Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Advice for bloggers, vol. 1 - The Crazies: they could happen to you

Many of you have already read the blogging tips I put up a while back, but ever since then I've been sort of accumulating more "wisdom," so to speak, that I would love to share with you. At first I thought I'd stuff it all in one post, but then I realized that would be the longest post ever written, so I think I'm going to break it up some and make this a weekly series for a little while. Capiche?

These are things I've learned along the way, sometimes the hard way. Today I want to discuss crazy people. Oh, goody!

Some friends and I joke that I have had THE craziest crazy people in all the land. Borderline stalker, definitely insane crazy people. Like, if there were a contest for the craziest crazies, I'd win grand prize.  One person in particular found my blog just a few months after I started writing it, and harassed me on and off for about a year. I would receive all kinds of comments from her, under different names and personas, but always with the same very recognizable neurotic tone and style of writing (and also the same IP address, which was very noticeable because it was always on my blog for weirdly long amounts of time almost every day... d-oh! I knew this thanks to Sitemeter).

I made the mistake early on of paying attention to her. I devoted an entire post to some of her wacko comments, and it turned out that was exactly what she wanted and what fed the insanity (here is the post I wrote - the funny thing is how TAME that comment she left was compared to the following comments and emails I would get from her). Anyway, she continued to harass me and then say things like "I bet you're going to write a post about me and whine to all your pathetic little followers now!" I ignored it all after the initial post I wrote, but then I started to receive emails out the wazoo. You guys, it was scary. She would write me books. BOOKS. (exaggerating, but they were extremely long emails, sometimes several in a day). I honestly wish I could share them with you. It would be quality entertainment, folks, quality entertainment. Besides telling me all kinds of crazy stories about herself that were often contradictory and obviously outright lies, she would also go off on paragraph after paragraph tangents about what a horrible, pathetic person I am. She even went as far as to say something along the lines of "I noticed you have really short fingernails, which leads me to believe that you also have hair extensions, because no one with real long, thick hair would also have short fingernails."

Oh no she didn't!

I remember being at the ranch two summers ago when a particularly nasty email from her came in, and though I was cracking up laughing all throughout, there's no denying that this sort of thing also gives you a really icky feeling. Like, seriously? There are people like this in the world?

For a while there, I felt like Satan himself had sent his personal assistant down to earth to make my life hell. I had found this wonderful thing (blogging!) that gave me so much joy, and as often happens when you have a really good thing going for you, negative forces swept in and tried to steal away that joy. Don't let that happen to you! Just don't! But DO be smart, and safe, and aware when you blog. Just like you're aware of your surroundings when you're getting into your car in a dark parking lot, be aware of the information you're sharing with an often unknown audience. The Internet is a dark parking lot. It really is. I'm glad I learned this fairly early on, when my following was still quite small.

- Don't engage with crazy people, because they feed off of the negative attention, and you'll probably prolong the life of their interest in you if you engage.
- Don't announce you're going to be somewhere at any certain point in time before you go, if you can help it.
- Don't "check in" at restaurants or post Instagram photos of places you're at before you leave, if you can help it.
- Don't post photos of the outside of your house or give people any information that could help them learn where you live.
- Personally, I try to keep my last name private, as well.

There are repercussions for having a blog that a lot of people read, and this is one of them. Assume you have crazies, even if they aren't as loud and proud as the one I mentioned above, and even if you don't have a large audience yet. The Internet is full of ALL sorts of people and, *WAKE UP CALL,* not all of them are kind, good, positive, uplifting, and SANE. Blog accordingly. The crazies could happen to you.

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Stay tuned for lots more blogging advice, and if you have anything you'd really love to have discussed, feel free to leave your idea in the comments below!

Also, Erin and I are teaming up next week for a fun video chat with the first 8 ladies to sign up. The topic is all things blogging, so if you'd like some questions answered in a fun environment where you can learn from not only the answers to your questions, but everyone else's questions too, head over there and sign up quick! See you soon. :)

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