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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dear Blogger, don't hate!

I'm getting really tired of all the blog hating that I'm seeing on Twitter. It's been around forever, but it seems to have ramped up quite a bit lately. Frankly, it has made me rather embarrassed for us all. If we can't function as a community, what good are we?

Vindictive comments are unnecessary. In-fighting is stupid. General hating is just bad form. I'm sure your mother or some other older, wiser family member once shook a finger and spouted the old adage about not having anything nice to say. You know the one, and the fact is that they were right. Karma comes 'round people. That's all I'm saying.

Recently, this hating phenomenon turned a perfectly innocent hash tag on Twitter (#dearblogger) into a cesspool. By late evening Wednesday, it was positively overflowing with comments, most of which were insults or cease and desist requests masquerading as "advice".

There was some great advice, like:

"Don't be afraid to review older books & not keep up w/the current ones. Old fires deserve to be stoked." - Donna at Bites.

"Promoting reading and books should always be paramount. All roads should lead to it." - Emily at Emily's Reading Room.

"Remember - just because you have a blog doesn't mean you deserve ARCs. Content & Quality are what matters most." - Gail from Ticket to Anywhere.

Then there was that other stuff. Stuff that, frankly, would be better left unsaid. And forgive me, I'm about to share my thoughts. This stuff got me a little riled.

"You can review a book that you didn't like and STILL find positive things to say about it. There is an audience 4 every book."
There is an audience for every book. However, it's not my job as a blogger to cater to everyone. It is my job to post my opinion.

"Don't make posts on how you're only in it for free books. Blogging should be for love of reading, not getting."
I've seen similar comments/criticisms flying around a lot lately Yes, posting about it is going to excess and exhibits greed, but if you're a blogger who gets review copies and you say you're not in it for the books then you are lying to yourself. I'm not saying that's why you blog, but you do like being among the first to read and review new titles. There's no shame in that, so don't chastize others when they get excited about receiving ARCs.

"Please stop asking me to follow your friend just because she is almost at 100 followers. Is her content worth it?"
Blogs should be followed because the content is good, but who are you to tell anyone how to tweet?

"Don't just C&P the back of the book as a synopsis. Those are written to sell a book; I want to know what it's actually ABOUT."
This was another comment I saw a couple of times in different forms on #dearblogger. I say do what you feel, but don't discount reviews just because the blogger used a description from the publisher. Let the review speak for itself.

"Your black background with red text makes my eyes hurt."
Do I even need to expound on why this was unnecessary?

I don't want to say that #dearblogger failed, but it was a perfect example of BloggerFAIL. My point is that we are a community and should start acting like one. Sometimes we do. We come out strong on issues and support each othe by spreading the word when we see a fellow blogger doing something innovative and awesome. We're movers and shakers, go-getters and big thinkers. Why are we letting this petit crap go on?

The truth is that this catty, vindictive behavior is reprehensible, and it’s making the blogosphere rather toxic. That being said, I think #dearblogger also produced the most useful piece of advice any blogger could ever receive.

The wise and wonderful Story Siren said, “Don't be afraid do to whatever the hell you want to do!” To that I say, damn right!

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. Don’t hate the blogger, hate the game!


  1. You already know how much I love this post. The #dearblogger thing was a great idea, but it just turned so mean-spirited. Nobody has the right to make you feel like crap about how you blog.

    If anything, I'm just aware that I'm annoying people now. I'm not going to do anything to change it. Like I said, I blog for my followers. I don't blog to impress or please other bloggers.

  2. Oh - you just made my morning! I had a peek in the #dearblogger chat last night and TBH it actually made me pretty mad. I was reading so much "don't just write reviews, people want to read other stuff too" and, like you mentioned, "find something nice to say, or don't say anything at all" ... huh? ... why the heck should I be nice about every book I read, or not say anything at all? ... and what gives someone the right to insist that *THIS* is how bloggers should be doing things? Puhleeze. This isn't my job, lol, I'll damn well do what I like ... and too bad if there's people who don't like it. It seems like a lot of people took #dearblogger as nothing more than an excuse to vent about the stuff that pisses them off on other people's blogs, which TBH is a pretty pointless and spiteful thing to do. If you don't like someone else's blog, then stop following it and shut up O_O Needless to say, I pointed out to the "don't just write reviews, people want to read other stuff too" person that nobody should feel obliged to do anything they don't want to do (and, really, what's wrong with only writing reviews?? :o), then left the not-very-helpful chat.

