I’ve been fascinated, horrified, scared and amused by the recent ‘blog war‘ that’s been going on between Constance Hall and The Notorious Mum. To be honest I’m actually sensationalising it a bit myself here – for those who haven’t read the story what happened was The Notorious Mum (TNM from now on as I’m lazy) wrote a blog about how she wasn’t down with Constance Hall’s (CH) Queen movement. If I’d stumbled across TNM’s original article before hearing of the kerfuffle I would have happily nodded along, probably left a ‘here here’ comment underneath and moved on. Not so for some of the Queenettes who saw the post on Facebook – what followed saw an almost mob like reaction from CH’s fans on TNM’s page – apparently fueled by Her Highness herself. I didn’t see the original Facebook thread and it’s since been deleted but it has brought up lots of discussion around how influencers use their power and the rights of bloggers, or anyone for that matter, to air their opinions.
Very often people are accused of hiding behind their keyboards when responding online and speaking out. I have nothing but disdain for people who load fake profiles to systematically rant and rave and remonstrate at every opportunity, but someone commenting as themselves on something they feel passionately about is a pretty normal reaction – even if that person isn’t doing it in a particularly nice or eloquent way. I’m not talking about any kind of hate speak or bullying here of course – there is absolutely no space in any forum for that – but if someone wants to tear a few strips off someone else as they disagree strongly over something, then why not. If they are using their real profile and their authentic voice then there is no hiding taking place at all – keyboard or otherwise – it’s not as if you can pop round to the author’s house or give them a call to voice your dissent.
Which brings up another thing, I imagine if TNM and CH were down the pub having a glass of wine (and possible a game of Scrabble) and this conversation had come up it would have ended in a much different way – it is much, much harder to be mean to someone when you’re looking at them. I’ve often thought this when I’m faced with numbskull drivers (why does the standard of other people’s driving deteriorate in line with how late you are or how loud the kids are yelling?) . To try and keep the rage at bay I imagine it’s my best friend or brother in the car in front and there’s some legit reason they’re driving like a douche and my whole perception on the moment changes. Imagine pulling up at the lights next to them and realising it’s your dad in the driver’s seat. A bit of light banter might later ensue but definitely not the tail light smashing fantasy of just a few minutes before.
The cyber world is both an amazing and terrible place with regards to communication – how wonderful is Facetime for family who are miles away yet how awful is predictive text at getting your message across – especially when you don’t notice words have been changed and end up sending some utter trap.
Just the other day I was talking on messenger with a friend and reread one of my messages to realise I hadn’t said what I thought I’d said at all (possibly a bit like that sentence)
Another time I tried to be funny and a friend thought I was telling her that I had met a 60 year old Texan online. It was just too hard to explain – as it is here now. It’s so much easier face to face when you can pick up on the simple body language nuances that we all take for granted – the slightly glazed look we get if we’re banging on about something, the raised eyebrow or the smirk – these are all indicators that we’re either being misunderstood or just being a tool and let us check ourselves and instantly fix. The thing about writing is although you have time to contemplate, muse, delete and edit you are still missing this essentially human aspect of conversation -so it’s really not surprising that sometimes we turn to savages in online exchanges.
Add to the mix the delicate nature of parent bloggers who are possibly trying to write whilst wrestling a toddler or feeding a newborn and most probably sleep deprived and in a bit of a fog, and this communication of ideas becomes even more fraught. I’m not saying that either blogger in this instance didn’t mean what they wrote – more so that what they meant could have and was misinterpreted in others’ opinions.
Which is what it all essentially comes down to – opinions – which the dictionary defines as ‘views or judgements formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge’
No fact required – so you can argue someone’s opinions ’til you’re blue in the face and never be able to prove them wrong. It would be nice if the dictionary added ‘but please try not to be an arse when expressing them’.
I feel that if we were face to face you’d be getting that glazed look I was just talking about so I’ll wrap it up by saying whether you’re a Queen or not let’s just try and be nice to each other – me and you. And you know what happens when we put ‘me’ and ‘you’ together? We get ‘meyou’. Which kind of sounds like a noise a cat would make.
And we all know that they are the real rulers of the internet.