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Monica Bielanko
A chronicle since 2005 of my marriage & move to Brooklyn in my twenties; becoming a mother in my thirties; moving to Pennsylvania and learning to amicably coparent after divorce in my forties while living 3 doors down from my ex-husband in a small country town.
That's What She Said
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Monday
Mar292010

Taking It To The Blog

Here's what happened: Around Friday my blog stats started spiking. Nearly doubled, actually. That happens every now and again. Curiosity got the better of me and I clicked to the back page of my blog to see where the traffic was coming from. It was all being directed from the same place. The message board of a website about traveling.

Weird, right?

I managed to ignore it that day, but the new visitors to the blog continued and by Saturday morning, against my better judgment, I clicked over to check it out. In my experience it's never good when my blog stats spike. It means someone has something not very nice to say about me. Trust me, there's never been a time when I linked back to a Monica Is Awesome thread.

This time was no different. It was someone, a woman, posting on a message board forum about how creepy personal blogs are, mine in particular.

I know this subject has been discussed TO DEATH on the internet and I know it generally never ends well when addressed, but here I am throwing my two cents in anyway.

The woman was hostile in a careless way. She posted a live link to my site and then began to discuss how creepy I am, how self absorbed and what a bad writer I am. Then some other folks jumped into the fray. I'll let you check it out on your own instead of recapping all twelve pages here:

PERSONAL JOURNAL STYLE BLOGS ARE CREEPY

I sat and read all these comments on my birthday and just felt like shit. Why, I wondered. Why post a live link? They could've opined on the creepiness of personal blogs and debated my lack of talent until next year if they wanted and I never had to be the wiser. Why would someone want me to read these things? For what purpose other than to hurt feelings? I just don't understand this kind of behavior.

So, again, against my better judgment, I decided to call the chick out. As we've all likely experienced, internet debates rarely end well. But I'm just so damn tired of people roaming around the internet unloading diatribes cloaked as "critiques" onto folks minding their own business. In fact, this very thread has devolved into a discussion on how I need a thicker skin because just as music and art is critiqued my blog will be also:

The internet is full of opinions. Get over it. I didn't piss in the woman's Cheerios or invade her corner of the interweb for God's sake- just quietly closed the browser window and came over here to mutter about how uncomfortable I found the whole thing to a small group of people who have no connection to the woman or her family. Besides, she put herself out there to get responses- here are some responses. If anything, I did her a favor by linking to her blog
By linking to me she did invade my corner of the interweb and she knew that when she posted the link. Certainly, she's entitled to her opinion, but that's not my point. Why the live link and why the meanness? Just because someone maintains a public website doesn't mean people are welcome to behave like mean girls. Or does it?

The entire thread ebbs and flows with people discussing how personal bloggers open themselves up to these sorts of critiques. I call bullshit. Agreeing or disagreeing with an opinion I pose here on the blog is understandable. Even critiquing my writing style, it's the rude comments, the things written that you'd never say to someone's face that get to me. The grenades anonymous pussies lob at you before retreating only to check your blog eight million times to see how you respond. This woman isn't on that level, but still, why the live link?

Another commenter to the thread says that "if you see something posted publicly on the internet then complaining about it is fair game...Personal bloggers seem to want all the satisfaction of publishing without the risk of their writing being criticized."

I completely understand that putting something on the internet opens it (and me) up to criticism. Critiquing is one thing, just being a rude asshole is a totally different story and I'm not going to sit trying to "develop a thick skin" while someone pisses on me then tries to pass it off as a critique.

Is that where society is headed? Grown adults like us, trolling around the internet, locked and loaded, searching for a target to bitch about? Manners and civility are out the window and "critiques" are in? I don't understand this. I don't like a blog on the internet I move on. If I disagree with someone's opinion on the internet I may or may not comment, but if I do it's not some aggressive attack on their writing style or their personality. Why leave a negative comment about someone's writing style? Who are you, my editor? I don't get that. If that's something you do, please explain in my comments, I'm all ears. Do you honestly think a blogger is interested in the fact that you think they use the CAPS key too much? Or were you just trying to be mean? Do you really feel like that's a constructive comment? Is it a constructive comment? You guys tell me.

