The internet is a pretty big, anonymous place. Anyone can say anything to or about anyone and there’s not much the subject of talk can do about it. I could say, for example, that you smell of Cheetos, wear unicorn Underoos, and your only friend is an anime body pillow, and there’s not much you could do to defend yourself.
Provided that my blog has a big enough audience, my characterization of you might make it into the top search results for the entire internet. For example, my blog is the top search result on Google for a few searches.
With little effort, I could force my portrayal of you into the top search results, so that, from now on, anyone who searches for you online will find out about your pillow girlfriend and eau de Cheetos. Hell, I could even throw a big, bold intro into the most popular posts on this blog calling you out. Since I’m a lowly little individual blogger and not an accredited news source, I don’t have to follow any rules. There’s little you could do to counteract my lies without legal help, which is expensive and time-consuming.
It’s really just that simple to go a-monstering. It’s so easy to turn you into a pariah and I don’t even have to use my real name to do it. We’re all playing by a sort of honor code here, but some of us aren’t very honorable. Honestly, it’s amazing that we’re as civil as we are considering just how easy it is not to be.
I write anonymously. I do this because there are two assholes out there who I don’t want to find this blog. Even if I weren’t hiding from a pedophile and a domestic abuser, I’d probably still write anonymously. I’m a pretty shy person and I’d rather not have potential employers know all my gory history before I’m even asked to interview. “Hi, nice to meet you. I read your blog.” Uh oh.
I have never nor would ever personally attack anyone here. True, I’ve called Sarah Palin a dolt, implied that Antonin Scalia has a big butt, and I may have characterized the President of Hobby Lobby like this…
…but those people are public figures. As a politician, Supreme Court justice and President of a shitty, bigoted company like Hobby Lobby, you must expect a bit of flak when you step into the spotlight. The small anathema I spew from my corner of the internet hardly makes a dent.
Some might argue that the very act of having a blog makes a blogger a sort of public figure. While, in a sense, that’s true, most of us bloggers hardly compare to the audience of say, Buzzfeed, who used my post idea and parts of my post The Worst Products For Left Handed People. I know they saw my post before writing theirs, because they used two images that I used in mine and credited me for one of them. Yet, even though mine was published a year earlier, theirs has millions more views.
Buzzfeed left-handed article views: 2,135,589
FOG left-handed article views: 14,567
I have had and continue to get many, many trolls on this blog, which is strange since I hardly ever say anything important. In fact, most of the haters I get are on a stupid post I wrote about tattoos.
Thank you, Anonymous! How kind of you to drop by and call me a moron four times in only three sentences.
I used to approve and reply to hate comments. Then, I stopped replying. Nowadays, I don’t even approve comments like that, because why should I? This is my domain. I don’t have to tolerate hate of any kind, let alone the kind directed at me. If you don’t like what I have to say, you don’t have to read it. For every word I say here, there are a gajillion others written by people you probably agree with. Go read those and high-five each other. Leave me out of it.
I’m not a super opinionated blogger. I have opinions on things and I do opine from time to time, but mostly, I talk about personal experiences or straight-up nonsense–hardly anything worth panty-bunching over.
I’m not a huge blogger. I don’t have hundreds of thousands of followers and I’m perfectly fine with that. I don’t want them. What little viral success I have had has taught me that I don’t want it.
Aside from the continual hate comments I get from strangers, I’ve been lucky that I’ve never been personally attacked by another blogger. No one has outed me or spread lies about me (that I know of). I haven’t had to defend myself from a pack of rabid followers after a personal attack.
In the six years I’ve been blogging, I’ve seen a few personal attacks. I’ve seen bloggers disappear altogether when mob mentality got the better of them. It’s a shame that anyone would attack, out, shame, name-call or harass another blogger, even to the point where that person would stop blogging, but it happens all the time. Stop doing that. It’s bad enough that we have to face attacks from the rest of the internet; we don’t need it from within the blogging community. If you attack me or my bloggy friends, fair warning, I know internet karate.
Have you ever been personally attacked by another blogger? How do you handle haters?