Blogger Faces Backlash

I heard about this woman last night at the Heeb party and got a thorough rundown of the following WSJ article:

The life of a blogger, though, inflicts significant strain. A scathing parody on ViolentAcres.com, set up as a letter to her daughter Leta, said, "Since your father and I started exploiting you for cash, neither one of us has had to work a real job for a few months now. Score!" Last week, another popular blogger on parenting, Boston writer Steve Almond, quit his BabyDaddy blog on Babble.com, citing "angry and aggrieved" responses to his writings.

Behind her hip façade, Ms. Armstrong feels similar pain. She says she has sought therapy to cope with vitriolic posts. "The hate mail will invariably happen, and when it does your entire world will crumble around your ears," she says. In one example, she says a person she thought was a friend posted a comment saying she "wanted to punch me in the face because she hated me so much." She adds she can understand why "famous people turn to drugs or commit suicide."

Of course, Ms. Armstrong can dish it, too. A former Web designer, she was fired from her job in 2001 for writing negative posts about her bosses. Her site’s name soon became synonymous with being axed over the contents of your blog, according to UrbanDictionary.com — as in, "I’ve been dooced."

She’s had to learn to draw boundaries on what she writes, to avoid hurting loved ones. An "aching and bleeding diatribe" she posted a few years ago against her parents’ faith, Mormonism, alienated them so badly that "it was like a bomb had gone off in my family," she says. "My dad didn’t speak to me for several months, and my mom was devastated." She took down the posts, thinking, "OK, this is a little bit more powerful than I’d thought it would be," she says.

She and her parents have since reconciled, but now, "I have strict boundaries in my head," she says. "I’m not going to write anything about my family that I wouldn’t say to them in real life, in front of other people." Also, "a lot goes on in our marriage that I will never write about," including her and her husband’s sex life, she adds.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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