The internet has turned adults into high school versions of themselves. Judging, mocking, friending, unfriending, pointing fingers, trying to feel superior to others. It's enough to make me want to go off the grid altogether. Who needs this high school level of stress and aggravation? That was the good thing about growing up, right? You have to get a job and pay bills but at least that horrible high school smack talking, gut churning drama is over. Or not.

The thread continues by calling all personal bloggers boring navel gazers. That killed me. A bunch of folks logging thousands of hours and comments about their opinions and lives on a message board calling personal bloggers out:
The difference is a forum is just that- an exchange within an online community. It's a conversation- there is back and forth. A blog is a body of writing with one author who writes about a topic- his or her life, hobby, politics, etc etc- for a passive audience. Really, there differences between the two are huge- one is performance, the other is socializing. One is self-oriented, the other is group oriented.. one fosters navel gazing and reinforces assumptions, the other challenges its members to think before they type/speak.. all generalizations, of course- but still true.
The woman who started the thread, Dana, the one who expresses such discomfort about my personal revelations appears to be no different than me. I had a look at her thousands and thousands of posts on this message board about how she wants a baby and how she's going to buy new boots. The latter was posted on a thread about anti-wrinkle cream. Gosh, those subjects sound familiar, yeah? How is posting excessively on a message board any different from blogging? She's looking for people to relate to, right? To swap stories with? Isn't that what we do here?

I suppose I'm all hot and bothered by this because I'm so sick of the lack of civility on the internet. I generally don't even post an opinion on someone's blog unless they ask for it. Even then, I am tactful and respectful. Their blog is their internet home and having open comments isn't an invitation for readers to lash out. Don't say something you wouldn't say to a friend in person. The internet shouldn't be Thunderdome where we all cruise around looking for someone to call out in the name of "critique". An asshole is an asshole is an asshole.

You've heard my opinion ad nauseam, here is the part where I invite you to leave your opinion. About the message board debate, about comments, internet behavior in general, blogging and the expectations bloggers should and shouldn't have, blogging vs. posting on a message board: is one superior to the other, as several commenters over on the Lonely Planet message board smugly suggest? Or are they after the same thing personal bloggers are? Community, relating, swapping stories... I maintain that we built the same sort of community on this blog and can engage in the same sort of discussion on a blog that they can on a message board.

WHAT SAY YOU?

Reader Comments (89)

Well said. I have commented once VERY rudely on a certain page, a recall calling the couple whose blog it was 'white trash' for their (in my opinion) absolute lack of common sense and intelligence, they announced proudly that they didn't read newspapers or watch the news because they didn't want to become infected with bad wibes... I still think it's crazy to be so ignorant, but since starting my own blog last fall I understand better how personally ones takes any critizism. Won't do that again...

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

Well put!

I have some haters out there who keep coming back for more....really if you hate what I write and say then don't come back but she does. I have called her out a couple times too but she still writes things on her blog about me and my family. I try not to let it bother me but in the end it does.

This is my blog for my fun for my pleasure and I feel if you don't like than don't come back!

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShelly

Okay- two things.

1. I think you're right on- there is a huge community out there of people who just snark about other people's blogs, say mean things, throw rudeness around, etc. Do you follow Julia Allison- if you do you know what I'm referring to. I think the anonymity of the internet really has changed the way people interact with each other on it. And I agree, that woman Dana is no different than you- expressing herself to a community of people. I think something does need to change, and it probably won't.
2. I don't think what Dana said at the initiation of the thread was bad, and I have a feeling she didn't really think about what linking to your blog was going to do (spike your traffic and make you come over to see what was going on). I think the people that followed fueled a fire she inadvertently started. I didn't read all the comments so I may be off- but just from glancing quickly that is my impression. What is interesting is that she finds your blog so off putting when she puts info out there to her community members on the travel boards. Reflection of her own insecurities?

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAdrienne

I'm going to think what I'm going to say, and then I'm paying "Dana" a nice little visit.
Bullshit, I'm calling it too!

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLisa The Bumpkin

that message board is gross. reminds me of the same old gossipy BS from school...don't let them get you down.

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterpeach

As someone who doesn't have a blog yet, this just plain scares me to even think about putting one up. I don't think I could take the criticism. I'm 36, and am still trying to shake all that mean girl baggage from HS. Love your honesty, and the way you write, takes a lot of balls! Still think all the mean girl stuff comes from a place of self loathing and insecurities. Even though we all have some type of insecurity, (some more than others), it's what you do with that and how you deal with it in a positive way, that ultimately makes for a better human race!

