1.10.2011

Authenticity in Blogging


The other night I was beebopping around the internet. And as I often do, I ended up on a website that, looking back now, I have no idea how I got there. But it was kind of like entering Bloggy Twilight Zone.

I am totally uninvolved in blog drama. In my 3+ years of blogging, I have had one nasty, trolly comment that I recall. It was laughable, I deleted it and went on my merry way. I have enough unwanted drama in my personal life; my blog is my escape, and the last thing I want is drama in this little world of mine. Ignorance is bliss.

I know that drama exists in the blogosphere, but I honestly had never seen it until that night. And it was an eye-opener.

When I read blogs, I assume that they are completely true and honest, unless it's clearly stated somewhere that it's a fiction blog, or that the poster is participating in a writing exercise. I think we all condense conversations so as not to put our readers to sleep, or maybe leave out very private details of certain things. But overall, I take the words that I read as truth. I don't really understand why anyone would post a bunch of lies on their blog.

But there are many people out there who believe that a "big-name" blogger out there is very much a fake. That much of what she posts is untrue, and far worse in my opinion, that she has solicited money from generous, unsuspecting people through her blog. They've also said that she has collected money for specific items that were never delivered to the purchasers. The website I landed on was apparently one of many dedicated to proving this blogger's lies.

(And a bunch of y'all probably know exactly who I'm talking about, because you do not live in La-La Land like I do. That's okay, I like it here.)

All of this has really thrown me for a loop. It makes me wonder how much of what I read is real, and how much isn't. I've seen fakes exposed online before, so I really don't know why this is such a revelation to me. Clearly anyone can start a blog and put anything they want there and you never know if it's true, unless you meet that blogger in person or know them personally.

But I don't want to read blogs wondering if something is real or not. I liked my little Bloggy Bubble in which I took everything as real, from-the-heart honesty. So for the most part, I think I'll just stay there, thank you very much.

But I wanted to state something for the record. My blog is real. The words I type here come from my heart, to my fingers, to my blog, to you. My brain is rarely involved. (ha!) There is plenty that I don't say here, but what I do say, is 100% authentic truth. I'd rather have my small but real blog, with my relatively small (but fabulous to me!) following, than some huge blog full of lies. And I can't even imagine taking peoples' money dishonestly. The only thing I've ever even fundraised for was March for Babies, and that goes directly to the March for Babies website (and that will be happening again soon so get your credit cards out!)

Seriously. I think that if you're posting a fiction blog, you should clearly state that. If you sometimes post fiction posts, please let us know that. Otherwise, I'm going to assume that you're blogging authentically, and I'm going to be really disheartened if I find out otherwise.
(this does NOT include privacy measures, those are totally understandable.)

What do you think? Is it anyone's business if a blog is real or fiction? Is it only the reader's business if they're soliciting money or gifts? Inquiring minds want to know.


39 comments:

Alicia said...

I remember reading about a couple of blogs that ended up being fake. The sad thing was it was a lady looking for sympathy for "losing a child." It's really sick how some people play on other peoples emotions like that!

sherrismiles said...

It is completely dishonest and even more despicable that someone would claim to raise money for charities and not hand over the goods! No, I think if you are writing lies that you should at the very least call it fiction.I have to confess I was hoping you would accidentally type in the blogger's/liar's webpage. Scandalous!

Saw you over at Angelia's blog. Your title caught my attention. Love randomly clicking on new and fun blogs to read. I too live in FL and love it. Northern girl for 40 years before I made the move.

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

Very true. I have been caught up in a blog like that before. It hurts, in a way, to find out that even though you've never met this person, you had a certain amount of trust in them.

Aunt of 14 said...

I remember the one big name blog in which the lady "lost a child" and actually took money for said "lost child". That was very sad-- that the poster felt the need to do that to meet some other need she had and she couldn't be honest about it.

BUT. The reason anybody knows that it wasn't honest was because she confessed. She apologized. People are still angry.

There is another "big name" blogger out there that people love to hate. I actually think she is genuine, but thats just me.

I think people get angry when they think they've been taken. But see, that is not the poster's problem. That's the reader's problem. If they want to make a big deal out of it, its the reader's perogative. I just wouldn't feed into it.

So, basically, I think it is none of our business whether their posts are honest or not... most of us ARE honest. There are just a few out there that throws doubt over all of us. As long as it's not hurting you personally to simply read...

"Just" a Mommy... said...

I don't have enough time or energy to come up with lies for my blog. I, like you, have my blog as an escape. May I join you in your "ignorance is bliss, blogging bubble?" :)

Amy said...

