Online shenanigans

Recently, I’ve been finding out that the blogging world, and online social networking can all get rather interesting at times.

I’ve discovered that, like anything, there’s the good…and the not so good.

While my blog’s been around for a few months, to begin with I didn’t blog much, and never thought to use Facebook to promote it.  Let alone Twitter.

Up until a couple of months ago, I seriously thought Twitter was for people who wanted to read about what celebrities ate for lunch, for Gen Y’s, or for…well, geeks.

Oh yes, I’m happy to freely admit how wrong I was!

I’ve met some fantastic people via Twitter, some with amazing blogs, that are truly talented writers.  I’ve even met a tweet in person – Shelley at My Shoebox Life.  Seeing as she lives less than 1km from my place, it seemed a little weird not meeting up!  (I was bound to run into her at Coles one day).  But, what I think is a great friendship has since ensued.

However, there’s a side to online networking and blogging I’ve caught glimpses of that I don’t like. 

Like copycat posts.  I’d heard of people copying others’ posts, and last night I read two that were pretty much word-for-word, with the odd paragraph edited slightly.  Yikes!

As there are a lot of us Mummy bloggers around, similarities in post topics are certainly to be expected.  In fact, I actually enjoy coming across a post written on another blog similar to something I’ve blogged about.  It makes me feel good (and sometimes reassured), knowing someone else went through the same thing/feels similar to me.  If I can relate or identify with another blog, I usually re-visit or follow it.

But almost word-for-word copying?  That’s another matter entirely (wasn’t one of my own posts copied, by the way).

Not impressive.  At all.

Then there’s Twitter.  Overwhelmingly, the people are really lovely, and funny, and clever (the ones I follow, anyway ;)).  But occasionally, you might come across a Twitter ‘stalker’ type.

This type of tweeter reminds me of a venus fly trap, those strange plants that trap and eat flies..

After a while on Twitter, you may choose to unfollow a few people – either because their tweets are perhaps, a little annoying…or because you don’t find their tweets relevant.

I see my followers number will fluctuate, and totally understand someone may not want to read my tweets anymore. 

But what about a tweeter who somehow instantly knows you’ve unfollowed them, and starts tweeting you and RT’ing you, to get you to re-follow?  They keep tweeting and tweeting at you until they catch you again, like the fly in the venus fly trap…you succumb, and re-follow them.  Gotcha.

Scary.  Sad.

But I love tweeting and blogging so much, I’m going to choose to remain ignorant of these sorts of issues from here on.  For most of us know how to do the right thing. 🙂

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34 responses to “Online shenanigans

  1. I find the same quirks with blogging and tweeting.

    The most disturbing experience I had was when a girl called me out on a thread in the Vogue forums for unfollowing her. I felt really embarrassed and ashamed, and at that time thought that I had unfollowed her because she kept tweeting about TV shows and movies that I hadn’t seen yet and giving away the endings – I hate that! Turns out she did that as well.

    Anyway, I followed her again out of guilt, and then remembered that the reason that I unfollowed her really was because she kept calling people the C word and saying all sorts of other offensive things – saying that she’d kill people if she could, etc. I just didn’t like to read it, and so I unfollowed again. This time, she knew that I had unfollowed her (two of us unfollowed her actually) because she bought an iPhone app that notified her each day of who unfollowed!!! So she tweeted to everyone our names and told everyone that we had unfollowed her.

    It was so immature, and I ignored it but really wanted to just tell her that there really was a legitimate reason for me unfollowing her.

    I don’t pretend to be a saint, and I have a mouth on me sometimes. I use the F word in my tweets when I am especially irritated about something, but I would never be abusive towards anyone or say things that might offend intentionally.

    My point – you shouldn’t feel compelled to succumb just to stroke their ego. You need only follow those whose tweets and blogs are relevant and enjoyable for you to read.

    Love your blog by the way 🙂

    • Ah ha! So there’s a phone app – or other apps that tell you who’s unfollowed you! Was wondering how this tweeter immediately started tweeting/RT-ing my old tweets! It’s a free world and no-one should feel guilty or be pressured into ”following” anyone. Sad isn’t it that people seem to have nothing better to do.

      Checked out your blog – looks like you had a great time in Melbourne recently 🙂 You’re 27 – a great age – I was planning my wedding at 27 and married at 28 – it’s a great age!

