Whoa...is anyone else really thrown off by the font change on Blogger? Am I the only one who is seeing this? Did I hit a wrong button?
Back to why I originally opened the post box...
If you haven't read the first post on emotional fraud, do so before reading this one.
I think what is most interesting about this is the currency being requested--not money (the Wired article specifically pointed out that money is rarely a factor or requested), but attention. Sympathy. Comments. All things we give out for free anyway without a second thought. Perhaps that is why it is so remarkable.
Meaning, no one wants their time wasted or their feelings jerked around, but that is part of opening your heart. We leave comments and read stories on a daily basis and how many of us give any thought or weigh the truthfulness of the words before we leave the comment and move on to the next blog? I know I don't. I trust what I read is real and I leave my comment.
The reality is that anyone could have the sympathy and attention they crave--perhaps not in the quantity they crave--if they proactively support others. I had someone write me recently and complain about their low readership. They wanted me to post about their blog in LFCA and I said, certainly. I'm always happy to give people a boost. But I explained that a boost was just that, a leg up but the true work still had to be done by the writer. People may click over once, but if the person didn't give back to the community by reading and commenting, they wouldn't sustain the readership. This is also why the "new blog" section of the LFCA only contains blogs that have been started in the last month or two. Any blog older than that should have built a basic readership simply by providing good content and commenting on other blogs. My personal belief is that every story is a compelling story--it doesn't need drama or constant developments.
The writer explained that she didn't have time to read and comment on blogs; she only had time to write her own. And that's just not a sustainable model. Or, it is if comments don't matter and your only interest is in recording your story. But there are no shortcuts to building a sustained readership.
Except through emotional fraud.
That was what I thought when I read Niobe's post. Create enough drama or ill-feelings or make people emotionally-invested and you can bypass the difficulty of building readership. Instead of focusing on others and building readership through outreach, you focus entirely inward, using all the energy on the fake story. Isn't it sad when you think about it that way? That if the same person used the hour to read and comment on blogs, they would have the same readership (and an honest one) as someone who made-up a story and spent their entire time only counting their comments.
Which brings us back to Limeybean and her (his?) question: if you got something out of it too; catharsis, greater understanding of your own life--was it all bad if it turned out to be fake? I think we'd all rather leave a comment on a blog where we're reading the truth and invest in a story where we're reading the truth, but here's a what if for you:
What if a blogger came on the scene and her story was so amazing that it got picked up by the mainstream media. That Oprah covered her IVF plight and it brought awareness about infertility to the general population. That people started donating to Resolve because they were so moved by her story and it enabled Resolve to help fight a few bills and get IVF coverage for all. And then, it turned out her story was a complete fake, written by a fertile woman with four kids who started the blog because she saw how wonderful the ALI community could be and just wanted to be a part of it. And the whole thing just spiraled out of control when she got the first tastes of attention.
By the way--this is obviously not a real scenario (infertile people on Oprah! donations to Resolve! true understanding in the general population!)--but I'm asking the what if in regards to Limeybean's question. If good came out of it, would all be forgiven or would you have wished that you hadn't supported Resolve due to her hoax? And barring quantitative good coming out of it, is having catharsis or understanding enough? Can it ever be forgiven if all you get is a good cry and renewed gratitude for your own life?
I have never knowingly been hoodwinked, though there have been some times that I've read a person's story and felt like it didn't all check out. I keep myself open-minded by saying that every person deals with things differently and while it may not be my instinct to do X, it does not mean that the person is a complete fraud.
I do tend to trust everything and everyone until proven otherwise, but perhaps it helps to know that I have also posted news on LFCA for the person who mocked my kumbayaness and I kept their blog on the blogroll. Why? Because things like the blogroll and LFCA I see as separate from me and liking me or my blog should not be contingent on being in those spaces. I mean, she certainly has other friends and readers in the community and she is part of our community. It isn't my place to kick anyone out by not including them, therefore, I will always include them.
Which means that I post news or have blogs on my blogroll from people who openly dislike me or my writing, and it also means that I have probably posted news or have blogs on my blogroll from people who are taking me for a ride--either mindfully by creating an entirely fake story or inadvertantly by exagerating a few details. All I can do is trust and trust and trust some more--even if people take advantage of that trust. There is too much good that comes out of having that level of trust to end up having the honest members of the population miss out by things becoming more guarded.
Which is a long way to say that I hope people do not become more guarded. I think it would be a shame if a minority of people broke down community for the vast majority.