Monday, September 7, 2009

Are You Ready To Be A Blogger?

Does criticism bother us a lot more than appreciation makes us happy? I really do wonder. Rude and criticism ridden comments on our blog really get to us. They solicit more reactions and time from the blogger than the nice, appreciative comments do. Some bloggers, simply don't publish the rude comments, and that is their way of dealing with it. But most of us do get bothered.

It is quite simple, most of the bloggers write about their lives, activities, emotions, their loved ones. And it is not easy to take criticism on any of those counts. But the deal is simple, owning a public blog simply means, anyone in the world can read every word of what we publish. And we need to remember that with every post we publish. From my personal experience I can say, as we spend more time blogging, we lose more and more of our inhibitions about opening up. As we put forth more and more of our self on the blog, the more vulnerable we get to attacks.

I have been very fortunate, to not have been picked on by people on my blog, or maybe I am way too boring for people to criticise, or maybe I have limited readership, and the few who comment out of them are friends, whatever the reason, I have not faced the real brunt of it. But what if I wrote a post on how the BB is an amazing child, and someone left a comment saying something rude on that post. It would indeed hurt, I know. And what would I do then? Being in the objective position that I am in at this point, I think I would need to remind myself that indeed anyone can read and have their say on any of my posts. And if I cannot deal with someone reacting negatively, maybe I should not have displayed to the entire world, a part of myself that is vulnerable to hurt and pain. But then, what would my blog contain, just some abstract thoughts, or philosophical ideas that have nothing to do with my personal life? Could be, if I enjoyed that kind of blogging, but I don't. My blog is about more than just my ideas, it is about my life, the incidents that occur in it, my emotions and more. My blog is anonymous, which means, I don't share it with most people I know in real life. I shifted to a new blog a couple of months back, and among all other reasons, was also the reason that I wanted to lose some extremely pesky relatives people who were following the old blog, and basically using the posts from there in anyway they could, to create trouble for me. After a couple of experiences my writing became very controlled, and I did not write as freely as I would have liked to. So there I had my bad experience, which did not even come in the form of a comment, and I responded by escaping.

When writing posts about personal issues, topics that are close to our hearts or sensitive issues, we need to forever remember that when putting it on a blog, it is equivalent to shouting the thing out on a crowded railway platform. Anybody, simply anybody could read it. How calmly would we discuss such topics with people we don't really trust in person. Some things, we do not share, even with our closest friends is it not? And yet we put it on our blog. A big thing which lets me do it, is my anonymity. Personally I could never blog as freely as I do now, if I did it with my name up front. The veil of anonymity makes it easier to share, write, tell. But even if anonymous, I need to remember, that not everyone reading this blog is a person who would agree with me, and at anytime, can come up with a cruel remark or comment. And it would not hurt less because the commentator, does not know my real name.

Another issue that crops up with blogging is that readers assume a familiarity, we may not be comfortable with. It is a bit like being a celebrity. If I spot Tom Cruise on the street, I get the feeling of seeing someone I know, not just because I have seen his movies, but also because there is a lot I know about him, his family, his kids, wives, even marital woes and more. And that would give me a false sense of familiarity, and being a fan, I may try to express it. Tom Cruise on the other hand would simply flee, because he does not know I exist on this planet. Happens with bloggers too. If you read someone's blog long enough, a feeling of familiarity creeps up, which is not felt by the blogger herself, and when the reader communicates with the blogger, it is with that illusion of familiarity, which the blogger herself does not feel, and that can get uncomfortable. So if I am talking about my insecurities about my in-laws on my blog, a reader I don't know, can easily comment on that in a way which comes naturally to them through their feeling of familiarity, from reading my blog long enough, but it totally blows me off. And somehow neither seem to be doing the wrong thing in this case.

Bloggers are judged by the readers. Always and but always. There is no escaping that. Again its a follow-on of the pseudo celebrity-like familiarity. Everyone has an opinion on Amitabh Bachhan. Some good, and some not so much. Similarly for every blog, it is natural to expect that not everyone reading it would have a good opinion about it. And as the posts get personal, the judgment shifts onto the blogger from just the blog. Be prepared blogger, because the world is not made of just roses, but comes with its share of thorns too.

All of these are simple trappings of having a public blog, just as there are trappings of being a celebrity. A recent conversation with a blogger friend, who was upset with condescending comments on her blog, led me onto tell her the exact same things. It happens. There was a fiasco in the blog world a while back, and pretty much everyone had an opinion, me included. While discussing the issue with someone, she asked me, "What is the need for people who are not involved to have opinions?" It is simple enough, when there is a fight between SRK and Salman Khan, don't most of us have our opinions on it?

Addendum - Do read the latest post by Monika, who blogs with her own name, and was recognised by strangers in a mall. Indeed how would I react to some stranger coming up to me on the street and saying, Ah! yes, I know the BB loves wearing your necklaces. It would definitely freak me out. What about you? A danger of putting up too many personal things on a public space?

15 comments:

Rakesh said...

So in short are you saying you're SRK? or Salman? lol...

I kinda enjoy such fights. Sadly nobody picks on me on my blog or any other blog!

Sraboney said...

Even my blog is anonymous - my parents read it from time to time but I haven't told anybody else about it...My husband doesn't read it although he knows I blog...