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCyndy

Adrienne, I agree with you that Dana didn't initially realize what she'd done, but if you read further she continues to snark at Monica in a very mean girl way. I'm not all the way through the thread but it's definitely a talker! Will come back when I'm done and thanks for giving me a juicy lunch read although I'm sorry it's at your expense.

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAimee

As I just posted on their site - rather an ironical name - Lonely Planet. Ideal for lonely people.
Just try and rise above it Monica. But I know that's easier said than done.

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commenter(London) Amanda

For what its worth...I really like your blog!

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

You know what I find creepy? Bitches who post 1,047 comments on internet forums bitching about what other people do online.

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBitches!

I don't understand how blogging is apparently 'performing' instead of socializing. Yeah, you write a few paragraphs, but then we all respond and talk to you, and talk to each other. You get us talking about stuff that we may never have thought to mention with people who we would never meet. Sounds like pretty badass socializing to me.

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDani

That message board is just plain sad. Also, one of the early commenters says Matt Logelin gives her the willies. Are you kidding me? He's a freaking' champ! Does she even understand what the man has been through?

What I think is that these people are terribly sad and repressed, and you are not.

Life is short and the world is small, sharing experiences gives comfort and illuminates life struggles. Whether that struggle is finding new boots or infertility, just click onto somewhere else if it doesn't trip your trigger folks. That's the beauty of the internet, lots of shit to read.

Don't get worked up about it Monica, your are just the prop. This is their issue, not yours, so keep on keepin' on.

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMsAmanda

This blog is definitely a community in the same way that Lonely Planet (ironic name) is. You spark a discussion with a post and everyone offers up stories. Or you ask a question just like on that forum and people answer. I have about a hundred new zit remedies thanks to something you posted about a while back.

As far as mean girls - that will never change, unfortunately and it's guys too! People say things on the internet they'd never say in person. While I think you open yourself up to critique (that doesn't mean criticism) by having a blog the critiques don't have to be catty name callers who mock your writing in a very non-constructive way. That's my two cents.

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

The internet world is ungovernable. Like any society, the members of the society will ultimately determine the social rules and norms. On some sites, there are no rules and anything is game (subject to legality). On other sites, there are posted expectations for community members. You, as the owner of this blog have veto power on anything that gets said. You can choose to remove comments, and can even choose to edit comments ... and you can even leave negative or critical comments when you want to. The ultimate decision rests with you.

Similar to the real world, we all have a fair degree of autonomy to choose which communities we interact with, and when. Who interacts and how they interact often says something about site itself. I occasionally report comments that I find offensive to the moderators of national newspaper sites - offensive comments left up generally reflect badly on the newspaper. A site that doesn't moderate comments might not care how the comments reflect on them, but discerning readers generally do.

The reality is, you can only control what you control ... and like the real world, that is actually surprisingly little. In this situation, you do control your feelings and your conduct. I think you made good use of your voice in this post here to answer back to some of the criticism and childish antics posted on the other blog. No matter the level of provocation, there is never ever ever any justificiation for childish behaviour by adults - sure we all do it. You have done it. I have done it. Now Dana has done it. We're no less human on the internet. But that doesn't justify the antics.

I hope you are able to find a way to forgive and move on. It really isn't worth the negative energy it consumes. Clearly you have a following of people rooting for you who enjoy the ramblings of your personal blog.

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNJ

I can't add anything new to the anonymous internet assholes conundrum but I will say I don't see how this comment thread is in any way different from their apparently superior forum. Same thing.

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFiddl-E-O

I guess I'm mostly confused. If "all bloggers are narcissistic navel gazers," then what are all the people who take the time to read, create a thread and complain about them, besides pretentious, judgmental neighbor-navel-gazers?

I pulled away from message boards when a situation made me actually angry; I spewed something back and was enraged all day. I just don't need that. No one with a life does. There is enough going on without needing to prove myself to some random strangers, or even to people I sort of know. I hope you feel the same way. I read the thread. You made several valid, intelligent points. But people are allowed to hide behind their online personae and spew venom they might not be able to, were this discussion in person.

