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Blogging is truly a wondrous thing. Never in the history of the world have we been able to so easily communicate and share the things we love with other like-minded souls. I never take it for granted and even today, after blogging for almost 4 years, I am still amazed and thrilled each time I log on and read your comments, your blog posts and your e-mails. I just realized BNOTP turns 4 years old on Saturday! Wow, it’s been a fast four years.
So, when I last left you, a not-so-nice comment had been left on a tablescape I had posted to the HGTV site, Rate My Space. It was my first real encounter with a “troll” at RMS. If you missed the first part of my Blogging Story, you’ll find it here: My Blogging Story: How It All Began . This will make a lot more sense if you read that part first.
As I mentioned in the earlier post, you can’t delete a comment at RMS and I didn’t reply to it for several reasons. One reason was I had seen what happened to other posters at RMS when they attempted to defend themselves or reason with a troll. It never worked and usually a big battle ensued with the troll leaving more mean comments and well-meaning RMS friends coming to the aid of the person who had been attacked, leaving their comments. Before long, no one was looking at the post anymore. Instead, everyone was focused on the “Jerry Springer” feud that was happening in the comments. That’s the direction these troll attacks normally take.
So, I went on about my way having fun and visiting my RMS friends, kind of hoping no one would notice the troll-licious comment left on my tablescape. I really didn’t want a troll war on one of my posts.
Then the nicest thing happened. You know how there are good people in this world, the kind who see you on the side of the road with a flat tire and they pull over to help you when they don’t even know you. Or, they notice you’re trying to be Rachel Ray in the grocery store and carry 5000 things in your arms at once (love how she does that ) instead of getting a buggy like you really should have, and they offer to help. One of those dearhearts came along.
BJ, who blogs at the blog, Sweet Nothings, didn’t really know me from Adam’s housecat, but somehow she saw that mean ole comment and left her own comment right after it. What she said planted a seed in my heart, one that wouldn’t grow for another couple of months, but took strong roots nonetheless.
I looked to see if I could find the comment she left but I don’t remember now which post it was on. Plus, I’ve deleted several tablescapes on RMS since I began blogging so, I’ll have to paraphrase. BJ simply said, “You don’t have to put up with this! Start a blog and come join us in Blogland!”
I remember thinking how brave (and kind) she was to leave that comment because often a troll will come back to eagerly read what others are saying in response to their nasty words…they thrive on that. And usually, they turn on anyone who dares to defend the person they’ve attacked.
BJ’s words were like a big old band-aid on that mean-spirited comment. Just goes to show, you never, ever know what small act of kindness or words of encouragement will be just the push someone needs to grow. Words have power; they fuel ideas and often lead to action.
I need to mention another dearheart who kept us all sane during the “troll war” days. Michael who blogs at Rattlebridge Farm, did the sweetest thing.
Let me back up a sec. When Michael first began her blog, which back then was called Designs by Gollum, she was blogging anonymously. She was/is a well-known author and at the time, she wasn’t sure she wanted that out there. I was first introduced to her blog by another RMS poster who warned me in my early RMS euphoric days, that RMS had a seedy side. Michael had written a post about some of the ugliness that was occurring at RMS, giving us all some much needed perspective and wisdom. In addition, she was the Florence Nightingale of blogging, working to undo some of the meanness she saw on RMS.
Michael would find the RMS posts of those who were being attacked on RMS and she would often “feature” those pictures on her blog. To have one of your pictures featured on her blog was beyond exciting and it went a long way toward undoing a lot of the harm and pain the trolls had caused.
It’s so funny now to think back on those days. RMS/Blogland was buzzing with folks trying their best to figure out who this good samaritan blogger was who was posting our troll-abused pictures on her beautiful blog, along with her wonderful comments and words of encouragement. No one even knew if she was a man or a woman. Who was she/he? Had this person been a poster on RMS, they wondered? It was soooo funny watching everyone trying to figure it all out. I didn’t know either…just knew whoever it was, they were amazingly big hearted and kind.
Eventually, Michael (who we were calling Gollum) humored some of her readers and posted a picture of herself on her blog. Some well-read readers recognized her and the rest is history. There are some mighty fine folks in Blogland, I tell ya. Mighty fine!
The 3-Day Weekend:
Beware the 3-day weekend! I do crazeeee things on 3-day weekends…like start blogs. The weekend of August16-18, 2008 was a 3-day weekend for me. Don’t remember why I had that Monday off, but I did. I knew absolutely nothing about blogging or websites or any of that stuff. I could Google and that was about it.
When I visited a blog, I was in awe. I thought the blogger was a genius who had mad tech skills! Who knew Blogger made it so easy. Blogger leads you step-by-step in starting a blog. It couldn’t possibly be any easier to start a blog than it is today. Now, coming up with content that draws readers day after day and staying motivated to blog regularly…that can be a tad harder to come by. That is, unless you absolutely love it. Then you jump out of bed and three hours later you snap out of your blogging trance to find you’re still sitting behind your computer, teeth not brushed, no breakfast and the cat is saying, “Feed Me!” What??? I just sat down 15 minutes ago, I’m sure of it!
On that long weekend, I clicked on the button and followed the easy “Blogger” instructions and began this amazing journey. One of the first things you have to do is come up with a name for your blog. Of course, the first few names you think of are always taken. I made a list of about 6-8 names and e-mailed them out to several friends and family, asking which one they liked. I remember one name I came up with was, “Confessions of a Southern Belle.” My sister was not impressed. She thought it sounded completely scandalous. I told her it was working pretty well for the Pioneer Woman. Ha! Scratch that one off the list. In the end, someone suggested, Between Naps on the Porch and it felt just right. I had just added the porch on to the back of my home a few months before and it had fast become my fave place to be.
I could go on and talk about how I blogged for two years while working 7:30-5:oo each day as an Adult Protective Services Worker, investigating abuse, neglect and exploitation of the elderly and disabled. It was challenging working full-time and blogging, but blogging was so much fun that it never felt like work. I never talked about my job during the time I was working, but about a month after I served my last day, I shared the huge change in my life with my readers. You’ll find that post here: For the Past Two Years, I’ve Been Leading a Double Life. Blogging really has changed my life!
I still remember when the first soon-to-be Sponsor asked if I would open my blog up to advertising. I didn’t even know how to place an ad on the sidebar. Wow, what a journey this has been! I don’t know how much more you want to hear. Does there need to be a Part III to this story?
Okay, I have a Tablescape Thursday post to get ready. I better get cracking, it’s almost 8 PM. I’ll try to answer any questions you might have, so throw ‘em at me. Or, if you have a suggestion for a future post, let me hear it. I can’t promise I’ll be able to cover it, but I’ll try.
If you missed the first part of this story, you’ll find it here: My Blogging Story: How It All Began
As always, thanks for being the very best part of BNOTP. Without you, there would not be a Between Naps on the Porch!