Are You a Blogging Bully?

There is a saying some of my fellow writers use, and it has to do with people that bully others online. It’s called “keyboard courage.” Keyboard courage occurs when someone behaves in a way that they would never have the balls to do in person, but give them the anonymity of the Internet and they can’t help themselves.

Blogging bullies get upset when people don’t agree with them. They will argue in an almost nasty way, they will follow people from blog to blog, and yet they will somehow think that all the negativity they direct toward other people is all just good conversation.

How do you know if you’re a blogging bully? Here are some clues.

You Think Fighting is the Same As Heated Discussion

A great discussion allows for all opinions to be heard. It’s a hard thing to pull off these days, I’ll give you that. After all, someone in a heated discussion is probably going to get frustrated and not want to talk about it anymore, while someone else is just hammering away all the while thinking they are “getting through” to the people that disagree with them.

The founding fathers enjoyed lively debates. But they also tried to listen as well as talk, and that’s where things get tricky with blogging. If someone is “talking” it means they are posting on a blog, in a forum, or on Twitter or Facebook, and they aren’t listening. Someone else may post right after them, and then what you have are two people who are basically yelling at each other, all from the comfort of their keyboard.

A blogging bully won’t let up in these situations. So if you’re the type that just keeps hammering away, even after everyone in the group has left or changed topics, maybe you need to lighten up a bit.

You Wonder Why You Weren’t Invited to Groups That Others Start

If you’re a blogging bully, people may try and avoid you. When they start up a new forum or group, you won’t immediately be asked in. Sometimes they’ll invite you later and sometimes you’ll have to ask to be let in. Despite this, you’re in the dark about how your negativity comes off.

You Openly Criticize Other Writers

When a blogging bully doesn’t agree with something a writer is doing, he or she openly criticizes them. It doesn’t have to be by name necessarily, but it’s usually pretty obvious who they are talking about. Ironically, blogging bullies seem to get really offended when people don’t agree with their rants.

It’s one thing to own an opinion, and another to beat someone over the head with it. If you take an opinion on something, anything at all, just know that someone is going to disagree with you. It doesn’t matter if you said something you think everyone in the world can agree with, like, “Having clean air to breathe is good.” When you make a statement, someone else will disagree with you.

That’s okay. People can disagree, but when they bully, that’s when you need to draw the line.
Bullying behavior on any level comes back to you. If you’re a blogging bully, pull it back a step. You can still be opinionated without slamming people. You can have debates without name calling. You can disagree with someone, and learn from them all at the same time.

Image: sxc.hu

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3 Comments on "Are You a Blogging Bully?"

  1. Yes, and another sign is that oftimes these “blogging bullies” choose to make their comments anonymously. Suggests that bullies are cowards whether in the flesh or on line.

    [Reply]

    Cherie Reply:

    Judy, so true. The Internet definitely makes people saw things they wouldn’t normally say to a person’s face.

    [Reply]

  2. As a rule, you should be as cordial to people online as most people would be in real life. That means allowing for discussion and the idea (shock horror!) that you may be wrong. I have to be honest, I get embroiled in political debates that get fairly heated, but since this happens on both sides I don’t think it counts as bullying. Heated discussion is okay so long as everybody knows they’re participating in it. Otherwise it becomes a form of bullying, I think.

    Good post.

    [Reply]

    Cherie Reply:

    Agreed.

    [Reply]

  3. Fred Stivic Johnson | March 20, 2011 at 2:07 am |

    What about dealing with bullies who frame the victims as the “bullies” ? How does the victim prove their innocence?

    [Reply]

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