Is It Just Me: Questioning When an Opinion Piece goes from Thought Provoking to Cyber Bullying?

Now, if you’re a blogger you will probably know what I’m talking about, if not, briefly, a major parenting website that isn’t Mumsnet or Netmums and has “dish” in the title, decided to write an article about a blogger’s way of making artistic lunches for her young son.

Its called Bento, a SE Asian word for lunch box. But their lunchbox, and this bloggers lunchbox, has little containers of artfully crafted food (I mean seriously arty, amazingly so), to tempt whoever it is made for. Not like I usually do, whereby I sleepily chuck a bag of crisps, a cake bar, and a roll in Littlest’s Spiderman lunch box.

The thing is, I’m all for opinions and debate. I like a good rant where its due too. But the lady in question had not deserved the rant. The post didn’t read like it was sparking debate. It didn’t read like an opinion piece.

It read, to not just me, but to a lot of other people, and more importantly to the Blogger being written about, like a bullying diatribe of abuse.

The issue was, that it wasn’t bemoaning Bento as a concept, or photographing of kids lunch boxes. If it had of been, I don’t think it would have caused utter disbelief. It singled out the blogger herself, by name. It questioned her ability as a parent. It suggested she was not nurturing her son but making him, amongst other things, a Bullying target, a Mummies Boy, and wished the boys future spouse “luck”.

The misogynistic tone and subtext made me think it was written by a sneering bloke they’d borrowed from Loaded. It told the blogger to go “get a job”.

Problem is, it was written by a woman, a Mother herself. 

She didn’t research properly, as then she’d have known that the Blogger has, indeed, got a job, actually.

What right does someone, another Mum, have to slander someone in the name of witty journalism? It wasn’t a thought provoking article, it was a sensationalist attack. The site which hosted it has removed it after a barrage of comments, and has now complained to her supporters on Twitter that their poor site and journalist has been “bullied.” 

So, readers, when does an Opinion piece go from thought provoking and become cyber bullying? 

Personally, I would sue the site and its second rate hack too. But that’s me.

Comments welcome guys 🙂 Have a good weekend.


The Real Housewives Of Social Media

Yes, I know, I’m actually admitting my guilty secret here: I am addicted to watching Real Housewives on ITV2. It’s not the best show to hold up to prove I’m not an airhead, but at least I haven’t gone the whole hog and started watching Jeremy Kyle. I do watch Knots Landing though- it reminds me of when I was a kid and Nicollette Sheridan had her original face. 

The more I watch it though, the more I feel I could make a fortune pitching a version of the show based around blogging and social media.

Why? Well here we are:

The One Who Is Meant to Be the Baddie But Is actually Quite Sensible

You know the type. Often taken the wrong way by flash decisions, this social media user is actually quite passionate about what they do and yes, whilst they do go off on one like a firework through a letterbox, when you sit down and weigh it up they aren’t quite as bad as they seem. Often seen on Twitter, but at their most comfy with their mates in a Facebook group.

The One You’re Always Jealous of But Admit to Admiring

The one you’re most likely to admire but be jealous of is the social media lover whose life just seems damn perfect. From their perfectly well behaved children, to their perfect home, this person owns Instagram and loves to show pics of her perfect family in their pristine Boden linen outfits, walking through fields with their dog and doing crafty stuff. Their white sofa never has a mark on it, they bake and make everything from scratch. Basically they make you look around your home at the mess, the hand marks on the sofa, the dirt all over the kids clothes and your husband and his paunch and want to cry.

The One Who Never Sleeps

No matter what time of day or night, you can bet this social media addict will be online in some capacity. They blog three times a day, Instagram everything, and pin as many E Cards as they can find. You have no idea how they can be online all the time, but dare not ask, imaging they may turn to dust if anyone asks how they are up for the 102nd straight hour.

The Actual Tech Geek

Sometimes these girls are great, like for sorting out your pesky html error code or finding the best collage maker. Other times, the sheer amazingness of their blog compared to your tired stitched together one annoys the hell out of you. 

The I Know Best Old Timer

Can always be found telling the rest of us how much better things would be without reviews, and how it was better in the pure old days when it was blogging for bloggings sake. Even though us other old timers know they also used to do reviews. 

The Twitter Newbie

They have no idea how Twitter works, they have followed whoever twitter tells them to, and now they sit, watching their feed move with no idea what to do next. We sympathise with them for their naivety, but we also wish for the days when we were new and didn’t sit down for a quick look on the way to making breakfast at 8.30am, only to still be sitting having twelve conversations at once at 1pm.

