The other day, something that I at first thought was amazing happened to me — there was a huge jump in my stats for this site. It had been a rough day — my oldest woke up very sick, and the toddler was acting as if he was headed that way, too, and I had a ton of chores and errands to accomplish in spite of all that. So, the spike in views was exciting. It made me feel less mundane, less worn down by all the adulting.
But then, later, in social media, I saw some posts indicating other people were having big problems with spammers and trollers — people who behave like robots, who go through the internet trying to get unwitting and nice bloggers to buy their silly sponsored product, or commit to a life of evil worshipping the Great Sea Urchin King of Doom. Okay, yes, I made that last part up. But this is a sad fact of being on the internet. We are exposed to people who want to sell us refinancing at 45% interest, or verbally attack us because we like otters, or subscribe to you just so you will subscribe to them. Even if they are making weekly sacrifices of conch shells to the Great Sea Urchin, and you want nothing to do with them.
Most people I know just brush off such encounters and move on. (They get more concerned about nasty comments and people being really mean for no good reason. I so understand that, too — and more on that later.)
Anyway, my point is that, after the day I’d had, it was really encouraging to think that lots of people were visiting my site and enjoying my content. But, wait — there was no evidence of the enjoying of the content. By investigating my stats page, and realizing that, for all the views, there were no comments or likes, the situation became more clear. After 2 years in the blogisphere, I know that non-robot human beings who read a post that affects them in some way, will, more often than not, leave some sort of feedback.
And then, as I already mentioned, some of my online folks were going, “Hey, wait a sec, what is up with this?”…over similar circumstances.
So, after putting two and two together, and feeling very down, I’ve decided to say the following:
To the spammers and trollers who persist in the verbal attacking ridiculousness, even though we repeatedly tell them to knock it off — Knock it off. This is just like schoolyard bullying or picking on a kid with a disability — it’s senseless and truly there’s no payoff. Believe me, there are much more blatant and impolite ways that I could address this topic. But, I am going for being the “bigger person” here…
To those that only subscribe with the intention of “I did this for you, so do it for me” — Just stop. Seriously. I can only speak for myself here, but if all you’re after is getting your numbers up, then go somewhere else.
To my fellow bloggers who are bothered by this type of thing (I’m being nice now, I promise) — Remember that there are tons of really kind and true human beings on the internet, and if only a handful of them have found their way to your site, you are blessed. Don’t lose faith in humanity, because those respectful, interactive comments did come from a living, breathing Muggle. (Or maybe a dragon, if you’re really lucky.)
(And remember, this is coming from someone who innately doesn’t understand a lot of human emotional reactions and would go with practical solutions nine times out of ten, and say hang the emotions, because running your life based on emotions makes no sense.)
The internet is a paradox — it can be full of awful, nasty, fiendish, gross and just terrible things that you’ll strive to avoid in the same way Julius Caesar hoped to skip the Ides of March. But it is also full of wonderful, comforting, beautiful, touching and downright lovely things that you won’t want to miss out on. And just like everything else in this world, there is always some bad with the good. The key is to aim for more good than bad to come into your life.
Although I just said I’ll be appearing on this platform a little less in the next few weeks — because real life is simply doing a lot of stuff — I greatly appreciate what I get here, from the non-robots. For an autist, this can be a difficult and not very rewarding search. It honestly makes my day when a living, breathing human leaves me a nice comment or shares one of my posts. Knowing that there are Muggles out there, somewhere, that do accept, and even like me, is a massive thing.
And now, with these words, I do take my leave. For writing, for children, for slight obsessing over my TBR. For preparing my ARCs, for meetings, for actually reading.
And while I’m on the outs of the latest online debates, frustrations, and shenanigans — be kind to each other. Please.