05/02/2012

Bloggers, Why So Mean?

Blogging is wonderful and a huge passion of mine. I was one of Italy's first fashion bloggers (before the term took a complete detour to become synonymous with only outfit photos) in 2006 and I can't imagine life without my own little online space

While I find some bloggers to be shallow and lacking in taste as well as writing skills, I must admit others are very talented and stylish. And lately I've been feeling bad for some girls who put lots of time and energy into choosing their look and photographing it, or sharing little pieces of their lives with readers, only to be subjected to useless, petty and plain rude comments. 


This week, 21-year-old Swedish entrepreneur Isabella Löwengrip, who runs one of Sweden's most visited personal lifestyle blogs, published some pics of herself enjoying a luxurious tropical vacation:




pic from Blondinbella


...right away, her comment section was flooded (1000 comments, no less!) with "opinions" on the way she looked in her bikini. I usually find Sweden to be very ahead of times when it comes to empowering women and self-image, but here's a message from Coffee and Heels to everyone who called this wonderfully curvaceous lady "fat": you need help. If you think this looks like an "overweight" body, you've got serious body-image issues. And even if you do, spitting it out in other people's blogs is, at least in my opinion, not only unnecessary, but also plain mean. I think that what we're dealing with here is simply that while most Swedes are stuck in the snow these days, Bella is busy living it up in the Caribbean, so how could the green monster of envy not rear its ugly head?




pic from Pinterest



I'll tell you a little story. When I first started blogging, there weren't any outfit posts, but mainly blogging was an online personal diary of likes, dislikes and general musings. So, one day I decided to share with my readers my plans to go on a little trip to London with my best friend. I listed all the things I wanted to see in this amazing city, and naturally, as mine was a blog about fashion (I think the name might even have been something as pathetic as Confessions of a Fashion Victim...) I also listed all the shops I intended to visit that didn't exist in Italy. I asked the readers if they had any suggestions for things I might want to see and visit.

The next day, an anonymous reader (obviously - have you noticed the nastiest ones are always anonymous?), left me a comment saying, "I suggest you throw yourself off a bridge, as to spare us the mindless s**t you write. At least be ashamed of yourself."


This ugly stain of a comment was followed by tons of angry reactions from my nicer readers, telling the offender to leap off of the bridge themselves. I have to say, even if I didn't know who this person was, I felt hurt, offended, and angry. For like, five minutes, then I moved on with my life. But I still don't get why I should have to feel hurt, offended and angry when I read my blog comments. I contemplated deleting the comment, but then I thought that publishing it would show that it didn't bother me that much, so I replied something like: "thank you girls for all of your support! Envy sure can be nasty!" and just left it at that.


In the years that followed, I've almost only had nice comments waiting for me when I logged onto Blogger (not one mean comment for Coffee and Heels so far!). But just before launching Coffee and Heels, I got a comment on my old blog (anonymous, obviously) telling me I "dressed like an old lady". I didn't reply because a) there weren't any pictures of me on the blog and b) I wear studs with everything, so old lady...well, that would be an old punk lady, then. So this was clearly the blog equivalent of a wrong number. But it made me think about how bloggers (especially women!) put each other down in the comments sections, in posts, on Facebook (I do find some famous Italian bloggers quite vapid and contentless, but one thing that I think is pathetic are the Facebook groups that make "fun" of them, showing just how much time some girls are willing to waste fault-finding on another person's work) and all over the web.




pic from Pinterest


 Recently, I stopped following a blogger I liked because of the way she targeted some of her peers in mean-spirited posts that were supposed to be "fun". She re-posted their outfit pictures with comments on how terrible their outfits were. And people found it hilarious! Girls would comment on how "fabulous" she was for criticizing other bloggers and how "heinous" they looked. Now, if  this blogger and her readers were experts on personal style, I'd still find them mean, but at least I'd understand where they were coming from. But these girls ain't no gurus! They wear clashing colors, too-tight skirts, muffin-top jeans - they mess up, as we all do sometimes. And even though they might claim that they "wouldn't care" if someone commented that way on their own outfits, I'm afraid the truth is, they would.


I've been accused of not being "democratic" when I admit to deleting mean comments from my blog. First of all: I didn't say "negative" comments, I said "mean". 
Negative and mean are very different.
Negative is someone who doesn't agree with me and says so without being disrespectful - and you know you can speak your mind here on my blog. Mean, on the other hand, is someone who just wants to use my blog to get traffic to their own by being rude. Respectful criticism is okay and very welcome, but mean has no place on Coffee and Heels, which is a positive space. And second of all: Coffee and Heels is not a democracy. If you want to be nasty, go be nasty on your own blog. Here, only well-behaved and respectful people get to have their say (even if - especially if! they don't agree with me). Mean, offensive, and -dare I say it- jealous comments will be mercilessly deleted.





