The blogging world was abuzz last week due to a controversial post aimed at discussing supposed cultural differences between bloggers. I refuse to discuss the post because I believe the blogger in general let something get completely out of hand and is sincerely apologetic for posting something that raised such a rancor. I feel that she has been vilified enough by others, and I am not one to kick a person when he or she is down.
The entire controversy got me thinking, however. I cannot help but wonder just how much Twitter impacted the overall controversy. Bloggers pride themselves on being welcoming and open, and almost everyone discusses the importance of finding their individual voice and expressing their honest opinions. We lament the supposed blogger clique, the perceived us-versus-them divide between new and established bloggers. Yet, as soon as someone posts something that may not be in accordance with our own opinions, we are quick to state our opinions on Twitter, thereby starting a general debate that quickly explodes. This very thing happened this week. What started out as an innocent post quickly drew ire as others posted about their feelings towards the post. This quickly snowballed into general rancor, and all of a sudden, our friendly blogging community was not so friendly.
I have seen this happen time and again. Look at the authors who tweeted their reactions to a negative review. How well did that work out for them? So, it raises the question – is Twitter really helping our cause or harming it? When listening to the chatter about the supposed blogging clique, a lot of the examples point to Twitter conversations as the key indicators that such a clique exists. I see the same people on Twitter, carrying on conversations all day long. In a blink of an eye, Twitter conversations create reading challenge, contests, or fascinating discussions on a particular book, not to mention the chance to get to know other bloggers. However, not everyone can be on Twitter all times of the day. Is this exclusivity, meaning those that can follow Twitter all day long, causing some of the discord?
Also, is the speed and disconnect of Twitter dividing rather than uniting book bloggers? Are we too quick to share our opinions on Twitter? Are our opinions coming to the fore much more directly than they would in our blogs? Would the controversy about last week’s post have been so vocal if it were not for Twitter?
I post this knowing that I am an unabashed Twitter fan. I have had many an interesting, often hilarious conversation with other bloggers and have created genuine friendships with many of them just via time spent together tweeting. However, like everything deemed good, does it have a downside? Should we be more cognizant of what we post and discuss on Twitter? Do we have a responsibility to be more careful in our conversations – to think before we tweet? Or has the online relationship phenomenon completely negated our feelings of empathy, making it easier to discuss a topic in too candid a fashion, in a way that we would never do in real life? Is Twitter hurting blogger relations?