Thursday, January 28, 2010

Backlash on Blogger

Ok, as you remember I did a post yesterday about awesomely bad items on Etsy. My intention with those is not to embarass people that make them, it's just entertainment of what is actually out there for sale. Well..I knew when I wrote it someone might have an issue with some of the items I featured and I was right. I got an email this morning from one of them women who sells a product I featured on my blog. I would like you to read what she wrote me and then I'll put my response email up.

Her Email:

Hi...

We don't know each other, but I have to tell you how much you hurt my feelings. I know you are going to rip me limb from limb for even writing you. I read what you wrote about someone who annoyed you by complaining about something on your girls night out....so I am sure this will be treated with the same intolerance.

However...what you need to know as a young woman is this. I am 45, and have been home bound for a year due to a major head injury. I know, I know....it will only be fodder to you and your friends who like to knock stuff. I guess I am. I guess that is what life has become. I guess I am fodder. Oh I can imagine the LAUGH you will get..." this is a result of a head injury" I just want you to know this, you have the power to hurt. You have the power to light the match to a fire. I guess I never thought in a million years when I put myself out there that I would encounter out and out mean people.

As you go down lifes path, please refer to this. It is a lesson you should have learned as a young child...If you dont have anything nice to say, dont say anything at all. I have 2 kids 20 and 18 who I have talked to tonight about this, and how much it hurt me. I thank you for this.....giving me the opportunity to go over this basic quality with them again. Nice matters. Mean people suck. Mean people suck BAD! The old school yard phrase "sticks and stones may break my bones but words may never hurt me".....big mis-truth....words hurt bad.....especially from a random bully. I guess that is what you are....a cyber bully- and I am sorry our lives collided like this. I just had to let you know how much you hurt my feeling. I thought after the year of medical healing NOTHING would hurt me....YOU proved me wrong......YOU were able to hurt me.


And my response:

I appreciate you taking the time to write me and I do sincerely apologize that I hurt your feelings. I do NOT think it's funny that your feelings are hurt or that you have a major head injury and are homebound. I don't consider myself a cyber bully or a mean person and I'm sorry that you think that I am. I've been doing these posts off and on for the past year. I don't name names of people who make them, it's just entertainment of what is actually out there for sale. I never said you had an ugly product or that people out there aren't happy to buy it. It's just not something I would buy and I'm sure as an adult you realize not everyone has the same opinion.

That being said, you don't have to read my blog, you don't have to read my words and you don't have to dwell on them.

Please understand this is not an attack on you and I'd appreciate it in the future if you would not attack me with labeling me a cyber bully. Like you say I don't know you and you don't know me. It works both ways.


I'm letting you guys read this because I feel like I should be honest with you. I'm not puting this out there so we can make fun of her email, so please understand that. I don't consider myself a "cyber-bully". I write about what makes me laugh, what makes me sad and what upsets me. I'm not going to start censoring myself to make everyone happy or so that I don't offend someone. If I did that I'd never be able to write a blog post because someone out there could get offended about pretty much anything I could say.

Your thoughts on the situation? I'd like to hear them.


39 comments:

Patience said...

I honestly feel bad for this woman. She obviously was deeply hurt by your post, so much that she took the time to email you about it. I do not think you are a cyber-bully by any means, I actually enjoy your blog and enjoy what you write. Hopefully this woman can understand that we all don't like the same things and it is your opinion.

♥ Annie ♥ said...

It's unfortunate that this woman's feelings were hurt by your post. However, considering your post was about the product, not her personally, and you refrained from specifically name her or her etsy shop in your post, I think this woman's response to you was a tad strong, and the need to call you a cyber-bully inappropriate. It's important for everyone to exercise a certain level of cyber etiquette, but we also should remember that blogs are outlets for personal opinions. We also all have the option to click the X in the top right hand corner of our screen if we don't like what we see. In all honesty, I think this woman is probably more offended by our comments in response to your post, rather than your post itself.

Sarah Ann said...

