Erin Zammett Ruddy - Author. Writer. Blogger. Survivor.
  • What It’s Like to Have 15,000 People Think You Suck

    23
    August 19th, 2013

    erin_yahooAs you guys have probably realized, I haven’t been posting much on my site lately. I apologize. I should be. I want to be. I miss it. But with my new gig blogging for Yahoo Shine and a crazy/wild/fun summer with my crazy/wild/fun kids, plus work (check out my latest feature in this month’s Glamour), plus being seven-and-half-months pregnant and thus kind of lazy, I just haven’t. I’m going to remedy that. Starting today. Because, well, you guys are nicer to me than the people who read my other blog and (cue the pathetic statement): I miss having people like me.

    Some of you probably saw the Yahoo homepage on Friday (photo above). They occasionally pick up my Shine posts and promote them with provocative, clickable titles. If you logged on Friday or Saturday you were likely met with a photo of me and Nora. This is a big deal. A compliment. Good for the blog. Great for my numbers, etc. But, well, the more people who see your posts, the more who are going to dislike it. And tell you exactly how and how much they dislike it. And a lot of people (i.e. millions) use the Yahoo homepage. The post in question was a silly little rant I wrote last week about wanting to change Nora’s name a few days after giving birth. It was not meant to be news or life-changing or even all that compelling. It was an unfiltered peek inside my mom brain, which is what I generally give readers. Because I think it’s relatable. And entertaining. And that’s my job. I am not a news reporter, I am not covering world events, I am not trying to shape opinions. I’ll be the first to admit that most of what I write could fall under the hashtag “first world problems.” I love that I get to write about this stuff. And I like to read this stuff. I know others do, too. Lord knows there are enough stories out there about war and disaster and crooked politicians. And effing celebrities.

    But last week’s post pissed people off. At one point 14,785 people had logged in to say how much they hated it. 14, 785 comments! They were mad that it wasn’t news. They wanted their two minutes back. They thought I was a lunatic. Some said I shouldn’t procreate or I should go on meds. Those particular comments mostly made me laugh. These people don’t know me, they don’t read my other, more substantial work, they don’t “get” what I do and how I write. But I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a tad unsettling. It’s embarrassing to admit this but I care what others (even strangers) think of me. I want them to like me. Or to at least not hate me because of a 200-word blog post. I want them to understand where I’m coming from. But that’s not the way it works when you write a blog. And I know this.

    I’ve been blogging for almost eight years now. When I wrote my Life with Cancer blog for Glamour, I had one troll in particular who really hated me and wrote awful things. Unprintable things. Not just meanish comments like the people on Yahoo post (mostly the “get a life” and “why am I reading this drivel” variety), but hard-core, crazy-stalkerish stuff. That was bad. When I blogged for Parenting, people were generally cool and we had a real dialogue—unless I talked about my not breastfeeding or showed a picture of Nora’s car seat with twisted seat belts and then they were ruthless. The thing is, I love blogging for Yahoo Shine. It’s huge. By far the biggest platform I’ve had. I think the site (which has always been my homepage) is well-run and easy to navigate. And I hope my posts make the homepage again! But there has definitely been a learning curve when it comes to the sheer volume of comments and not letting them get to me. And I just wanted to acknowledge that here. Because a lot of people have asked. Over the past few months I’ve been getting texts and emails and calls from friends and acquaintances and fellow bloggers wondering how I handle it. “OMG, I can’t believe what people are writing, are you OK?” was the latest message from a friend, just a few minutes ago. You guys are generally concerned about me and I appreciate it!

    The truth: I don’t love the negative comments (who would?) but it comes with the territory. I signed up for this. And even though I’m not supposed to read them, I do. Sometimes it makes me feel bad. Or get angry. I hate when people misunderstand me or twist my words. I obsess about it to Nick, who is great at talking me off a ledge. And my editors are totally lovely and supportive as well. Ultimately I (try to) just laugh it off but it does wear on me a bit. I’m not looking for sympathy. This is what I do and I get paid to do it. And I know how lucky I am to have the opportunity to spew my “first world problems.” I just wanted to open up about it here and say thanks for the support–and thanks for following me at Yahoo! I am working hard at growing a thicker skin, which I really should have by this point. In the meantime, I’ll be posting on my personal site more often…where I can control the comments :)

    Hope you’re all enjoying your summer. Be back soon! Erin

     

 

23 responses to “What It’s Like to Have 15,000 People Think You Suck” RSS icon

  • Most of the time when I read your blog, I think “I’m not alone!” Thanks you for that.

