This Saturday marks my one year anniversary of entering into the blogosphere.
My impression of this blogging world has been remarkably positive. I've watched people come together to support others, I've seen bloggers use their platform to support those in need or to lift up a cause. I've connected with many bloggers- some have even connected back.
I've watched my "followers" grow from 2 (Jeff, Christy) to 90. I've learned about stat counters and Google Analytics and increasing traffic. I've been tiptoeing around Twitter and exploring other blogs. I've been seeking my niche, my strength, trying to define what I bring.
And just yesterday, after a year with very little realization of the big picture, I stumbled upon the very ugly, dark side of the blogosphere. The Death Star, if you will. A large planet sized destroyer of good.
Apparently, there are bad guy bloggers. I knew that but hadn't experienced it. Maybe even hoped it was just an urban legend.
Yesterday, I happened upon a video blog on YouTube from a month ago. A story about a blogger suing Google for revealing her identity. She had written nasty things about a model. The model filed suit and required that Google provide identity information. Then that blogger, having been revealed, sued Google.
I found it interesting that someone thought they could actually remain anonymous online. It's one thing if you work to keep yourself private but still share yourself. So you don't use your name, your kids' names, identifying information, etc. But to think that you can assume an anonymous identity in order to be nasty and vile and slanderous... you will get caught. It will catch up with you.
Then I headed over to a blog I recently started reading. She's a mom and has a lot of kids and most have been adopted and are special needs. She's got a crazy life but I admire the love she pours out and the life she is providing for these young people. She has no clue who I am and that's fine- I just enjoy observing. Things have been heating up over there... and there was a big old nasty post recently about one of those phantom attack bloggers now attacking her.
I have to admit to being curious. So I started doing some digging. And it turns out that the Phantom Menace Blogger (this is my own name for this blogger) has spent the past few years targeting the "big" mommy bloggers and the occasional dad blogger.
I spent more time than I should have reading the Phantom Menace Blogger's blog last night. This woman is in constant attack mode... I just can't imagine what that must feel like, to be so angry and hateful and full of spite and piss and vinegar.
I found another blogger that claims to know who the Phantom Menace Blogger is and has details on her... and this blogger also likes to bitch about people and vent about posts and bloggers and invites others to do the same.
I finally shut down the window, closed all tabs. And took a deep breath. And I looked at my blog roll and realized how lucky I am that my first year of blogging has been full of positive connections, interactions with positive people.
I've been thinking a lot lately about how to move my blog to the "next step." How to settle into whatever my niche is, how to define myself as a blogger, how to get more readers, more followers, more traffic.
But after last night... I'm done. I'm happy with the little space I've carved out here. I'm happy with those who read and never comment, with those who read and comment frequently, with those who pop in for a quick glance, with those who help to lift me up... I'm happy knowing that my mom reads my blog, my church friends read my blog (Ashli, Pastor Jennifer, Jill, Victoria), my mommy friends read my blog (Lindsey, Collette, Jen, Anne, Nancy), my daily life friends read my blog (Christy, Tim, Jim), my MomsLikeMe friends read my blog (too many to list). I appreciate when those folks give me feedback and talk to me about things I've written. I like knowing that my words, my experiences, my images, my memories connect with other people.
So I'm going to keep my little happy blogger blinders on. I'm going to stick with the blogs that aren't about bashing other people, that aren't about complaining and venting all the time (we all need to complain and vent sometimes, I know!!).
I'm going to Blog With Integrity
I've seen this badge on other sites and didn't pay much attention to it. I hadn't been exposed to the seamy underbelly of the blogosphere beast. But in all of my clicking around last night, I came across a link to it and I went and looked at the site and the pledge and boy did it bring me back to center after spinning about with all the drama I was witnessing.
A lot of what Blog With Integrity is about deals with sponsors and advertisers and so on. I don't do that. The closest thing I've got is a relationship with a PR firm that asks me to test Verizon phones and share what I think online. That started prior to blogging- when I was still "just" an online community mom. I've shared some of those product thoughts here on the blog and will continue to do so- I get no compensation for it. Other than that, I've only been approached one time by an advertiser- some do-it-yourself online buying parts place, I forget the name.
You know... while I would honestly love it if my blog started making a little money or hooking me up with great local opportunities or even just afforded me a little sense of celebrity... it isn't why I'm here.
I'm here because I love to write. And it's taken me a year to figure that out. I like having an audience and I feed on comments like any blogger. But so much of what I do is almost therapeutic. When I'm crumbling under parenting pressure and dealing with toddler tantrums and marital stress and work overload... I can come here and work through it. I think that most of my writing has that tone. I start out focusing on the problem but by the end, I've got a plan in place to do something about it. I hope it feels that way to my readers and that you are getting something from my process, too. I've sometimes had days where I get hit with 5 blog entry ideas at once. And I write and research and write and write and I schedule those blogs to post. And then I feel empty for the next few days because I'm not starting my day with writing. Which is why you sometimes get an onslaught of 2-3 posts a day. I'm not one to edit and proof and re-read my posts. I write from my heart, in the moment. Which is why things get rambly and non-sensical sometimes.
