Now, as you know, in blogging terms, I'm pretty much drawing my pension. I've seen it all- mass views from Yankee bloggers happy for some English interaction (2006-2008), mutual love and support, (2008-2009), the times it started to all get a little competitive (2009-2010) to what we have now. Which I wont put a tag on, as its pretty hard to actually, but let's just say the mutual love and support is in short supply these days.
It seems like every five minutes, something is taken out of context, or a backlash ensues across Twitter and certain private "secret" (but completely not secret and widely known about) groups if you have an opinion differing to that of someone higher up the food chain than you, or generally there's a full moon and someone goes out howling at it in the "community" (I'm loathe to use that definition. Community to me says support).
Which gets a little dull, a little boring and a little baffling, and also, sadly, sometimes means a fellow rookie or otherwise in the dark and geeky world of social media and blogging commits blog suicide and pulls the plug.
Take this weekend.
A man- I know, a man, shocking right!- starts a twitter feed and a blog. So far, so pedestrian. He says he wishes to find out what makes Mum Blogging so huge. What makes us tick. How its so phenomenally successful.
He opened with this quote on what was his first of only two posts (more on why in a bit):
But isn’t that the beauty of the internet… I mean we use it to blog, to search, to shop, to research, to play, to listen, to watch (I could go on). So with so many different facets to the web, do the mummy bloggers limit themselves to talking about nappies and crayons? In fact I already know the answer, of course not!
That's not really offensive, or shocking, or sensational, is it? He's right, we don't just talk about nappies or crayons. We talk about politics, illness, charities, sex and everything in-between. In fact, if only more outsiders would realise this as well, my inbox would not be over run with pointless approaches.
The thing is, the guy did what most new bloggers would do. He started following people on Twitter. He tweeted them. He was pretty polite, across the board. He answered queries about what his fascination with Mummy Blogging is.
In return, he was asked if he was a troll. He was accused of unnerving people, of being a journalist, of trying to club all bloggers under one tag. He was given a hard time, over all, by all sorts of Mum Blogger members, and some Dad Bloggers joined in to.
Cut to today, and the same blogger is now, sadly, deleting his blog and twitter accounts, he's hanging up his look into what makes a Mummy Blogger and running for cover, I'd imagine.
So, why did this happen? Why did he get such a lambasting that he's quitting after two posts?
Would the reaction have been different had he been a woman? Or if he'd have said "I'm Mr X for Y Brand and I'm looking into Mummy Bloggers to offer them shiny rewards and free stuff". Would it have been different if he was compiling a Peerindex or similar list to have yet another pointless, surplus to requirements and poorly researched list of top bloggers or tweeters, or similar and giving the top 10 a shiny blog badge (disguising an advert for his company for a whole year, payment free)?
It seems to an old hand like me, that we simply don't trust and/or embrace new bloggers. I have often lamented the bullying and generally not nice nature that surrounds being a Mum Blogger, old or new, and have been told by many they have no idea what I'm talking about and its all in my imagination.
However, I've also had individuals email me privately, to say they know exactly what I'm talking about, have witnessed it, and have on occasions felt so bad they've almost quit blogging too. It seems that the treatment of this fellow, and my own recent experience of being kicked off one of the most well known Parent Blogging lists for having a difference of opinion, (when I'd just got some pretty terrifically upsetting news and frankly didn't need this on top) and being banned from nomination in another well known annual awards is endemic of the "do as I say, think what I think or I'll be as nasty as I possibly can" playground behaviour that has surfaced and now hangs around the Mum Blog tag like a bad smell.
Have we become so self absorbed that we no longer care about people's feelings? Are we so competitive that nowadays working together counts for little?
If we have nothing to hide, what were we all so scared of this guy finding out about the culture behind Mum Blogging?
No doubt, I shall be given a verbal battering for this post, and no doubt there will be private messages and anonymous comments pinging across the web soon.
I for one am ashamed at the way we have become, and wish the days when it was about support were revisited.
And lets hope he wasn't a journalist, as his treatment may just make a mockery of us all.