May 27, 2013

Ever Criticized A Blogger???

Yesterday, the Sunday Telegraph featured an article by gossip columnist Ros Reines, in which she slammed Mummy Bloggers in general and a few key players in particular, and shot an arrow at the burgeoning field of Daddy Bloggers, too.

Now, I support Ros's right to have an opinion. We all have opinions; I've certainly formed one about her column. What I object to is the mean-spiritedness which permeated her article.

The women and man mentioned in the piece are real people. They are real people with feelings and families and insecurities and hopes, and Ros tore them down quite knowingly with her words. Remember that these people aren't doing anything to hurt anyone; one is a broadcaster and writer, and the others are bloggers. None are vicious or cruel, in fact, the worst that Ros could accuse them of was being 'self-indulgent'. So why be so unkind?



Most forms of self-expression are 'self-indulgent' to an extent - writing, music, painting, dancing, they all are external depictions of an internal state. There is nothing wrong with this. It is life. It can be art.

If we don't like someone else's self-expression, then the sensible thing to do is to stay away. If you don't like someone's music, don't listen to it. It's simple. And if you don't like someone's blog, don't read it. Easy. There's no need to be mean. Just close the screen and be gone.

But by the same token, we as writers need to stop taking criticism so personally. Not everyone will like us, and that is okay. No writer (or musician, or artist, or dancer) can appeal to everyone. I cannot think of one piece of writing in the entire world that is universally loved - not Shakespeare, not Austen, not even Marian Keyes!!!! And if Shakespeare & Austen & Marian Keyes aren't universally loved, what chance on earth do I have?

My style of writing doesn't resonate with everyone, and I really am fine with that. I try to focus on the people who do enjoy my work, and forget about the ones who don't.

People, it is OKAY not to have universal appeal. I hope that you all remember that.

And Ros Reines, with the very deepest respect, I hope you can remember that too.

44 comments:

  1. I don't even know who she is? But I know who you are and you are wise xx

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  2. twopointfivekidsMay 27, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    great post - totally agree - why must people be so mean, just to have something to say?
    xxx

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  3. Can't be bothered to weigh in on this one. Too tired.

    Though I *do* think it's cute when old people are only noticing the online world for the first time.

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  4. haven't bothered reading her article because I figured it was just a ploy to rile up the blogosphere and get some tasty page views.
    I agree with all of your words Kerri.

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  5. PMSL - which is young person's speak for "Irrelevant gossip columnist"

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  6. *sobbing on the floor with a face full of chocolate*

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  7. Just read the Telegraph article. Wasn't sure if the point was that 'mummy/daddy' bloggers were getting a bit long in the tooth for radio listeners; or that bloggers were too self-absorbed. Either way. Meh... I've no time for the opinion of gossip columnists cos it's all about me, me, me!

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  8. I agree Kerri, it was the mean spiritedness that resonated most with me. Though I still don't understand people complaining about something they don't enjoy, be it radio, TV, internet, whatever. SWITCH OFF. So simple.

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  9. Well said. Although it makes me wonder how much common sense is left in the world, as you say 'don't like it? don't read/listen/watch/whatever it! Simple people. Simple! It seems that too many people have way too much time on their hands to criticize and put others down. x

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  10. Someone doesn't like Marian Keyes?!! What is WRONG with people?!! *shakes head*

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  11. I KNOW, right???? Bizarre. Just BIZARRE.

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  12. I do agree with you that Ros Reines's article was mean spirited - I don't like articles written in that style - written simply to try and hurt the target of the attack.

    Mind you, knowing what the blogging community is like in Australia - especially women bloggers - I know you guys are going to "circle the wagons" and support each other - that's a good thing - that's why blogging communities can be great things to be a part of...

    But, paradoxically, that actually makes it difficult to criticise blogging communities like the one this blog belongs to...

    I hope you guys just take this as an observation, not an attack... some of you who know me know that I like to hold a mirror up to people's opinions sometimes...

    The tone of Ros Reines was completely wrong - but I hope the mummy blog community isn't above being criticised when the criticism is justified - and, no I don't think all of Ros Reines's criticisms were justified - but I also feel some were, especially about MamaMia (the website, not the person)...

    There is a cliquishness about the blogging community in Australia that I don't always feel comfortable about - there is an element of "high school" about blogging - there are the cool kids, and then there are the rest - I suspect Ros Reines's article was a reaction against that cliquishness - but there's also a lot of "tall poppy" syndrome in the article as well... that's never a good thing.

