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Bloggers in need of help. Not for their fake problems but their real ones.

6.28.2012

in blogging about blogging,ranting,things that make you go argh

I have been reading with great fascination (and not a small degree of annoyance) various stories over the years, of bloggers who stage and promote their own dramas for attention or page views or fame or mental illness, or perhaps some other reasons I can’t quite figure out.

There was the infamous story of April Rose, a terminally ill fetus who died some hours after birth…only she didn’t. There was never any such baby. Just an elaborate hoax for attention.

The list goes on.

There was the TSA Took My Baby story which was easily and quickly proven false (or at least…not all true) with the help of airport security videos. I even hesitate to mention it, because the blogger has since apologized and to this date, I don’t entirely understand what happened, where the disconnect was, or whether she somehow believed it to be true. However she is entitled to make amends and move on, and that she has.

Just last year, on a more national scale, there was the Gay Girl from Damascus, who turned out to be a “hairy dude from Georgia” as it was aptly described by Kristine on MamaPop.

I loved her conclusion: “By making up a story about a girl from Syria, he basically took a voice away from a real one.”

I could not agree more. All this has been on my mind the last few days, since hearing back-channel murmurings, again, about bloggers who seem stage (or enhance) melodrama in their lives for online attention. (To say nothing of buying Twitter followers, participating in linkback schemes for traffic, or gaming Klout scores; but that’s another post.)

It makes me crazy. And when something like this makes me crazy I always try to step back and wonder why I don’t just ignore it like normal people do.

Maybe because, as Nate says, I’m the most trusting person he knows and the James Freys of the world chip away at my optimistic world view.

Because as Kristen says, I care deeply about the blogging community and have seen over and over that fraud and absurd conference drama impacts us all. (See also: Crocs blackmailer)

And because, as Kristine said in her Damascus post, there are real bloggers with real problems who need help. My heart, in these moments, turn to them.

I have spent months, even years, following the often tragic stories of people I know and trust. Parents who have lost children–the worst possible thing I can imagine–from the exceptional writers Heather Spohr and Kate Inglis, to my own inlaws. And certainly the feisty, unrelenting Katie Granju who continues to fight a mighty legal fight to clear her son’s name after he died of a drug overdose that could have been prevented.

There are parents who have suddenly lost a spouse, like Matt Logelin or Jennifer Perillo.  The world has followed the well-known near death–and recovery–of Stephanie Nielson and her husband from a horrific plane crash.

And of course much-needed depression advocacy comes from strong online voices with personal experience with their own demons, most notably Katherine Stone, Heather Armstrong, and Jenny Lawson. They bare their own souls, sometimes even to the mockery or judgment of others, all to help those thousands of readers who would otherwise live lives of quiet desperation, never knowing that all along they had company.

This week alone, my thoughts are with my friend and colleague, Mir of Woulda Shoulda who’s in a fight to save her daughter from unknown demons and diseases. And the incomparable Anissa Mayhew, whose miraculous recovery from a stroke was cheered on by the internet, but whose feisty, hilarious, remarkably resilient nature is still tested in the face of inconsiderate asses who find wheelchairs in their restaurants annoying and inconvenient. To see someone like her start to crack, cracks me too.

(Clearly the 10 minutes they were inconvenienced by her presence far surpasses the lifetime of it that Anissa will endure. Assholes.)

And I always think of my very dear friend Tanis Miller, who lost a son, but gained a new purpose in life, adopting and advocating for special needs children. I still remember when I made a comment about feeling how lucky I am to have healthy children. She snapped back, “Actually, I’m lucky to have all my children.”

And F me, if she didn’t just school me for life. (Thanks Tanis.)

I’m not describing these people because they need your sympathy (although they certainly have mine). I mention them as exquisite examples of resilience, strength, fortitude, and above all–authenticity.

It’s the one trait in my mind that has always described any blog worth reading, on whatever the topic.

Back to my original point, I mention these men and women because I don’t believe one of them ever wrote about their deepest, most painful problems thinking, “wow, this will go over great on Facebook!”