This honestly makes me feel really ashamed. Shes right in the fact that it can be taken in a mean way. When I think of this woman, I think of my mom and what she would feel if this post had been about her(the etsy one I mean). It would crush her. I don't want to do that to anyone. Personal opinions are important though, and you have every right to post what you do. If you put yourself out there on the internet then you're opening yourself up to the chance of someone disagreeing with you and that's something that we all need to accept. That said, while I still may shake my head and giggle over the things you post in those etsy posts, I don't think I'll be commenting. Just because I wouldn't want it to happen to me.
Thanks for posting this, I think it is really amazing that you are so honest with your feelings on the matter and that you didn't want to hide it from your readers.

Mary Teresa said...

I think that it would depend on the person who made the products. Your sense of fashion isn't mine so when you post clothes that you want I often think no way would I wear that, but it doesn't reduce the validity of the clothes or the fact that you would wear it. I feel as though she may have had previous incidences where someone went out of their way to hurt her and she responded from that background point. Also I don't think any of the things you posted were that bad. Would I buy them? Probably not, but I know a few people that would love an apple cozy!

SarahEileen said...

I have quickly found that the blogging world is exactly like the real world. Every type of person is represented. Everyone has different ideas of what is funny. No two people react the same way. We have all run into situations in real life where something we said was not taken the way it was intended or someone else said something unintentional that hurt our feelings. It is what it is. There is no telling what else is going on in her life (or has gone on) that caused her to write that email - I don't think you are 100% to blame for her sensitivity. Like everything else in life, this will blow over. Don't change the way you live your life (write your blog) because you upset one person.

Young Mom/Wife said...

I have to agree with everyone, it is unfortunate that she took your last post so personal. She is an adult and should know that not everyone is going to like her crafts. I don't think you were in any way being malicious towards any of the etsy businesses. I do think she went a bit to far in attacking you due to her hurt feelings, but you handled it in a VERY appropriate manner. Now, I guess the issue is dead in the water.

Jessie said...

I have had something very similar happen to me! I agree with a lot of people- it's obvious that you meant no person harm and it's unfortunate that she took it that way. While I feel bad for her situation, I also see how.. well exactly what your email stated.
Hope you didn't take it too hard!

Chelle said...

I haven't been reading your blog for very long but from what I have been reading you have not once come across as a cyber bully or a mean evil person who enjoys making others hurt. I feel bad for the woman who wrote the letter because obviously there is a lot of hurt in her heart to have that post affect her. IMO your post was that of consumerreview.com. 1 to get the fact that products are out and about like that and 2 to add a little laughter in our night of reading.

Erin said...

I feel terrible for this woman, her situation, and that her feelings were hurt. That said, I don't think you are a cyber bully. You seem like a genuinely nice person. I also think that it's a blog and you have the right to express your thoughts and opinions, good and bad.

Caitlin said...

I think her email was a little strong. Also, she needs to know the internet can get much worse. I'm sure as a seller of any of those products she's heard it all.

Kayla said...

Personally I would think at 45 years old there would be a little more maturity in her response to you. As someone said, if this were my mom, I'm pretty sure she would have laughed at what you wrote. I think you handled it a lot more kindly than I would have. Besides, no offense to this woman, but its your blog! She doesn't have to agree with it, read it, or like it. Don't change the way you write because of one person. This blog is for you. Not for her.

Crazy Shenanigans said...

It's unfortunate that she felt the way she did and didn't take it as a simple joke. However, you have the right to post about whatever you want and what's your opinion. You're not a cyber bully. At all.

kd said...

You are NOT a cyber bully as is made obvious by your lack to make fun of my home-boundeness. Some people lack a thick skin and didn't have the parenting we had to get over it and move on.

That said, I can't wait to get wine drunk with you in Paris. I know it will be tons of fun. Don't forget your fruit cozy. I HATE bruised fruit.

Jessica Lynn said...

Just as you put yourself out here in the blogoshphere, she puts herself out there in the land of Etsy. It's free game, people! I saw your post yesterday and actually liked several of your 'bad finds.' Would I buy them? Probably not, but to each their own. What you wrote could have been far worse—and I'm sure far worse is out there. I hope you don't beat yourself up for her email; I give you props for not censoring your posts, and I wish that one day I could do the same.

Tori and Chad said...

That's unfortunate but I think her response was a little dramatic. You're not a cyber bully. You didn't single her out. You didn't make fun of her personally. We just wondered what kind of a market there was for certain products.