I still live by, "If you can't say something nice; don't say anything at all." That doesn't include agreeably disagreeing with someone's opinion or giving tough-love-type advice or critique but does suggest a modicum of decorum. I'm not an asshole in real life, so I don't really get off on being one on the internet, either.

if I were you, I'd just let it drop. My family motto (just husband and me, but we like Themes) is "Fuck 'em." Also, didn't know it was your b-day, so merrymerry and many happy returns.

Also, also, this: http://xkcd.com/386/

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterchristine with an x

I think the most appropriate response is the one our mothers taught us: "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all". If we could all adopt the better behaviors we were taught I think everyone might find themselves in a far happier place.
Every person commenting thus far has an absolute point and I applaud the forward thinking and positive attitudes. WELL DONE FOLKS!!!
There is no reason for people to personally attack you or your blog. It sounds very much like jealousy at your ability to put yourself out there and SHARE your thoughts and life with the world. Until someone else has thick enough skin and the talent to do that, how are they in any way qualified to make a judgment on someone else?
Moreover, if we're going to complain about CAPS, grammar, and the like can we just start with the people incapable of spelling? I suppose their literacy may be in question...but in the day of technology there really is no excuse for poor spelling. To be clear - that is NOT directed at you. :)

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

MONICA ROCKS AND THE HATERS CAN SUCK IT!

Happy Belated Birthday!

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteridmayday

We have no control whatsoever over what other people do or say, how they conduct themselves on the internet, and whether they like us or not. Who cares what some stranger with thousands of posts on a message board thinks of you? Why engage? Why not ignore your traffic stats altogether if they're bringing you heartache? On the other hand, you've got haters! You've arrived, right?

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKristen

People suck. I'm sorry. Keep doing what you're doing.

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEllaNora

Having now read ALL of the threads and how isolated the people seem...ignore them. Yeah, they're mean spirited people with an opinion but that doesn't entitle them to ruin your day (ESPECIALLY your birthday). For every unpleasant commenter I know there are a dozen people who adore you, appreciate your writing, and find inspiration in your approach to life. Count me among the first as I have followed you since your days in NYC, probably early 2001-2002, just after you found inspiration through another blogger - DOOCE - the 26th most influential woman in media!
Hang in there and just ignore those people. You're better than them and their petty behavior - do NOT allow them into YOUR corner of the internet, the world, or under your skin.

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

If I go to a concert and the pianist sucks, I get up and walk out ....at the end of the piece, so as not to be tooooooo rude. I don't need to waste my time listening to crap. I also don't waste my time slagging off the performer or analysing the performance. What for? It's just my opinion. Somebody else might love it.

It's the same with all of life. Live and let live. Each to their own. ( Unless poor helpless children or animals are involved!) People who are so mean are either very young and inexperienced or simply very primitive.

Let's face it Monica, you treat people as you would like to be treated. ( Except probably your husband but aren't we all a bit fucked up like that?!!!! That'll get better with age and experience anyway.) What more can one ask of somebody. I LOVE your blog and I find it WAY more creepy that somebody would waste their time writing mean things about you. I don't like most blogs but I sure as hell don't go round making myself important AND boring, by putting links to them in some boring forum.

People are just nasty so they can try and feel better about themselves. Forget about the wankers Monica.

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNiedlchen

As the ubiquitous 1990's bumper sticker says: Mean People Suck

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjeneria

You cannot fight crazy.

In response to your: I certainly wouldn't post a link to it and talk about what a talentless loser the writer is. That's like walking up to a stranger on the street and telling them they look like shit, they have terrible taste in clothes or whatever (...)"

One of them posted: "Just because you wouldn't do it, doesn't mean others will do so. This is even more true in internet anonymity."

Crazy!

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoAnne

Ignore her. Be the bigger man and keep writer for us - the people who do read you and care about you (in our own weird blog-stalked type way). Have a good day!

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKris

It's quite funny, cos now here's us bitching about them bitching about our lovely Monica. Please reassure me we are not sinking to their level!
Or at the very least that we're the good bitches and they're the bad, sad bitches.