And I don’t imagine one of them ever sent a press release out about their children dying, or their tragic disfiguring accidents, pitching it as a great news story the day after it happened. I don’t think they felt the need to embellish their problems, or manufacture drama or tie it all up in a neat little bow about what lessons they’ve learned from it all. I imagine they simply needed to tell their stories. To get it out. And maybe, perhaps, to get some support and compassion in return, something to keep them going.

It’s the best–the very best–of the blogosphere; rallying for those in need.

So yes, page views are nice. Fame has its benefits. I’m sure a book deal looks mighty attractive when you’re just a person behind a blog struggling to pay the bills on crappy $2 CPM banner ads. And indeed, some of these bloggers have ended up sharing their stories in books and in published essays. As they should. They’re good, important stories.

But if you’ve lost your authenticity en route to “greater” successes, then in my mind, you have nothing of value for me here. You do have my sympathy however; but not for the reasons you’d think.

Do I sound sanctimonious? Eh, fine. I’m entitled once in a while.

My heart–and help–is with those who need it. Sometimes because they asked. Most often, because they didn’t.

 

Thanks Elan for including this post in Five-Star Friday.

158 shards of brilliance… read them below or add one

Motherhood Uncensored June 28, 2012 at 9:31 am

The cream will rise to the top. And the loudest? Well, they’re just loud. Sometimes we forget that.

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Stephanie Precourt June 28, 2012 at 10:07 am

Truth.
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@KimMoldofsky June 28, 2012 at 11:22 am
Zak June 28, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Believe that.
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Backpacking Dad June 28, 2012 at 3:49 pm

Scum also rises to the top. At least it’s easier to see there.

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palinode June 28, 2012 at 11:19 pm

And then there’s loud cream.
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Elise June 29, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Cream rises, but shit floats…

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Mom101 June 29, 2012 at 3:55 pm

I like that everyone is trying to out-cliche one another. This is a fun game.

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Alexandria June 28, 2012 at 9:32 am

This had to be said, and said by someone with a respected voice. Thank you for being that voice.

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KeAnne June 28, 2012 at 9:33 am

Thank you for the rant. Last week many of us were stunned by a blogger creating a persona as a mother of a stillborn child and then a 2-month-old who supposedly “died” after a car accident. She was flooded with support and then she was revealed to be a hoax: she said she wanted a distraction from her life. WTF? Who makes up dead babies????? So wrong.
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Mom101 June 28, 2012 at 10:46 am

I have to be honest, when I was asking for help for my niece, I could only hope that I had earned enough trust that people didn’t question its authenticity. Sad that it even had to cross my mind.
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Kami June 30, 2012 at 9:31 am

I was devastated when you posted about your niece. Devastated for her family. Devastated for YOUR family. Her story touched me profoundly because I trust you. Because you are authentic. I very much appreciated that you so publicly used your clout (not your Klout!) to raise awareness and much needed funds. We all need to think on how we can use our powers here in the blogosphere, in this kind and strong community, for good. Not for better looking google analytics numbers.

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thedoseofreality June 28, 2012 at 9:36 am

Fantastically and amazingly brilliant. Having sat in the room at Type-A over the weekend listening to the words read aloud by some of the very women you mention here, I couldn’t help but think over and over that TRUTH always resonates. Always. People crave reality, not fake reality, but actual, painful at times, funny at others, real life, honest to goodness, straight up life. Thank you.
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Chrysula June 28, 2012 at 1:42 pm

I was thinking exactly the same thing. The writing has to be beautiful, but more than that, it has to be real. And if we lose that, then our craft offers little to the world and we should stop.
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Issa June 28, 2012 at 9:47 am

For once I have no clue who or what you’re talking about and I’m thrilled about that. Either way I know this needed to be said. It gets old. The drama for the sake of drama gets old.

Btw You forgot the BH cake drama. ;)
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Bridget June 28, 2012 at 10:08 am

I was thinking the exact same thing. Sometimes backing away and not being in the thick of things can be kinda nice!
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red pen mama June 28, 2012 at 9:48 am

I would venture a guess that at the heart of all good, authentic bloggers, is a writer who is overjoyed to find a public forum for her (or his) stories — good stories, hard stories, stories that make others feel less alone. Stories that make communities. And it’s horrid that others want to horn in on those communities without being real.

