Clue-by-Four: Ramblings of a Jock Dork

Counterpoint: Unfollow Friday Questions Remain

Posted in Clue x Fours and Other Tools of Sanity by Wingnut on May 20, 2010

(Disclaimer: All comments need to be civil. They may be edited at ClueXfour’s discresion if there are any that are about people, not ideas)

I had to laugh as I saw the trending hashtag Tuesday, considering the blog drama that occurred on May 14. Now, it is probably pure coincidence, especially since the tag is horribly misspelled. Probably…and, since tomorrow is another #FF, this issue will likely continue to fester.

First, let it be said that I’m all for a positive blogging community, though, initially, I had to learn how to walk the line when I wanted to challenge someone’s opinions. It is a very fine line, let me tell you, and I crossed it more than once. I sincerely hope the community never disintegrates into the nonsense you can see in the comments section of almost any CNN.com story.

However, I question the moral high ground that the boycotting bloggers are standing on. Now, I’m not saying that people don’t have a right to choose who they associate with. By all means, you are allowed to pick who your friends are and aren’t. But, to make the statement that we will not promote any blogger who engages in negative statements or personal attacks opens our own ethics up to a slippery slope.

Opening question: How can we take a moral stand against this sort of blogging when, in our own blogs, we attack, ridicule, and make fun of people ourselves?

 Yes, we keep them anonymous by giving them silly initials or nicknames. But, our behavior is not far removed from that which we claimed to abhor in others. Do we not use their words and actions in ways that are, at their best, impolite?

I’ll go a step further. Our blogging behaviors are, at times, suspect because we rarely invite the subjects of our blogs to come defend themselves or explain their side of the story. We don’t invite them to expound upon our crazy or idiosyncrasies to others in our circle of influence. Nor do we inform them that private conversations [text, phone, or e-mails] will become exposed to analysis, criticism, public debate, and ridicule. We don’t tell them that making fun of them is our entertainment.

Make no mistake, I am OK with what we all write about. Not only is it entertaining, it’s therapeutic for the author and the reader in the shared experience. I believe that through inquiry into someone else’s flaws, we come closer to identifying our own. The shared experience is the most important thing about what we write about. That is what creates our sense of community.

Thus, I cannot, in good conscience, stand on higher ground knowing what I write, and will continue to write, about. To me, this seems hypocritical.

How This Situation Equates to RL:

 I can stop being friends with the perpetrator [not that I was before].  I do not feel, however, that it is right for me to tell someone else to terminate a friendship with another person. I wouldn’t do that in real life, why would I do it online? Someone else is allowed to make their own judgment as to who they want to be friends with.

I’ve heard it said by some that they don’t want to even “see” this person’s name in their Twitter stream. Again, how realistic would that be for a real life? I’m a regular at a country bar near where I live in Orange County. There are real life people who are just as hurtful as the blogger in question, often worse. It is safe to say, I don’t like them.

Do I like seeing them? Not particularly. However, I know that by being a member of the OC country scene, I have to accept that they will be there and I have to be OK with it. What is the alternative…try to get them thrown out? At least I don’t have to talk to them or listen to what they are talking about. The same can be said about someone else’s blog. Sure, you see the link in a RT, but you don’t have to click on it.

Back to the bar and my friends who still associate with those people. I don’t stop being friends with them. Sure, I may avoid talking to them when they are around the object of my dislike, but that does not prevent me from ever talking to them at all. I just talk to them when that person is not around, or I wait to talk to them at other venues.

Options:

It’s a part of blogosphere, just as it is a part of real life. The only option you do have at the bar is to leave. The Twitter equivalent would be to stop tweeting and reading tweets for a while.

There is one other option, however. You can embrace the hypocrisy of our blogs loudly and proudly. I’m totally down with that.

Hi, my name is JD…and I am a sometimes hypocrite and oft times giant whale penis.

Thanks for stopping by.

Postscript: Extra concern

 It also alarms me because what limits have we established amongst ourselves behavior we will turn our backs on. This all started because of verbal assaults online. Does it stop there? What if one of the bloggers engages in behavior that hurts another blogger offsite? The victim has been traumatized and is devastated. It didn’t happen in the blogosphere, but is far more egregious than anything that has happened online. Then what? In some of our own blogs, some of us even admit to similar behaviors. So, by unfollowing, are we being consistent or is it just more hypocrisy.

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7 Responses

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  1. Lisa said, on May 20, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    I’m not a hypocrite, but I did stop following that particular blogger because I was getting tired of the several times a day messages from them on Facebook. Kinda spammy. I don’t like spam, or Spam.

    I’ll shut up now and go back to writing about bananas.

    • theteacher174 said, on May 20, 2010 at 9:14 pm

      Unfriending someone does not make one a hypocrite. 🙂 Though, not liking Spam makes you suspect!

  2. maruskamorena said, on May 20, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    Great Post.. 🙂

  3. Lostplum said, on May 21, 2010 at 3:20 am

    well put!

  4. Anonymous said, on May 21, 2010 at 5:27 am

    Unite!

  5. Alex said, on May 22, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    This is a really good post, Cluex. Really.

    Hind sight is always 20/20. I would concede our strategy was over zealous, asking/demanding others to make a stand with us when they had no stake in the matter. Asking to others to unfriend someone or unfollow them is a bit much to expect and is bound to piss some people off. I concede that point.

    Every blogger I know, just about anyway, pokes fun or has poked fun at people they’ve been on dates with. Yeah. It’s immature. Should we stop doing that? It would be a good idea. However, what I’ve seen a lot of is that people are comparing apples to broadswords here.

    Personally, my stand here is against a particular type of blogging, malicious by design. I’m not sure if you’re aware of all the details at hand. I’m only privy to three separate incidents myself.

    The attacks I speak of (no, I don’t have access to these blogs in question anymore, kids) are blog posts filled with rage directed at a couple different bloggers. It goes beyond simple name calling here. The sort of attacks that inspire hundreds or thousands of the attackers work to, then, go an attack those other bloggers. One person almost quit because of it. It’s these types of attacks that seriously hinder and harm a person’s livelihood, if they make money from their blog, which I know one of these bloggers do. It’s not right, and it’s a blatant abuse of influence. There’s no protection here. Only fellow bloggers are there to provide some means of a check and balance… That’s it.

    These are two separate types of attacks that I highlight here. The offending blogger would rather not focus on what she’s done. Doesn’t care. She’d rather focus on the anonymous bloggers hiding behind a pen name that make fun of anonymous targets. Doing either is wrong, but they are drastically different, understand.

    My go forward attitude is this: I no longer support that blogger with RTs or FFs (save for the one that I did on #UFF, iFail at boycotts) or anyone that RTs or FFs them. Pure and simple. If anyone asks I’ll tell them. That’s all any of us can do. It’s like voting with your dollars, where you choose to patron and not.

    Thank you for a well written article.


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