a blogging with integrity conundrum

>> 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?


Tina August 17, 2009 at 2:18 AM  

Great post....glad to get to read your blog...DDD aka Heather.

I agree with your thoughts on integrity and blogging!

Tracy August 18, 2009 at 7:13 AM  

holy crap - I live under a rock. Thank you for this post - I have no idea what/who went on...but am bummed out about it.

Kathy August 18, 2009 at 10:32 AM  

Great post Heather. I think that I know of the blog that you speak of. I've read it a few times and have always had speculations. Very interesting.

Kim August 19, 2009 at 6:49 PM  

Great post - i know the blog you are referencing - i had heard about some of the controversies regarding that blog - but not that there were inconsistencies about her child being sick - if that is true I am truly disappointed.

Gayle August 20, 2009 at 8:22 PM  

I never realized that just visiting a site could result in money making...I thought specific ads had to be clicked on. Now it all makes a lot of sense...the endless cliffhangers that caused obsessed women to click over and over and over, all the contests and the change in the comments so conversations can be held (that's a lot of clicking). Quite some time ago the blog wasn't so dramatic...facts were just given. Now everything is so vague or you're told to come back and see...it just all makes sense now. Thanks for educating me on blog money-making. (of which I do none).

Beverly August 23, 2009 at 8:35 AM  

I'm visiting...and glad that I found your blog! I've always wondered a bit about the stories over there...but I've never read the blog that pointed out the problems.

Michelle August 28, 2009 at 2:50 PM  

Hi Heather! I know who you are talking about, as I am also emotionally invested in the baby's health. It is very upsetting to hear that it may be embellished. I know about some of the other "dirty laundry" about the family, but didn't know the medical stuff was not fully truthful. Oy.

Erin Lutz August 29, 2009 at 11:10 PM  

What a great post. I too did not know there was benefits for the click-click-clicking. Need to set up my google reader! :)

Anonymous,  September 1, 2009 at 6:30 AM  

oh my gosh, get a life!!!!! you prayed for the health of a little baby, no one can deny he is a child with severe health needs, you got one, I do and IT SUCKS!!! ITS HARD AND ITS STRAINGING ON EVERYONE IN THE FAMILY! and the mum has embelished a little my goodness, isn't it better she embelishes then admit she is detatched, not coping and ready to run! thank god you and your friends never embelish details... my gosh surely she would not be able to appear on natinal television with her family with out journalists doing some back ground checking... for god sake people get a life! its her diary, if you are worried she has led you down the garden path so what! dont read Don't click... surely all of the adults reading any blog take it all with a grain of salt and realise that its just a blog.. yes she is making money, yes she has put it on a public forum is she perfect NO, are there gaps WHO CARES.... who has the time or the care to look... and those that are prying into personal information what the heck are they gaining... beyond self gratification! drop it and don't go there, get a LIFE!!

Heather September 2, 2009 at 12:33 AM  

i said i would let any disagreeing posts through as long as they were not filled with hatefulness. so here you are. i do wish that you would have felt comfy standing behind your thoughts on this matter and leaving your name so that i could address you personally.

i'm sorry that you have a health condition. it does suck. we can agree on that for sure. i hope that you have been blessed with as much kindness from others through your trials as i have.

if you have read further back in my blog you will definitely see that i am cheering on a certain little guy and asking my (few) readers to do the same.

we do have a point that we disagree on, and that is ok-that is part of a healthy discussion. actually we really do agree that perhaps some embellishment has happened. but to the extent is where we may differ.

in my thought there becomes a point when an embellishment can be equal to dishonesty. and to be truthful, i do hope there is embellishment because i want nothing more than that precious little one to be healthy and happy.

i'm not going to take offense at the "get a life" comment. as obviously by leaving this comment this is something that you as well have invested time into. and thank you for taking the time to share your input with me.

Heather September 3, 2009 at 1:24 AM  

Anemone Pie said...
Well, I came over here from parts we won't speak of to read, be all obnoxious and tell you to "go die" so I could be the first. Sadly, I have failed in my mission. I can't do it. You're alright. ;-)

(wanted to move this to the "right" post)

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