    The Story Siren definitely has it right.

  3. Thanks for posting about this issue. As a newbie to Twitter and still a fairly new blogger I found most of the #dearblogger comments today to be unhelpful and intimidating. You've said everything I was feeling.

  4. Heck yes lady, I hope you get nothing but good feedback from this post. For me the #dearblogger tag was helpful on some level, but toward the end like you mentioned I was like Bash Fest 2010 or am I imagining things. There were so many tweets almost every blogger had to be questioning themselves.

  5. I agree that there were comments posted that angered me also. That is why i focused on Dear Publisher, simply putting reasons why as a new blogger publishers can be a bit annoying, and all I wanted was some answers. From the few Dear Bloggers I read I could already tell they were getting nasty, and when I read Donna at Bites post about it I simply closed out the window. This is a perfect post.

  6. Ugh. I had no idea this was really even going on! I guess I haven't seen much of it myself. You're right though, what's the point? If we're not supportive of each other, what kind of community are we?

  7. That's terrible to hear about. I've been very lucky in that everyone who I've come across so far has been nice, both to me, and to their books and their authors. It's such a shame because we have this fantastic communtiy as book bloggers and it's something we should be proud to be part of, but hearing stuff like that makes me feel slightly ashamed. Glad to see that there was good advice mixed in though, that's heartening.

  8. Wow. I'm not on Twitter (yet), and I'm amazed to hear this.

    Thanks for your defense of bloggerdom.

  9. I'm glad I missed this whole thing. lol I use the summary from goodreads when I post my reviews. I don't always have time to sit down and summarize the book so I don't see the problem with that. My review is what people came for anyway so I hardly see why that even matters. Oh well, like Kristi said "Don't be afraid to do whatever the hell you want to do!" I like that. :)

  10. Thanks so much for this post. I couldn't agree more!

  11. AGREED! I wasn't following #dearblogger enough to see all the negative things, but I am really embarrassed as part of this community to see us behaving like this.

  12. I'm rarely on Twitter and it took me about 30 seconds to see what was going on and to sign off. I thought if that's what happens on Twitter I don't want anything to do with it. What people do on their blogs is up to them as long as it's their own original work (there's been some issues with plagiarism lately and I fully support the blogs who have been plagiarized). If you are blogging only to get free books or to get free books, that's your issue. I started blogging as a forum to write reviews of books, discuss the book community, not just about forthcoming books, but about anything I choose, and to write about anything I choose. It's not about getting free books or ARCs. If people have a problem with that, to me it's their problem. I'm not going to stop reading books that were published 20 years ago just because people are only interested in reading about new books. There are lots of addicted readers out there who understand that reading is personal.

    Great post! I'm not sure where all this vindictiveness is coming from, but people need to get a grip and discover why they blog in the first place. Keep the good advice rolling though, we could all use the inspiration!!!!!!

  13. I guess I'm strange as I didn't see any of the DearBlogger tweets as offensive, but as constructive critcism. Like, when you get a paper back from the teacher with comments. The teacher doesn't do it to be mean, but to help you take your paper to the next level. As for the adage don't have anything nice to say, well I don't play that way. If something bothers me, I will speak up, regardless of whether it is nice or not.
    That stated, I don't think personal attacks are warrented. I don't think people should be tweeting things like don't follow blogger X, because of such and such reason.
    I absolutely agree about bloggers being go-getters and big thinkers. We rock. We do amazing things like get whitewashed covers changed. We raise awareness of LGBT books. We help the success of smaller books. We get people excited about reading. That is so bloody cool. I think there's definitely a way to throw some positives into DearBlogger. Like, I interjected with a comment about blaming bloggers for my new love of Romance novels and declining bank account. It's true, I blow so much money on books and postage because of bloggers!! But, it's a loving kind of blame.
    Also, I really hope this comment didn't come across as mean, because that's not what I want to do, just express my viewpoint on this whole thread, if that makes sense at all?

