Avid reader, blogger, compulsive one-clicker, genre-omnivore.
Welcome to this week’s Up Close and (un)Conventional. During the week of October 20 to 26, there was a lot of scary happenings in the online community, and I didn’t really join in any of the discussions during that week, because I was traveling. I did read the infamous Guardian article, though, as well as several blog-posts showing time-lines, why that article is so dangerous, and also why fact-checking is extremely important.
Now, apart from being a fellow blogger, I don’t really have any beef in this latest drama. However, I think that the fact that I don’t know the blogger who was stalked, and because I haven’t read (or shelved) any of Ms. Hale ‘s books, I still have something important to share about this. The thing that is very scary about this is multi-faceted, because not only did this author first stalk a blogger online – even to Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest… if the blogger had an account, the author followed it. And the author was trying to find something she could use to excuse her hurt feelings, and the actions she felt she had the right to take because of these hurt feelings.
I think that keeping our private lives separate from our online lives is just common sense! Privacy on the internet is not easy, but as bloggers we certainly should be able to have and use a pseudonym, just like some authors, actors and other online personas use pseudonyms. And respecting our privacy is really one of the most important thing publishers, authors, and other bloggers can do! It’s really nobody’s business if my name is really Lexxie or if it is something else. As long as I don’t change my name from Lexxie to something new to hide my ‘official’ online persona behind another.
What I find really hard to believe is that on a lot of the posts re-counting this debacle, several people – most of them authors – either applaud #HaleNo, or they say that the blogger in question was obviously wrong as well. To me stalking can never, ever be OK. And it is chilling that some authors think that the blogger had done something wrong to kind of make the author go off the deep end. Where did they see any proof of that? All I could find were status updates regarding the author’s book, and there was not even any mention at all of the author. Yes, there was cursing in those status updates – but so what? Curse words are part of our vocabulary for a reason. They are very good for conveying strong feelings! And most book-bloggers I know are very passionate people.
When I first read about the Blogger Blackout, I didn’t really understand what these bloggers were doing – what about all the amazing authors out there that might be ‘punished’ for something they didn’t do, I thought. I very quickly changed my tune, however, because I really think the blackout is like a peaceful walk with candles, where those demonstrating only want to point other people in the direction of their thoughts. And because it is peaceful, and because it is a way to really take a stand that doesn’t require a lot of time, money or puts anyone in danger, I think it’s actually a beautiful way to show solidarity. Solidarity among bloggers, and also among the authors who feel that the Guardian article was really way out there, and that the author who wrote it should never have been allowed to use such a huge platform for her rantings.
I am not going to participate in the Blackout, and that’s because I’ve found out about it too late, and I have posts scheduled for next week that have been there for a long time, and I don’t want to change this now. I do support and applaud the bloggers who are participating, though, I think it’s amazing how this community is able to stick together, and stand strong when faced with strong opposition and scary drama. And I am so happy that my favorite authors who have spoken about this at all seem to agree with what many bloggers think as well: stalking is not OK, bloggers should be able to share their honest opinion about the books they read, and taking a stand in a peaceful way is great.
Some good posts on the subject:
There is also a petition on Change.Org to ask Goodreads to improve the privacy settings for their users.
Have you already read about #HaleNo and #BloggerBlackout? What about #YesAuthor? Has this recent drama changed your way of blogging? Have you checked your privacy settings on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads or other social media? Are you like me, and a little more reluctant to want to read a new-to-you author now?
Thanks for stopping by!