of tripe today, check it out".

Know what I don't do? 

I don't abuse the author. I don't send personal attacks on their opinions, their lifestyle, their beliefs, choices or personality directly to their email inbox. 

I am fortunate enough to have had a few blog posts 'go viral'. By which I mean they are shared prolifically and get a large number of readers. I used to be pleased about this. Now I dread it. Because the more people read your content, the higher the chances you will be abused by strangers words in your email or twitter or Facebook feed. 

If you leave a nasty message on my blog, I have to read it. Try to remember when writing your nasty comments that the person you are writing to is a human being. They might be having a bad day, visiting a sick relative, have recently been in a car crash, be struggling with a teething baby. Perhaps worse, they might be relaxed and happy, enjoying a perfect day with their family, only to have it ruined by your uninvited bile. 

Blogging is my hobby. No other hobbies allow strangers to send personal attacks to you. 

If I painted and you hated my painting, you wouldn't write a letter to me to make it clear how awful it is. 

If I knitted cardigans and you didn't like the wool I used on one of my cardigans you just wouldn't buy it. Noone gets called a bitch or a whore for knitting.  

If I was a jogger you wouldn't stop me in the park to correct my form, slag off my trainers or suggest I give up jogging because my style of jogging is offending you.

Nobody forces you to read light-hearted, tongue in cheek, comedy parenting blogs. So if you are the kind of person who gets offended by them. Might I suggest you stop reading them. 

I have personally removed people's ability to comment on my blog to avoid the insults, accusations and abuse that form a small minority of my comments. 

I think it's sad that online nastiness is so prevalent that I need to do this. I have met/ walked past/ chatted to thousands of people in my life and not once been verbally abused by a stranger. Such a shame that the anonymity of the Internet brings out the bully in people. 

Even sadder still that while I can avoid the trolls as best as I can, I can't stop them. I may not get comments on my blog, but I'm sure on occasion, people will still tweet abuse or slag me off on Facebook.

People will find offence where there is none and use that to justify an outpouring of bile towards innocent people in whatever format they can. 

Most of all, trolls, your nasty comments on a blog post make absolutely no difference to the world. They serve one tiny purpose, which is to cause distress, pain or suffering to a person you have never met. So why bother? Just stop it.

If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.