Thanks for this post. Fictions are so damaging because they sow doubt. I’ve seen it at Glow in the Woods, where I’ve visited because of my own experience as a babylost mom. I can’t imagine why other people would make sh!t up for pageviews. That’s incomprehensible to me.
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Corinne June 28, 2012 at 9:52 am

A great post, blogging with your authentic voice is the best thing you can do as it’s done with honesty, even if I hold back it makes it harder to blog. Sometimes I share too much perhaps, but I am always honest. It is strange to think there are people who need to make up drama, as if you really have drama in your life it’s the last thing in the world you want.
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BaldwinAdventure June 28, 2012 at 9:52 am

So well written! What is sad to me is that sometimes I doubt stories from the genuine, real people because of all the fakers out there. Don’t these fakers know they will get busted? You can’t keep a lie like that going, especially if you are doing it for fame and fortune. Rather than be disheartened by all the liars out there, just remember it’s the real stories that live on, and it’s the genuine people that make the difference.

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Redneck Mommy June 28, 2012 at 9:53 am

I am so deeply grateful to have you for my friend. Celebratory internet hugs for everyone!

But more than that, I am grateful for truth speakers and seekers such as yourself, because it is people like you who inspire the rest of us to do better and be better.

Someone ought to write a press release about THAT.
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Mom101 June 28, 2012 at 10:48 am

Thank you – that means a lot coming from the ultimate truth speaker and seeker.
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Marci June 28, 2012 at 9:54 am

Well said. I don’t blog but read you and many of the other people you mentioned here. I am sure the bloggers mentioned above would rather have their loved ones here with them then drama for their blog.

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Katja June 28, 2012 at 9:55 am

The drama seekers distract from those wanting to tell their stories; the heartbreaking, happy, silly and authentic stories. Thank you for the rant.
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Avitable June 28, 2012 at 9:56 am

Fantastic post as always, Liz. I got into a discussion with someone about everyone’s favorite single dad chuckling and she didn’t understand why it was so hurtful for him to lie at every opportunity about every single thing he posts about, and I said something similar to her. His fake story with fake emotion and invented characters who react unnaturally takes away the power of the story of someone like Seth when he came out to his daughter. Don’t tell other people’s stories, especially when they’re lies. And don’t issue press releases when you stub your toe on a camping trip.
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Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms June 28, 2012 at 9:56 am

Yes. Yes. Yes. Can we also add those that dramatize the everyday hurts and foibles to melodrama? That blurs the lines too. Great piece. I have had a sinking feeling reading some posts that perhaps things are staged or edited for dramatic effect. The truth is infinitely more profound and interesting unless you clue me in that you are writing fiction—I do appreciate a good yarn. Great piece, Erin

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Grown and Flown June 28, 2012 at 9:58 am

This was fantastic. We are very new to blogging but have found the wonderful writings of people who think and care deeply about their families and their world to be a true inspiration. I was thinking when reading this how grateful I am to live in a time when I can hear so many voices that would never have reached me in an earlier age.
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Alex@LateEnough June 28, 2012 at 10:05 am

The hoaxes and lies do suck because a few months back someone blogged about a story that they has since said: “Oh it could’ve been a hoax.” So when a real family reached out to me with a similar story, I hesitated to publish it because I worried people wouldn’t believe it.
I published it anyway and figured anyone with questions would (hopefully) email me and I can put them in touch with the family (unlike the blogger back in the Spring), but I still worried about my reputation and how to support this family.
They have been supported by the Internet and some of the blogging community, but I wonder if the family would’ve been given more support if the first blogger hadn’t lied or said he might have been tricked.
It seems unfair to all of us but especially to this family who is actually living the story.
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Father Muskrat June 28, 2012 at 10:05 am

This post makes it hard for a single dad to laugh.
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Boston Mamas June 28, 2012 at 10:11 am

YES. And I’ve been seeing similar stirrings on Twitter too… people baiting for attention. It makes me crazy. (Also, clearly I need to stop following those people.)
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Kristine June 28, 2012 at 10:11 am

This is not a rant…this is important, well-said stuff. Thanks for saying it. As someone else above mentioned, it’s great when respected voices use them. That guy just…baffles me. And his supporters, even more so.
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Helen at Toronto Gardens June 28, 2012 at 10:12 am