    So, look - I know what the majority of comments on this post will be like - they will be supportive and self-congratulatory - and with some justification... but I think you guys need to be careful about how you react to criticism. Ros Reines' post deserves to be criticised, but I hope the blogging community can also sometimes handle a bit of constructive criticism from time to time and that you don't just "circle the wagons" to every negative comment. That would be a bad thing.

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  13. That is such an interesting comment. You always leave me thinking, JJ.
    I absolutely do not think that bloggers (or anyone) should be above criticism. But I think there is a big difference between constructive criticism, or kind criticism, and just dismissive, mean spirited criticism.
    As I said, it's totally okay for not everyone to like every style of writing. I certainly don't. And I know that not everyone likes mine. But I do think there's a problem here in Oz (can't speak for other countries) where people read sites voraciously for the pleasure of hating them, and I have NEVER understood that. If I don't like a site, I don't read it. Simple as that.
    As for the cliquishness, yes, there is truth to that. And this is why I don't enter (or allow myself to be nominated for) blogging comps as I do feel it's often the same blogs over and over again. But having said that, there is also a tremendous amount of support in this community; I felt it when I was starting out and I do try to pay it forward, and I think that most of the major players are the same. Not all - I have seen some nastiness - but most. I do believe that.
    Then again, maybe I'm just naïve and trusting... I've been accused of that before!

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  14. Oh, yes - hate reading - don't get me started on that either... that's the other side of the coin...the dark side of blogging... I've never understood hate reading... seems like such a waste of time...

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  15. I thought it was interesting, but yeah - unnecessarily nasty. So what if a mum blogger loves her kids so much and writes about it? I've never even heard of the bloggers mentioned so it's not like they're so overdone everyone is getting sick of it. horses for courses, I say!

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  16. Honestly, I don't know how some people look in the mirror each morning.

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  17. Ros always - and will continue to - be a negative opinion sharer because that's what makes her money. I don't read her, I find her, as you say, too mean-spirited. And I'm not a mummy blogger. Or a daddy blogger. Ahem.

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  18. What you say about Marian Keyes is just not true. It isn't, I say!

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  19. I haven't read the article and I'm not going to because I have reached the point of deliberately and consciously avoiding hate-speech of any description. I don't think any group is above criticism and cliques, where they exist, always bear examination, but there's no excuse for personal attacks, ever. They serve only the mean-spiritedness of the attacker. You can disagree with an individual or a group and even dislike them, without descending to nastiness.

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  20. I am shocked and appalled and hurt and hungry and saddened by all of this.

    If only there was more awareness of my baby and what an unbelievable little miracle he is, there would be no need for meanness or shame or littering or anything else nobody likes.

    Daddy blogger out!

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  21. Kerri, you have had two books published, and as far as I know, Ms Reines hasn't.... :-)

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  22. I've never liked unkindness in any shape or form and while constructive criticism can be helpful, getting personally nasty in a public forum such as a column in a large newspaper is a form of bullying. At school I have a personal rule that I try to adhere to when pointing out so-called faults or areas of weakness to students (and/or their parents) - two positive things together with one negative - so that praise always outweighs criticism. What this columnist failed to acknowledge and applaud was/is that many bloggers turn the minutiae of life into something, not just entertaining and witty, but helpful and supportive to many.

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  23. "Not everyone will like us, and that is okay."

    That was a hard thing for me to learn, but about age 30 it struck me and things have taken a turn for the better since then. I'm me ... you don't like me? That's fine ... but I'm still me and *I* like me ... that's pretty much all that matters,

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  24. But most importantly, I have YOUR HEART!!!!! *does happy dance*

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  25. We all feel your pain, Nick. We really truly do.

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  26. You are too sweet. But I'm sure she hasn't heard of me!!! xxxx

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  27. I know. It was a hard one for me to accept too.... We have to be strong...

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  28. I'm relatively new to the blogging world, but love to write and started my blog purely for myself ... I have now found that people are enjoying it and this makes the joy of writing even better. I enjoy reading your blog Kerri it is the first blog I started to follow. In the end we blog for ourselves and if others enjoy it so be it. :-)

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  29. Kerry I think the writer of the aformentioned article writes about gossip and celebrities. Not sure that this counts as hard hitting journalism. Just saying glass houses!

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  30. Emma Odette BarnettMay 31, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    You're the best Kerri... Keep doing what you do. x

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