Lisa said...

I definitely don't feel that you are in any way a cyber bully! It makes me sad that she was hurt by your post, because it's obvious that it wasn't your intention.

I think your response was very well put together. I do what you do. I don't get many comments, but I put out my posts not thinking about comments, but thinking about what is on my mind and what I know I want to write about.

I just hope that this lady will take it with a grain of salt and keep selling her products, because obviously people enjoy crafts, otherwise etsy wouldn't exist!!

JG said...

I think your response was appropriate, and you are following your own advice: shrug it off and move on. It's the internet, for goodness sake! It's a shame that her feelings got hurt, but you addressed that and hopefully she'll realize that and let it go.

KatlynAnn said...

Well since everyone else is being honest I guess I will too. This woman strikes me as someone who always wants to play the victim. Half of her email wasn’t even needed but she needed to tell you her sob story. Look I get, everyone gets handed a shitty deal in life, but there is no need to try and one up everyone and prove you got the worse hand in life. Hasn’t she ever heard there is no such thing as bad publicity? If I was her I would look on the bright side and realize that her product just got more views, because of your post, than it ever would have normally. You are not a cyber bully, matter of fact you are just the opposite. Plus, she herself states that words have power. So why on earth would she turn around and call you hurtful names? Pot meet kettle.

Jane said...

Oh for the love of all things.

My response:

Dear Woman -

I'm sorry if I offended you. It was not my intention. However, I do not appreciate you labeling me as an out and out mean person. Was your intention to purposely hurt me?

Are you familiar with regretsy.com? Many people have made many more sales because someone found them funny and shared them with others. I have showcased your product to 300 people who might otherwise not have seen it. Perhaps you'll even get a sale from my free advertising. Different people like different things.

I apologize if I offended you, but I promise it was not a personal attack like the one you launched on me.

Next time I advertise one of your products, I'll make sure to send you a bill.

Yours truly, The Major Meanie


As I'm sure you know, I wouldn't actually send this. But it was fun to write. :)

Roxanne said...

Jane above me; you are my hero. These are my thoughts exactly. I feel badly this woman has a permanent injury that keeps her at home, but seriously? It's all in good fun and call me 'cruel' but using her injury to guilt you into feeling bad about "hurting her feelings" is crap. I'm with Jane that you basically gave this woman a free ad on your blog and you have quite a few followers. She may make a sale on your behalf; someone may have loved her item. I hope she never stumbles across Regretsy because she may loose it.

Oh and (don't write a book now Roxanne) don't even get me started on "what you should know as a young woman". She isn't you momma and I'm sorry but the issue of political correctness and sardonic humor have changed since she was a "young lady", this is a blog for goodness sake, not Good Morning America.

Stepping off my soap box now.

SS said...

I do feel bad knowing that someone’s feeling were hurt by this, but to take it so far as to assume that there would be picking apart knowing her circumstances was really jumping to conclusions. It was a commentary on the product and the taste and opinion of you and your readers. It was not a personal attack and so far removed from cyber bullying that the use of that term was inappropriate. But you know where this woman in coming from, a place of hurt, so I'm sure you take that into consideration and don't take her comments too personal. It does make me think twice, not about having my opinion, but putting it out in a public forum. She has to know that weather or not it was published that people might have these thoughts about her product. Nobody was expressing their opinion about her personally or her circumstances. I think it is wonderful that she is doing what she can to be productive and do truly feel sympathy for her circumstances.

It's unfortunate, but I agree with most that you can't expect that everyone will like your product. It was probably an unexpected shock to see it in writing as opposed to people just sitting at home laughing. And on the other hand, if she is selling these there are obviously people that do like them. That's the nature of business and a risk that everyone takes whether or not you are an individual posting your items for sale or a large corporation that sells millions of items. You could really extrapolate on this, I’m sure that some poor starving children in India and China (you pick the country) would also feel bad knowing that people walk into WalMart and laugh at some of the clothing that they worked very hard and earned very little to make. It’s the chance you take when going into business and selling a product.

Random Musings Of My Life said...

I think its all fair out on the Internets.

I feel bad that she was hurt, but she "did" put something out there to be judged.

