The Internet is a great big place. Huge. More sites, more people, more blogs go online every day.
But, just like everything else in this universe, the large is composed of the small.
So it is with the blogosphere.
This week, there was another incident of a blogger disregarding the Blogger’s Code of Conduct. (Honestly, I didn’t even know there was a Blogger’s Code of Conduct, but it was developed to address situations like this. Apparently, common sense isn’t always as common as we’d like.)
Even within the blogosphere, there are niches. One of those niches is Mommy Bloggers. Whether you turn your nose up at Mommy Blogging, feel your blog is more than that, or embrace it by tattooing it on your ass, it exists.
Mommy bloggers are a vocal and influential force, often wooed by corporate suitors to attend conferences, act as spokespeople for their products, or serve as the voices that advise them on their foray into social media, and so much more.
Quite a few of the people who read my blog are not bloggers, not moms, and wouldn’t know Dooce if she appeared in their living room. They’ve never hung out in the pisser with The Bloggess, and they couldn’t pick Sweetney out of a lineup.
But, I can guarantee, each of those women will see this post. If I say something crass, they will know. If I say something fabulous about them, they will know.
Is it because I’m a big time mommy blogger?
Do I even have to link to them in order for them to know I included them in this post?
Is it magic?
Nope. It’s the Internet. If you write it, they will come.
Who will come?
First, the people who regularly read your blog will come. That’s one slice of the pie. Then, the bots that cruise around the Internet cataloging content will come. People googling village pissers will come. (I shit you not.) Finally, the people who have an online presence will come because IT’S THEIR WORLD.
It’s where they work. It’s where they play. And, if they are any good at what they do, they keep track of what is written about them, whether you use their name, a link to their site, or just allude to them in rather specific terms like where they were when you saw them performing a distinct behavior you found offensive.
And, that brings me to the title of this post. The blogosphere is a teeny tiny village, especially when you narrow it down to one of the specific niches within it.
Does this make for junior-high-style drama? It can, but it doesn’t have to if we all remember that THIS IS OUR VILLAGE.
- Take responsibility not just for your own words, but for the comments you allow on your blog.
- Label your tolerance level for abusive comments.
- Consider eliminating anonymous comments.
- Ignore the trolls.
- Take the conversation offline, and talk directly, or find an intermediary who can do so.
- If you know someone who is behaving badly, tell them so.
- Don't say anything online that you wouldn't say in person.
And to close, I’ll leave you with a quick summary and a visual of why this is so important. It has to do with making assumptions. We all know the rule about that, and it’s played out exquisitely in this instance.
An assumption was made that by not using a person’s name or linking to the person’s blog, that the readers of a post would have no idea to whom the writer was referring.
Here’s why that assumption was wrong:
This handy tool, WhoFollowsWhom, allows you to enter the names of Twitter users to find out who their common followers are, and whom they both (in this case) follow. Since Twitter is a tool of choice among bloggers, it’s an important place to go to check for overlapping connections should you decide to express your opinions about them in what you assume will be an anonymous fashion.
For those of you who aren’t bloggers, I apologize for this tech-heavy rant, but the lessons learned here are universal.
We are a community, no matter how geographically dispersed, varied of opinion, or lacking of tact. Therefore, it is up to us to call each other on our shit, hold one another accountable, and stick up for our fellow citizens when they are being wronged. It is also our job to learn from our mistakes, which is what I deeply hope will happen here.
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