Can’t We All Just Get Along? And Blog-Reading FOMO!

Why Can't We Get Along

Yesterday Suz posted about her ‘blog process’, and had asked me to join in the fun! I said yes and will be posting mine tomorrow. I definitely recommend reading her post here. But for today I just had a couple of quick items:

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

It is interesting how things tend to flow together in the blogosphere – we complain about the cold, then dealing with training for spring activities, then the post-race letdowns, then it is too hot, then losing mojo … and suddenly now we are seeing a wave of negativity and on many of the blogs I follow there is a bit of a backlash!

I loved Harold’s post today asking people to ‘Get a Grip’, referencing a number of judgmental posts he has seen:

When people write these words, (along with so many other judgmental comments that discuss what others are doing), they are putting their morals, opinions and how they think others should act/write/blog, while disregarding or belittling other people’s reasons for doing or writing about things they do.

I kind of alluded to this type of post in my ‘Clean Eating’ post yesterday, referring to people using the term ‘as a hammer’, meaning that they were deciding that what a blogger / commenter was doing was *wrong* and/or ‘not clean’ – and doing so in some harsh and uncompromising terms. It was based on those ‘absolutist’ stances I was taken aback and moved to write.

In her post yesterday, Susie also referred to a commenter who had obviously really upset her … but that she didn’t want to give them the power and control by focusing on it in her post … which reminds me of advice Harold gave me ages ago. It is interesting – I have dealt with trolls since the late 80s writing on USENET … but when it is your personal space and identity it is very different. I am all for spirited debate, but we’re all actual people on the other side of these screens.

Finally Laura at Fit Fresh & Funny opened a thoughtful discussion about having kids. Because she is awesome and open and always willing to chat, a bunch of people shared freely why they did or did not want kids, myself included.

It was a great post … but it came from a different place. She has been trying to find a ‘home’ on Facebook for people in similar situations, and finding many places too harsh or otherwise not a great fit, then came across an article that asked the basic question about why people want to have kids … but in a bizarre way.

I mean, at first I was supportive – the author was tired of being asked ‘when are you having kids / why don’t you have kids yet’ by rude people who presume it is their business. And as I wrote about … I dealt with all of those insensitive questions, and think they really need to stop.

BUT … she then takes a weird turn, polls friends about why they wanted or want kids, and then spends the article picking them apart. Um … gee, you are a wonderful ‘friend’? My thought is that you never build yourself up by tearing others down, and that instead of suffering fools in silence only to turn around and berate your friends – make sure that the fools know that your life is none of their business.

But the theme is common – insufferable negativity coupled with online anonymity to create a very negative space.

And really, who needs that? Sure i have been critical of discussions being too ‘agreement’ oriented on blogs, but taking it to the other extreme doesn’t help.

Let’s seek the middle ground, happily agree to have energetic debates, know we will often disagree, but always be respectful and kind. Our world could use more of that.

I Miss You

Blog-Reading FOMO!

As I mentioned before, the down-side of a 9-day ‘mostly unplugged’ vacation is that I have more than 200 emails in my Gmail inbox … whereas I had 18 when I left. I have sifted through everything I can remove, so what is left is pretty much all of the blog posts I have missed. And that doesn’t count my BlogLovin, Twitter and WordPress Reader queues.

As I barely kept pace with new posts today (ok, really I failed as I just looked and saw some unread posts from earlier!), I have come to realize that I will simply have to summarily read many of them and let them go.

But you know what? That is HARD and tweaks my FOMO (fear of missing out) – I had gotten my queue to the point where I could manage to post AND read all of my faves on a daily basis … so having to just delete a post I mostly-read in the email browser? Not satisfying. Especially when someone references a post from last week (happened twice to me yesterday) and I am left trying to figure out what I missed! Ugh!

As I said, it got to the point yesterday where I realized I was actually losing ground – I had more unread things than when I started the day. There were two options: cut down on my blog roll, or let much of last week go.

I will have to think about a strategy for this the next time, as I think there must be a more optimal solution … but for now this is as good as I can manage.

Have You Noticed the Negativity? And What Do You Do When your queue is just too deep to catch up?

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48 thoughts on “Can’t We All Just Get Along? And Blog-Reading FOMO!