The Wise One

They embody all the best bits of Social Media, without the annoying “make you feel stabby” bits. They always have the best linkys, memes, twitter parties and advice, and when you mention them everyone’s immediate response is “Oh she’s lovely”. 

The “Patty Simcox of Social Media”

The one who is constantly on a campaign for one thing or another, without ever really knowing why. Not to be confused with genuine do gooders who support a charity or campaign for the right reason, they do it for one reason- stats. Does it work? No. They @ celebs constantly who never reply (bar that one time Richard Madeley followed them for ten minutes). They unfollow you for not putting a twibbon on your avatar then refollow on the next round of charitable campaigning. They are the nets version of the High Street Chugger.

The DM Lover

Nice to your face but an utter bitch to everyone about everyone else via DM. You may think she’s your best mate, in fact she’s probably the biggest troll that ever walked, and may even pretend to be you to cause you untold trouble on networks you’ve never even joined. Why? Simple- she’s a bored housewife with nowt better to do. 

So, which one do you recognise? Who would you add to the cast? Let me know in the comments below.

Is It Just Me Questioning Why Women Get Such a Kicking?

Right I’m going to start off by giving a red triangle rant warning. I am peed off royally. You have been warned.

Last night, Elder and I shared a curry and then, as we’re too darn lazy to go through the record collection anymore, put on Youtube and had a tune off. We’re both members, via Facebook, of a number of music groups whereby you post a link to what you happen to be playing and others can comment on memories. 

It’s not often other comments on anything outside music are discussed, but one London member happened to voice how upsetting it is that a 12 year old girl- a mere child- had been gang raped in Walthamstow.

Many of us members are parents. When I first heard about it on the news over breakfast, my heart bled for a child violated in that way. How will her life be after such an appalling act? I have seen the effect gang rape can have on a previously confident person who was an adult.

The second thing I wondered was why a 12 year old was out, alone, after midnight. However, I questioned the morals of her parents on this, nothing more.

The discussion started on Facebook of a group of parents with much the same attitude as me. Other rape cases of children in the UK were discussed, and the general question was how will we protect our kids? Is this really Britain in 2013.

Then, a lady came on and basically said that the child- let’s remember this is a child- deserved it, as she was out late. 

She also complained that some members had also mentioned about the large group of Muslim men convicted of grooming vulnerable kids in Birmingham. Would we feel differently about it, less scandalised, if it had been white christian males?

Well, no, we wouldn’t would we? And the anger over Jimmy Saville, Stuart Hall and the cohorts proves this.

It matters not a jot to many of us if a person is black, white, green, or has three heads. Rape is rape, whoever does it they are a sick, twisted beast of a person and they should be locked up for the protection of us all forever more.

The very fact that a woman can ever suggest that the 12 year old was at fault- these people prey on vulnerable children just like her- made me shocked.

If woman can be slating other women, giving any form of excuse for rape, makes my stomach churn.

Then we have the recent spate of rape threats to high profile people on Twitter. Over a banknotes lack of women.

Since when did rape, or threats of it, become the norm for disagreeing with a woman’s opinion? Whatever happened to simply saying “I don’t agree” but allowing others to have a differing opinion? It is the actions of a sad individual lacking in intelligence. 

The thing that annoys me though is Twitter’s response- or lack of. They have now joined the reprehensible Facebook in basically glazing over abuse against women. I myself recently had abuse from a group of men over the Bounty campaign- Twitter did nothing. Since when is that or any kind of threats or bullying OK? 

It’s never, ever freedom of speech to consider someone being raped and give a “but she” response. Rape is one of the most degrading, hurtful acts a person can be subjected to. It is a power trip of the most violent form. 

When even women, who should back each other over this, can feel fine publicly slating a 12 year old is fine, what hope is there for victims?

The Post in Which I get Taught My First School Lesson Since 1998

OK, never let it be said that I don’t know when to say sorry if I’ve upset someone when I’m peed off.

It seems my last post was read by the Brat’s school, and in the heat of everything that has been going on for a while now between Mini and another kid in her class, it kind of got a little OTT.

The thing is, my children are my life. I love the very bones of them, despite the lack of sleep due to Littlest’s illnesses, Mini being a bit of a diva from time to time and the other little things they do- like having a tantrum in the middle of a shop. 

I know that this is possibly, probably, going to be read by Mini’s teacher, and possibly the wider school, so sorry. Sorry for calling you a nutcase Mrs R. Sorry that you thought I was a bit detached or unapproachable. Sorry that Mini is a bit of a pest sometimes when it comes to her diva crying. We’re working on that one anyway.

