We tend to forget that as much as communities exist to bring people together, sometimes people don’t exactly get along well with each other. Whether by time, circumstance or just the way a person is. It’s inevitable that some heads are going to rub against one another and boy can the sparks fly.
I’d like to think that bloggers coming together at one point is a great idea. You create opportunities and put new ideas into effect. You share thoughts and empathize feelings for one another. Yet the fundamental issue that many bloggers forget in our quest to turn our blogs into a working community is that bloggers are people too and people can come in so many different forms.
People can be nice, they can be bad. They can be saints, they can be assholes. They can be artsy, they can be practical. We have 6 billion people in the world and the bloggers next door can be any one of them, as varied in personality as they are in traits. It is that variety that some people will love and some people will hate, but all of us, one way or another will forget that there is a variety.
I’ve talked about it so many times before that bloggers are for the most part self-centered narcissists. Part of the reason why we blog for ourselves is because we like ourselves too much. It is in that same reflection in the mirror that we project to people we want in our community. We might not admit to it, but all of us to some degree love a “yes man” working the comments. It is in that same spirit which many web-designers and programmers walk on. The same spirit that bloggers with a few thousand hits a day thrive on. We feed on our own pride in ourselves and anyone else that thinks otherwise can pretty much sod off.
Yet as much as ego has its benefits, so does it have its pitfalls. A community, any community, whether as a single blog, or an entire blogging network cannot survive if that self-serving narcissism which we derive success from becomes more important than people that power that success. I’m not saying we should bow down to what people want. Far from it. But there is a time and place for things to happen. Some things should be set free. Some things should be kept under wraps.
The power as responsible bloggers (or responsible people who use the net) doesn’t just come from our inherent right to say what crosses out mind, but the wisdom to keep things to ourselves as civil courtesy to others. And even if we wholly disagree, never blow things out of proportion because that would just make things worse.
It is regrettably unfortunate that many people believe that being behind the screen gives them the power to do as they please because they believe that it doesn’t have any consequences. But as the net becomes the personification of everyone that uses it, whether as an irregular tool, a casual hobby or a a career making opportunity, there will be consequences to everything you say and every action you partake online in a community, as a community. Just like what goes on in real life, it can come back and haunt you when you least expect it. Except this time, its easier to pull the chat lots or forum posts instead of something that you remember back in high school.
Some things when said can’t be undone, at least not if you have access to what you said and if no one has read it yet. As a community grows, so will the variety of people and with it, so will the chances someone is not going to agree with you. Or worse, tick you off completely. There isn’t much you can do when that happens. The best you can do, the best anyone can do, is to let it slide past you and do what needs to be done. Things can work a whole lot better when people stop trying to defend their ego and their pride and just keep doing what makes them good at what they do.
Of course, that’s in an ideal world. Unfortunately we just happen to live in one where bloggers are people too, and while some days I think that’s a bad idea to work at. Doesn’t mean I can’t try to make it work anyway. I like the community too much.