During Armchair BEA, I wrote about professionalism and ethics in blogging. At that time, I went on record as saying that while blogging gives us the freedom to write about whatever we want, to maintain a professional appearance means that we need to consider our audience when writing. Sometimes, blasting a book, a movie, a fellow blogger, a friend, and so forth, are not necessarily the best examples of professionalism in blogging, especially if one works closely with those in publishing, publicity, or even bookstores.
I say this because last week I was absolutely shocked and extremely upset at what I was seeing around the book blogging community. I saw a niche blogger cussing like a sailor on one post, practically spitting venom about his/her feelings about something. I saw other bloggers ridiculing those who went to see Eclipse. I saw those who went to see the movie compelled to apologize for doing something they enjoyed doing and looked forward to doing, because of others’ reactions. I saw a complete lack of understanding and serious degrees of unprofessional behavior. Gone was the sense of community and camaraderie that I normally feel. Gone was the sense of pride I typically feel at being a book blogger. Instead, I was left wondering why this was occurring and sick to my stomach because it was occurring.
Book bloggers are some of the most compassionate, understanding bloggers out there, or so I thought. Our love of books brings us together, and because we recognize that everyone reads a book differently, we embrace differences of opinions. At least, this is what I USED to think.
Now, I am concerned by the vituperativeness of certain bloggers against Twilight fans. When did it become okay to mock those who disagree with your opinions? Why are others SO angry at Twilight fans? The same anger, mockery and general ill-will also occurred when both Twilight and New Moon were released, and I just don’t get it. I do not see the same feelings towards Harry Potter fans or The Hunger Games fans or even Star Wars or Star Trek fans. So what is it about the Twilight Saga that makes non-fans so vocal?
When did it become okay to be so poisonous when expressing one’s opinions? Is it appropriate to curse like a sailor when a blog is firmly entrenched in the YA niche? When does the freedom to express one’s opinions go too far?
I ask these questions because I am still sick over what occurred last week. Honestly, this has been occurring for far longer than just last week. Frankly, I am tired of the kvetching and complaining about blogging or others opinions: Blogger versus Word Press, Intense Debate or other third-party comment systems versus none, Twilight versus the rest of the world. Ultimately, who cares? For most of us, blogging is a hobby that comes with perks. However, with these perks (relationships with bookstores, publishers and the like, free review copies) comes responsibility. We do the entire community a disservice when we fail to think about these responsibilities and decide to whine like my ten-year old. Maybe your book blog is just a hobby, but someone else may be hoping to use his/her blog as a leap pad to something in writing. The community is judged as a whole, and all it takes is one vituperative post to make the rest of the community look bad. More importantly, because it is a hobby, this means that a majority of us have jobs in the real world that help pay the bills. The last figures I saw indicate that 100 percent of employers will be vetting potential employees is the social media forum. This means that what you say may indeed come back to haunt you when job hunting in the future.
So, I ask others: where should one draw the line when it comes to freedom of speech/opinion and blogging? Do we lose something when we temper our voice? Is there a way to speak freely but do so in such a way that is not explosive, harmful or hurtful towards others and still remain true to our opinions? Can free speech go too far when it comes to blogging?