real life

'Honey, it's just a blog." The dark side of mummy blogging no one ever sees.

”She’s going to kill herself,” I sobbed ”And it’s going to be my fault”.

My partner looked at me, bewildered. ”Honey, it’s just a blog?”

When a friend of mine with terminal cancer needed help raising funds, I started a blog. I had 75 followers and I loved it. I loved communicating with intelligent, articulate women and sharing my thoughts with a community of like-minded followers. As a stay-at-home mum, I’d often struggled with a sense of isolation and my blog was connecting me with people from all over the world, with readers who would respond to my posts with support and encouragement.

dark side mummy blogging
"The pressure to continue my momentum, to become a power-house of the blogging world, was overwhelming." Image supplied.

When a post of mine went viral, shared over 27,000 times, I found myself with over 6,000 followers and a sudden surge of new blogger friends, my inbox filled with questions about how I'd managed to go viral so quickly, what tricks I'd employed. They refused to believe that I'd simply sat down on my couch one day and typed something into my phone that resonated with people.

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The pressure to continue my momentum, to become a power-house of the blogging world, was overwhelming.

Bloggers, friends, family, even strangers, would say ''YOU'RE GOING TO BE SO SUCCESSFUL! You're the next BIG NAME, you'll be able to support your FAMILY!''. It was relentless, overwhelming, and I became so afraid of disappointing everyone that I'd stay up long after my son had gone to bed, Googling viral posts and trying to re-capture the magic.

One blogger in particular would bombard me with messages, desperate to increase her already significant follower count. She would post troubling selfies, with huge frantic eyes, unraveling in front of an audience who lapped it up. The bigger the train-wreck, the bigger the response, and she was hooked. But unlike most addictions, hers was constantly celebrated and validated.

dark side mummy blogging
"We can light the match of an idea and have it spread like a fire. But just like a fire, it can quickly burn out of control." Image supplied.

I can't detail every horror story I encountered in a mere three weeks of serious blogging: The mental health advocate with 60,000 followers who stole my work and images of my child to further her own follower count. The blogger who sent me lengthy, bizarre text message rants and blew up my phone with calls from private numbers. The voice recordings that flooded my inbox, detailing potentially reputation destroying lies about other bloggers. My real-life friends being contacted by strangers claiming I had some kind of vendetta, that I was contacting the police or trying to have their children taken from them, as though I am some powerful evil instead of a stay-at-home mum who just likes to write in her trackies.

Why am I sharing this instead of quietly slinking away?

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Because these women, these bloggers, have a vast amount of influence and power. I was able to sit on my couch one day and type words into my iPhone that reached 5,000,000 people. It's brilliant but it's also terrifying.

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With the click of a button, we can transmit any information, opinion or view we please. We can light the match of an idea and have it spread like a fire. But just like a fire, it can quickly burn out of control.

If a journalist shares a piece of their work, I am allowed to disagree with them. I can write a response, I can tell them they're wrong, I can challenge them without controversy. They are considered a public figure and once their work is in the public domain, we have a right to respond. I have never been labelled a bully for arguing with Andrew Bolt.

But when you disagree with a blogger, no matter how politely or reasonably, you are immediately labelled a troll or a bully. No matter how vast their reach, how powerful their influence, as soon as you speak out you are silenced.

dark side mummy blogging
"Your quick read on the train, the blog posts that see you through your morning coffee and your evening wine, they are delivered to you by women who are unprepared for fame. " Image supplied.

''They're just a stay-at-home mum,'' you're told ''If you don't like it scroll on,'' they say.

But once you hit ''Publish'' on a post, whether you have two followers or two million followers, you are sharing your work in the public domain. You are choosing to become a public figure and opening yourself up to opinion, to disagreement.

I am the member of a group where we discuss bloggers, a group that was recently called out because the people in the group disagree with the views of influential women who's posts reach millions of people.

Like any group, there are trolls, but those trolls are swiftly evicted.

Due to the article that was written, with no avenue for response, this group of clever, hilarious and bold women are being viciously attacked by a mob baying for blood. Other bloggers are cashing in on the controversy with outraged posts about online bullies. Followers, desperate for acknowledgement from their idols, have stalked them online, sent death threats.

Why?

Because they disagree with the public opinions of a public figure.

Meghan Markle, Mr Vogue and the First Lady Of Hell. Post continues...

We live in a world where internet fame is seen as the highest possible aspiration. Those who achieve it are rewarded financially, held up as heroes, they are lauded as inspirational figures worthy of our devotion. But at what cost?

Your quick read on the train, the blog posts that see you through your morning coffee and your evening wine, they are delivered to you by women who are unprepared for fame. Who haven't considered their children's right to privacy, who sell their dignity for clicks, and don't understand the impact their words may make. The blog posts you read have real world implications for the people writing them and the people who dare speak out against them.

So next time you open a blog page, click 'Like' on a Facebook article, take a moment to consider who's influence you're spreading. Take a moment to consider what information you're sharing with the world.

It matters more than we think.

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