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commenter(London) Amanda

Ah, The Accusers. Must be a full moon. I do know the type. A vile breed of jealous old bitties and battle axes, these hate mongers are themselves loaded down with bitterness and jealousy. Intense jealousy. Wicked. These types sometimes are also some kind of weird religious and like to point their crooked fingers while making judgments. Nuttin better to do thank look, listen and talk later. Stinkers.is what they are ( is).. Never mind this garbage, It's all crap. Like a toilet overflowing. Just go into the bathroom, Well CRAP BE GONE!! and flush it on back to the sewer from whenst it came!! Hello. Goodbye Poop. Ha!

Best let it go, Monica. Pray for those poor souls over there in crap land. Jealousy hates anything which helps others to feel a sense of belonging. Love accepts you as you are. The good, the bad, the ugly. It does not provoke others to hate you but to love you, You are not a hater except of that which is evil. You never purport to be perfect. You speak out and express yourself honestly and some find that annoying. Well tough noogies. Fact is, that you Monica, are a lovable kind hearted person, intelligent and gifted. You make others feel like they are not alone. You are very normal and have a gift for story telling. You are also giving. Living a good life. Some of your readers such as myself have struggled with the same things you have written about. I for one have no kids and enjoy hearing about your little one, Watching her grow. I also enjoy the stuff your husband writes. Look, it's only by the grace of God that we are free from condemnation. Romans 8:28. Right? Best you can do to keep from being brought down is ro realize the source, forgive the complete ass( es) who started this, and the ignorant unloving people who jumped on the stinkin bandwagon.

G.

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterg-clair

"The internet has turned adults into high school versions of themselves."
You hit the nail on the head with this one. I detest reading negative internet comments for this very reason. People hide behind anonymity and print. Most are cowards who would probably lack articulation and any semblance of intelligence if they were confronted in person. Whatever happened to "if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all"? I fear for my children as they are nearing the age of becoming involved in this horrible technological "community". Can't we all just play nice?

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBaron

Monica, I have no life and went back to read the ENTIRE post on that stupid ass message board. Those people are nuts to think they weren't being rude. I totally agree that there is, at times, a certain level of 'nice' missing from people in today's world.

I just stumbled across your blog last week and can't wait to see what you write next. Some people are just full of themselves and have no room for anyone else in their life - in any capacity.

Keep your chin up - I think you are an amazing writer, a really cool mom and a great person from what I read so far. I can relate to a lot of what you have written here and it has helped me several times to see things in my own life from a different perspective.

Just ignore the haters!

((hugs))

Becky

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBecky O

I realise I'm coming at this from "the wrong side", however there are a few things I wanted to say, calmly, without any mudslinging or "us and them" mentality as such.

The ultimate purpose of the post wasn't to disect your blog--Dana wanted opinions on journal-like blogs, which yours is very much. She could've picked another blog, in fact had her friend sent her a link to a different one she probably would've. If you re-read the posts, they were very much about personal blogs in general (to a point), with the exception of supataka who then got some heat (mostly from Dana presuming it was you), up until you joined the conversation, at which point (inevitably) it turned into a slinging match. Yes your blog was named, and yes people listed things they didn't like in a less than constructive way, but I doubt anyone thought for a second you'd end up reading it. I certainly didn't. Yes it's a public forum, but one is lulled into a false sense of security on forums and blogs alike.

Going back to the post, the title of the post was "Personal journal style blogs are creepy", and ended with, to quote, "Am I being an e-prude? What do you all think about journal-like-blogs?"

Funny thing, I actually disagree with the general ethos of boring/creepy (again, of journal-type blogs in general). I find them very entertaining, very much akin to reality TV, or social documentaries. Maybe there is a little peeping Tom in so many of us, wanting to see how other people live and think. I don't want to keep a blog for myself, as there are things I do not want everyone to see. Most people I know don't know which forums I post on. But if I kept a blog where I wrote very personal things, it would likely become accessible to people I know. And there are some thoughts and aspects of my life I don't want to share with everyone. Keeping a very "private" blog where you barely reveal anything about yourself is more of a task than a pleasure (I tried and failed miserably) hence why I don't keep one at all. But at the same time I don't think there is anything wrong with doing so.

However, I do think you took it too personally, sure that this was done purposefully to hurt you because of the live link thing. I doubt it was. If she'd intended to, I'm sure the post would've been a lot harsher and directed at you personally.

