Mrs Giggles (mrsgiggles00) wrote,
Mrs Giggles

On clicking with cliques

Well, since I'm having a touch of insomnia and I have some time to kill, I may as well weigh in the topic as well.

I think there are cliques out there, which is natural as that is how we people interact. For example, some bloggers become close via Twitter due to constant interaction. Some are friends in real life. So it's to be expected that they display more affection and give shout-outs to each other on their blogs as well.

The only moment this becomes somewhat problematic is when the whole clique thing obscures the message the blogger is making. I've come across several vague blog entries that are something like this: "I agree with Cynthia that what Sue and Emily said over Twitter last evening is 100% correct and that Emmylou is wrong in what she told Amelia on Ginnie's Facebook." To someone who isn't part of the crowd, the impression I get is that I am being excluded from the fun, as the blogger doesn't tell me who these women are and what they were saying elsewhere. This isn't a big problem - but it's something that a blogger should be aware of. If she doesn't care about reaching out to strangers, then this is fine. But if she wants to do so, then she should try to reduce the shout-outs that make no sense to someone outside her clique if she doesn't want to create this impression that she's writing only for some clubhouse thing.

A bigger problem, however, is when these kids begin to get together and swarm someone who disagrees with them. One reason I keep hearing from people who do not dare to disagree with the DA ladies and SB Sarah is that, as they tell me, if you do so, then you will find yourself dealing with, say, Janet, Jane, SarahF, and Maili all in the same thread and it can be intimidating to have to respond to them all. This doesn't just happen on the DA blog (which is to be expected because that place is these ladies' turf after all) but sometimes even on other people's blogs. And then, if you follow their Twitters, you will also discover that they are also talking about you there and you may feel compelled to respond there too. That's when some people begin to feel that they aren't disagreeing as much as they are now required to defend themselves. Again, this isn't a problem if you don't think it is a problem. But I guess this is also how sometimes people have negative impression of cliques - they feel that they are being intimidated into agreeing or keeping silent, even if this may not be the clique's intention. When it comes to blog, perception often trumps reality.

The term "high school" is often used to describe cliques, but we need to remember that high school is merely an exaggerated but still accurate reflection of human interaction in real life. Therefore cliques will always be around. If I feel bullied, alienated, or swamped by a dominant vocal clique, I personally would do this: I would step back and remember that we are talking about online interaction. I don't know these people because I've never met them offline, and since I don't have to live or work with them, I don't have to get so worked up over any perceived slight. If I feel that a clique has become a problem, I ignore them (not reading comments, especially in a wank-heavy topic, usually does the trick) or laugh at them either privately or openly (I think you may have seen some parodies I've made that are pretty obvious about whom I'm poking fun at). Because if you don't do anything but to seethe like a wounded martyr, you're going to be in that position for a long time as nobody can read your mind and nobody can see you looking so sad in front of your PC.

The point I'm making here is that blogs, like any social network, are all about cliques. It is not realistic to expect people who get together and chit-chat/run blogs on a regular basis to behave like dispassionate hall monitors, because people don't work that way. Playing in online communities, therefore, requires some degree of thick skin. It's really up to you at the end of the day. The cliques aren't going away and they won't make themselves agreeable to you because they have no obligation to. How you deal with this is something you have to figure out on your own.

Tags: blog circus
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