Criticism and the Web

“Mommyblogging” (one word) was the recent topic of choice for Heather Lyn Fleming’s Master of Communications Thesis at SFU. Through a myriad of collective blog posts, Fleming wanted to know if she could delve deeper into the story behind the tweets. What were these writings telling us about modern-day mothers?

When the Mommybloggers in question saw the findings of the thesis, enough of them were horrified that the hash tag #creepythesis came to be. It’s not that Fleming was accusing them of locking their children in pet carriers or anything like that, it’s that the assumptions, gleaned from their publicly available writings, were incorrect. Fleming tried to paint a picture of these bloggers’ households that they had no control over, and this was simply unacceptable.

I can see how some people see the internet as this world-wide private journal. Look at my infinitesimal website stats if you don’t believe me. But if irrelevance is your only defense against scrutiny, you might be expressing yourself in the wrong medium. If we want the internet to fulfill its true potential, we need to accept that it is the most public and accessible form of communication there is. If people misunderstand you or if they don’t like your message, they are now able to tell you and the only thing you can do about it is write them a sternly worded note. This kind of criticism is no reason to abandon blogging all together. The greater good of any debate is served by more voices, not fewer. Just be prepared to take part in the debates that you start.