I mean are we all not judged in one way or another for even blogging? We have followers, we have "lurkers" when you put it out there you should expect "The good, the bad, the ugly"

To be honest the fact that she took it that personal? Blames you for attacking her and then she spits the same back out?

And IT COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE!!!!

I mean really? Why so sensitive?

And what does her "brain injury" have anything to do with you not liking her product? She has deeper routed issues than you not liking her product.

I think you handled it appropriately, I do not think I would have even emailed her back because I would have told her "my sob story about breaking my neck., blah, blah" someone always has it worse but some people just love to play the victim!

SS said...

OK, I just had a thought about this and I can't be the only one to wonder....

How in the world did this woman even find out that you posted a picture of something she has on Etsy?

Brittany said...

By no means am I making fun of her.. but now i'm curious to know which product is hers... lol.. I thought your post was incredibly funny! You are right, if she doesnt want to her what you have to say, then she just shouldnt read it. END OF STORY.

Golfer's Wifey said...

I don't think it was bad at all nor do I think you are a cyber bully. It's not like you intentionally went to Etsy looking for an injured person's product to make fun of. We all have opinions and that's part of life. Just like we all have choices and she chose to read your blog. I also wonder which was hers!

Sara said...

Geeze, I've been out of the loop. Well, at least she e-mailed you and didn't do the crazy bullying that some anon commenters like to do. I think overall, she's handled that pretty well. I can see why her feelings would be hurt. I can't say mine wouldn't be if it was me.

But you're no cyber bully. In fact you do more good than bad. You aren't the type of person to say "oh she has a head injury no wonder her work was ridiculous!" I think that's her own personal insecurity.

If she's reading these... absolutely no one here thinks a head injury or personal misfortune is something to joke about. If someone here DOES think that, they need some serious help.

Amanda said...

You're not going to have opinions that everyone agrees with. Some people read too much into things and don't accept that a blog post is simply someone's opinion on something. That is the whole point of blog posts - to voice ones opinion. It is unfortunate that she felt attacked by your post that was in good fun. It basically comes down to the fact that you're never going to make everyone happy. I hope no on ever feels they need to censor their opinions simply because someone else does not agree with them.

Brittany said...

This is aweful! I am sorry that she was hurt and definitely sorry that you were hurt in the process also. I think that you do this respectfully and refrain from linking them or making a huge fuss about any product.

I enjoy these posts and you are just showing us the options out there. Please do not refrain from doing these posts and I hope that everyone has the respect to understand that you are just showing the different items out there that you do not care for. I do know there have been some posts that there are items I actually liked or thought was cute.

I hope this woman finds peace in your email and I hope you do not lose sleep over this incident. You have the right to your opinion and you were far from blantantly mean to her!

Caitlin said...

That is where I'm from! How weird.

Roxanne said...

SS, Etsy offers a service to sellers, kind of like Google reader that offers statistics. I'm sure it show you who is linking back to your site, pictures or products.

Seneca said...

Interesting subject- I'll throw in my two cents. I own a company and we make things. Last year, I logged into my cpanel and our stats showed us that someone's blog was linking to our site and I clicked on the link, and my heart sank. The blogger thought what we made was "tacky". It wasn't so much what the blogger wrote, it was really the comments that followed that were honestly, just hard to read. Everyone has different tastes, but it is just really hard not to take some things personally. Its hard not to feel attacked, and want to lash back. I know personally, when I responded to that blog, in retrospect, I wish I would have done it differently, worded things differently, because honestly, what I wanted to convey really was lost in my attempt to be snarky back and the snarky comments directed at my company.
I will also say, I don't really like it when people throw out there "if you don't like it, you don't have to read it". I think that this is true when the subject is impersonal, like politics, because then its true. If you are a die hard Republican no one forces you to read liberal blogs- its easy to say "well, just don't read them". Its easier said than done though, when someone's talking ABOUT you, or about something that you make, or is somehow directly related to you.
And lastly, I will just say this- people can be amazingly cruel. Even more so because its the internet, and its somewhat anonymous. There's definitely a trend, that something is funny when we are making fun OF someone. Its just really prevalent these days, in TV, in blogs, websites, etc. And it starts to rub off onto the way we treat each other, and sometimes I don't think a lot of people realize just how cruel they are being. There are two sides to this of coarse- the person that says "you are too sensitive" versus the person that says "why can't you just be nice". We all have to make the decision for ourselves, my choice is that if the laugh comes at the expense of someone else, its not worth it to me, other people, obviously, choose differently.
With respect to your Etsy issue, I give you credit for not linking to the seller directly, and I would say that what you did is pretty common these days, with respect to making fun (people of walmart, regretsy, cake wrecks, awkward family photos, etc), and so it you are okay with it, then that's your right to keep doing it, just expect that you might get some backlash from time to time. But here's a question for you- you could just as easily point out neat/interesting finds on Etsy versus stuff to make fun of- why do you poke fun at products instead? We all contribute in tiny bits and pieces to the big internet stew- why contribute something negative instead of something positive?

