"Come sit by me," says Clairee Blecher (played by Olympia Dukakis) in STEEL MAGNOLIAS.
Of course it can be fun to sit and gossip. Yes, I've been known to do it myself, but I doubt the southern lady Clairee would approve of making those comments outloud so that others could hear them. And in this electronic age, our ability to be outloud includes writing, posting and commenting on blogs.
I didn't attend this years Romantic Times (RT) convention, but I havent been able to avoid some of the controversy that happened during and after. Blogs abound, but more... the comments to the blog go on for pages. Some nasty stones are being thrown and some good people are getting hurt.
It seems to me that some blogs can be like the tabloids. Uncensored, they comment on the the big racy/juicy/newsy stuff as if these were big, bold headlines, and if they have to "print" a retraction, that part is done smaller and more hidden. Not that it matters - the damage is done. Tempers have be raised, things have been written in the heat of the moment, feelings have been bruised.
And perhaps worse than feelings, which heal, sometimes reputations are hurt, which takes longer. Things posted on the internet can last a long time. Blogs are searchable by friends, family, fans, as well as future editors and agents. A lot of folks use screen names to hide their identity - or the names of others (there is a poster who uses Nora Robert's name and I have come to doubt that this is the famous author). I dont blame them, but I have noticed that those are the folks who make some of the most scathing comments. While the posters authority is questionable (due to the anonimity), it doesnt seem to make their comments sting less.
If there is a reason to make a public opinion of something known, I agree it should be written. There are many writers (and reporters, politicians, and humorists) whose thoughts I appreciate. It's those who talk/write to hurt or condemn for the sake of doing it that concern me. If my future fans want to know my take on something, I'll put it in a newsletter to them directly. Not somewhere more public where it can start the rumor mill running or be misrepresented.
Just like positive events aren't what leads on the evening news, positive blogs aren't the ones that get 100+ comments on a single post, hundreds of hits, and related posts on other blogs. But I'm going to hold out for the ones that do and post my comments there.
Then again - I also hope that one day we'll see the cable channel ONN - Optomist News Network, which will report on how many planes landed safely, how many kids are snug in their beds well rested and fed, how many people fell in love, and how great it is that tomorrow is a new day waiting to be filled by our positive choices.
No wonder I write books with happily ever after endings.