    • I love your blog and I love you. I struggle with people’s opinions of me too – I can’t imagine on the level you have to deal with it. Keep doing what you are doing and being yourself – the awesome, funny, caring, smart and a LOT more awesome qualities that you are! xo

  • There are times when I desperately wish I could get a paid blogging gig, or where I feel a bit bummed that my blog has no following (aside from a few family members and friends), but then I think about what the loss of anonymity would be like, or how I’d deal with the trolls since I have rather thin skin, and think better of it. I just don’t get why people get annoyed by that stuff…like, if you open it up and see that it’s a blog post, assume that it’s not going to be about life and death stuff. People are just weird…and apparently bored.

  • Mean people suck!

    It drives me bonkers when people comment on articles in an editorial section and complain it’s not news. Pay attention, people! Sheesh!

    You know we love you, Erin!

  • Oh my goodness Erin! I guess on a positive note, that many people (and more) read your blog! Just know that those of us that think we ‘get’ you and enjoy reading about your life and ‘first world problems’ really truly enjoy your posts and love your candor and honesty. I am a Mom, cancer survivor and love that there is someone out there that is honest, talks about the good and the bad, and is REAL! Don’t change a thing girl!! 

  • Erin, I think the fact that you’re real and relatable is exactly why people do like you…and it makes the rest of us that THINK the things you actually SAY feel a little less crazy! I don’t even have children yet but am a woman in my early 30′s living with cancer and find your stories to be entertaining and applicable to my own life, even without kids. I don’t blame you for wanting people to like you, I think a lot of women feel that way but good for you for putting yourself out there and letting it all fly. I for one enjoy reading your blog and stories and hope you keep with it for a long time! You are an inspiration to people living with cancer and wanting a future! Good luck!

  • I think what is hard is that Yahoo presents it as most of a new article instead of a blog. It is not like it takes you to a special section just dedicated to blogs. This comes up looking like a regular article and lots of people do not get that it is a blog, a journal, of your life, of your point of view.
    I read on my iPad most of the time so I do not see the comments, shine does not show them for some reason. However these I saw as I had logged onto the computer and saw it on the yahoo homepage, my heart sunk before I even clicked, I know they are viscous and not understanding. It is not the same open dialog as there are on other blogs like at Parenting.com or Babycenter.
    Glad you have family to help you realize it is not you.
    I recently read a blog piece about how having a toddler is like being in prison I think on Huffington Post. It was written in total humor. I got it but most of the comments were about how she was wrong and should not be a mother. That was far from what the intent was. I am sure the person loves their child very much and just wanted to joke on some of the fun of parenting.

  • After my daughter was born I had this “OMG! Did we really name our daughter Bailey?!?!” Moment that I kept to myself for fear of my husband thinking I was crazy. I got over it just like you did.
    I work a retail job with 150+ people who always have something to say that isn’t always nice. I’m trying to get a thicker skin but its hard sometimes.

  • Long, long time reader from back in your early Glamour days but I’ve never commented! Just wanted to say how much I hated to read this. Society has stooped to such a terrible level and gotten so nasty to each other mostly because of the anonymity on blogs and forums. I also think the headline seems a little sensationalized but that’s what the media does. I almost begs for people to be negative (like another article on what Kim K ate for lunch, like who really does care about that??) I thought the article was funny and real, just like all your others. Just know your loyal readers appreciate your stories and can relate to most of them! The rest are just noise.

  • OMG, I’m having mixed feelings about our new baby’s name. We went in with a list of over 10 names that a I narrowed down to six after she was born. My husband vetoed a couple, and eventually we were left with Charlotte, Nora, Estelle, and Miranda, but weren’t in love with any name in particular. He decided he liked Miranda best and I didn’t disagree. He was really wanting to pick this name since I found the names for our other kids. Don’t get me wrong, I like Miranda. I think it’s a very pretty name. It fits our long, crazy list of criteria and fits well with Audrey, Harrison, and Vivienne. But something about it doesn’t feel quite right to me. It’s probably just that I kept thinking of her as an Estelle or a Juliette. Maybe it’s because I chose Charlotte as he middle name, which means she shares names with two characters from Sex and the City. (I don’t care, I’ve been wanting to use Charlotte since I was pregnant with Audrey and this was my last chance.) Whatever it is, I’m having a hard time remembering that her name is Miranda. I keep almost calling her something else. So even though I think it’s a nice name, I’m not quite sure it’s the right one.