Amanda said...

I don't feel like you did or said anything mean, or wrong, or hurtful. You just posted some pictures of items and made a fun little "ad" about them. I don't think anything she said was founded on anything, she probably just has her guard up from being so lonely and from being hurt before, I just think she has her own issues she's having a hard time dealing with. My mom had a traumatic brain injury and she has moved on, gotten re-married, had a child, and even though she is totally different then she was and is still healing, she has moved on and found a way to be happy. My heart goes out to that woman, but she had no reason to call you a "cyber-bully" or say anything else she said.

Amanda said...

We also have to remember, that although I dont know anything about her situation and I can't make assumptions, but from my experience people who have suffered from a traumatic brain injury don't think or act the same way others do.

Penny said...

Since everyone is speaking their minds:
I really like what Seneca commented. I think that the lady probably took that etsy post so harshly because she created the product in question. I post my photography up on my blog and my cake deco and I would take it extremely personal if I found them pictured on someone elses site as being bad or horrible or tacky.

I guess that is the price you pay as a creater for putting things into the public/internet.
I saw the "bad" etsy items and actually I didn't think any of them were bad. People like different things. This being said: You didn't like those and you have a right to not like them. To each their own.
I used to laugh at peopleofwalmart and cake wrecks and all of that stuff but in the end I just felt crappy about me. I always think: What if I was on here...what if someone were making fun of me in this manner? I wouldn't like it one bit. I want to be me and create what I want if thats what makes me happy...so I try to treat others with that same manner. To each their own. If they are happy than that's pretty freaking amazing enough for me!

I didn't see any hateful comments from YOU on your post, aside from the title but maybe the commenters really hurt the lady in question.
Either way, I think it's good that you apologized and you definately have a right to speak your mind and keep your blog the way you wish. I will side with the other commenters and say, if you put out the negative you have to be prepared to get negative back and this is what happened here.

I don't find you to be a cyber bully either :) You seem rather cheerful in your posts so I wouldn't carry that.

Dana said...

Hi,
I agree with Seneca as well. I also think that as bloggers we have to decide where we fall on the "mean vs nice" spectrum. If we choose to criticize others, even if it is hidden (not linked) and even if it is banal criticism (some people may call that harmless), then we need to accept that people will (rightfully) react a certain way. If you choose to publicly criticize someone, which is what you do just by posting a picture from etsy and making clever comments, then don't be shocked (or indignant) when she responds that she is hurt by you.

Would you do it her face? If yes. . .then blog away! If no. . . then maybe you need to think again about your actions because likely you aren't a mean girl and have let the mask of technology hide you.

Just my 2 cents -- for what it's worth.

Dana

BTW -- I've been following a while now, and I really have enjoyed your blog.

Hannah Noel said...

It's hard to believe something as simple as that could set her off so strongly. She must have already been having a bad day. She has my sympathies for her situation. That is obviously not a funny matter..

Your readers obviously must not think you a bully, or we wouldn't enjoy reading what you have to say. I like that you are head strong and opinionated. But like you and many have said. You can't expect EVERYone to agree with you! Where would be the fun in that?

Kebi Cedawna said...

Mel, I'm sorry to seem insensitive, but the thought of you being any sort of bully is simply laughable!

I love your etsy posts because they are a good, innocent laugh, keep them comin!

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