  1. Mike – Thank you for your kind words and the biggest thing that i have learned is “Don’t Feed The Trolls”, they are looking for ways to make us react in ways we normally wouldn’t, by purposely and artificially adding negativity to your life – don’t buy in to their crap.

    When I unplug and have a huge backlog of posts/articles to read, I just scan everything in my cues and only stop to read the articles that quickly pique my interest and keep moving on.

    Yeah, I miss out on a few great posts, but at the same time if the post is that good, other bloggers tend to link back to it and I will read it then or the original blogger links back to their post. That is how I keep track of the posts that I need to read.

    I enjoy having you back and look forward to reading your posts again. Yeah, we missed ya. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Harold – and I agree with all of it. In the post I talked about, there was nothing constructive I could say, so I didn’t say anything. I don’t mind the argument, but if I can’t be constructive I will leave it alone. πŸ™‚

      I haven’t deleted any emails about posts yet, but instead have stepped back through a little here or there – like to read about you trying to trip a hay truck! haha

      • Yeah, that worked out real well didn’t it πŸ˜‰ oh well, that is what happens when you are not paying attention or trying to act like I am still a teenager and back in the days when I could hold a bale in one hand and throw the other bale up on top of 4 tiers (glory days) hehehehe. Getting older keeps things interesting and makes you work harder to do the things you used to take for granted.

        One thing I am doing a little differently on the blogs I follow is that I am using Feedly to follow blogs for information and WordPress.com for the blogs of People I enjoy reading and “talking” to. Kind of separating the more personal from the informational blogs. I always go read through the WordPress.com blog list and tend to scan the Feedly blog feed. πŸ™‚ It cuts down on the noise and has sped up my morning reading a quite a bit.

  2. Great post. I agree there is a lot of negativity out there but I think you can choose what you want to recognize and internalize and leave the rest behind. I see a lot more positive things out there than negative, but that could also be me just disregarding the negative and focusing on the positive.

    When my blogroll gets overwhelming, I tend to scan titles to see if there is something that immediately jumps out at me and read those, otherwise, I just delete it all and start from scratch again. It’s not ideal, but sometimes, it has to be done.

    • I agree – and if there weren’t posts highlighting the negative I wouldn’t have immediately known. I have tried to clean out negativity from my blog-follows. And as a result I love pretty much everything I read (which makes clean-up harder!)

  3. While I think that discussions and opinions can be a good thing, I don’t see why we can’t just leave all the negativity out of it. If I completely disagree with a post I just won’t comment (I also tend to avoid confrontation in general). But I think sharing differing opinions in a respectful way is all part of the process.
    When my blogfeed gets overwhelming I tend to “mark as read” posts that I am not as interested in based on title (usually these are bigger bloggers, not people I interact with very day), and then make my way through the rest when I can. I try to read them all but may not comment on everything as that seems to take alot of time.

    • Suz really nailed it for me, noting that there are so many avenues rather than being nasty … yet some people jump right there! Ugh!

      Discussion is *hard* on the internet, but I think it is important – I know I am often wrong about stuff, and have no problem with people calling me on it, but would like it done respectfully at least!

  4. Wow, I read that linked article and the comments the author replied with were intense. I tend to not pay attention to people who are clearly arguing based on their own unresolved emotional issues. No use in getting pulled into other people’s “dark places” I would rather just let them take care of it themselves. I would hope other people would also ignore me if I let my emotions take over in a post and act overly judgemental! I haven’t seen too much of this probably because I’m not paying attention. And no offense by me saying this but I really enjoy your occasional “juicy gossip” posts!

    • You had pretty much the same reaction to that post as me – and I was right with her at first because as I wrote before I had to endure much of that stuff.

      As for your posts, you were a bit ‘angsty’ this morning and it was actually fun because it is so REAL. We all get in moods, have good and bad days, and so on.

      haha on the juicy gossip thing … didn’t think of it that way but it is so true! haha and thanks! πŸ™‚

      • haha – yeah, I think struggling with topics and posts can make us all a bit grumpy and angsty. The worst for me is when I come home from a run with everything for a post in my head, then something happens and the knowledge of the idea remains but the idea has become hazy and impossible to replicate! Ugh. It was funny that during the day in comments I could see you getting over whatever was bogging you down and you were charming and funny by the afternoon πŸ™‚

  5. As always, very well written. Thankfully, I haven’t encountered any negativity yet–I simply don’t get the traffic for it. Although it’s definitely something I worry about as time goes on. I’m often horrified by “discussions” that happen in a lot of online forums, and as a result I tend to skip reading comments on other blogs or articles.