Last but not least: can someone just explain the point of it all to me? What do you gain from being obnoxious to people you don't know on the internet? Yes, I know sometimes people are complete nutcases. When I see a post of someone's new fur coat and how "luxuriously soft" is is, I want to SCREAM. But calling them "cruel and disgusting" in their comment section is not likely to change their mind, is it? So I just calmly voice my opinion with an extra dose of respect and a smile. Unless I turn off my PC and do something else with my time.



Here's an awesome quote from Copyblogger on "internet idiots annihilating your productivity":



All the time you spend chasing down things you hate and ranting about them?
That’s time you’re not building something epic.



...so why don't you just concentrate on your own blog? Make sure your blog is the best, most amazing, most welcoming space there is on the web. Pour your heart, soul and brand-new Zara dress into it. Learn to take some really fabulous photos (mine still aren't up to pro standard, but I'm making progress!) and perfect your writing. Do everything you can to make sure yours isn't just another blog. You'd probably be amazed at how much creative energy you're wasting on criticizing other people instead of making yourself better.

13 comments:

  1. simply well done. you made me think of it!

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  2. Sono "acida" di natura ma condivido.. La cattiveria e la mancanza di rispetto non li tollero.. C'è anche da dire però che molte blogger si sentono eccome GURU! Certi outfit sono davvero ridicoli ma se loro hanno il coraggio di indossarli e mettersi in mostra, beh, penso che abbiano la consapevolezza che oltre all'outfit mostrano il fianco alla critica..

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  3. Well done my dear! Cyber bullying has become an epidemic and blogs are not exempted. I am glad that you bring this matter forth and we are noticing that more and more people are talking about the new form of bullying, which allows mean cowards to hide behind their screen whilst making other peoples lives a living hell. So we need to reclaim the internet and end bullying, online and in real life! So, thank you Sascha for writing this entry, let us hope more will follow!

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  4. E.G.: quando dicevo dei guru intendevo che ci si sente chi CRITICA, non chi mette online le proprie foto. Vorrei capire almeno UNA motivazione di chi critica, non di chi viene criticato. Perché uno sceglie di sputare veleno su una collega-blogger? Secondo me il vero motivo é uno solo: invidia e insicurezza.

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  5. Well done, you're so right about that!

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  6. I saw this posted listed in the popular posts on Bloglovin. The title drew me in because that's exactly what I always wonder to myself about the negative comments. Why? What good does saying hateful or rude things about another on their personal space do?

    I have been lucky so far that I haven't received any negative comments. I have only been blogging for six months however so I'm sure there's plenty of time for them yet.

    It always astounds me that women want to put down other women. There's already enough going on in the world to make us feel inferior or self conscious without fellow bloggers adding to it. I think this a great post, I'm following you now!

    Amelia @ UGLY DUCKLING x

    UGLY DUCKLING BLOG!

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  7. Ugly Duckling: thank you, that was exactly what this post was about! Even if you don't necessarily LOVE another blogger's looks, photos, writing, or whatever, what need is there to put them down?

    ...wow popular posts on Bloglovin'! Flattering.

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  8. I seriously do not understand why people feel the need to put others down. Blogging should be fun and a place for people to be free to express themselves without negative criticism - it should be a place of support. I am so disappointed when I see cruel comments and I honestly do not get why people take enjoyment out of knowing they are hurting someone else.
    This is a great post, people really need to reel in their rude and unnecessary comments.
    & for anyone to call that girl "fat" is completely insane! She has a great figure and should be proud of it, it is so sad that someone would try and take that away from her!!

    xx


    The Urban Umbrella
    xoxo


    http://urbanumbrella.blogspot.com/

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  9. Non ho nulla da aggiungere, hai detto esattamente ciò che penso in modo completo ed esaustivo.
    Aggiungerei forse che oltre all'invidia e all'insicurezza c'è anche la noia...

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  10. Concordo con ogni tua parola! Anche a me è capitato di leggere delle rubriche in cui si deridono le colleghe-blogger e lo trovo di pessimo gusto... complimenti per l'articolo

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  11. Your post is right on so many levels. Unfortunately, people are strange, and too often they tend and bitch about whatever makes them feel uncomfortable, or envious. Way to go towards a democratic world.

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  12. Hear hear! What a great post.. I luckily haven't had any nasty comments yet, but then I havent been going too long so maybe that still to come

    I have seen some on other peoples blogs though and you know what? its pathetic, its unnecessary, its totally not in the spirit of blogging. I have no respect for people that leave comments like that.. One blog i read posts about her life and often posts on adventures in dating.. everytime she does posts like this an anonymous commenter leaves a note to tell her how stupid, fat, ugly etc she is and to call her everything from a slut to a whore. theres just no need as far as I'm concerned.

    Also, that girl in the photo on the beach is beautiful, i'd kill for curves like that!

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  13. Charlotte: there you have it, anonymous again. For some reason, the mean ones always are! My thoughts on rude anonymous readers is: If you really want to be nasty and obnoxious, at least don't be a coward as well.

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