  2. Melbourne Mumma as usual – you are spot on!
    And in six short weeks I’ve gone from a complete newbie to a slight obsession with Twitter and blogging, thanks in great part to you.
    As for the whole ‘copycat’ thing, sometimes I think people forget that the online world is not as large as you may think. I figure if you’re going to do or say something about somebody, or pretty much flat out copy their blogging style or ideas, it won’t take long before everyone knows, and you look the fool.
    I’ve found a few times I’ve had an idea in my head to blog about, and then somebody will post something about it, and I automatically put that idea on the backburner. Would hate to think that somebody every thought I was using their idea, but I can see how sometimes we can end up on the same wavelength.
    Oh and while I’m at it – my pet peeve. The whole ‘real’ friends versus ‘online’ friends debate. When I’ve told people we’ve met up a few times and get along great guns, their first response is something along the lines of, ‘Oh, um, so she’s normal then??’ .
    Um, well yes, I think you are pretty normal Melbourne Mumma!
    And I also think you rock. 🙂

    • Ohhhhh thank you!! It’s a shame to discover unethical practice out there, but I guess it’s bound to happen. Putting ideas on the backburner – have done that too. Went through a few weeks where I’d have an idea, then read some blogs – and found someone had written something so similar to my idea…which left me confused and stalled me for a while. I didn’t want people to think I was copying them. But I’ve realised we all write similar things at times, and if you read a post you like and it inspires you, I think linking directly back to that person’s blog and mentioning them is the appropriate thing to do.

      And yes for the record, I am normal 🙂

  3. I, for one, don’t understand why people feel the need to copy. What is the point? My blog is about me expressing my own thoughts that sure, inadvertently often mirror other people’s in my little blog world but that is coincidence rather than design. I love to blog cos it’s my chance to get things out of my head/off my chest/out in to the world for criticism. I have little time for people who steal from others which is essentially what these people are doing. If you have nothing to say, just don’t say anything, no one will care how long it’s been since you last posted anyway! I’ve heard of this negativity but thankfully am not big enough a fish to be copied and I am glad to have avoided it. I like to think of the blogosphere/twitter world being full of fab people like you and me! 🙂 Raspberries to them!

    • I agree, sometimes I have times where I’m ”mentally blank” or don’t feel inspired to write regularly, and I’ve come to realise that’s OK. At the end of the day my blog is for me, and keeping up appearances is therefore void. Yes there are fab people out there! Thank you Cat!

  4. If the blog posts you are referring to are about a Panasonic camera a few of us having going on at our blogs, we were given some words that we needed to include and then Panasonic had to sign off on the posts.

    I can understand blogs being similar, like when us food bloggers go out for the same meal or event, yet I find the different pictures interesting to look at too.

    But yay for twitter and making friends =D
    x

    • No no, nothing about the camera blog – figured that was a Panasonic thing (you certainly gave the camera a big wrap). Thanks for commenting Shellie – one day I may see you at one of our fabulous markets!

  5. I totally do the ostrich thing when it comes to this stuff…
    I blog because I enjoy it and I really really REALLY want it to stay that way so I pretend like these not so nice things just don’t happen…. 🙂

  6. Great post lovely! Very very true.

    Being a complete newborn to blogging. I’ve already seen how cut throat it can be. Obviously as Mummy bloggers we go through the same things etc (like c25k!) so there are bound to be similar experiences/posts (I agree with you Alison, it’s reassuring to read someone going through the same things as me), but word for word?! That’s not on. I’m sure if people copy a blog word for word, they won’t last long if they can’t think of original ideas.

    As for meeting up. One of my best friends I met through an online forum (turns out we also had friends in common but didn’t realise til after we met up). There’s such a strange stigma attached to it. But if you get lifelong friendships out of it, why not?! 🙂

    • Hello Amelia 🙂 It took me a while to realise similarities are ok. For a while I was worried to sound like anyone else at all, which was quite confusing, but now I try not to think about it too much and just blog what’s on my mind or about life. If I’m inspired by a blog, I’d link back to it and mention that it was my inspiration.

      I think more and more, meeting online acquaintances is becoming commonplace. Imagine the AMB conference next year – everyone is from the ”online world” and yet am sure that would generate many friendships.

  7. Excellent post, thank you for bringing light to these negative situations.

    I wish I could go back to being ignorant, unfortunately since I found out my content was being copied, my online world has been turned upside down.

    All we can do is keep writing, keep making a difference, knowing we are doing the right thing.

    If you truly believe in yourself, you don’t need to copy letalone bring others down, in fact, I would say you go out of your way to build others up!

    Thanks again, I am really enjoying looking through your blog, keep up the great work!

    • Thanks Stacey for stopping by!! I didn’t want to sound too negative in my post, but am surprised to discover this sort of thing, and it was playing on my mind. So, here’s to authentic blogging! 🙂

  8. Hi. I’ve recently come across your blog and you on Twitter and I too am reasonably new – April this year – 4 months. I love twitter and I love blogging. So far none of my posts have been copied – well not that I know of. It is a great community, but like everything, there is always that not so nice element. My motto on my blog and on Twitter is to be authentic. If you do that you are only always you. I look forward to reading more of your blog and tweeting with you. Annie x

    • Hi Annie thank you for stopping by! And lovely to meet you on Twitter. (Looking fwd to election night). I agree wholeheartedly about authenticity. Otherwise what is the point of having a personal blog. Hope you stop by again soon.