  • It was a great post, and a fresh, interesting take on the usual baby names blah-blah-blah. I’ll just repeat what I mentioned on Facebook: So many people love your writing for what it is: interesting, relatable, fun, honest. Rock ON.

  • I’ve been reading your blogs for just about as as long as you have been blogging! Even if I can’t relate at all to the main topics (living with cancer, parenting), your posts are always entertaining and keep me coming back. I’ve only never commented on the Yahoo one because it’s seemingly impossible to do without creating a Yahoo account. Which further proves the point that trolls be crazy. Don’t let them get to you. :)

  • As a fellow magazine writer, I feel your pain. I also have to say, there have been many times I’ve wanted to write a brutally honest essay about something that has been going on inside of my head, and other magazine friends/editors have talked me out of it. Which is sad, because you are absolutely right–what you have written, here, is utterly relatable, and relatable prose makes people who read it feel less alone. (Of course, you never know what is going to make the masses pounce!) Just know that I, for one, loved your blog post and related to it completely.

  • Long time reader too! I agree with Colleen!

    “Most of the time when I read your blog, I think “I’m not alone!” Thanks you for that.”

    What’s with the internet trolls in the comments on Yahoo? Marissa really needs to get a grip on that situation!

  • TOTALLY agree with Colleen’s comment. I read your blogs and feel totally understood. You’re very brave for putting it all out there, dont stop!!!! More people appreciate your perspective than not, could care less how many thousands took the time to write nastyness. xo

  • I had second thoughts about the name we picked for our son, who is 6. (more so when he was a baby, but also later when I seem to have to spell his name for people (a traditional name, I think….but one that also has male & female versions). Picking a name is so important. It stays with your child forever.

    I like your writing. I don’t always agree with everything you write, but that’s ok. This world would be boring (a word I don’t like) if everyone was the same & had the same thoughts. Don’t let the nasty, negative people get to you. They must be pretty miserable with themselves to say such awful things. Keep writing & try not to read those comments! Btw: My son’s name is Aaron.

  • I think you rock and have since your Glamour days. Keep it up!!

  • As you know, I’ve been there! And it IS unsettling. The weird thing is, random commenters were actually kinder and gentler when I write about MAJOR stuff (going off anxiety meds to have kids, etc) than when I write about Andy’s mangled seatbelt straps. I think a lot of people don’t understand that it’s meant for the mom section of the site – when any site promotes you as the homepage (which is awesome), people get all up in arms and think that YOU think it’s breaking headline news. People don’t get how the system works…hence the rage. Anyway, as you well know, you have my empathy!! Keep on writing.

  • Glad you are OK, and I’ll keep reading, though I do try to skip the comments because they piss me off. LOL!

  • I am so glad you posted this. I have been following your blogs for the last 4-5 years and I don’t normally comment, but I wanted to say that I’m glad you are doing ok. It has made me sad and frustrated to read the anger and negativity in the comments to your blogs oh Yahoo. It is a privilege for you to get to write about your life, but it is also a privilege for us to read it. You and other bloggers don’t have to share your lives with us, and you do and we get to feel more connected and less alone because of it. Thank you for your writing. I look forward to following more of your work here and at Yahoo!

    Sincerely,
    Julie

  • I’ve been reading you since your Glamour days and had already read the post in question when I saw it go on the Yahoo home page. They really butchered the headline — and I think that’s what people were reacting to most. Chin up!

  • I’m going to have to come back to this again and again whenever I publish a semi-”controversial” piece. I’ve always worked as a ghostwriter, which means the public can’t bash you. :-) I’ve also started doing a little bit of public blogging on Mommyish. Even though the comments weren’t terrible, it’s shocking how much I want people to really like me and everything I put out there. I do obsess about it too! Thanks for sharing your take on this. It was really encouraging to me.

  • Erin -
    I really cannot deal with signing up for a Yahoo account (you stink Marissa Miller) but the Cate Edwards piece is some of your best writing ever! And very timely, as the 16th anni of losing my mom to cancer is Sunday 9/29.


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