I‘ve been sitting on this blog post idea for a while. I have so much to say about GOMI, which stands for Get Off My Internets. For a while there, I decided not to, because I didn’t want to appear to be posting ‘linkbait’ or trying to suck up to the community in some way.
But today, I’m going to post about it for two reasons: one, because some gut wrenching shit went down over there yesterday, that rocked me. Two, because my facebook followers, when faced with the choice of the following blog posts, they responded a little something like this:
- Getting healthy/fit? Crickets. Silence is also feedback, so no health and fitness post today.
- How I have wasted money. A little interest there… Well, who doesn’t love a good train wreck, I always say.
- GOMI. Although the votes were tied between money and GOMI, people had more to say about GOMI, so we’re talking about GOMI today.
Now, I have a lot to say, so if you don’t know what GOMI is, just go have a look before reading this. It’ll save a lot of time, and I’ll still be here to talk to you when you come back. I’ll start by letting you know that I support GOMI in what the site does. Because I believe in their cause, and because they had an admirable victory yesterday, I choose to celebrate and honour their acheivements in the form of gifs. Remember gifs? Reading GOMI has reignited my love of the gif, and anyone who encourages insane gif usage is alright in my book.
You see, a lot of blogs and bloggers suck at the moment. In the old days, it used to just be the unknown bloggers that didn’t know what they were doing that sucked. The trouble is, the suck doesn’t discriminate anymore. You’ve got big bloggers sucking, medium bloggers sucking and small blogs sucking. Here a suck, there a suck, everywhere a suck-suck. Of course, not all blogs suck, but how does one find them? Why do so many blogs suck now more than ever before? Because bloggers have lost the plot. Blame it on the money, the free products, the over-zealous moderation of many blogs (read: inability to respond like a normal person to constructive criticism) but most of all, blame it on the bubble.
The fucking bubble. The one a blogger surrounds themself in. The one where they become praise junkies, and anything less is perceived as trolling. If you surround yourself only with people who tell you what a magnificent human being you are, and filter out any form of dissent, you come to believe you are more than you are. That you do not deserve to be spoken against, and that the other person must have a very big problem if they can’t see your brilliance. This is where, ‘but I work very hard!‘ and ‘you do not get a say’ comes into it all.
So many of us bloggers blog because we have a voice and we want to be able to use it. So many bloggers do that by silencing anyone else who disagrees with them. That’s why we have people too afraid to comment anymore. It pisses me off that there is someone out there right now, and I have no clue who they are, who wants to say something about my blog, but because they disagree with me, they feel they can’t or don’t have the right to. To all the egomaniac bloggers out there, you did this to me.
I pointed out rudeness in one commentor here, once. I still was happy for them to stick around to talk, but they backed off instantly, saying, ‘I’d better just go now, I won’t come back’. It felt like shit. See? I felt bad for speaking my mind on my blog, and as though I’d bullied this person away. The reality was, that I was happy for them to talk about their love of Jesus, but just not to invite me to take one more shot at it. No one feels like they can say anything anymore. It’s not right. The reader walked away viewing it as a, ‘this is MY blog, and you will not say positive things about Jesus here!’ The reality was, I wasn’t responding as the owner of the blog and what I say goes, I was responding as a person who had stated that their search of Christianity was well and truly over. That, as a human being, I found it rude for them to then say, ‘if you want to know more about God, follow these steps’. I wanted to address it because it’s something I feel strongly about with Christians in general. But, no. Because I own this blog, when I spoke out about something I felt strongly about, I drove a reader away and the conversation ended.
To any blogger who has deleted or cried ‘troll!’ to a reader who has expressed a differing opinion: you did this. And fuck you. And the horse you rode in on.
Because now there is this shitty, fearful vibe going on in the blogosphere, and no one, including me, feels they can comment the way they’d like to. All because you can’t handle someone telling you that yes, in fact, just like every other person on this planet, your shit does have a noticeably unfortunate odour about it.
You are not a celebrity. You do not get to demand that all the red M and M’s get picked out for you backstage. Get over yourselves. Anyone with two brain cells to rub together can start up and write a blog. You are not immune to honesty, any more than the rest of the world. You might think clicking the ‘delete’ button will make you feel better, but that doesn’t stop anyone having an opinion of you and your blog. Now that there is GOMI, everyone gets a voice.
Yesterday, when the site was at risk of closing down, I saw a community rally in a more inspiring way than ever before. GOMI members are for the most part, an interesting, entertaining, funny and thoughtful bunch. Yes, you have some outright scumbags over there. But what internet community doesn’t? In fact, my idea of the worst scum over there would be the Aussie blogger (or bloggers? Not sure) spilling ‘dirt’ over there without anyone having a clue which blogger they are. I’ve tried to find out who they are, to no avail. Partly because of curiousity, but mostly because I hope I’m not friends with them.
If you are one of those people and my friend, please stop being my friend. I like to hope none of my blog friends are doing this. Because although I respect your right to speak your mind over there, I don’t trust you. Don’t you have the right to have your blog and personality picked apart too? This is where it gets fishy for me. I know GOMI doesn’t support bloggers joining the community for the purpose of spruiking their blog, and rightly so. But when a blogger is anonymously joining the snark against bloggers who have given them a lot of support (if the rumours are true), then there’s something shitty about that.
I’ve often wanted to join the community, not so much to snark, but to talk about blogging and enjoy the internet’s best gif collection ever. But am I a traitor if I do? From what I can gather, it’s only acceptable to use your blog’s name as your username if you’ve been mentioned. So, if I were to join as a general member, I’d probably use a photo that other bloggers would recognise, but use a name that isn’t spamming my blog. But I still haven’t joined, because I’m still conflicted about it.
I will admit that I’ve found the feedback on GOMI (about other bloggers and blogs in general) to be very enlightening. These are readers who care a lot about blogs. I think most members love blogs. I have made the odd tweak or two to my blog based on the honesty I’ve read there. They have an unrivalled openess about blogging. This isn’t the ‘working with brands’ blogging advice, this is the stuff I want to read: what makes interesting reading, what do readers enjoy and hate?
It’s not all snark on there, either. Many talk about their SOMI’s. The bloggers they adore. I’ve been pleased to see that if a member takes their snark too far, the other members often will be vocal that a line has been crossed as well. Some might disagree with me, but let’s face it, everyone’s line in the sand is at a different point.
GOMI is the place where readers go when they feel not good enough, thanks to bloggers who portray an impossibly perfect life.
I believe when feedback is being given, be it about ourselves or someone else, no matter how nicely or nastily it’s delivered, we should always wonder, ‘do they have a point?’ before jumping in on the defense. When I reflect, the answer may be yes or it may be no. Is this why bloggers hate GOMI? Because they’re being forced to self-reflect? Made to think? Shouldn’t we care if our readers are over it? Over us?
If they’re calling us douches, then is it a chance for some self improvement, or something we can’t or won’t budge on? Neither answer is right or wrong, but as a whole, I do think we as bloggers could stand to toughen up somewhat. A lot.
What are your thoughts on GOMI? Should they GOMI or SOMI?