By L Avery Brown http://whenasouthernwomanrambles.blogspot.comI hate spam. Not ‘Spam’ the nifty sodium laden canned meat product that opens with a little key. I rather enjoy that. Because when I was a little girl my father would sometimes slice up the stuff and fry it so that the edges were nice and crispy. Then we’d get to enjoy it with fresh ‘sticky’ eggs, grits and warm fluffy buttermilk biscuits. (Grits? Need I remind you that I’m a Southerner through and through?) So no, I’m not talking about that Spam.
The spam that gets under my skin is the annoying ‘click me’ messages that are continually left on my blogging shout-box by smarmy little creeps who lurk about the blogosphere hoping they’ll happen upon some schumck who’ll actually visit their ‘sites’ so that the phishing programs which have been embedded within the advertisements can invade the unfortunate soul’s computer and gather valuable personal information.
When I first started blogging a year ago I joined every social blogging site I could find to spread the news about my wordy little baby. And when I chanced upon Blog Catalog I thought ‘Yay! This site has thousands of members…surely I can get a few visitors to my blog here.’ But alas at first the only people who visited my profile were those damn spammers. Of course, now I know these creepy trolls spend their days trawling the zone looking for ‘newbies’ to flood with their scams because the more sage BC members quickly report them as spammers.
It got to the point where I didn’t even want to go to my profile page because it seemed that for every one legitimate blogger who visited there were ten spammers. And nothing galls me more than to go to my profile page and see it littered with ‘ki$$ my banners’ and ‘click my backlink$, plea$e’ messages that more often than not also say, ‘I vi$ited your blog. Great info. Please vi$it mine’.
Oh, I’d love to kiss their banners! And I’d be more than happy to click their backlinks with the heel of my shoe. But instead I simply report every single one in the hopes that they’ll be kicked out of the BC community all the while knowing that they’ll just rejoin using another name. That’s how hustlers work.
The only thing that gave me hope in the beginning were those few visitors who were gosh honest bloggers because they reaffirmed my belief that I wasn’t the only one. But still I wondered where are they? Do they feel like me? And how in the world can I possibly weed through the myriad of profiles to find those kindred spirits?
That’s when I knew I had to take matters into my own hands. I found a group that (as of the writing of this particular post) has nearly 10,000 members…yes, ten thousand! And I thought surely there must be real bloggers in a group that big. So I started a discussion on November 4, 2009 entitled, ‘For Pete’s Sake Will the Real Bloggers Please Stand Up!’ and I poured my little blogging heart out about the frustration I felt and how I simply wanted to find people like me; people who blog purely for the joy of blogging. When I was done, I felt better but in the back of my mind I wasn’t sure that anybody would read it or for that matter…care.
But then, to my surprise and delight I started to get responses from other people like me who had felt the same frustration and had nearly given up on finding others with whom they could connect. And before long I not only had people visiting my blog but I found some of the greatest, most talented people I’d ever had the pleasure of (virtually) meeting. It was great but still there I felt something was missing. And then on January 20, 2010, nearly 3 months after I started the discussion, I somewhat jokingly mentioned that I ought to start a group for real bloggers; a group where spammers couldn’t get their toe beyond the door; and, a group where bloggers could come together to discuss things that would have a positive impact on their writing. I never expected my off-the-cuff suggestion to go any farther than that.
Then I recalled something my father told me many years ago. He said, ‘Suggestions become promises if you write them down. So if you don’t mean it, don’t write it because if you put your intentions down in words, then you’re bound by them. Remember your word is your bond.’ And I am a person who truly does try to live by the words that I speak.
So 24 hours after making my bold statement, I found myself staring at the Groups tab on my BC dashboard. I clicked it and saw 4 little words on the right hand side of the page: ‘Create a New Group’. Could it be that easy? Could I actually start a group for REAL bloggers like me? Would anyone want to join? The only way I would know would be to do it.
And in a matter of moments I’d created the group REAL Bloggers United: A group dedicated to supporting those of us in the blogging community who are in it for the freedom of expression blogging affords us...not the money. Finally, there was a place for us to call home! But then I wondered if anyone would actually join.
I didn’t have to wonder long. Because by the end of that first day RBU had 12 members. Then, by the end of the week it had grown to nearly 3 dozen! In fact, there are at least 77 members at this moment and with each new member I see the potential of RBU grow and grow.
But still, I knew there was more that could be done with RBU. And before long the idea of creating a group blog was born thanks to some ‘out of the box’ thinking on the part of other RBU members. The idea was that the group blog would be a round table sort of site wherein members would submit posts of poetry, prose or pictures revolving around a monthly theme. Such a simple idea…only to create the thing wasn’t quite so simple.
However, no task is impossible when you have dedicated people to help you. And I can tell you quite honestly that the logistics of setting up the site were quite interesting considering that the members of RBU literally span the globe and are only connected to one another via a virtual life line. But before long Antony (Northern Light) Waller, Glen (Glen’s Life) Staples, and Ashley (Grafixwife) Dungan were on board to help with the development of the site. And I’d be remiss if I did not point out the much appreciated help of Anne Marie (Bagel on a Tree) Segal who really got the ball rolling for the RBU Group Blog.
But of all the people who played a role in getting this premiere edition of the REAL Bloggers United Group Blog underway, it would be nothing without the submissions from its members. And as I’m sure you’re ready to read/see the great work real bloggers can do when they know that people will listen, I’ll end this with one last, simple statement…Happy blogging!