I’ve been a little down on blogging recently. I thought it was a lack of motivation or that I had nothing to say but I’ve noticed it’s actually more about the blogging community. Feel free to eye roll because goddamn how many times do we bloggers get on our high horses about this?
I started blogging a little less than two years. In that time my blog has gone from being solely about mental health to more of a mix of lifestyle, mental health and general wellbeing with the odd book review for good measure. I’m so pleased and grateful for how my blog has grown over the last two years. I never imagined that anyone would read it let alone be publishing blog posts out to 5,000 Twitter followers.
But in a way I yearn for the days when I had a couple of hundred people following me because I know that I was braver with my content. I was happier to tweet my opinions because I wasn’t scared of people smacking me down in an instant. The other day I was out with a blogging friend for coffee and we talked about how we often felt scared of posting things online in case they offended someone or triggered an argument. As a quiet person, the internet has given me a platform for sharing my opinions. It has given me a place to be able to articulate my feelings before saying them, to discuss differing opinions with others and most importantly to learn from others. But in recent months, social media, Twitter in particular, feels like a breeding ground for anger, wild goose chases and hostility.
There appears to be a belief on the internet that “calling people out” is okay. It’s an almost daily occurrence on my timeline that someone will post a tweet, someone else will take offence, share it around, and before you know it, the whole blogosphere is talking about ‘drama’. Then of course, the buzzword ‘bullying’ will crop up and there’ll be yet more #drama about whether it is or isn’t bullying and why and why not we shouldn’t be throwing that term around.
What happened to polite discourse? When did we all turn into animals lashing out before re-reading to see if you’ve misunderstood or if someone has just made a throwaway comment. Twitter is a great platform for educating people and if I said something offensive then I’d be more than happy for someone to correct me on it, politely, preferably in a private message. Not retweeting the comment with a eye roll emoji and an explanation as to why it shouldn’t have been said.
Nobody is perfect and we all say things online that we shouldn’t. But sometimes we say things online that we didn’t even know we shouldn’t. There’s a fine line between pointing something out to someone and going out of your way to embarrass and upset someone in return. And the blogosphere just doesn’t seem to be getting that balance right.
People shouldn’t be scared to post their opinions, or to post anything in fact. Sometimes I spend far too long editing a tweet to make sure that it can’t be misconstrued into something that will upset someone. Maybe you could say I shouldn’t be so bothered about it. Why am I getting into such a tizz over the possibility of someone reading my tweet and being offended by it? But right now, for me, it’s not really about that.
It’s about this gang mentality of taking sides where sides don’t need to be taken. I really don’t think any one person should be telling anyone else what to do or say or believe. Sure, we can suggest that a specific tweet might be taken the wrong way but going around thinking everyone needs educating because they don’t share your opinion is patronising, not to mention rude.
This was basically a big ramble because I don’t have any answers except to say maybe we could all try to be a little kinder and not jump to conclusions so quickly. Because that’s the only way I can see the blogosphere improving its community right now.