‘You fighting with people on Twitter again I see.’
My bloggy friend sent me a message on Facebook. It’s nothing new – she’s seen me go through this numerous times in recent months…
In Nov 2014 I decided to start a sharing link-up on Twitter for bloggers. It wasn’t an original idea – I’d been participating in #MondayBlogs run by @RachelintheOC (who was and has always been incredibly supportive) for a while and adopted a similar idea, but on a Sunday instead. After searching through different hashtags I decided upon the name #SundayBlogShare as this was something that hadn’t been used before. The invitation was open for any blogger to tweet out their blog links using the hashtag, and then I would retweet them, hopefully encouraging others to do the same. I created a set of easy-to-follow instructions, which was essentially keep it to blog posts only, no etsy, Amazon, inspirational quotes etc and if you’re sharing a link then retweet and interact with others.
Within a few months it was a regularly trending topic. I remember how excited I was on that very first Sunday that it trended – my little hashtag was popular enough that it appeared in the top ten biggest topics in the UK for a time on that day and I couldn’t have been more proud.
Over the last three-and-a-half years I’ve pretty much given up most of my Sundays to run the hashtag, retweeting and interacting with hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of people every week. It’s grown beyond all expectation and is been a massive roller coaster of highs and lows. On occasions, it’s been the No. 1 biggest trending hashtag on Twitter. It hasn’t just been a trending hashtag in the UK either – it’s appeared in numerous other countries trending topics too – and as a result I’ve been introduced to endless blogs from all over the world that I wouldn’t have perhaps read otherwise.
But, as with the good always comes the bad, and it hasn’t always been a positive experience. There’s been the porn, the disgusting messages, the spam, the religious quotes, the pictures of people’s breakfasts and the Spotify links. There’s the complaints if I haven’t retweeted something, or complaints about others link-dropping something. There’s the people who tag me in on every single tweet they post, yet never follow my account or reciprocate with anyone else, and the people who tag my personal account in every tweet they send out during the week as if I’m their personal retweet assistant. Theres the people who tell me to f*ck off and get abusive when I ask them to stop spamming or tagging me in irrelevant stuff. There’s even the people who I no longer speak to who still use the hashtag and have the nerve to tag me as if they still expect me to help promote them. There are so many people who now just leave a link and don’t bother to interact with anyone else… The sense of community has completely nose-dived.
And then, there’s the cheeky so-and-sos who have brazenly been using the hashtag as their own to promote their own personal retweet and follow threads. Some of them have even pre-empted my annoyance by blocking me in advance so I don’t see what they’re up to.
It shouldn’t bother me, but it does. I’ve been told numerous times to let them get on with it, but I’ve always fought it because it means something to me – why should someone be able to piggyback off it and get away with it?
Yesterday was the final straw. For the fourth time this year I saw someone using the hashtag as a personal RT and follow thread, and so I tweeted her asking her to stop. Her response was to simply block me, which indicated that she was already aware of what she was doing. There seems to be a pattern with this, particularly with newbies – block, deny all knowledge and then feign upset when others point out the origins of it and yesterday’s cheeky so-and-so was no different. The level of butthurt was strong in this one. In fact, of the four this year there was only one who had an immediately classy response when I tweeted her, and as a result I now share her posts.
It’s only a hashtag. Of course, in the grand scheme of horrible things that are currently going on in the world, it’s nothing. It’s less than nothing, completely insignificant. But to me it has represented years of hard work and countless hours spent trying to provide opportunities for bloggers to expand their audience. And for most of those who claim that they didn’t know that it already existed, I call bullsh*t – it’s the biggest blogging hashtag of the weekend on Twitter in the UK.
But, I’m tired of the battle. I’m tired of running something that requires constant fighting. The instructions are posted every week and yet many don’t bother to read them and they certainly don’t bother to share them. It’s now taken on a life of its own and I don’t want to be spending my Sundays arguing with others and defending something that I’ve worked so hard on, especially as I’m completely losing. As the same bloggy friend pointed out, it has become like a bad marriage – I stick with it because I’ve been doing it for so long – and it’s making me feel silly and wasting my time.
So, I’m going to step away from it, and actually get back to enjoying Sundays and Twitter again. I will provide the space for a RT thread on my own personal Twitter that my followers can use if they want to but I won’t be spending my time getting up early, stressing and retweeting anymore. I have lots of exciting things to look forward to, including the Bloggers Bash in May… Enough is enough.
Thanks to all of you over the years who have supported and helped to build it, and thank you to those who have participated in it every week…