References, Comments and Malice

Pretentious, boring, arrogant — these are just some of things I have been called over the last week by completely different people. None of these people know me in real life. Beyond the pixels on this page they have never sat down and had a drink with me, joined in with the crazier part of my social life or at least been constructive with their criticisms.

Blogging for me is just about writing. Yes, I write posts sometimes that are just lists because they are good for SEO. People love reading lists and some may even find them useful. This doesn’t make me boring but instead focused on building traffic. What is the point of me trying to build up traffic if the process is just going to provide bloggers in the so-called-community just to bite back? I’m not trying to be competitive.

The comment this evening wasn’t even that harsh. It was from another blogger who called me boring. Yes, I know, innocent. But when this comment has come after a stream of other criticisms I fail to see why anybody would want a following online.

In the past I used to be the author of a popular blog which discussed Atheism in a positive light. Many of those posts were criticised by friends and strangers. I didn’t care. The posts were meant to be thought provoking and conjure emotion. This blog is timid compared to those days. Almost as timorous as inflight Journalism, who could possible quarrel with PR? Yet, people can quarrel with my posts, they can do this until their heart is content. What I can’t stand is when one, as a person, is insulted in some way.

I know I shouldn’t care. Blogging began as a personal journal for me and then grew by accident. Assisted by social networks such as Twitter and StumbleUpon. As long as my brain sends messages to my fingers to decorate this page with words then I will always be open to insult, I just need to make sure I protect myself from injury. I love blogging. People should always have the ability to criticize one’s work. It is what figures such as Thomas Jefferson and John Mill fought for. Just because one can criticise somebody, doesn’t mean that they should. I don’t agree with everybody online, that would be impossible. Yet I have the decency to withhold from targeting people.

This week hasn’t been my worst online experience by a long way. Just completely unexpected. I had gone so long without having to read personal negative comments and harsh words about my own work that a false sense of security had set in. I had thrived in my love for writing perhaps ignorant that anything I type is released into the online world. Yes, I see the statistics each week but it is quite difficult to comprehend each number as a person. I want to continue seeing these blog visits rise. I want to continue blogging.

Instead I find myself sitting here this evening wondering if I should endure blogging. There has been much praise but the harsh comments always twig in the mind sturdier than acclaim. I’m showered this evening with people on various social networks saying ‘Don’t pack it in’.

Suddenly the evening has burst into a commotion which was sparked by a blogger who probably didn’t know how my online week had been. A blogger who didn’t mean to cause a great offence. As of writing this he has actually apologised. I feel sorry back for releasing the pile of bricks upon his head. The comments and references just grew too big in my mind, too overwhelming to control.

Perhaps this is the straw which broke the camel’s back? The back isn’t quite broken yet. I might take a short break from blogging though. Work looks busy this week anyway and I’m away next weekend.

What do you think?