I hear what you’re saying, and agree with your cry for authenticity. But these extreme cases are not “normal” people (whatever that means) but pathological liars which is a form of mental illness. That’s the only way to understand them. Our socially networked world gives them a huge platform to spread those lies – and tragically distract from and even cast doubt upon those with real problems – but so does it give us, complete strangers, the platform on which to build this conversation.
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Mom101 June 28, 2012 at 10:55 am

There are some people who have mental illnesses and fabricate stories. I think there are others who just really want attention and…embellish. Or they get a taste of attention and have to keep building on it to keep it up. I can’t really speak to any one individual’s motives. But I think for some, it’s as if blogging success (whatever that means) is a game to be won at any cost.
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Marinka June 28, 2012 at 10:12 am

When my life gets hard, when I can’t work things out, I want to shut down my blog.

I want to shut it down because I know I don’t have the courage, the resilience, the whatever to write about the things that are yes, newsworthy and would get me many pageviews but would sacrifice my anonymity, such as it is on-line, and my privacy, and my children’s privacy. And yet writing humor stuff feels fraudulent when my heart is heavy.

So it makes me crazy that some people manufacture drama for page views. I see it as a mental illness. That’s the way I get through it.
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Annie @ PhD in Parenting June 28, 2012 at 10:20 am

I’m with you on that. I’m happy to put my opinions on display (as you are with your humour writing), but I have no interest in having other people weigh in on any drama I may be experiencing in my own life.
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Mom101 June 28, 2012 at 10:57 am

Read Bossypants whenever you’re feeling this. Comedy, tragedy, pain, joys, challenges…all hilarious and wonderfully readable.

It reminds me you don’t need to scribble 100 REASONS BREASTFEEDING WOMEN SHOULD COVER UP to write something people want to read.
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Annie @ PhD in Parenting June 28, 2012 at 1:24 pm

That’s good to hear, because I only have 50 reasons why women should breastfeed in public, so if you wrote that post, you would totally win the argument. :P
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Mom101 June 28, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Ha!

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Michelle Bee June 28, 2012 at 10:13 am

Thank you for writting this post. Very well said.
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Loukia June 28, 2012 at 10:14 am

Yes. Yes! Yes.

I’m so thankful for you and your posts, as always. xox

And can I add Anna to the list of women I admire? (www.aninchofgray.blogspot.com) Her tragedy, the loss of her son, and the way she has written about him, her loss, and her heartache, has absolutely, 100%, changed my perspective on life. I know better than to complain about a ‘shitty’ day. She is beyond inspiring. Thank goodness for all the GOOD that comes out of this blogging community.
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Mom101 June 28, 2012 at 11:00 am
Elaine A. June 28, 2012 at 3:28 pm

I totally agree with Loukia on this one. Anna is amazing. And yes, thank God for the good.

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Alexandra June 28, 2012 at 10:17 am

I remember the mother who tweeted while her daughter drowned and even while the paramedics were there.

Unbelievable.

And I don’t understand it.

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Karen Sugarpants June 28, 2012 at 10:21 am

So well said, my friend. So well said. Those who choose to write about their hardship, probably don’t even realize how much they are helping others who are going through the very same things. For that I am grateful to this community. I’m not sure I would have come out so much better, on the other side of post-partum depression and a later nervous breakdown, if it weren’t for the courage it took to read the words of others in my situation, and write candidly about it myself. It truly helps to know you’re not alone. I look back on those times and compare it to where I am now, and just shake my head. Wow. So much better.

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Mrs. Wilson June 28, 2012 at 10:24 am

Brilliant. I love that quote from Tanis, too, and that she wasn’t afraid to say it.

You are right. The worst part of the attention-seekers is that they kill empathy for people who are actually struggling for real without saying HEY LOOK AT ME OVER HERE.

