Yesterday was a funny old day for this blog.
On the positive side, I passed a thousand views. I have no idea whether this is good or not for a blog that’s been around three weeks, but it seems like a nice round number so I’m inclined to celebrate.
On the negative side, I got the faintest, slightest glimpse of what it’s like to be hated by someone who has never met you, and let me tell you, it wasn’t very nice.
By way of background, I had noticed that a couple of news outlets were running articles on specific aspects of certain stories I have blogged on. Now, I’m new to this blogging game and don’t have a lot of feel for the etiquette, so I did what I thought was the obvious thing: I checked the guidelines and saw there was no objection to comments linking to a blog on the same topic.
I commented, I linked to the blog, and I went about my business and forgot all about it.
Until, that is, I received notification that someone had commented on some of my own blog posts. Not once, but five times. “Super”, I thought. “I wonder what they’ve written.”
I’m not going to go into the precise words, which were thoroughly disgusting and not the kind of thing you’d expect to come across in a respectable blog like this one aspires to be, one day, if it’s lucky. The theme was that I was a spammer, the worst of crimes, apparently, the irony lost on the commentator that whilst I had posted content relevant to the discussions I was accused of spamming, he (or she) was now spamming my blog with ill-mannered bile.
Now, I object to spam as much as the next man. I don’t like it. I don’t really think about it very much, to be honest. Certainly not enough to decide what is and isn’t spam (something site moderators are perfectly capable of doing themselves) and then verbally attack the accused on their own site.
But that’s all beside the point. The point is that I post here in my own name. It’s not difficult to track me down, if you want to. And someone, hiding behind three different IP addresses and a name which I presume wasn’t their own because nobody’s parents hate them that much, has taken a sudden, strong and (in my view) irrational dislike to me. I probably need to develop a thicker skin, because I can tell you it made me feel slightly sick.
The guy or girl who dislikes me so may have been irrational, but my guess is they’re not actually mad. They’re just a bit angry, like so many of us are, and they’ve had a bad day, and they’ve decided to take it out on someone random. They’ve probably forgotten all about it already. And of course whilst there may be a lot of genuinely mad, dangerous people out there, there are surely many times more normal, slightly irate people having bad days.
As I mentioned at the beginning, I’m just one thousand views into a three-week old blog. There are countless bloggers who receive hundreds of thousands of views every month. There are proper journalists by the bucket-load, print and online, publishing under real bylines with real email addresses underneath and phone numbers and addresses just a google away. I can’t imagine the quantity and quality of opprobrium they must attract, just for being accessible. God help me, I may have been guilty of it myself, though if I have been I sincerely hope it was more eloquently put than by my own accuser.
And then there are the celebrities. I’m no fan of celebrities, in general. They bore me. But that’s not their fault; if I don’t want to watch them or listen to them or read about them, I don’t have to. But the singers and the footballers and the models and the writers and the artists and the politicians, the politicians more than anyone, they must have to deal with this kind of thing a hundred times a day. They have, as the expression goes, dared to stick their heads above the parapet. And now I actually feel sorry for them.
Which means now I have something to be really angry about. You can come on my blog and abuse me, swear at me, accuse me of whatever you like. But if you’ve made me feel sorry for Ed Balls then you’ve pushed me too far.