5 July 2012

A bloggers opinion


Hello everyone. I have actually been debating writing this post, as I do not know how exactly it will be received. But I am finding it more difficult to keep my thoughts and opinions to myself, than to be open with you all about something which does, technically, involve us all.

When I began blogging, albeit only recently over the past three months, I began to take part in the 'bloggers chat'. This is a chat which takes place on a Sunday evening between 8pm and 9pm on Twitter using the #bbloggers hashtag. Each week it was evident a topic was chosen, and that was along the lines of everyone's tweets. One week, I wondered aloud on Twitter "Who makes up the topic each week? Who decides what we should talk about?" 

I was told that a blogger ran a poll each week, which bloggers around the World could vote on, to decide the topic each week and it is my understanding that the topics are suggested via Twitter and emails to this particular blogger. Now, this then led me to believe, ok, so this girl runs bloggers chat.

But she doesn't. As I have found out over the past week. 

Last week the bloggers chat was not to my personal liking. I took to Twitter before the chat and said I didn't find this week's chat very good, I thought the topic was actually redundant and self explanatory. I also pointed out that I would still take part, although I wasn't sure exactly what input I would even be able to rustle up, but in the meantime if anyone would like to chat to me about other things I would be happy to chat. I asked people what got them in to blogging, what they enjoy most about it, whether they find it hard or easy, etc.

A fair few people replied, both responding to my general queries and also agreeing that the chat was indeed a redundant topic this week, some even saying they would not take part.

Now, that is not an insult to whoever thought of the topic - You can never please every one, there will always be people who aren't in love with a suggestion and people who will disagree. You only have to look around the World to see that that is the case. That is life. At the end of the day I personally think a lot of people take the bloggers hashtag on Twitter far too seriously. As I found out myself on Sunday night...

After writing my tweets, I came across one from a blogger I would love to name, but I have no need to name because more than enough of you have come across her before, in the same way I am about to share. She had written a tweet declaring that if you did not like a topic, don't take part, don't use the hashtag and don't complain about it. When I saw this, I replied "I wonder who this is aimed at...."

She went on to say that it wasn't just me, and actually, she didn't know I had made any comments. Well if that was the case why start by saying "It's not just aimed at you". You cannot make a statement like that without knowing I have made my opinion clear - But as I have learnt over the years, many people back pedal when it comes to being confronted.

I told the blogger in question that the whole point of bloggers chat, surely, was to share our views, ideas and opinions. That we used the chat to be honest. I also made it very clear that no one, especially someone on the internet, should be dictating to me, an adult, what I can and can't do, and when I can and can't use a Twitter hashtag. I won't deny - as I am more than happy to hold my hands up - I got quite heated about it. I hate being dictated to. Even more so when the person tries to back pedal. Cue several tweets from various people, lots of discussion, some heated, some more relaxed. In the end I tweeted saying I had had enough and would no longer participate in bloggers chat.

This week I decided to email the girl who runs the polls for topics, I aired my views and thoughts with her, told her how I felt the way the other blogger had tweeted, reacted to me confronting her, as well as many demeaning and belittling remarks she has made to other bloggers over the weeks, were out of line. I asked, does she have anything to do with the bloggers chat? And I was told no. No, this blogger actually has nothing whatsoever to do with the chat, but was 'sticking up' for the blogger who runs the polls. 

Now, don't get me wrong - I have been in situations before when I have seen an opportunity and decided to try and put my two cents in to help. And one thing I have realised, is most people, for the most part, don't actually want that help.

I don't think the way the blogger speaks to people during blogger chats, is in any way acceptable. I don't think telling someone when they can use a public hashtag which belongs to no one, not even the chat (as it is only used for the chat to make it easier for people to find people engaging in the chat) is fair. I do not think this blogger has the right to tell people they can't post links, can't say this, can't say that.

I am an adult. I can and will say whatever I please, whenever I please. I present my opinions (for the most part) in a mature, reasonable and non-offensive manner. 

Now my main point of this post, is to gauge every one's opinion. The blogger (sorry, I know it's getting confusing but I do not wish to use direct names without permission) who runs the polls wrote a blog post, declaring we should all be nice to each other. Ok, that's fine. And that if you do not like the chat or have something positive to say, you should not use the bloggers hashtag during a Sunday evening. And this, this is what has made me want to write this post today.

If I am at home on a Sunday, blogging, chatting to friends, on Twitter, and I want to link something, or ask something, using the bloggers hashtag, I will. Regardless of whether it is inconvenient to people involved in a chat, regardless of whether I am breaking some unwritten 'rule' which dictates 'you cannot use the tag during this and this time'. That, is not on. 

The same blogger is now requesting someone else take on the responsibility of the bloggers chat poll. And I can, 100%, understand the stress it can and must be causing her. But the way I see it, we all write our own blogs, we all talk to each other, we all interact. Why on earth do we need someone to be 'in charge' of something which is not owned by anyone? Why do we need a specific topic each week? Why, if in the case we don't, do people really want to moan about it? Why does it even matter? Hardly any people actually even vote on the polls, so a few dozen votes decides what hundreds of bloggers are allowed to discuss? What happened to freedom of speech?

The bloggers hashtag is there for all of us to use it, whenever and for whatever we want. No one needs to be in charge. No one needs to run a poll. No one needs to decide topics. No one needs to feel it is up to them to tell other bloggers what they can and can't do. It takes away from the bloggers chat, it takes away from the blogging community in general. 

So that's it. This is my opinion and views. And I would really like, whether they are in agreement or disagreement, to hear yours.


**In summary. If a topic appeals to you, it should be enjoyed. If someone does not wish to take part, or airs an honest opinion about the topic, I do not think it fair that they should then be slated for it. I also do not think it fair that bloggers harmlessly using the hashtag should be 'told off' like a child, for using it. We all blog for the same reasons. To share a passion. Things like this are unnecessary.**



**Additional disclaimer - This post is meant to cause no upset or disrepect to anyone. If you would like to discuss this with me privately you are more than welcome to email me**



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