Thank you for writing this.
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Dana McIntyre June 28, 2012 at 10:26 am

My mother has always said “misery loves company.” Usually those people who make up stories about their lives are trying to escape their own reality. Many times it is a mental disorder seeking attention…much like Munchausen syndrome. What makes it really sad though is that it takes away from the people who have witnessed true hurt and loss. I’m like you, I trust what people post – to a fault – and I am always horrified to find out later that the story was untrue….and that someone gained from their deceit.
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Dee Brun June 28, 2012 at 10:28 am

Such a great post…and SO TRUE…
Save the Drama for your Mama…
Can’t handle the Poor Me Bloggers…they are right up there with the Give to me…bloggers and the Why didn’t I Get…bloggers…

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Black Hockey Jesus June 28, 2012 at 10:28 am

People have even resorted to doing this in comment sections. I need a heart transplant, Erin.
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Brian June 28, 2012 at 10:29 am
Dawn @ thedalaimama June 28, 2012 at 10:31 am

How things have changed since I started blogging in 2006 my struggles with infertility and our impending adoption. I couldn’t even begin to blog until the pain had subsided and we were months away from the referral of our son.

I still only read a handful of blogs–most of them are still the ones I felt connected with in 2006–and they are the ones where with like a favorite book, I feel a connection to the writers (even though I have met few of you amazing ladies and have missed every single Blogher conference because of babies or work or $$).

I am skeptical of newer blogs because I don’t know the intent behind them and I there are too many people trying to capitalize on their lives. It is too bad that people have lost and/or continue to compromise their authenticity for pageviews, etc.

Thank you for this post. Bravo and so well said, as always.
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Amanda June 28, 2012 at 10:32 am

There are moments when I ache a little bit for the people who manufacture tragedy because one day it will really come knocking at their door.

Thanks for shaking your fist and making it easier to see the truth.
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Julie Marsh June 28, 2012 at 10:36 am

Kyle asked me last night why this had me in such a knot. You’ve illustrated it perfectly.

I hope those with genuine stories will not be dissuaded from sharing their journeys for fear of being drowned out by those merely seeking attention for their own benefit. We need their voices.
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rosemary June 28, 2012 at 10:43 am

The KimKardassiansOfTheBloggingWorld muddy the waters for everyone–even themselves at times. The more soupy the drama, the more desensitized we become to real pain and need. I guess the KKs have a “need” for attention and wilt without it. Too bad the basic needs of life get pushed aside by those basking in undeserved glory. Great post.
Rosemary
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Jessica July 15, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Rosemary, you are spot on, The Kim Kardashians of the Blogging World they are indeed.

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Melissa June 28, 2012 at 10:44 am

I thank you for writing a piece like this. I am new to blogging, I tried once and did not really get the hang of it. Until recently when my own daughter was stillborn due to a placenta abruption, Did I find that blogging actually helped me to get my feelings out. I will be the very first to tell anyone, I would a million times over give up everything to have my daughter back with us. I could not imagine making up a story like mine and getting sympathy and whatever else these people are looking for. I don’t want to go thru everyday missing my baby. Yet, That is the card we are handed and must deal with. Our “story” is something that I would never wish on anyone. People who make up stories to get whatever out it are sick and disturbed and need to be getting help from a professional.

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Pam Gordon June 28, 2012 at 10:44 am

Well said – thanks for saying it!
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Morgan (The818) June 28, 2012 at 10:48 am

Hot damn this was so well said, Liz. I kept reading that press release over and over trying to wrap my head around a person sitting down and hammering that out about their own ‘traumatic event’… I couldn’t.

But it’s not just weird and laughable, it’s wrong. And I’m so glad you’ve reminded us why. This community deserves better.
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Jess June 28, 2012 at 10:48 am

Important, wise words. And there’s a common thread running among the women you mentioned – all are people that I point to when people ask ‘Why on earth do you blog?’

Because. Because they aren’t afraid to share their stories, and they make me feel that my story is important.

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Carinn @welcometothemotherhood June 28, 2012 at 11:09 am

Have you ever seen the movie Catfish? What makes people do these unthinkable things is beyond my comprehension. It’s a real complication of a virtual community, but I think the benefits far outweigh the few bad apples.
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@maggiedammit June 30, 2012 at 5:07 pm

I was going to mention the movie Catfish. It should be required viewing for everyone with Internet access.

Like Marinka, I couldn’t blog about my private life when the chips were really down. Eventually, I had to shut it down completely. So yeah, it boggles my mind a little when people need that external validation so badly they manufacture drama, but at the same time I can see why it could be irresistible to just the right person. Mostly it just makes me sad.

I also identify with the sentiment that it somewhat degrades the very real experiences others suffer. I think about this all the time with Violence UnSilenced.

