When Bloggers Go Too Far: Posting Pictures Of Dead Infants Online And Begging For Money
My family. How much sharing is too much sharing? Photo by Shannon Hilton
When did blogs turn into reality shows? Well, I guess it has probably always been that way.
Blogs, the type that are personal diaries gone public, are the truest reality show there is. And, like the best reality shows, the most popular blogs are the ones riddled with the most scandal. I mean, who wants to read about a happy, comfortable, successful life?
The latest blog to whip the web into a frenzy is The Progressive Parent. A blog that was on the fringes of popularity discussing attachment, co-sleeping, and breastfeeding has suddenly become one of the most talked about in the sphere because of tragedy. Pat, Julie’s son, died suddenly last month. And, mere hours after the death, Julie was online with cup in hand asking for money.
Other bloggers took up the cause, and a community gathered together to chip in. At last count more than $16 000 had been raised, most of it coming after Julie upped the ante by posting a picture of her cradling her dead son one last time.
I don’t get it. I blog about my life, I share personal details, but there is stuff I won’t tell you about. I’m one of those boring bloggers, I guess. I’ve mostly been one of the ones that just write about our fun adventures watching Star Wars, hiking, and traveling. I write for Google, not necessarily to cultivate an audience who will hang on every dramatic twist in my life. The posts I write gain traction because they are topical, or searchable. That’s my style, and it’s served me well. Others, are more willing to let it all hang out, and that brings with it attention, and a need to stay dramatic to attract the attention.
People like Dooce, The Blogess, and Redneck Mommy make a living off telling their life story and they have dangled every twist of their life in personal posts that brings in audiences. We will rubberneck and stare at car accidents on the highway, and we love grabbing some popcorn and reading about personal, real drama on the internet, it seems.
Get Off My Internets is a wild back channel of the blogging community. A website of obsessives dedicated to ripping apart bloggers and their personal drama. Share one little bit of your life, and these bloggers will Google up the rest trying to piece together your back story as if you were a character in a reality show. That’s what this is to them, a reality program where they discuss real life incidents as if they were dramatic plot twists on Dynasty. These, ladies and gentlemen, are the real housewives of the internet.
When it comes to “Julie Savage” they have gone deep into the Google and her blog archive to come to the conclusion that breastfeeding her son while smoking marijuana was the cause of death. It has even been suggested one of the posters called Child Protective Services, who subsequently paid a visit to the Savages.
This wouldn’t be the first time the back channel made itself known in the forefront. A parody blog for MckMama called MckMama Without Pity can basically take claim to calling out the blogger for everything from plagiarism to fraud.
I’m all for blogging about your life, telling your story, and gathering in times of need, but the tactics to which some parents will stoop just leaves me with a bad taste. And I’m talking about both sides of the equation here.
If you hang your laundry out for the lookie loos, they will do more than look. So it is with caution that I am writing more personally here on DadCAMP. Be warned I may give you a peek under the kimono, but there’s no damn way you’ll get to see the whole thing.