A lot of the posters on TT have been there for several years (myself included), and discussions often get heated and "in-your-face" without any malice intended. I've been called on things I've said, I've had heated arguments and bitter disagreements, yet I've quite happily met up with a lot of the posters and got along with them in person over the years.

But, again, this is just another aspect of opening yourself to the world, subjecting yourself to opinions, criticism and worse. What surprises me is that as a seasoned blogger you find this so astonishing.

At the end of the day, I think we can all learn a lesson here. None of us have a safe little corner of the internet where we can do what we want safely tucked away from the rest of the world, all this is accessible by anyone, at any time, for any purpose.

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterpickychick

i think it's scary how quickly people forget there is a real breathing person behind the words. here's this woman who works full time, takes care of a baby,and worries she's cutting it in the world as a wife and mother. she's throwing her thoughts into the void needing something back that lets her know she's normal and surviving. why do these people refuse to throw a life preserver? are they already so far gone they have to take as many as they can with them? everyone has a soul and everyone needs a connection. to the haters, monica is a person that on some level at some time you will and can relate to. stop being a mother fucker.

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMeg

My opinion is this....if you don't like someone's blog you have the ability to close the page and not read it. Why go on and on about how much you hate it? There's enough hate in the world. Do these people have so much time in life that they can't just focus on the things they love, but have to be jerks and foster hate? I don't get it. Makes no sense to me.

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjanet

Monica, I think it is brave to share your story in a public way. Only you can set the boundary for what makes you comfortable and if someone doesn't like it they can click onto the next internet page. Personally I really enjoy your blog. I think it is well written. I love your photography. I love your dogs! I love your sense of humor about all that life brings.

Dooce has written on many, many occasions about how the internet community has supported her through depression, births, deaths, parenting, etc. That knowing that there are others out there who feel the same way and have gone through what she is feeling makes her feel less alone. I agree 100% with the desire to create a community in that way.

In my opinion forums like the board you found your live link on are just a forum for people who want to discuss everything to death. I'd rather read a blog and think about it, than rattle off comment after comment "trying" to get my point across.

As EllaNora said: People suck. I'm sorry. Keep doing what you're doing.

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAna

You should start running ads. Then at least those people criticizing you (and my spelling) would helping you with your financial pain.

For what it's worth, I view blogs as stories. I don't read books and magazines because I want to interact. I don't read blogs because I want to interact (genreally). I want to be entertained. Thanks for entertaining me.

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDC

I didn't even go read their stupid message boards. Screw them. You rock! I like your creepy blog!

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercdawnh

here's my take on this: there's basically two kinds of people- haters and non-haters. when non-haters encounter something they don't like/don't find amusing/are bothered or freaked out by, they move on never to see the offending content again. haters devote their apparently totally worthless time to read, criticise and build righteous indignation over whatever it is that bothers them so much, and what is usually completely irrelevant to them personally. then they carefully prepare their weapons and shoot. then they go roll in feces or whatever it is that haters do, I don't know, TBH their ways are a mystery to me.

don't let them bother you, Monica! they're only worth pity. keep doing what you're doing, don't let anyone stop you from doing cool things! you're blog's cool!

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie

I think people feel free to be incredibly rude online for a number of reasons. The anonymity is obviously a huge part of it but so is the group mentality. When ten people before said "creepy" you've got to up the ante when it's your turn to bash. It's lame, it's sad, but as a wise man once said: no press is bad press.

I noticed a few people in the comments said they couldn't imagine their lives being worth writing about every day. I think we can all assume it's because they spend a lot of their time surfing anonymous message boards. I think having a boring, forgettable life is probably a fitting punishment for their behavior.

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHolly

I've been following this thread since the beginning. A couple things: first, I think you kick ass for standing up to a clique of people who refuse to acknowledge that they're acting like high schoolers. Your feelings were hurt. Normal people feel bad about that kind of thing but they continue to talk trash which, to me, comes off as bullying. All you suggested was not linking to someone they plan on trashing on their little board over there so nobody gets their feelings hurt. Instead of saying, hey good point, they continue to defend bad behavior. I'm a new fan of your blog and have been reading your archives. I find them much more interesting then a bunch of girls yammering like bitchy yentas.