In the end I can only control my own integrity, and in that vein I’d rather be the kind of person that stays open and loving and trusting, regardless of what goes on around me. Let the dust settle where it will, all is well with my soul.

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BaltimoreGal (Ann) (@BaltimoreGal) July 16, 2012 at 1:36 pm

I don’t really consider myself a blogger, probably a twitter”er” who has a blog with a few posts, but I am in with Maggie on this one. When my life is really out of control I turn inward, and it is hard to understand how people can push their dramas outward on the world. I can understand wanting, needing attention badly, I can. But even the most ill person can only let things get so far, can’t they?
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RookieMom Whitney June 28, 2012 at 11:27 am

Yikes am I glad to not know about the newest situation that must have inspired this post. Thank you, as always, for taking the time to put down words to describe the landscape.
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katie June 28, 2012 at 11:33 am

Over the past seven years I’ve watched so much destruction from the drama wars and while I’d like to believe that great and honest writing rises to the top to obscure what lies below, crap in the bilge. But there is a certain (and unfortunately large) audience that really loves to wade into the bullshit and throw it about with glee. I really wish great writing did stand in the way of these virtual shit operas but sadly it doesn’t and regardless, that’s not the issue at hand.

As usual I love this post Liz and you’d better not be a hairy guy living in his mom’s basement. We should all look at ourselves as members of this audience and maybe make a firm declaration like ‘I will not fan the fires of dishonesty or stir the pot of drama via my blog OR by hijacking another blogger’s comment section AND DEMAND TRUTH!’ Yet I know this is impossible when I (naïvely) try so hard to trust what I read from my ‘peers’. Maybe we need to scrutinize personal blogs like we do the corporations and PR folks but that makes me sad (and really folks, when it boils all down: it’s all about me).

Let’s all just stop the lies because truth? Truth is mother f’ing sexy.
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Kelley June 28, 2012 at 3:59 pm

I, too, hope Liz isn’t a hairy guy hiding in her mom’s basement.
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Mom101 June 28, 2012 at 5:07 pm

I could use a shave…

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IlinaP June 28, 2012 at 11:36 am

Right on. I’m giving this post a standing ovation.

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Rae Ann June 28, 2012 at 11:44 am

I believe that every blogger I regularly read has commented on this post, suggesting it a worthy read. They were right.

Thank you for always….keeping it real.

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Glennia June 28, 2012 at 12:02 pm

I’ve almost completely stopped reading blogs, mainly because it is sometimes hard to separate fact from fiction. Given the choice, I’d rather watch the flagrantly artificial world of reality tv. I barely have time to write or read my own blog, but once in a while someone like you reminds me of why I started in the first place. The blogs I read now tend to be people I’ve actually met. Luckily for me, you’re one of them.
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Mom101 June 28, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Thanks Glennia.

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condo blues June 28, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Thank you for this. However, you left out an important part of the story. These idiots who make up hoaxes and lies about tragedies for Internet glory squash those of us who suddenly find ourselves in such a situation.

My wonderful formerly abused rescue dog my husband and I spent 3 years rehabilitating into the confident goofball that walks into all of my blog photos (and ends up on my blog more often than I do) has cancer. I told blog friends who suggested I write about him because he is “part of my story.” Another suggested taking donations for his chemo because we do not have pet health insurance. I resisted both because of the asshats who fake this stuff. Eventually I did both with lots of prodding and being told I better do it or someone was going to do it for me :)

I don’t write about personal feelings and stories because I am a DIY and food blogger. When I started to write about Blitzkrieg I have a new found respect for the bloggers who bare their soles because _this shit is HARD._ However, on a post I ugly cried while writing, I got the best comment from someone delurked and said by telling my dog’s indepth abuse, adoption, and rehabilitation stories they said they are more aware of what these animals go through and that it’s not always sunshine and roses without hard work from the adoptive family. Our cancer story is unintentionally bringing awareness to that issue when my intention is to answer the How’s Blitzkrieg? comments on other posts.

I think anyone who creates a hoax deserves to be staked on an anthill for the rest of their lives. Especially like in my case, they almost kill the voices that should be heard because we are afraid of being put in the same boat.
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jdg June 28, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Paging Catherine Connors. . . cleanup in aisle 101.
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beta dad June 28, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Price-check on deluxe press releases with videos, photos, links, and attachments.