    When I get a backlog (which is often since I don’t post or read most weekends), I try to focus on my favorite blogs/bloggers, or anything that catches my attention. I skim a lot, especially if it’s a topic that doesn’t necessarily apply to me and where I’m at (traithlon training is a good example). So far, I haven’t felt like I missed anything important.

    • Definitely agree – our little corner of the blog world is very polite and civil, really. There are some forums where you would get your eyebrows scorched off just reading stuff! haha

  6. I agree with Rae–I think we all know who are peeps are, and I try to stick with them. I am as guilty as anyone of skimming (that is part of the reason that I wrote that post on the importance of comments), but I think that the experience I had this weekend also goes to show the dangers of skimming–people not getting the whole picture, but thinking that they have.
    I am all for opinions, goodness knows I have a few–I describe myself as an opinionated opinionater in several of my bios, after all–but I think that respect is the most important thing to remember when casting one’s opinions about. And I think that people should make greater use of email. If this person had emailed me, as I told you in email (lol) yesterday, it might have been a completely different situation. But she choice to invade my site, which I like to think of as a safe space, and cast her judgment about willy nilly. I also think that is an important distinction to be made: judgment/observation/opinion. Like fear/nerves, they are very, very different.
    I’m so glad you are back!

  7. That’s a good one! I just stay away from negative/judgemental posts and negative people in general. I got concerned for Susie too, but I was definitely proud of how she decided to go about it. Thankfully, I still haven’t had any ‘hurtful’ posts, but I know it’s just a matter of time.
    I don’t like missing out on things either, but when it does happen, I just try to scroll down and at least have a glimpse of what happened. Most importantly, it’s not the end of the world if I miss out on a thing or two πŸ™‚ I’m simply prioritizing. xoxo

    • Thanks Olena! I love how Susie handled things, and also all of your positivity in your posts. It makes reading things such a joy – I love our positive community because we all support each other, and even if we don’t agree most of us handle things well.

  8. I love coming to your blog everyday and reading your thoughts. You really put everything out there and are so open and honest. Truly it’s awesome. I’ve noticed people tend to be more aggressive online but I think that is because you can easily hide behind a computer screen.

    • Thanks Hollie! You are so sweet to say that! And definitely people get more confrontational online – and I think it is amplified due to lack of context. But like everyone else is saying – the lesson to learn is to stick with the positive experiences, because there are a ton of great blogs out there (too many to possibly read).

  9. I have yet to notice the negativity in the blog world. I used to see it a lot on different message boards I frequented. It actually kept me from blogging for a while – putting myself out there opens me up to it. By by holding back, I’m also missing out on all the positive things that comes with putting myself out there. Just like in real life, imagine that! From my experience so far, the positive has far outweighed the negative. I’m sure the day will come when someone says something hurtful or judgmental and I’ll just have to put on my big girl panties and deal with it. I’ll just have to make sure I don’t feed into it or let it ruin my day.

    • Sara – That is GOOD that you aren’t seeing negativity! Message boards get REALLY bad in some places, and if you look at comments on news sites they get nuts also … so I am glad that most of the blogs I read are very positive. And yeah, sometimes things get said and we have to deal with it somehow – but we can never let it make us stop blogging πŸ™‚

  10. Oh yes, especially recently, and it has led to many blogs getting deleted from my feed because I don’t want that influence in my life. I’m all about expressing yourself freely in your space, but when it’s at the expense of others, I’m gone. I think you’re handling your filled reader very well! It’s what I typically do when I hit a period I can’t read for a bit, too, and always makes things seem a lot more manageable!

    • Thanks Caitlin! I always love your positive approach, and totally agree. I used to be quick to add and slow to delete from my blog-roll, whereas now I am putting things into email more quickly, then removing those I don’t read more quickly. I think it helps πŸ™‚

  11. I haven’t actually noticed any recent negativity, but I guess I read relatively few blogs (my way of keeping caught up is to limit what I subscribe to; I end up only reading my favorites, anyway). I really like what you said about not building yourself up by tearing other people down. I am curious what your opinion is on anonymity in negativity. If someone had a negative comment, ignoring the option of not posting it at all, do you think it would be better for them to post it as a blog comment, which is likely under their real name and connected to their identity, or on one of those infamous anonymous online forums? A real-world example would be saying something critical to someone’s face, as opposed to saying it behind their back. I personally would prefer the former.

