Monday, April 02, 2007

what will make you stop blogging?

When was the last time you sat down and analyzed why you blog?

Do you ever get tired of it?

Do you wish you could spend time on more healthy and rewarding activities?

How long will you keep blogging? Forever? Until you get sick of it? Or...until somebody posts a harsh comment, a bold disagreement?

What would force or persuade you to abandon your blog?

Some bloggers temporarily stop blogging, as a form of "protest" against bad blogging (e.g., posts or comments that are violent, hateful, or vulgar). Robert Scoble recently did this. I don't condemn him for it. I just don't agree with stopping your blogging because of death threats, insults, or other attacks.

See his post "Taking the Week Off".

Then read his revised opinion on the Kathy Sierra vs. Means Kids mess: "Onward". Here's a quote from it that is sad to read, because I'm a big fan and ally of Robert Scoble and Shel Israel, who quote and acknowledge me in their book Naked Conversations.

I’m having a tough time getting back into blogging, which is why I broke my silence with an April Fools’ joke. In a lot of ways it isn’t fun anymore. It’s a business now. Might explain why I like hanging out on Twitter more lately (no anonymous jerks named “Joey” get into my account there).

Attacks are part of this business. And mobs are too. I’m sorry that four people had their names dragged through the mud for something that Maryam and I believe they didn’t do. It makes me very worried about my comments. Am I responsible for what people write here? I’ve come very close to closing my comments up. It makes me realize why many well-known bloggers don’t have comments anymore. It’s hard enough taking responsibility for what I write here, much less what other people write. I have turned on some moderation (new posters are held until I can approve them).

Regarding attacks. There are few things that’ll quickly attract a crowd: a fight or an pileup on a freeway or a mob breaking windows. This story became some of all three.

Bloggers know this. In fact, some blogging businesses even use this knowledge to build an audience. They pick on people on purpose to try to attract an audience, which they can then sell to advertisers. In the case of MeanKids (one of the sites that attacked my wife and Kathy) it wasn’t necessarily about business, but they did want to attract a crowd around attacks on other bloggers.

I disagree with the strategy of appeasement, fear, or renouncing the blogging discipline, even for a symbolic and brief time.

You know what the worst thing you can do to a bully, terrorist, or pushy person?

Give in. Quit. Surrender. Let them "have their way". Appeasement. "Diplomacy" is often another word for "weak".

That's generally a coward's way out.

You cannot let opponents wear you down. They count on that. They think that if they keep pounding away at you, you'll eventually give in. Most people do. They count on you being like most people.

If someone keeps pestering me, needling me, nagging me to do something, it only makes me steel myself against it. The more they push, the harder I get, the more stubborn I become.

This is not expected.

Wear-you-downers are absolutely convinced that every person has a breaking point, and if they keep it up, they'll overcome your resistance. It usually works, and they see you as just another chump they'll defeat, sooner or later.

You must have a rod of iron for a backbone. You must be made of sturdy stuff. You must never give in to any bully, terrorist, or pushy person.

Even little children discover how they can manipulate their parents by wearing them down with repeated requests, whining, and, if all else fails, throwing a temper tantrum.

The rule for victory (and dignity) is as old as time itself: Do Not Surrender.

Never give in to bullies, terrorists, or pushy people.

I'm not saying you have to be ferocious, vicious, or rude. I'm not advocating war, which never solves anything. And I'm not saying you have to fight everybody who comes against you.

Most of the time, you can win by ignoring, or making fun of, the attacks.

But the worst thing you can do is relent, throw in the towel, and then claim, "I just got tired of hearing them go on and on about it." I actually knew a pretty woman who gave into a man who wanted to have sex with her. He kept badgering and pleading and coaxing.

She told me, "I figured if I gave him what he wanted, he'd leave me alone."

But for bullies, terrorists, and pushy people, if you give them an inch, they'll return to demand a mile.

If we stop blogging, just because we're being harshed, trolled, flamed, or spammed, what good are we? What are we saying to our enemies? What kind of a legacy and role model are we providing for the next generation of online communicators?

ALSO SEE: Peoria Pundits post by Bill Dennis "Man Up and Defend Your Right to Blog".


carrie said...

i agree.

i do my best to take breaks and go out and do interesting things to enrich my experiences and then i get a better perspective on the fact that none of those people who are attacking me really know me at all and why should i get upset about it?

another thing, though, is that in the future i think it will become more important to hold people accountable for harrassment online.

steven edward streight said...

Yes, Carrie, we must make people accountable for what they post in their blogs or comments.

Soon, anonymous content will be entirely impossible.

See Lawrence Lessig's book CODE 2.0

steven edward streight said...

Typed words have undue influence on us bloggers. We must thicken our skin and be tough to survive.

Paul said...

I blog only for the mullah.

I am bored beyond distraction by it.

I will blog until the end of the world (2012 if the Mayans had their finger on the pulse).

I will stop blogging to fake my own death then return as a true ghost blogger.

And nobody will notice.

steven edward streight said...

Sometimes our only motivation, the only one left, could be the discipline of writing something every day, but we can also remember our readers, who have grown to expect good things from our keyboards.

Newsandseduction said...

Only a powercut!