  9. Copy cats really get on my nerve. Not that long ago I was finding that if I blogged about cleaning my kitchen, a certain blogger would blog about the same thing. If I blogged about how awesome my hubby was, sure as hell there would be a post within hours on her blog about how awesome her husband was. Seriously was doing my head in!

    Oh and just saw that I’m on your blog roll. How cool! 😀 xx

    • Thanks for commenting Tina! That’s not good at all. I hope you sorted things out with the offender – or at least that it stopped happening. Yes definitely on my blogroll, yours was one of the first mummy blogs I ever read 🙂

  10. potty mouth mumma had a similiar post this week too and all these comments seem to have similiar experiences. I never expected there to be so many people copying other peoples work. Do people just find this by accident when reading other posts? Do people let you know? DO you comment/contact them and let them know you are not happy? As I am getting into this blogging stuff I am randomly coming across all sorts of blogs, I will be certainly peeeved to find out if I am reading someone elses work on other peoples pages.

    PS I know it is dorky, but I like to follow blogs I like in my google reader, you don’t have a follow button though. Is Twitter the best way to follow you (I am also a newbie to that and didn’t even think about people noticing when I cut them from my list, but some are just a bit annoying).

    • Hi Claire thanks for your comment. Potty mouth mama wrote something similar to me? I didn’t read it (promise!). I just came across these two posts by accident. I’ve heard of it happening but never seen it before (have been reading blogs for a few months on and off). As I discover more blogs, I’m a pretty random reader too.

      Ohh! Yes as I use wordpress I don’t have a Google friend follow button…been thinking about switching to Blogger. You can subscribe to my blog (there’s a space to enter your email address down the side of my blog). Or yes please follow me on Twitter!

      By the way will write a letter per week for 6 weeks! 🙂

      • You can put a Google friend widget in your wordpress blog! I’d recommend sticking with wordpress…I’ve only heard of people swapping from blogger to wp not the other way round.
        I’m so sick of seeing copying everywhere, and yes, I’ve come up with ideas and then seen them done already, but we all do things differently, so its so obvious when its a direct copy. Its happening a lot in the craft world too. 😦

      • Oh thanks – didn’t know I could add a Google friend widget – that’s great. I’m used to WP now – interesting that the majority of mummy/personal bloggers seem to use Blogger.

        I can imagine how it would happen in crafting as well. That would be awful having your product ideas copied.

  11. Copying!? Really! I must have my head in a bucket because I haven’t seen much of that and I have been blogging for a year! Who are they? What are their names? Tell me and I will give them a smack. Naughty bloggers. It is certainly ok to run with a Meme that another blog has started but if you are going to use a topic that another blogger has used before you, which kick started your idea in the first place – then they need to be acknowledged in the blog post with a corresponding link back to them.

    Twitter is a strange place, just enjoy the best of it. Its a great place to connect to likeminded people.

    xxx

    • Don’t want to name names cause (a) am a chicken and (b) don’t want to start a feud. Glad you have acknowledged what I thought was correct practice – to link back to a blogger that gave you an idea. Phew…trying to master blogger etiquette…

  12. haha , sorry didn’t mean to suggest you copied her post at all!!

    Will meet you at twitter and will add you to my site list so others can see how you go …if that’s ok with you?

  13. I am visiting from Blog This but wanted to comment here instead! I haven’t managed to get into Twitter. I barely have time to blog, and comment, let alone keep up with people IRT. The venus fly trap is a great analogy for the on-line stalker though. I promise I won’t copy it!

  14. I read this with huge interest. Firstly the Twitter thing is so odd isn’t it? It’s a free world and I don’t understand why people call people out when they stop following others. I don’t look at my lists or numbers because I don’t want to know. If someone stops following me, that’s fine and likewise I think if I unfollow someone I shouldn’t have to justify myself.
    As regards the copying, well I’ve seen this written about recently but clearly my head is in a bucket because I haven’t seen it happen. I think the etiquette is to always link back or give credit where it is due.
    I suppose in the blogosphere it is inevitable that there will be crossover in content, but plagarism? Not cool at all.
    Great post.

    • Thanks Sarah for your comment. Yes I’m embarrassed to admit that I felt pressured to re-follow this person, and now I feel silly for doing so. So what if they ”name and shame” me! So…I’ll be unfollowing again and will be interested to see what reaction I get! Should not have to justify your actions, I agree.

      It’s good to have my assumptions confirmed, ie. it’s appropriate to give credit/link back to another blog. Alison

  15. Wow, I haven’t had any experiences like that on Twitter. Perhaps I’ve just been lucky. I have had other sites “scrape” from my blog, which is irritating, and now I have a copyright notice on my homepage and at the end of each post. That’s really just cut-and-pasting, though (in one case they also copied my copyright notice!!), not copy-cat writing.
    I think we just have to try to stay above it all. I have a very definite and explicit reason for writing my blog, and I try to remind myself of it when petty things happen.
    We’re doing it because it’s fun, right? And we enjoy it? So let’s have fun, and enjoy it. I think you’re doing the right thing by ignoring the shenanigans.

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