So the bottom line, if there really is one, is this: I'm not changing. Wow, that sounds odd. I'm not actively seeking changes to my blog or my blogging process or my blogging relationships. That sounds better. I'm going to stick with what's been working for me so far. I'm going to keep sharing myself openly and honestly, with integrity. I'm going to keep seeking out opportunities to connect with my regular readers who put themselves out there in comments or e-mails (Garret, Flartus, Lori, Tom, Mrs4444, Mimbles, Heather, Emma, The Jason Show, Joanie, Braja and many more). I'm going to keep enjoying the fun of Friday Fragments, I'm going to keep sharing my parenting struggles and joys and triumphs, I'm going to keep reading and commenting and connecting. If opportunities come my way, I won't disregard them if they suit my purpose, my blog (like Mrs4444's suggestion to Tweet about my jeans issue- maybe something will come along and find my blog and seek me out with the perfect pair of jeans).
And I won't be starting any Blog Wars or bashing other mommies or passing judgement on my readers or spewing venom and threats. I'll stick with what has been working so far. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
I'm going to keep on keepin' on. With Integrity. Without bashing others.
BLOG with INTEGRITY
By displaying the Blog with Integrity badge or signing the pledge, I assert that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is important to me.
I treat others respectfully, attacking ideas and not people. I also welcome respectful disagreement with my own ideas.
I believe in intellectual property rights, providing links, citing sources, and crediting inspiration where appropriate.
I disclose my material relationships, policies and business practices. My readers will know the difference between editorial, advertorial, and advertising, should I choose to have it. If I do sponsored or paid posts, they are clearly marked.
When collaborating with marketers and PR professionals, I handle myself professionally and abide by basic journalistic standards.
I always present my honest opinions to the best of my ability.
I own my words. Even if I occasionally have to eat them.
Happy Blogging Anniversary.
I've seen some pretty ugly stuff in the 5 years that I've been blogging. Most of it was on AOL journals, and because of the nasty, (IMO) that part of AOL died quickly.
I love reading your blog, I think it's strange(but in a good way!) that we are often so very close, I find myself looking for you in Target mainly because I know I could run into you & not even know it! ha ha ha.
Keep doing what you're doing-- It's fabulous! :)
I only comment here because my computer is drawn to your blog and makes me comment before I can look at porn.
Garret, it's amazing just how powerful I am.
Heather, I find myself looking for you all the time, too! One of these days, we'll have to "do lunch." I've got a few local bloggers I really want to meet up with and just hang out with.
Brilliant. And it echoes my own heart for writing, and a heart for my own readers. In a sense they're entrusted to our care, and we should show them the same respect that they show us. Do unto others as you would have them do... not do unto others BEFORE they do unto you!
Bottom line for me: your blog is just plain fun!
Happy Anniversary!! And thanks for being there. It has meant a lot to me over the past few weeks. Here's to many more years and sharing a cuppa, even if it is only a virtual one.
Happy Bloggiversary! And thanks for the mention as one of the "good guys."
I erred on the cautious side when setting up my blog--pseudonym, not Googleable, etc.--for fear of those kinds of crazies out there. I've seen threads taken over by nutcases on some other big blogs, and didn't want to deal with that.
But, like you, I've been amazed at the warm sense of community & support I've felt. It renews some of my faith in our society--there are good people out there. And I count myself lucky that anyone reads my blog!
Blogging with integrity should be natural for anyone with a moral compass, I think. But it's good to know that there's an effort to promote what used to be common: civility.
Blog on, baby!
You know that I love you and your blog Liz! I have read some of the other drama on other blogs I read, I don't get it. I don't need any more drama in my life...I have a 3 year old for that. So much of the "drama" that I have read on other blogs reminds me of high school. I am glad that you aren't changing the way you blog.
Happy Blogging Anniversary, Liz! Wow, I thought you had been at this much longer than year!
Yes, I've seen the ugly side of blogging too, and have been the target. It's not fun.
Good for you for spreading a message of integrity!
Right on, Liz.
Life is too short for the haters. I'm glad I came across Eternal Lizdom.
I totally agree with some of the horrible comments people write on others blogs .... I think the more you open your blog up the more you invite the crazys! I read a blog the other day where the woman had created a separate blog called 'monetizing the hate' ... I thought it was a cool way to ignore all the haters!
Happy blogging and happy anniversary
Great article, very interesting
Congrats :) I popped over from Friday Fragments and sort of just read my way down the page. :) I still only have a handful of readers to my blog, but that's just fine with me. It was through blogging that I realized that I love photography. I didn't know that before. It's amazing what can be learned through blogging.
Good stuff - Congrats and enjoy not being a part of the blog wars that goes on from time to time.
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