  14. I refrained from joining #dearblogger until this morning precisely for the reasons you mentioned. I get really annoyed by all of these "this is how you blog" posts and tweets. The truth is that I don't blog the same as you and you don't blog the same as her and she doesn't blog the same as him. Get over it people! Just because you've been blogging for 1+ years doesn't make you a total expert on blogging. You might have answers to questions new bloggers have, but as someone who has been blogging for about nine months I feel that I've figured out most things myself by trial and error. Great post.

  15. I'm so glad I missed this now sounds like it was pointless, I totally agree after reading back on some of it, Great Post!!

  16. Awesome post!!
    I did not participate on the chat and I wasnt even around for these tweets... but I am firm believer in the NO HATE policy...

    I mean, if you dont like the way a blogger does his stuff. dont follow or unfollow... if there are people that enjoy it, it's their thing...

    to each their own and all that...

    LIke you said and others have as well, what's good is this community if we can't be an united one... not only that, what good is this community if we can't respect the individuality of each blogger??


  17. I agree with what you're saying - but I think all the negativity about #dearblogger is just as bad as all the negative comments on the actual thread!

    I've looked on in the chat for quite a while now, and no one is fighting about anything. Yes, people are giving advice like that, and yes it's pretty opinionated advice, but it's advice, not a demand. Also, I know you don't want to hear it, but a lot of those comments - such as the one about writing more than reviews - has a lot of sense in it. Obviously the end result is about what you want to do, but #dearblogger is just as much a converging group of opinions on what works and what doesn't as it is pure advice.

    There are way more gems than bad comments in it, and I'm really happy to know that people in the blogging community are stepping up. Because of #dearblogger, I've been able to get out my feelings of how we don't help small presses enough. Now I wasn't telling people they HAD to take them, but I was simply stating that we do ignore them.

    Because we do. #dearblogger is more success than fail, in the manner that at least bloggers are *finally* getting a chance to talk about this stuff. We never do.

    All the same, though, it's good to see your opinion on it. :) Good advice as to *how* one should word opinions and advice so as not to offend.

  18. There is an audience for every book. However, it's not my job as a blogger to cater to everyone. It is my job to post my opinion.

    Afuckingmen sister! I hate it when people get on my case for "bashing books" when I'm just giving my damn honest opinion. It isn't my job to soften the truth to make other people feel better. My reviews are my opinions. While I'm not saying you have to agree with them, at least respect my right to share them. There are many books that I have downright hated that other bloggers have loved. Does this mean I have to mention this in every review? If people want to see different opinions on one book, there are plenty of reviews around. Just look on Google, Amazon, Goodread, etc.

  19. I love this post! But I like that some positivity came out of #dearblogger. However, I say down with negativity!

  20. #dearblogger was good those first few hours, but it completely spiraled out of control. You're absolutely right - people were using it as an excuse to say mean things about other blogs under the guise of "constructive criticism." Except the criticism wasn't helpful, but rather a free-for-all of pointing out all the things other bloggers don't like. The same people who were saying "do what you want and ignore the rest" saying "don't do this, its stupid" in the very next tweet (Not Kristi, but others). Some weird mob mentality at work here.

    I am the first person to declare my love and be thankful for the community, but this was a sad public display. The one thing most bloggers agree upon is that there needs to be a degree of professionalism in how you present yourself if you want to be taken seriously and last night made us as whole seem petty. It was embarrassing.

    Thank you so much for standing up and saying this. It's so great to read everyone's comments and see that more than a few were on the same wavelength here.

  21. Kudos to you for this post! i wasn't really paying much notice to the whole dear blogger thing but i did see the 1 or 2 odd negative things like you mentioned, i know why are people hating on others, in the end of the day we all share our love for books lets keep it that way, thank you for this post!

  22. I agree with most of what you said and did notice that the #dearblogger stuff had become sort of mean spririted. I'll admit there are certain things that are pet peeves of mine when it comes to blogs, but I just figure it's their blog and they can do what they want and I'm not going to do that on my blog. And maybe people feel that way about mine too. I do think, though, that bloggers should put a lot of thought into how they interact with publishers because like you said, we ARE a community and, therefore, will be judged as one. While I know the publishers won't judge everyone by a couple of bloggers, I still think we need to be mindful of this.

  23. I'm glad you found my tweet helpful. I know a lot of new bloggers were intimidated by the "advice" being given on #dearblogger. Ultimately, it's your blog and you can post whatever you want. I would always suggest that as long as you are being respectful of readers, authors, publishers and other bloggers, you really can't go wrong.

