There is currently much excitement in The Myasthenia Kids household this week, as our delayed birthday party is happening this weekend. This year we have changed things up a bit and decided to throw a fancy dress party, I am sure lots of pictures will follow.
Last time I wrote about a party, I received a rather negative comment on my blog. At the time it really hurt, now I just laugh at the fact that someone felt the need to be so negative. How can you judge someone's life based solely on one blog post? Apparently on the internet this can be done with wild abandon, in the form of Trolls.
This week's blog post was inspired by a fellow blogger who had received her first trolling.
I have been trolled on Twitter when I questioned our current Government's record on the NHS and the fact my mum had been quoted a waiting time of 18 months for urgent spinal surgery as she was losing the ability to walk. Twitter is great because you can either mute the troll, meaning you can no longer see anything that they tweet about you or you can just block them. The same can be said of Facebook, if people are being nasty or just rude towards you, just hit the block button and in cyberspace or at least on Facebook this person no longer exists.
When you publish a blog things can be a little more tricky. You want feedback from your readers however you don't want to be trolled and have their nasty comments at the bottom of your post for the world to see. Many bloggers use a filter so that they can personally approve any comments made about their post. It does make things a little more difficult for those who want to leave a comment, who depending on your blogging platform may need to set up an account before they can leave feedback.
There is a massive difference between a comment you may not agree with and a troll. A troll delights in being nasty, in making you doubt yourself. For example they may state that your blog is a cure for insomnia, that you aren't really disabled, you are a benefit scrounger. People have different opinions and the majority of grown ups can accept that. When I say X,W,Z help me a genuine comment my say they've tried them and have had no success. As bloggers we know the difference between a genuine difference of opinion and someone who is being a twat (sorry for the language but I feel it's needed). Twats or Trolls as they like to be called just leave comments to cause upset, arguments or to make you doubt your own ability. They add nothing to the blog post other than their own vitriol.
Until I joined the blogging world, I thought trolls were something that lived under a bridge and demanded payment from those who tried to cross it.
A troll's main purpose in life is to illicit a response from the person that they have been abusive to. There are forums and chat-rooms devoted to trolls who compare notes on their latest conquests. Those who create the biggest response are held in the highest regard, with no thought being spared to those whose lives they may have impacted. Trolls do not provide a helpful critique, their sole purpose is to be as negative as possible, with some of them threatening violence towards those with differing opinions from their own. Luckily my troll was a little more reserved, simply questioning how sick I was because if I was sick I wouldn't be able to hold a party.
I didn't publish the comment, I wasn't as brave as her. At the time it, cut me to the quick. The comment basically went along the lines of "how can you claim to be so sick yet throw a party? I am sick and I know I couldn't do it as it would take so long to recover from." It was so long ago now that I can not remember the exact wording of the comment but it had turned what had been a fabulous party into an event that was tinged with negativity for a few days. I felt that I was a fraud because I had enjoyed myself. What the troll didn't know and possibly wouldn't actually give a toss about was the fact that I had put myself on a regime of enforced rest for the month prior to the party and for however long it took me to recover afterwards. They also had no idea that I have an awesome group of friends who don't expect to be waited on hand and foot. They help themselves to drink and food. I have a designated seat that no one else is allowed to sit on, because I need to be comfortable and be able to keep my legs raised. The troll would have also not been aware of my fabulous team of helpers who arrive early and help get the party set up or the fact my husband Jay, is one in a million and does all the cleaning, shopping etc that is needed before the party.
Is it exhausting? Does it wreak havoc on my body? Do I take weeks to get over it? Yes is the answer to all of those questions. Is it worth it to make yourself worse for one night? Hell yes! Does it mean I am any less disabled than the day before I threw the party? No it doesn't, it just means that for two nights a year, I get to see all my friends in one place at one time. To spend a few hours with them to allow myself to feel "normal" whatever the hell that is. Does that mean that I should be trolled? What do I know, I am just another trophy in the trolls hall of fame.
Most bloggers I know, either personally or in cyber space feel that being trolled means you have truly become an accepted part of the internet. You are attracting enough attention from the right sort of people, which means the trolls now see you as a target. I won't lie it can be hard when someone decides that you are a target, I may have just placed a huge bullseye on my blog by writing this post. If I have, it will boost my viewing figures, because you have to view my page to leave a comment. Trolls seem to forget that they boost a blogs viewing figures when they decide to take aim at you. Viewing figures is what bloggers love seeing rise.
The standard advice on the internet for how to tackle trolls is to ignore them and starve them of the oxygen a response would supply them with. I don't engage with trolls. I will be honest it's happened just the once, the readership of my blog is so small that the audience that they require just isn't there.
So regardless of the negativity that my next blog post may generate, the post will be about the party. I will continue, your comment may sting, you may try to out sick me, question my disability but I will always question your motives and your need for attention.