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Doug July 1, 2012 at 7:10 pm

Bring your mop, several buckets, and a hazmat suit.
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MLB June 28, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Liz – what do you think the role/responsibility of larger blogging organizations, i.e. Blogher, Babble is when these issues arise? I would really be interested to hear your take on it. If you are going to repeat a story to a larger audience, do the “repeaters” have a responsibility to verify?

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Mom101 June 28, 2012 at 2:28 pm

I think every publication should have clear standards of journalistic integrity. They’re going to differ – from TMZ to the NY Times – but at least if you know what they are, you can make an educated decision as a reader as to where you want to put your time and clicks.

But as individuals, I have always believed that any blogger should own her words, wherever they’re writing. If you need to write a retraction or correction later, if the facts change, so be it.

What do you think?

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MLB June 28, 2012 at 4:17 pm

I think the standards should be clearer, but perhaps that burden is on those who read those sites to determine what their standards are. I don’t blog but I read those sites. And truthfully, I have no idea what their standards are. I can’t tell if articles at Babble mock press releases or actually believe them. And given that the forum is about tech issues related to mommyblogging, it seems to me that mocking is inappropriate. So then, was the press release just regurgitated and is that the standard? I truly don’t get if it’s some inside joke or whether it was accepted at face value. It doesn’t seem either is acceptable but perhaps that’s just me.

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Mom101 June 28, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Well, I’d say that regurgitating a press release is not journalism or blogging in any forum. Press releases are meant to disseminate information for marketing purposes with a particular spin. It’s the writer’s job then to investigate other perspectives or to verify the information in them.

It’s why review bloggers are not widely regarded as trustworthy – there’s a lot of Control C/ Control V happening, and not a lot of actual “reviewing.”

But you know you’re right – the burden is on us. Read Fox or read TPM and it’s pretty clear what the perspective is. I think often on websites the perspective is simply “get page views.”

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{sue} June 28, 2012 at 12:13 pm

Hear, hear.
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Whit June 28, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Well said, Liz. And I am not making that up.
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gorillabuns June 28, 2012 at 12:16 pm

So beautifully stated.
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Alyssa S. June 28, 2012 at 12:23 pm

I have as much of a pet peeve with bloggers who over dramatize real problems. One blogger comes to mind. Her problems (or sometimes her perceived problems) were real, but she had a way of blowing them completely out of proportion or spinning them in a way that gained maximum sympathy. I’m not sure she was going for high page hits as much she had this compulsive need to draw in a large crowd of readers who would either stroke her ego or play into the “poor poor me” game. Funny thing is, it IS authentically her. Coincidentally I happen to know someone who knows this person in real life and found out she’s the same way in person. I think some people just naturally feel the need to attract attention and drama. I picked up on it after a while and learned that I had a choice to either play into it or not. I chose not to.
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Mom101 June 28, 2012 at 2:24 pm

I know people like that too Alyssa. I think that’s a different kind of drama – real in a way, but ongoing and ever present. The “it’s always something” people. I find it hard to be around them much in real life as well because it demands a lot of energy.

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Sleeping Should Be Easy July 2, 2012 at 2:00 pm

I watched “Breaking Dawn, part 1″ on DVD this past weekend and was thinking that Bella and Edward are totally the “it’s always something” people. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. It’s like, come on people, be happy with something in your life!

Okay just needed to get my Twilight rant out of the way (sorry Twilight fans). I also know people like this in real life, and I could sense it too in bloggers as well. For bloggers, I can easily stop visiting their site. I just felt like this one woman was just asking for too much attention, and I know that what she went through was ridiculously tough, but at the same time, people can only take so much.

The good thing though is that at least it’s real (or at least I assume so!) whereas I still can’t imagine fabricating a story just to have page hits. Talk about exaggerating a headline! This really sucks for me because I’m the type who will cry reading stories about stuff like that, so if I were to find out that it’s fake, it would crush me.

Then again, maybe not. One of the side effects of reading sob stories is that it really does make me appreciate my toddler even more. I guess the fact that the story was fake sucked, but at least it made me appreciate what I do have (even if I cried like a silly thing about it).
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