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersupartaka

::shrug:: it's called schadenfreude, trainwrecks, rubbernecking. A lot of people find entertainment, humor or interest in behavior that seems odd, ridiculous or strange. As someone else said, blogs are a bit like reality tv--and I guarantee most people don't watch reality tv because they're feeling love and compassion and support for everyone on the shows. They bitch and marvel about the people who strike them as annoying, weird, or frustrating, because that's how humans roll. Octomom? Balloon boy? Schnookie or whatever her name is? Heidi and Spencer? When people find someone doing something they don't understand, it's just part of the human condition to analyze it.

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commenternot surprised

See? Now your own commenters are doing what the message board people were doing. They find their behavior weird or worthy of condemnation, so they're getting all sorts of huffy and nasty and critiquing them for behavior they don't understand. I'd actually say the message boarders were a lot more civil, before you got involved anyway.

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commenternot surprised

Just stopped back by to see the comments here and on the forum. Have you seen how many comments and views this is generating on their forum? This is the most action these women have ever seen. I know it's cliche but they love this stuff, obviously.

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/forum.jspa?forumID=89&start=0&sortBy=9&keywordid=0

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSarah J.

Huh. You are...insane. o_o

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commenternot surprised

Blogs might be self-indulgent but lonely planet message board posters aren't much better and don't have a lot of room to pass judgment. fuck em all Monica. you enjoy writing it and obviously lots of people enjoy reading it, so who cares about all this. if this woman is so private, why is she posting her opinions all over the internet? she's probably an aspiring writer who doesn't have the balls to start her own blog or write her own book so she'll pick apart your writing and pull out some phrase like broken butterfly to make fun of. is she john fucking updike?
Here's a thought: IF YOU DON'T LIKE THIS BLOG, DON'T READ IT.

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJ

I just wasted who knows how much time reading that shit forum. All the critics can suck it, Monica. I like your blog. Sometimes you write about stuff that gets me thinking or remembering. Other times I just like to see your darling girl and hear about your little hiking jaunts. Keep up the good work.

((hugs from Canada))

p.s. I've been to Salt Lake. Well, flown through there anyway.

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenn

That's too bad that this played out on your birthday. That sucks.

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPeromyscus

I am not even going to click the link because it'll just piss me off.
Re Message Boards being more of a community than blogs. Bullshit. Most every blog I read has a community, a group of regular commenters, maybe even a shared goal or life situation. When I read blogs and I think the author needs a few words to cheer him or her up, or I think a situation I've been though might relate to theirs and I might have some wisdom to share- I comment. Respectfully. Thoughtfully. If I don't agree and feel the need to say so I respond in the same manner. Thoughtfully and respectfully. The same way I'd talk to you if you were sitting across from me.
BUt if they need exmples of blogs that are communities here they go (and this is only what I read)
Matt Liz and Madeline
Redneck Mommy
The Spohrs are Multiplying
Ms Single Mama (oh- and they have a forum for message boards)
NeiNei
All of these blog authors have went through devestating experiences- loss of children and/or significant others, horrific accidents, drawn out adoption processes and failed adoptions, etc. In the comment section you'll find a community that offers sympathy and also lifts the author up with support and yes, love.
I care what you write about. If they don't then they can suck it and move on.

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLori

Ha! Oh man this kerfuffle is seriously hilarious, everyone has their panties in a twist!

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCandace

It seems to me that your greatest quality, "trying to be fair and balanced", is being turned on you by the "mainstream madness" that is permeating the world these days. I must admit that at times there are things you post on the blog that set those little hairs on the back of my neck to tingling, things that I may not agree with, but it's not my blog, it's yours. The strongest advise I could possibly give you is ignore them and keep on, keepin on! Not everyone is as fortunate as I am to have you as a member of my family and to know that your heart is true, your mind is sharp and your character lacks nothing. If you can't follow that advise, then just tell them all to go to hell and be done with it! Don't do what I would do! MIL #2

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMerry

I just posted over there. Girl, DON'T LISTEN to them! If they don't like it they can CHANGE THE FUCKING CHANNEL. What a bunch of idiots. They're just jealous that they're all sitting in their circle jerk with nothing interesting to say.........

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLars Mom

I see your point. I really do.
I went over to the forum thread to say basically "if you don't like something, move on". But then I realized that I was not taking my own advice. There I was harping on someone's comment, just like everyone else.
With all the world's problems, we should all focus our energies elsewhere.

March 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHedda

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