The thing is, we had a bit of a communication breakdown go on, and sometimes I can barely remember my own name of a morning. Littlest still wakes up so many times a night from his Restrictive Airway illness, and I generally average out at about 2 hours sleep a week, if I’m lucky. So, it’s not me being a mardy bitch, it’s me being earth shatteringly knackered.

I hate that someone thought I was a bit up my arse, bit cool kid, cos that is so not me- when I told an old school friend that the world’s biggest geek at school was considered that way, she told me she’d get back to me when she’d stopped rolling on the floor. I hate that someone could feel they couldn’t talk to me. 

So, yes, sorry. Credit where credit is due, Mini has gone from being not interested in reading and not being able to write very well, to being a epic reader and terrific writer (she wants her own blog. Scary). 

I take it back. Its all good. 

And a note to other bloggers- remember, when we fly off the handle, or have posts which follow other’s posts, some times they could be read by someone who has no idea the other posts exist, who don’t read our Twitter streams, and who could take it the wrong way. Lesson learned my friend’s, lesson learned.

Epic. PR. Fail. Bless

I just happened to fire up the Kobo Vox Reader I am testing out for Family Panel this afternoon, you know, not cos I spend my every waking moment online but, cough, for research purposes, when I found a pretty surprising email.

I get a lot of email, I have 3 accounts, so its not unusual to get funny and daft pitches amongst the samey ones which go out to pretty much every blogger who has ever walked the planet or written more than a months worth of posts.

This one, though, was a bit, shall we say, angst filled, a tad aggressive. I put my hands up, for me, the fact it threatened a DMCA against my blog was pretty much no big deal to me- I got threatened last month by Sony UK to have my blog, my money and practically my kids taken away for saying a certain band that they manage who’s name sounds a bit like Wand Erection are crap compared to the Stones. That was laughed off. After I decided to snap a Wand Erection CD. And found out you can’t generally buy CDs any more and buying an Ipod to download their album, then smashing it seemed pretty extreme retribution over a blog post being removed.

However, I actually hadn’t said the company that this person’s firm represent was rubbish. I didn’t compare them to another company either. I wrote quite a nice sponsored post actually, which the same company had approached me, via the same firm (but a different person from this firm) to write. 


So, I went to good old oracle of the Universe, Twitter and asked this: 

Within 30 seconds, several other bloggers all held up their Twitter palms and said they too had had the same email. No one else had had previous emails requesting links be changed. Everyone was baffled. 

The Twitter streams and, I’m told, Facebook groups were alive with angry messages, annoyance and disbelief at this sudden aggression from what is a respected company. Much was put across on how to deal with it- should we charge to change the links after this mean of tone email, should we tell the brand never to contact us again?

It was cheeky, but, after the apology I got this afternoon, which I assume most others have had or will have, I kind of can’t help but feel sorry for the PR who made this error. 

It’s a Friday, its been a short week, everyone is tired, the weather sucks, I don’t know. It seems perhaps the person has taken over an account and has to change the link- no idea why and I’m yet to learn the reason for this sudden change.

The thing is, when a Hoo Ha erupts over a PR Fail, however epic or rude or mean that happens to be, they are going to get internet spanked for it. The net is kind of like when your Mum caught you doing something naughty and told you off, then your Dad came home, your Mum told him, and he went doubly mad at you. Twice the telling off. The Net is so big now, you can’t hide from your mistakes for long, whether that’s photos from a drunken night out being posted on Facebook, or whether that’s something where you pee off a bunch of the noisiest noises of them all, us Bloggers. 

We should perhaps have a badge on our blogs, a disclaimer, saying “we have a Laptop with WiFi and a Twitter account and we know how to use it.”

The PR is going to get told off by his boss as well as by bloggers. It will probably get round other agencies too and they will mock the error.

 It was poorly executed- the email had a “insert link here” bracket which hadn’t even been deleted, so perhaps the PR had a higher up person or someone from the brand they represent breathing down their necks, and they hit send a bit prematurely to meet a deadline?

Who knows, but sometimes, we need to take a breath and cut some slack. It was naughty, but its been put right, and ultimately, there will be more issues for the email sender than us bloggers.

Maybe I’m just that much of an old timer but these things tend to slide by me now- get my blog name wrong or my kids names wrong, well, makes me shrug (and on occasion forward the mail to the right person too). Invite me last minute to things, well, that’s unfortunate as I probably can’t go, but I’m not going to blacklist over it. 

Yes it’s annoying, but what can we do? Let it slide people, let it slide, and perhaps say “hey, mate, you’re going to get enough grief, just watch before you send again OK?”.

They’ll certainly not think twice before getting in touch again….