    And using Goodreads summaries for reviews is perfectly fine. I suck at summarizing books, so I don't need to break my head over writing something that has already been written!

    A lot of these bloggers causing drama won't be around long. Trust me.

  24. I saw them, and started to go when people started to get overly enthusiastic.

    I use the synopsis from the book for my synopsis. I am not good at explaining what the book is about, I can accurately describe how I feel about a book though and it is just easier for me to use the blurb. I think if people didn't like it, they would just not follow.

    Thanks for the great post. As always I heart you Susan!

  25. Nice post! I've seen some people that think that the #dearblogger comments about the layout and appearence of people's blogs was actually 'constructive criticism'.

    While some of the things mentioned could be something that might turn off a reader, in the end, it seems to me that the CONTENT should be the most important thing.

    I tuned in later in the day, admittedly missing some of the really good comments from publishers/authors/long-time bloggers. By the time, I added the hashtag to TweetDeck, I felt that the whole exercise had turned from advice to a thinly-veiled snarkfest.

    I guess what disappointed me the most, was that I expected a really constructive back-and-forth between publishers and industry people, bloggers and readers, that would enrich the community, like I felt the Book Blogger Convention did, this past May, in NYC. Instead, many remarks seemed negative. (And didn't even apply to my personal blog, so I'm coming from an unbiased place.)

    I feel like really new bloggers, and less supported bloggers (publishing and author connections, as well as friends who will read posts) might have been scared away by the banter.

    I could care less if you use the most basic of wordpress or blogger templates. I come to your blog to engage with YOU, not criticize your HTML knowledge.

  26. I didn't catch #DearBlogger until your post. I saw a few helpful hints but most were rude.

    Honestly I blog for me so if I have one reader or 500 I'm still going to do what I do the way I like. I totally get the frustration with the negative but I found a solution to that.

    If someone is rude to an author, reader, celeb, etc. than I just stop following them. At the end of the day this is my hobby not my job and the last thing I need is more stress. Just cut all toxic people out of your life.

    Great blog post!

  27. Thank you for this post! I AM a new blogger, that happened to tune into twitter to catch a couple of remarks that made me feel like complete blogger fail after reading them! So, thank you for reiterating the fact that what makes the blogger community unique is that WE are all different! As for the goodreads synopsis.. I do use them for the most part, unless I think they don't do a good enough- or accurate- job giving a summary. If it's not broken, why fix it?

    Thanks again for the post!

  28. Well said! I didn't catch #dearblogger due to some family stuff, but just catching up, I see that it got out of hand. Thank you for posting this.

  29. I admit that I got a bit caught up in the #dearblogger remarks last night but finished it up with a comment that bloggers are people just like you are--I think sometimes we forget that we're ALL real people behind our blogging facades.

    Unfortunately this type of talk has been rampant among book bloggers for about a year (at least)--I finally shut up my book blog and moved to a blog where I could talk about whatever the hell I wanted. Sadly my followers from 2+ years mostly didn't bother to make the effort to visit the new blog--speaks a lot about the "community" we have here, I think.

  30. I totally agree with everything you said. I've had my book blog since August '09 and I've often found that the book blogging community can be somewhat "high school clique-ish" at times. One point that was made I do have an issue with. I always use a description of the book in my reviews, whether it be from the book flap, goodreads, etc. Personally, I rarely read a review that gives a complete plot rehash because I often find that they give too much of the plot away. I try to write my reviews based on how the book made me feel rather than what it was about. I do agree that every book has its good point. However, if I strongly dislike a book, I'm not going to sugar coat it. Anyway, I mostly try to stay out of the drama, but I do feel that these issues do need to continue to be addressed. Book blogging should be about sharing the love, not about spreading the hate.

    By the way, I love, love, love your new layout. Absolutely gorgeous!

  31. Agree with everything but..

    "You can review a book that you didn't like and STILL find positive things to say about it. There is an audience 4 every book."
    There is an audience for every book. However, it's not my job as a blogger to cater to everyone. It is my job to post my opinion.

    You can give your opinion but you do not have to bash a book, you CAN say I didn't like this book because... AND STILL say but I thought this was a redeeming quality or whatever. You don't have to cater to everyone but you don't have to post detrimental posts either.