Sunday, September 20, 2009

Say Something Nice

This is something I wrote for Huffington Post. That's why it sounds a little more official, and doesn't have any swearing. It is also my 500th post. So, there.

If you are at all familiar with the world of blogging, which, reading this, I assume you are, then you are most likely familiar with the name Heather Armstrong. She is the "Dooce" of Dooce.com, and, as of this week, "Monetizing the Hate." That's right, she has launched a site made up of all the hate mail that she has received, along with dozens of ads in order to profit off all of the people who have insulted her. I think it's brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. After all, turning hurt and anger into money is a great idea. If everyone could do it I have a couple friends who could make millions off their mothers alone.

I do have one small problem with Armstrong's new site, though not with the idea itself. I just can't believe that blogging has gotten so ugly that a site like this can exist, and make money. It's as if the blogosphere is the new Junior High School. And there is plenty of evidence to support that hypothesis.

There are millions of blogs out there. Among them are a few that have risen to the top as "superstar" blogs. And for every "superstar" there is at least one blog criticizing them, and trying to gain a readership by trying to take them down. It would be bad enough if it stopped there, but it doesn't. Then there are the superstars who have to respond to the critics, and the followers of both who have decided to engage in a of war of words to prove the blogger they like is ultimately right.

Really, all I need are Girbeau jeans and a love of greasy cafeteria peanut butter bars and I am back in 1988.

It isn't that I don't like snark - it is my life's work. However, I started blogging in order to make my voice heard, and to hear other voices. Those voices I don't like, I don' t read, and don't highlight. I like to think that if I don't like them I have better things to do than try to humiliate, or destroy them. Of course, I am writing this...

Of course, I like to think this is less a criticism, and more a call for civility. Please, bloggers, just because you can say something, just because it makes you feel a part of an online "family or "clique" doesn't mean you should say it. And just because you think you can get over your hurt feelings by making money and calling attention to the hate, doesn't mean you should.

Think of it as setting an example. We all have kids. And Congress certainly isn't teaching any lessons about manners. So, let's start a new trend on the Internet. Let's all just at least pretend to get along. Can't we do that?

10 comments:

Jules said...

1st - Happy 500th Post!
2nd - I'm glad you said something about people in Congress (and Entertainment) not being good examples of how to hold your tongue if you don't have something nice to say. Really, People. Time to grow up.

Chief said...

Ha...funny, I removed her from my blogroll a few weeks ago.

I haven't quite figured out the whole blogging clique thing and how it works. I have never been one to clique.

Happy 500~

*Akilah Sakai* said...

Wow, 500?!

Great post! Too many bitter pills out there wasting energy tearing people apart for simple stuff like hating on their way of life or what blog topics they post about. It's ridiculous.

Rassles said...

I don't read Dooce, but I'm not anti-Dooce. And as far as I'm concerned, "Monetizing the Hate" is a freakin' genius thing.

I feel like every medium turns into high school eventually, and it will always be The Cool Kids vs. Not The Cool Kids. So weird, I know.

But I'm with you: if you don't like it, just don't read it.

Sam said...

Happy 500th!

Now you've gone and made me miss my Girbaud jeans. Those were the best ever.

Summer said...

Congrats on your 500th! Fantastic post. I couldn't agree with you more. I've never understood people that hop on hate wagons. The internet, of all places, is the easiest to avoid people who irritate you. Just click that little red X... and then it's gone.

BTW the Girbeau jeans reference made me snort aloud.

melistress said...

I love this post and I have written about this sort of thing before, although I have never heard of Dooce.

It has turned into Junior high on the internet and it really makes me sad. If only we would all treat each other the same way we would if they were standing in our own living room. The "anonymity" of the internet has empowered people to be who they want to be and unfortunately it appears that some of us want to be internet bullies.

Secretly, though, as a bullied high school kid, that is actually awesome revenge.

MomZombie said...

You are so right about the junior high mentality. It's alive and well over on Facebook, too. Didn't we live through all this angst once? Do we have to relive it for some masochistic reason? Once a blog dips a toe into that murky water, I tend to stop visiting.
Still, you have to hand it to Dooce for turning the whole thing around into a cash cow.

Kim said...

Okay, now you are just bragging with the whole Huffington Post thing. And here I was feeling smug about my insightful, investigative piece about commercial refrigeration.

KuKd Chick said...

Happy 500th, to repeat what others have said. I think people leave hate mail when they're bored, insecure, and/or envious of others' successes. Good for Heather for throwing back in the face like this and profiting from it all. Creative and clever - I like it! Makes me wish I'd get some hate mail from time to time to collect and profit from - but the stillbirth thing somehow softens everybody up. ;-)