Blogging comes with a lot of… perils. As the title says. I mean, when I sat down to write this entry, I was going to write about THE NUMBER ONE PERIL, using “NUMBER ONE” but not really thinking about the fact that there weren’t really any other perils, I just wanted the dramatic effect. But then I thought about it, and I suppose there ARE other perils. Let me list some of the smaller perils for you briefly:
- Putting all your info out on the Internet still makes some people nervous (see: Internet safety post).
- Some people actually believe that they’re anonymous enough to write about friends, family and co-workers and assume they will not be found out (these people are not too bright).
- If you have been blogging for 100 years like I have, you run the risk of becoming a huge blog snob. There aren’t a whole ton of blogs I like, I truly and genuinely enjoy even fewer, and there’s a whole TON I read just because I like to feel superior in some way to the writer. Yeah, I do.
Anyway, with those minor perils aside, let us talk about the NUMBER ONE peril.
You will notice, Internet, that sometimes I end my posts with a question asking you for your opinion, what you think, or your preference of two different options. Other times, I simply relay a conversation or story. Still other times, I tell you of a situation that is going on in my life in an informative manner. You know, I blog about things. And stuff. And whatnots. This is what bloggers do, in general. If you are a blogger, you do the same things. Or at least, you should. I can’t really imagine what else you’d be doing.
No matter what the post is, someone is going to comment or email (and sometimes both!) to tell you how they think you should solve what they have perceived as your problem.
It doesn’t matter if you didn’t ask for advice on how to solve a problem. It doesn’t matter if you don’t even think that you have a problem. It doesn’t matter if you have already solved the problem on your own, assuming there was a problem.
This, on the surface, is really very harmless. I mean, who cares? But when you get unsolicited advice on problems you don’t actually have EVERY SINGLE DAY, you start to feel a bit ungrateful. Not at all gracious. Maybe even a little ticked off.
You can’t say anything, though, because this is the Internet. You have put the story out there, thus are welcoming any comments that the Internet may have. And there are some people, no matter the situation, who are born, lifelong advice givers and the Internet is their Christmas, 3 day weekend, and Double Soup Tuesday at the Orphanarium all rolled into one.
The NUMBER ONE PERIL OF BLOGGING: Advice.
You’re getting it. Didn’t ask for it? Too bad, you’re getting it. Don’t want it? Too bad, you’re getting it. Have in no way indicated that you need it? GUESS WHAT, YOU’RE GETTING IT ANYWAY.
Take, for example, and I am not meaning to hurt anyone’s feelings, as I have come to terms with this blogging peril 10 or 11 years ago when I STARTED to blog and the first Internet Advice Givers learned how to click “leave a comment,” the post below on television watching positions.
A summation of the post: I like to watch TV in the bed, as it is more comfortable. Phil likes to watch TV in the office, as the office TV is bigger. We each think our way is the correct way, and were wondering who the Internet would side with.
The Internet’s response: Well, why don’t you just move this TV or that TV and then you don’t have a problem?
Where did we indicate there was a problem? We didn’t. We like everything the way it is. But the Internet saw an opening in which to insert their opinion and they shoved it right in there.
Harmless? Yes, usually. After one or two or a million years of blogging, you kind of just laugh it off. I mean, the same thing happens in life.
There are times, though, when you inform the Internet of a situation slightly less lighthearted than television placement, and you don’t ask for advice or opinions or anything, yet you are still flooded with what other people think you should do. And then it starts to get offensive. All the “Why don’t you justs” and “Haven’t you considereds” and “You obviously need tos” really start to grind on you in these more serious situations. Don’t you think we did that, or considered that, or can see the obvious?
That is why I have so many posts sitting in draft form, just waiting for me to hit publish, and they sit there for so long that they’re no longer relevant or necessary, because if you hit “publish,” you are essentially agreeing to review reams of unsolicted advice and it makes you sad and frustrated and eyerolly and frankly, kind of a little bitchy and ungrateful, and no one wants to feel that way.
So, Internet, I beg you, the next time you read a blog post and flex your advicely fingers, take a moment to ask yourself a couple of questions:
1. Was this advice asked for? Will it be welcomed?
2. Is this solution so obvious any sane person would already have thought of it?
3. Self, am I kind of being a know it all butthead, but think it’s ok because this is a blog and the blogger wrote it on the Internet and therefore I can say whatever I want even if it is know it ally and buttheady?
And THEN offer your advice.
Your bitchy, ungrateful pal,
* Post not in any way spurred by recent events, but instead a release of 10 years of frustration.