I guess I'm in the ignorance is bliss bloggy bubble with you because I have no idea which big name blogger is fake that you're talking about. I would like to know though because I'd hate to think that I'm being suckered by someone. I guess it's none of our business if they're being honest of not but blogging is honesty for most of us. It's a chance to hang it all out there under anonymity but a chance to be honest where sometimes we don't have that in our "real" lives.

Kristina P. said...

I have read both blogs you are talking about. I don't really read the big blogger often, but she does seem rather suspect.

I've encountered quite a bit of drama in the blog world, and have met people IRL who are nothing like they are on their blogs. It's weird.

Facing50Blog.com said...

I came by to say hello and thank you for visiting my blog again and leaving a really nice comment.
I don't think I need to say that my blog is authentic - mad, but authentic. I thought that was the whole point of blogging - to write about something that you felt passionate about and to meet others who understood or felt the same. I started mine as an antidote to those days when you feel age is against you. I've always been a bit of a comedian (ie don't take life too seriously) Sometimes it's only humour that gets you through! Oh well there are some odd people out there and if they want to create a fantasy blog then I suppose they have the right to do so but if I were following it I'd feel cheated or let down.
Time to get Hubby some food - good thing I got a ready made one today at the shops because I've been on the computer longer than I intended.
Warm wishes
Carol

qandlequeen said...

I've heard rumbles of troll activity in blogs, but have yet to see it firsthand - NOT WANTING TO WITNESS IT EITHER.

I have, however, seen exactly this type of behavior on my favorite messageboard multiple times. Sometimes it's laughable, but usually it's outright mean and pretty scary. The messageboard has been locked down so that we don't invite outsiders anymore and that is a total shame because there are a ton of people out there who would really enjoy our stupidity.

Unfortunately, there are jackasses who hate to see people have fun. Their pleasure is to pick others apart until everyone is as miserable as they are... and they're still not happy. It really is stupid.

I assure you I'm also authentic.

Melinda said...

Not sure which blogs your speaking about..But I can say that I, like you, live in the world that I create and influence myself as much as possible with good stuff...Thats just how I roll..Im not going to air my dirty laundry for the world to see because I dont think thats necessary. My life has its share of ups and downs just like most people, but I DO try to remain positive as much as possible..In doing so, I will write about the things that make me happy, I find interesting and how I want my grandchildren to view me later on. Its my world afterall..

C said...

well now i am so curious cuz i am naive and have no clue to big bloggers or who they might be. if u are comforable tellin, send me an email. but like you i am honest and i cant imagine being any other way... why invest the energy? i have little to spare as it is.. i've always thought it is alot of effort being a liar, takes more energy to keep your stories straight and remember who you said what to, and what not... lol.

i find it fun to browse tho, and i can end up in the land of no where not knowing how i got there!!!

blueviolet said...

I am so clueless. I've been around for a while like you have and I still have no idea what's going on. I sometimes hear just a touch of a controversy after it's gone by, but I never know who they were talking about. But you know what, I don't need to so I'm really glad I'm on the outside of all things drama related.

parentingBYdummies said...

I heard about one lady. With a fictional sick baby or something?! Is that who you're talking about? Because, if not, I am so waiting for your to email me the link so I can check this nutty out! My blog is real. Except for the time I said I brainwash my children. I mean, I try, but they won't let me. But, someone did leave a comment saying they seriously hope I'm joking because otherwise I was crazy voodoo psycho lady who should be sterilized. Or something.

Momo Fali said...

I always tell my kids that they will never get in trouble as long as they tell me the truth. No good ever comes from lying.

Kristin - The Goat said...

I think that I'm selectively authentic. I will take a picture of my coffeetable, after I clean it off and when the picture is done I put everything back. Does that count? Am I still in the authentic club?

I've read some questionable blogs before - bickering that got out of control - family members flaming other family members in the comment sections. I stopped reading all of it. I realized that I preferred reading mostly happy, funny, real people blogs :) People who mirror myself.

I'm happy, funny (I can dream can't I?) and real. No fiction at The Goat.

Kristin - The Goat said...

Oh! Remember James Frey? He was the author of the so called true story of his life "A Million Little Pieces." He was on Oprah, he made everyone believe he had lived that life and turns out he was a fraud. Hardly any of it actually happened to him.

