>> Sunday, August 16, 2009
some of you may have noticed that i've been slacking on my blog entries lately. i bet i don't have too many followers. i do have some sort of site counter but to be honest i never look at the reports. for those of you who do read my blog, i appreciate you. and for those who have blogs, i enjoy reading yours. but lately i have thought long and hard about blogging. and the reasons or even motives behind our individual choice to blog.
a while ago there was a big deal in the world of "mommy bloggers"-deceit about a woman carrying a sick baby who was not going to survive outside the womb. miraculously the baby was born and lived. and all was great, that is until a savvy reader was able to tell that the pictures of this newborn miracle were that of a doll. i never read this blog in particular. the first i heard of the whole mess was from a few bloggers who got together to make a statement regarding the deceit. these women also had blogs, a couple of which i read regularly. they were some how involved with the deceiver-offering support and bringing traffic to the blog. i guess because of that they felt a responsibility to their blog readers and made the joint statement. they and i guess many others became emotionally invested in this story and were duped. end of story...or so i thought.
in the joint statement(which i don't remember word for word) the situation was for the most part over. people were encouraged to move on, not speak of the incident and just let it go. this seemed to be sound advice. not being a big tv watcher or follower of the blog in question-i did not know until just recently that one of the authors of the joint statement went on national tv to discuss the incident. she did bring up the fact that she too had become emotionally involved and taken advantage of. but why the tv interview? i don't know. it seemed to go against the message of just letting the situation die down.
more recently i came across a blog about this very person who spoke out against the deception, encouraged others to let it be and then went on national tv to discuss the incident. i assure you it was not that i was looking for the blog. finding it was a complete accident. a blogger i follow was brought up in sort of a "hate" blog if you will and linked to it. i followed the link which lead to another link and finally to the blog i'm speaking of.
i am a follower of the blogger who involved themselves in the deceit and then spoke out on tv about feeling emotionally duped. and as i read the blog the more i found out about this blogger (have i totally confused you yet?)and i got a rude awakening. this person has a sick child, one that i have become emotionally invested in. i had prayer buttons displayed on my blog, and even encouraged you-my readers to also support this family in prayer. when i mention a rude awakening, i mean that the story shared for all of us in blog land may not have been the truth. there may have been some or a lot of embellishment on the blogger's behalf regarding not only her child's illness but other things in her life. and i'll admit that for quite a while as i read and gasped in shock-i didn't know what to think. i didn't want to believe any of it. how could i have been duped? and why would someone who had been duped themselves want to do that to their readers. many readers...it's a pretty popular mommy blog.
now of course a blogger is not at all obligated to share every detail of their life. and even can assume a whole different identity if they want. fine. the issues i have with this are first-taking your readers and supporters on an emotional roller coaster. many, including myself prayed for a child that was supposed to be in a really fragile state. one that may not survive. in addition to that many, many kind people donated and contributed items and cash to this family. it's my understanding that it wasn't just a small gift or a few bucks here and there. when totaled up it was a lot. now it's obviously not a fact that this blogger did in fact give dishonest information or actually dupe any of us. but as i've spent a lot of time learning about this situation, i myself have come across enough inconsistencies to feel that yes, there was dishonesty, yes there was an emotional roller coaster and yes in some ways we were duped.
to further complicate this situation. this popular blogger openly offered advice on many different topics. and this is where the personal disclosure comes in. it would appear that the advice offered was given when the blogger's personal details would seem to show that they themselves had many serious issues. issues that should have precluded them from offering advice on these particular topics. again remember we are talking about someone who speaks to many, many women through blogging.
lastly when it comes to disclosure, and i want to talk about this topic seperately in a moment, is that what started to me as a fun and interesting way to share your life in a blog, has turned into a major money making business. i personally have no problems with the ability to earn money via blogging. or to have sponsors who give away items for review on a popular blog. these are both very savvy ideas. my blog is not monetized. i have no ads or sponsors. and that is my choice. but for those who choose to make money this way, there is a right way to do it. being honest and disclosing the fact that money is being made. letting the readers know that gifts given during giveaways are in fact part of a sponsorship. and lastly during times of turmoil or apparent turmoil, don't put your readers on an emotional roller coaster, often leaving cliffhangers that cause readers to click or refresh your blog many times to get the newest update. why is this done? well in some cases every click or refresh on a blog equals money for the blogger. this seems especially tacky and cruel when the cliff hanger is actually about the life of a sick baby.
back to disclosure...i do not expect you to share your personal struggles in a public forum unless you feel comfortable doing that. goodness knows that when my husband and i are having problems or when struggling financially i likely will not mention it. and i'm guessing that you all have your own problems and you don't really want to hear about mine. but if you are going to give advice to a large group, suggesting ways to do things, and those very things are falling apart in your life or maybe are even dangerous-i think you should think twice about taking a public platform on the topics-especially if you are not going to share details about your life truthfully.
as for the financial gain that is possible from blogging, again i have no problems with that as long as you are honest. however, it seems that the monetary aspect of blogging particularly among "mommy bloggers" has really exploded over the past year or so. i applaud those who have been able to create a business while at the same time maintaining integrity while blogging. this big boom though, honestly has sort of cheapened the whole concept of blogging for me.
at this point i don't know if i will continue to blog. there are many blogs that i will continue to follow as they are entertaining and it's fun to be able to share in the lives of others. i will stop following others. all of this is where my conundrum comes into play.
lastly, if you have felt duped or otherwise taken advantage of lately in the world of mommy blogging in particular...here is some advice that i have learned and would like to share. you can subscribe to blogs via readers such as google reader (i do), when you read blog entries that way- i believe you will not be contributing to the click, click, click ca-ching. take down your praying for so and so buttons-you don't need a button to pray for anyone. the purpose of these buttons is ultimately to drive traffic to blogs. if you do want to show that you are a supporter via a button but not send your readers to a blog, disable the forwarding mechanism of the button (i have no idea how to do this). if you follow people on twitter and they have many links to click on chances are it could be a way to make money. i believe this may be the case even with twit pics. and lastly know that sites such as caring bridge are wonderful for sharing when someone is sick and they do not bring the author money.
i'm sure that some of you do not mind any of what i have shared. and that's perfectly ok. but a lot of this information i did not know. and i wanted to get the word out there. though i've not mentioned names, i'm sure a lot of you are followers of the same blog. i'm not asking you to stop following their stories or even agree with my feelings on the matter. you may totally disagree and that too is fine. just remember that what we display in our public blog lives may not be the truth. and again, the way the greed has affected what was once a fun thing, has really made it not so much fun for me now.
so that there is my blogging with integrity conundrum. feel free to share your thoughts even if they disagree with mine. i do moderate comments, the reason is that i have in the past been spammed and received comments that were downright hateful and without a purpose. i also know that others who have chosen to speak out have received some pretty shocking comments. if you disagree with me and do so without disrespect or just plain craziness...i will most definitely let your comments through. lastly i hope that this hasn't offended any of my readers. i do worry about that a lot, and in the past have self censored. but that is kind of silly of me isn't it?