I've blogged for quite some time now, on and off, but as far as I'm concerned it's an enjoyable pursuit, I write because I like to do it and I also think that I'm quite good at it. I like being part of the mummy blogging community because I feel as though I can have a chat with people on issues which are relevant to us as a group and get to see other people's views on subjects which I find interesting. I enjoy being on Twitter because you can join in a random chat, sit back, relax and have a bit of a laugh. But this week has made me realise that it isn't always a great place to be.
I'm not really in what I'd describe as the inner circle of mummy bloggers. I'm not really in the outer circle either. In fact, if you were looking at the inner circle and the outer circle, and then zoomed out, I'd be trying to get a bus from the next town to the circles. This means that more often than not, I don't understand the in-jokes, I don't understand who's friends with who and I certainly don't understand who hates who, who wishes the other one would get run over by a car and who thinks the other one's blogs/pictures/babies are the most disgusting thing she's ever seen.
This week, there's been the swift start and hasty demise of a new blog, written anonymously, which, if I'm honest, was just sniping for the sake of it, and nasty with it. This appears to have been accompanied by a proper old handbag slinging on Twitter and probably a load of other places on the internet I've never even heard of. There were accusations and counter accusations and threats of legal action.
And I'm sort of left thinking - well that's not very nice is it? I'm going to be really honest now - I wish sometimes I was on the inner circle of mummy bloggers - it's like when I was back at school and I wanted to knock round with the cool girls, but that never happened either. While I might want to join in their gang, I look at what they have to do, how much work they each individually put in to their blogs and businesses, and how talented they are, and I think fair play to them. I look enviously at the amount of comments and visits some people get on their blog and wish that my blog was so well read and well thought of, and then I look at how much promotion they do for it, and again I think they get out of it what they put in. I work full time, I don't get back home till after 6, I can't blog during the day and in the evening I have to try and fit in minor things like eating and chores and sleeping. So I have to settle for what I can get.
The things that really bother me though are the vitriol and downright unpleasantness that goes back and forth. Anonymity is a great thing to hide behind, and which of us hasn't spouted off at the Virgin Media Customer Service Team on a website in a manner which doesn't befit a lady? (Or is that just me?) Would these people be so brave face to face if they worked in an office and then had to carry on working with these people? Would they even be so brave if they used their real names? Anonymity has its place, of course it does, but it isn't just a convenient shield for when you want to be rude to someone.
This week I think the community has shown its claws, and sadly I think it won't show us in a good light. As a mum, I have to ask...
Would you let your children behave like that?