    • haha – limiting subscriptions is DEFINITELY the way to go … I just constantly fail!

      As for anonymity, I have NEVER hidden my identity, and don’t think that being anonymous EVER helps discussion, because it provides an imaginary shield. My guideline since the very start of being online (nearly 30 years now) is to never say anything I wouldn’t say to someone’s face. But that is just me – many people take a very different approach as you know … haha

  12. Thanks for the link-up, Mike! I’ve stepped back my blog reading-I just don’t have the time I used to! I keep up as much as I can, and just try not to worry about what I miss. I’m still looking for my happy place in the spectrum, but I think I’m getting closer.

    • Cool – blog-reading shouldn’t be stressful, I know that! I feel like I had it just about right and vacation messed my balance. And I am really glad you’ve come back to doing some writing as well!

  13. I find that I start unsubscribing if I haven’t opened a email from a blogger in a long time. Although, if there’s a blogger I like, I go back to their blog without subscribing on a daily basis! As for the negatively, I ignore it! So far I’ve been lucky enough that my blog get positive comments but I find if I see something I disagree with, I just won’t comment! No need to bring negativity onto someone’s blog!

    • Definitely done that as well – that is why I am pushing subscriptions to email as much as I can now (when there is the option) – because it forces things in my face πŸ™‚ I will often disagree in comments, but I try to always be respectful – but sometimes I fail, like in a comment discussion on one of Salt’s posts … but I met one of my fave bloggers in that debate (which was really a misunderstanding), so ut all worked out for the best!

  14. YES OMG.
    It is so funny you mention this and maybe the super moon is to blame for the negativity? (Because it’s certainly to blame for toddler crazies!) I am feeling very offended by something I read earlier to the point where I was considering bringing it up for a discussion tomorrow. But then I read this and Suz’s post too and I’m rethinking even bringing it up. No need to give someone the power to ruin my day.

    • The problem is now I’m intrigued! haha But you are right – for me, noting that ‘why have kids’ post purged it from my system and I have no need to think about it again, so it has no more ‘mind-share’ over me. But for something more direct – like what Suz discussed – it would give that person power and control they don’t deserve!

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  16. Hi from a new reader via Susie. Love your writing style! Very interesting read. Fortunately I’ve had very few experiences with negativity on my blog. Judgement?? Yes, but I take it as intended if it comes from a good place. If not I try not to give it much of my attention. I’m not giving negative energy the power over me!

    • Hi Jill – and thanks for the kind words! And I think it is really important to work to not allow another person to have too much mind share in our life.

  17. Wow that stinks! I feel like I must have been living under a rock. It might just be that I have been neglecting blog reading the past two weeks due to my spotty internet up here. But I agree with Olena, I just tend to ignore it and I don’t read negative blogs. I come here for the positive!

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  19. you never build yourself up by tearing others down

    Amen to that.

    I’m behind on my blog reading. I don’t even know how it happened. Usually people post less on the weekends, and that’s when I’m often able to get through my feed reader. But, yah, I get FOMO too.

    • haha – that is what I said in a comment to Suz the other day. I mean, I thought it was just ME being on vacation, but everyone was posting like crazy last week, and all so thoughtful and involved!

      And I REALLY wish I could go a week without seeing something that made me think “you never build yourself up by tearing others down”. Seriously

  20. Came to your blog (via a positive comment) on running on healthy.
    Re the negativity, sometimes good people have bad days. Or maybe they just don’t see it your way. Best ignored! Fortunately I’ve not had much negative stuff but have been surprised by some of the help and support I’ve had from people who are effectively strangers. I suspect that there are some international cultural differences too. Most of the Americans I have met are incredibly polite, positive and friendly. Here in Europe some groups are more well known for speaking their mind, it’s not intended to offend, just different expectations from communication!

    • Absolutely agree – and in my history on the internet it has largely involved audiences from all over, and in forums and back on usenet it was all English-language, which for many presents a second challenge of getting things staed correctly in a second-language! haha Thanks for the comment and stopping by (and giving me a new blog to check out!)

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