Blogging is a funny thing! Putting yourself out there can be scary; people read about your life, pick up details from your appearance, misinterpret your words and so the gossip commences! As Natbee’s has grown, so has the engagement with my audience, and in consequence, so has the negativity. How hate forums have put me off blogging
When I started this blog, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, and to be honest, I thought my mum and sister would be the only two people reading these pages. There was no strategy, no good camera equipment and it was all very much amateurish. But with the Natbee’s nomination at the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards in 2012, it was only a matter of time for things to take off for my blog.
I remember when I was asked to write a short bio about myself that along with my portrait was featured in the Cosmopolitan magazine and their online website – I can reassure you my mum still has a copy of this issue up until today, the impact this little feature had on my blog’s traffic was insane! Then next year came another nomination from Company magazine, and the story repeated itself. Of course it helped a lot that I was living in London, attending events and making connections with other bloggers and PRs.
For the first time, I read about marketing and blogging, bought myself an expensive camera and put more thought into each of my blog posts. To my advantage, Instagram was not a thing at that time so all my attention was focused on building Natbee’s and getting to know more about the industry. The more I attended events and chatted with my peers, the more I understood the value of blogging and the potential presented in front of me! How hate forums have put me off blogging
For many years it was all rainbows and butterflies. Posting 4 times per week while working and studying full-time was hard, but there were no pitfalls along the way. I was content and excited for every single blog post I was posting. I had build a wonderful, and I mean this in every inch of it, WONDERFUL community of followers who loved my posts and seek my advice when it came to travelling and visiting places. From University of Aberdeen prospective students asking me about studying in Aberdeen, to oil & gas workers asking me about accommodation advice, to 3000 people watching this video about ‘How expensive is life in Volos‘, because they considered moving there as Erasmus students, I met and chatted with so many of you I can only be grateful for your support and trust on me.
But there is that 1% of readers that is pursuing efforts to put me down and lately their comments really got down on me.
Ever since online gossip forums for bloggers were created, people were compelled to read blogs and head into these hate forums to comment about bloggers appearance, style of writing, ethics, photography and anything else you can imagine.
I have promised again and again not to pay attention to the comments people make on these forums about me and to keep Natbee’s a positive space of creativity and inspiration that I’d never discuss about things as such. But lately, they really got into me and I feel that I lost all my desire to login WordPress and pour my thoughts and day-to-day life in a blogpost. How hate forums have put me off blogging
Throughout my 11 years of blogging I have heard all sorts of accusations, some as far-fetch as to imply that I haven’t studied for a PhD and that I was pretending to be a PhD student for the appearances! Another, funny one, came by someone who spotted me around the streets of Aberdeen wearing a winter coat in the middle of August and concluded that I have no fashion sense. People have called me snob, cold, rude and some of them went as far as to email PRs that I have worked in some marketing campaigns and tell them that they shouldn’t be working with me as I am no good fit for the brand based on a series of made-up lies that the said PRs could never get track of online.
And the list is endless:
”She has forehead lines
Her skin is so dry, how old is she?
I cannot stand her face
Her accent is so annoying”
Much of the comments lately are focused around my skin, my age and my accent which does not bother me at all as I cannot please everyone with my looks and my accent is something I am proud of and I wouldn’t want to change it even if I could (clue: I can’t!).
It took me a great deal of effort to delete two of these forums by asking their administrators to remove all comments, especially after people started commenting on my family and friends. None of them chose to be on the internet and I thought it was selfish of me to have them massacred by online strangers just because my profession evolved around the internet.
Since I had these two forums deleted (and to my knowledge as of today, only one is still live), I promised not to read or pay attention to what people say. But this hasn’t stopped the influx of negativity and as they cannot comment on forums, the new form of getting into me is by sending me direct messages on Instagram sometimes from fake accounts sometimes from personal private accounts that I have no access.
Let me get one thing straight here: constructive criticism based on facts is always welcome, I take notes of your suggestions and improve myself, but un-based accusations and false assumptions are there only to make me feel bad about myself and so I refuse to respond to them. I see no point and it is a waste of my energy.
Getting paid to blog and going on press trips has really worsen the situation. People with no background in the ins-and-outs of the blogging industry believe I am spoiled. They totally disregard that this is my job now and that like they wake up in the morning to get in their office, I wake up and start planning my content for the day and week ahead, whatever this might mean; travelling to review a hotel, getting dressed up to take pictures of an outfit, attending an event to network with marketing agencies that will bring potential collaborations my way and having brunch meetings, are just a few of the things on my schedule and duties of my job.
Blogging is not the most difficult job I have ever done – working as a researcher in academia all these past years has really put things in perspective and I feel utterly grateful that I can make a living out of Natbee’s and I do not have to work again in a laboratory – but then, there are days that I find myself sitting in my desk up until late at night working and not being able to have a single lunch or tea break. These days happen too, it’s just that I don’t document them because it is pretty damn fun to post about the nice moments of life – just like anyone else does on social media these days, but does this really mean that I am spoiled, that things come easy and that people are entitled to message me nasty things?
If I was working under a company or I was at school, I would have taken actions against this form of bullying, but being a one-woman business and doing all the work from my home, makes things a bit more difficult for me. If you are reading this, and have ever commented on these forums or messaged me on Instagram, please bear in mind that I am a human just like yourself. As I am sure you would never stop someone down the street to call them the things you call me on your messages, please consider twice before you text me or comment about me again. If you feel that I am spoiled and that I don’t work enough or I haven’t studied for a PhD, I am more than happy to take you for a coffee, discuss things and perhaps by getting to know me a bit more you’ll, hopefully, change your opinion of me. Your comments have really put me off blogging lately and it really makes me sad to know that there is a bunch of you out there thinking negatively about me without me giving you the right to do or think so!
If you made it up until the end of this post, thank you. If you have been reading Natbee’s all these years, thank you. And if you are in the 99% who finds joy in reading my blog posts, thank you too. I wish I could please everyone but I have learned that even if I don’t it is still acceptable.