He duped the publishing world, the entertainment world, the Oprah world.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

I would hate to think that people are telling lies, not being real.
I know I am real. I usually only donate to March of Dimes which is a good one to have on your blog.
Obviously someone who is deceitful will never tell us. That seems horrible. I know that I will be more careful. Would love to know who it is.

Pain SUX said...

Wow...I've done lots of giveaways and have many more waiting to be posted and even more coming in the mail, etc.

I've never asked for money or gifts, sometimes with the giveaways, they will send me a sample or an item for myself to keep...and I always make sure to thank them in person (well at least by phone or email) and definitely within the post!! But cash?? That just seems weird....!!!!

Now about disclosure?? I'm for full disclosure NO MATTER WHAT!!!

I think that if your blog if fictional you should say so, I mean some blog titles are sarcasm and such, etc and then you know it's just a bunch of fun sayings, etc...but that doesn't really count here.

If someone is actually soliciting for gifts and MONEY, they should most definitely be upfront and truthful with their followers!! I definitely think it is the readers business.

~Steph

the planet of janet said...

i only write true stories from my heart --which, btw, i have been suh-lammmmmed for by a cadre of people who think i'm a lesbian-hater because i objected to my stepdaughter's mohawk. but never mind all that.

the only time i edit my mouth is when i have specifically been told by my daughter not to tell "all your internet friends." and i guess i'm naive enough to think that other people operate the same way.

silly me. i prefer your bloggy bubble as well.

although i will admit to *dying* of curiousity about who this big-bloggy-liar actually is.

ah well. ignorance is ... uh ... something or other.

scribblingsofasoccermom.com said...

UGH! OK I'm relatively new to blogging...mine's only been up since June so I can't say I have much of a clue. But I take them all to be honest, b/c I am. Other than not using real names of my kids & ex husband. Beyond that...it's all about honesty. And I try to gain insights from others' blogs. I'm a little disturbed that any could be faking it. Now I know how men must feel!

Brandy@YDK said...

I must live in la la land because I got nothing. But you can trust all the crazy I write on my blog is real. If I was making it up, it'd be WAY better!

Kelly L said...

That's crazy - I really never gave it much thought - whether a blog was true or not... kind of makes you wonder, huh?
Well, I have to say - I am in complete agreement with you - and I must be in la la land - I have no idea who could be fake... I need to watch more TV..

Love to you
Kelly
I've Become My Mother

scribblingsofasoccermom.com said...

OK Now I'm all kinds of curious...which are you speaking of? Email me the links if you're more comfortable with that...(on my site) I looked and looked online and didn't see much besides the one lady who faked her baby dying (that story is just AWFUL)!

Tammie said...

i have no desire to read a blog thats fake. thats what i read novels for.

i work really hard to make my own blog as honest as possible and if i dont think i can be 100% truthful about something, i just wont write about it.

and i'll take this one step further and say that i really dont like blogs that only share the "good" or the "happy." i need to know about the bad and the ugly as well. we all know the bad and ugly is there, so why cant we talk about it? it doesnt have to be dwelled on, but at least acknowledged.

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

I believe the blogs I read are authentic, which is why I enjoy reading them and prefer them to everything else on the Internet.

That being said, please know I'm usually full of crap.

Shell said...

Someone recently pointed out to me a site that talks about how a certain big name blogger is a total fake. But, I didn't really read that big name blogger and have no idea if what she says is fake or if the hater site is fake.

I do think that people should be authentic on their blogs. I don't mind a fiction blog...as long as it is stated that it is fiction!

Helene said...

I don't understand why people would take the time to put their heart and soul into a blog which is really just full of lies. I have a feeling I know who you're referring to but honestly I haven't read enough to form my own opinion on her.

Like you, I believe that, unless otherwise stated, the blogger is sharing true life stories with us. And it does hurt when you find out you've been mislead...because we do invest our time and energy into other bloggers and you can't help but feel suckered by someone you thought you connected with on an emotional level.

A few years ago, I was an active member on a message board for women trying to conceive. One member, who had been around for awhile, announced she was pregnant and then months later she said she gave birth to a stillborn baby. Some of her statements weren't adding up and after being backed into a corner, she admitted she had lied. This was after many of us sent condolence cards and a few of us even went in on a huge donation to help cover the costs of the headstone, that she said she couldn't afford.

To find out later that we had all been taken advantage of hurt so badly. She is still trying to make up for it to this day. None of us have forgiven her though.

Once someone loses your trust like that, it's hard to ever trust them again.

shortmama said...

