I read something tonight that really saddened me, and not because It spouted a view that’s different from my own, but because of the way it was written. This post slammed a personal choice that I and many others have made, and the ignorant statements made by the author left me stunned. And angry… And hurt, because I interact with this individual frequently.
In the blogging world, there has been a recent movement towards writing overtly controversial pieces purely for the sake of stirring up website traffic. This, my friends, is known as “clickbait”. The writer may not even feel passionately about the subject or their position on the subject, but present an offensively judgmental take on a hot button issue. They use blanket generalizations and venomous insinuations to shock readers into clicking on their link, just to see what sensationalized insanity they might be spewing. The titles themselves are written to stir up anger and generally piss off people into responding. A friend of mine refers to it as “Tabloid Blogging”, and that name totally suits this ridiculous movement. Care to discuss the Vaccination debate, anyone? I sure as hell don’t, nor do I intend to write about it just to grab the attention of the masses.
I can honestly sympathize with the panic that Zuckernerd’s voodoo Facebook algorithms have sparked in the hearts of bloggers. Many of us have been reliant on that platform for gaining new readers and connecting with our current audiences, but resorting to this style of writing is like flashing people in the grocery store so you can move ahead in the checkout line. It may get you quicker service, but it’s not going to get you respect. There’s another layer to this issue, in that in order to succeed in the blogging world you need friends. Building a “tribe” of other bloggers willing to support your endeavors, both personally and professionally, that are committed to working as a team in promoting each other’s writing to gain exposure. The members of your tribe encourage you, aid you in editing, share their connections; it’s an invaluable resource and one that I have come to most highly prize as a writer. We NEED each other, and when someone within your tribe, or even a close networking acquaintance, writes a clickbait post that blasts something you feel strongly about, your perspective shifts.
Not only is it incredibly disappointing to see brilliant writers resort to this kind of pathetic pandering, it’s disheartening. It cheapens what the rest of us do, and is detrimental to our craft. Selling out will never give you the satisfaction you desire; it may quench a passing thirst, but it won’t sustain you. Others see the choices you make in writing, and it will affect whether they choose to trust and align themselves with you. Don’t piss in the sandbox, because others won’t want to help you with your sandcastles. If having a post go viral is your endgame, then go right ahead and cheapen your talents for hits, but don’t expect your peers to respect you for it, and be prepared to lose parts of your audience, because more than likely you’ve alienated many of them.
It seems as though many mom bloggers are becoming each other’s worst enemies, because they’re willing to sacrifice kindness in the name of polarizing people for clicks. Instead of celebrating our United mission to raise amazing humans to lead the next generation, some of these people instead seek to stir up discord for the sake of novelty. I refuse to sacrifice myself, my friendships, or my principles for clicks; it’s just not worth it. In light of this new trend, my pursuit of being respectful and kind to others, especially my blogging friends, will likely keep my writing from ever going “viral”, and honestly I’m A-okay with that. The day that I’m content to willfully hurt others for attention is the day that someone should kick me offline, and remind me of this post. Please know that I’m not saying that I won’t stand up for my beliefs, or that you shouldn’t either, but there is a respectful way to do that. I do my best to be respectful when I voice my opinions, which I do on a regular basis. This is America, after all, and I’m proud to be here. Even if I never go viral .