If you are at all familiar with the world of blogging, which, reading this, I assume you are, then you are most likely familiar with the name Heather Armstrong. She is the "Dooce" of Dooce.com, and, as of this week, "Monetizing the Hate." That's right, she has launched a site made up of all the hate mail that she has received, along with dozens of ads in order to profit off all of the people who have insulted her. I think it's brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. After all, turning hurt and anger into money is a great idea. If everyone could do it I have a couple friends who could make millions off their mothers alone.
I do have one small problem with Armstrong's new site, though not with the idea itself. I just can't believe that blogging has gotten so ugly that a site like this can exist, and make money. It's as if the blogosphere is the new Junior High School. And there is plenty of evidence to support that hypothesis.
There are millions of blogs out there. Among them are a few that have risen to the top as "superstar" blogs. And for every "superstar" there is at least one blog criticizing them, and trying to gain a readership by trying to take them down. It would be bad enough if it stopped there, but it doesn't. Then there are the superstars who have to respond to the critics, and the followers of both who have decided to engage in a of war of words to prove the blogger they like is ultimately right.
Really, all I need are Girbeau jeans and a love of greasy cafeteria peanut butter bars and I am back in 1988.
It isn't that I don't like snark -- it is my life's work. However, I started blogging in order to make my voice heard, and to hear other voices. Those voices I don't like, I don' t read, and don't highlight. I like to think that if I don't like them I have better things to do than try to humiliate, or destroy them. Of course, I am writing this...
Of course, I like to think this is less a criticism, and more a call for civility. Please, bloggers, just because you can say something, just because it makes you feel a part of an online "family or "clique" doesn't mean you should say it. And just because you think you can get over your hurt feelings by making money and calling attention to the hate, doesn't mean you should.
Think of it as setting an example. We all have kids. And Congress certainly isn't teaching any lessons about manners. So, let's start a new trend on the Internet. Let's all just at least pretend to get along. Can't we do that?
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