I think its crazy that anyone would do that. I mean its one thing to write stories...actual fictional stories. But to write about what appears to be your actual life and it really all made up? Why? On the other hand sometimes I wonder if the naysayers have real proof of someone being a fraud or are just jealous of the big money the big blogger may make from ads?

Aaron said...

I think a lot of people make up stuff on the internet. I feel that as long as what they're saying doesn't offend anyone. After all, you don't have to read it!

Myya said...

I think I must live in the same bloggy world as you cuz I have no idea who or what you are talking about. That is horrible, why would people write fake stuff & try to pass it off as real? That is just weird & creepy!

Marla said...

If a blogger is asking for gifts or money, that would be my first clue something isn't right.

As for my blog, even I couldn't make that crazy stuff up. :-)

Amy Sullivan said...

So, I guess I am writing from lala land because w-o-w that is crazy. I know people make things up. I know they are out there. Ugh.

Karen & Gerard Zemek said...

I live in La-La land too and don't get into the blogging drama at all. I am real as well. Writing fiction to amuse or entertain is one thing, but to do it to get money from people is just dishonest. It's best to donate right to the charity, not through other blogs.

thejourneyleadshome said...

Hello I found your blog via Saturday Samplings. LIke your other commenters I have no idea who you are referring to. And I find it a waste of time unless one is writing a fictional blog.

I wrote an entry similar to this earlier this week. I'm hoping you don't mind if I swap your 100% Auntentic button. It will go well with my blog purpose.

I enjoyed looking around on your blog and will be back. Feel free to swing by mine anytime.

Pam

Emily said...

Agree with everything you said, and said very well. I might add. I'm blown away b/c I'm pretty sure I know the popular blogger you are referring to. I simply cannot believe that of her, (the charity thing) even though I don't know her well.

I too am completely honest with my readers whether it's good or bad. In fact, sometimes it's so bad I'm afraid I will lose readers to depression!

I did a small charity thing this Christmas for one of my followers. She could not afford anything for her son who was autistic. I would hate to think anyone thought I was pocketing the money/gifts!

Most are honest, some ruin it for us.

P.S. -Would you email me these other bloggers' links who are saying that? I goggled but couldn't find them. I'd like to know more about the story. Thank you.

marjnhomer said...

if they state up front that its fictious i see no problem with it

Adriana Iris said...

Why not share the name or at least give us more clues...lol

Amy said...

Found this through seeded buzz (awesome).

Here's one for you; what about when a blogger makes stuff up, to act as a victim to victimise someone else? My fiance's ex wife is doing just that; claiming that he beat her, abused her for years, collecting sympathy from all sorts of people she's met 'online'. She's doing it to block him from accessing his son (court date coming up), she has no evidence unless she has started fabricating some. The man she is accusing is NOT abusive, and not capable of what she's accused. Yet, she uses the internet to villify him (anonymously, but she registered her domain with her real info).

Now she claims their son is 'special needs', but after seeing everything else she's written, how can we believe it for certain. Especially since the little boy's dad hasn't had access to him since September.

Sometimes, I wonder. I want the blogs I read to be true, all of them. But having a first hand experience like this, who's to say?

Twinpossible said...

I'm a trusting person by nature. That has gotten me into trouble in the past, but I am who I am...that is really hard to change, plus I don't want to question everything and every one. That sounds like a lot of time and effort, lol.

My husband happens to think, too many mommy blogs have the same design, layout, schemes, and are likely companies, some even men, who are posting them, and NOT actual moms.

I had a debate/fight over this, because I would say, 'well they have photographs and stories.' His reply, 'well you can fake stories, and buy pictures of other families', and I find the getting pictures of other people's families through buying them, a bit far-fetched. I personally don't buy it, or share his thoughts.

I think if I stumbled upon a site that's main or only goal was getting money from people, I would question that, but I believe the VAST majority of bloggers are real, and are women, not men (unless dads),and/or companies, but I'm sure there is a phoney or two out there, but it's sad they spend their time faking a life that they don't have...for what? Get a life & a hobby! (A real one.)

I was on pregnancy boards where a couple women, I mean, I think they were women, were pretending to be pregnant for so long, and it was like 'WHY?'...Is that a mental illness, or were they trying to steal our babies? You never know right? Sad, sick, world, but I like to try and have confidence in most people.

I wish I knew who this blogger was, so I could look it up. I haven't seen any drama in a REALLY long time, lol, but it's sad. Us real moms work hard at trying to make the most of the little spare time that we have, so a phoney, is NOT appreciated.

xoxo Shelly

http://www.twinpossible.com/blog