I have mentioned several times before that I had a blog on another site (2 actually) before I made my way here to WordPress. One of the driving factors for me coming to WordPress was the jettisoning of many of the talented writers that I would read with interest on the other site. And now, almost 2 years since I wrote my last post on that site, I received an email saying it was shutting down for good in 2 weeks’ time. I have 2 weeks to copy and save any of the posts on there I haven’t yet saved.
My first blog was on a site called Writing.com, which I initially joined to post some short fiction and read the works of others in, what I was hoping, was a great work shopping environment. While I did get comments on my work, most of them were roughly 4 or 5 words long, and held no value to me in terms of how I could fix the piece, or what actually worked. They did have a chat feature that I found appealing, and after spending several weeks in there with the same usual suspects, a few of them said I should take advantage of the blog feature on the site and start one. I did. It was full of comical tales of my trials and tribulations in the dating world, heroic tales from the football pitch, and random bouts of nothingness and trivia. I had a steady following, but the site was very insulated so finding any kind of external readership was likely to never happen.
Several of the bloggers from Writing.com that I read and admired moved to a site called Open.Salon (the baby sibling of Salon.com). I followed, and after a wonderful introduction by a friend and popular blogger, artist, and person, I had an immediate readership of talented, smart, and diverse people. And things started out great. But like all good things … bad things can happen.
The problem with blogging, and the Internet in general it must be said, is that is gives people a perfect hiding place if they want one. I don’t hide behind a comic avatar. My name is readily visible on my blog as well. I don’t hide. But I have no reason to. I try not to be offensive. I do not use my blog to belittle individuals, races, religions, or creeds. At the end of the day, we’re all the same people. Somewhere along the way, we’ve lost sight of that. So far on this site, touch wood, I have not seen anything that would make me want to leave (barring my own writer’s block and failure to live up to any expectations that I think I should have).
But on my previous site, while I was excluded from most of it as I didn’t wade in to waters that didn’t look appetising, many of the excellent bloggers (and better people) that I would read, were shoulders deep in shit slinging that it made signing on to the site each day a nightmare for me: and I was only reading. Bullying and cliques, “She said you did this”, “He said she did this”, it was enough to remind me of the terrible days in school when my stutter rendered me “retarded kid” (to quote several teenagers back in the day). And all from the safety net of a picture of a kitten and a made up screen name. Flex them anonymous muscles, people.
I met (virtually) some really great people on that site. Many of them are friends on Facebook and Instagram. Most of them still write in one guise or the other on the many other blog sites around. It was once said, because I was so welcoming to people who would stop by and comment on my blog, that I was the blogger most likely to sleep with one of his fellow blog followers. It wasn’t said out of meanness. And they were probably right at the time. Lol.
So while it saddens me a site where people can meet and communicate is shutting down, a site where I wrote some wonderful stuff amidst the drivel, I will not shed any tears. The beauty of that site was lost on me a long time ago. The idiots ruled the village. I will be checking in and reading some posts for the last time though. The great writing from wonderful people deserves that; just as it does on this site.
Keep writing. Keep reading. Keep respecting your fellow bloggers and humans. You don’t have to agree with everything that is said out there, including in this post. But don’t go out and make it your mandate to drag something or someone through the mud. We’re all just trying to find a place to speak, to air our thoughts, to meet talented, creative, and brilliant people. There’s room in here and out there for all of us. Be good to each other my friends.