We are human beings and as human being we'll always have opinions solicited or not...As long as these opinions are constructive, it's fine...Rudeness should not be tolerated...Thankfully, till now nobody has been rude to me...

hitchwriter said...

still waiting for the so called thorns... !!!!

but like i said to some one ... this blog world is getting to be toooooo good to be real...

but so far... my experience has been just lovely...

D said...

SRK and Salman Khan? Who's who? ;)

On a serious note, yes, when you put your feeling and emotions up on a public forum like a blog, you are leaving yourself vulnerable to judgement. Strangely enough, strangers are kinder in judging us than people we know!

Passionate Goof said...


Rakesh - I am neither. Because I am not fighting with anyone. That was just an example!! Oh! You missing the action. I will pick on your on each post from today. And i already have reason, you left blogger!

Bones - No it is not. You blog with your name, and pics!!! :P Fortunately no one has been rude to me either, actually they have been exceptionally sweet and kind.

Hitchwriter - me too!! I agree about the too good to be real bit too.

D - they are SRK and Salman. I was not drawing parallels D, it was just an example. :)
Indeed we are, and strangers are usually a lot more understanding and kind, because they have no personal interests attached to us, which helps them be objective.

Smitha said...

I agree, when we blog , we do put ourselves up for criticism, for strangers to judge us.

I wish I had started blogging anonymously too.. It would have been much more open, I think. Now some things, I cannot blog about.

And yes, I am lucky that I have not had rude comments or anything of that sort.. but it is clear that there are people out there who can be rude and can make us feel extremely uncomfortable..

Solilo said...

GM, my blog link is with almost all my relatives, my husband's relatives and my friends.

Even though I write about my daughter, I always keep in mind not to reveal too much. Personally, for me that works. I don't like to share too much with virtual people. So even the personal things I write are general.

I keep in mind most times not to be judgemental on my blog. That is how I am in real life too. Still people disagree at time and that is natural. As long as people are not abusive and post comments just to put you down, I pass all. Some comments which are just plain rude gets deleted because just like in real life, I don't welcome rude people on my virtual space too. So what if it on internet, it still is my space.

sraikh said...

Okay how did I end up with all the crazy people. I have had aquite afew trolls, The recent one I was telling you about that day..

I know I should just delete and ignore but lately, when I have been getting one bad comment per day its been getting to me. And I know I shouldnt but I do.Its hard not to when the comments are so so personal.
But what I found is them trolls are just cowards, each time I say I will hunt them down, they then dont comment and just lurk, which makes even scarier..

Monika said...

linking up ur post... u read my min only u said so much better

Passionate Goof said...


Smitha - Yes there are. And we should consider ourselves lucky indeed, that we have not faced any 'violent' attacks so far!

Solilo - I have always felt that about your blog, even you personal stuff is general. And that is indeed a smart way of doing it, when so many people are reading you. Yes indeed, if you don't want it, delete it. Deal with it as you feel right, it is after all your blog. :)

Sraikh - *hugs* I know you do. But know what some are just jealous, or plain cowards as you say. Why are tehy getting to you S? Do you believe that what they are sayiong is right? That can be the only reason that they will get to you. If not, then why? Chak de yaar. You know, you can never make everyone happy, so just keep yoruself happy girl. And you know you rock.

Monika - Please do. :) It was yoru personal experience girl, to me it was just a general thing.

Sania said...

We-ell really nothing much to add but couldn't let the SRK-Salman reference go away without comment!

"It is simple enough, when there is a fight between SRK and Salman Khan, don't most of us have our opinions on it?"

Disagree - in that fight, if you notice the industry people are not commenting or taking sides. Farah Khan is still filming talk shows with Salman and being pally with SRK.

Similarly when two bloggers have a problem, they should fight it out - it's ok to show your support to the blogger you're close to, but it's not ok to jump in and join the pointing of fingers. Jus my opinion.

No one is perfect after all! As for trolls the less said about them the better, and as for those who support trolls... !

-Deliberately being anon here

Passionate Goof said...


Sania - That is understandable. I did not wish to bring it up, but somehow that incident linked well to this post. Bollywood is a sham, so it is not even comparable to blogging where most bloggers are honest, nice people. That is what i think. But yes once again, if there is a fight between 2 celebrities, anyone at all, normal junta would have an opinion, one way or another, because thy feel that familiarity with the celebrities, a form of knowing them through what they see, hear read about them, no matter how far from reality that might be. I am talking about a similair mentality for bloggers, because we read and know so much about them. That is what I was trying to explain through this post. Most Indians picked sides in the Ganguly-Chapell controversy, did they not?

Passionate Goof said...


Sania - Sorry but I cannot edit and publish comments(blogger does not have such a feature), so it is either everything or nothing, to be honest, I would not want to either. So would you like me to reply to that here or elsewhere?

But just to reply to the first part, I don't feel the blogging community has any vested interests here, to behave like hypocrites, the way bollywood does. Bloggers are normal people, people from Bollywood, not so much. ;)

Mystic Margarita said...

I haven't ever had rude comments on my blog - and that's understandable because I don't write much about issues that are controversial. But you're right -bloggers do open themselves up to criticism when they write, but I believe that the onus is on the commenters to keep the disagreement civil and not resort to personal attacks.

Passionate Goof said...


MM - Yes, it is upto personal sense of decorum when a person comments. And rude comments are never nice. The post is from a blogger's point of view though, and we need to know that just about anyone can walk in and comment here isn't it?