An Open Letter To IBS Health Team

As many of you know, I posted a blog this morning which poked fun at two of my recent “followers”.  In an effort to expose the new WordPress followers for what they are, I pretended to salute them, while actually bringing to light their lack of following credentials – if there even is such a thing.  Allow me to explain:

Anyone who writes on WordPress has likely noticed a big upsurge in new followers, even when we haven’t posted anything lately.  If you write, you do so to express yourself.  Having people enjoy your work enough to follow you is an important ingredient in the process.  Sadly, a look into my new followers will often reveal serial followers who are not following for the joy of reading my witty banter, but are instead trying to increase internet exposure for their own causes.  Whether the cause is a disease or a company selling insulated windows is irrelevant.  The point is that the “following” is not being done for to the intended reason of appreciating someone else’s work, but rather for some sort of ulterior motive.  The lack of purity in the followers’ motives detracts greatly from those of us who’d like to enjoy some recognition for our efforts.  WordPress’ spambot patrol seems powerless to stop it or simply doesn’t care..

One of the two “followers” I profiled was IBShealthteam.  For the uninitiated among you, IBS is Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  True to my form, I poked fun at the syndrome and the image used on its Gravatar.

The first comment I received from IBShealthteam read:

Thank you !  Evangelical about getting the message across, what can we say !  We do read the blogs we follow by the way, is a team of us who like to follow the many great blogs out there of which yours is one we all enjoy.    We genuinely just want to help and enjoy reading great blogs of that we are guilty!

I was pleasantly surprised by the comment and appreciative of the group’s apparent ability to take a joke.  As seasoned WordPress writers know, when someone comments on your blog the very first time, you are unable to reply directly and must approve the comment first.  Since I was busy at work, I chose to wait until later to approve and reply.  I wasn’t even going to bust their chops about the Ewok-style  grammar.  At some later point, the following comment was posted:

We have just read a blog which mocks our own and while we initially took it in good humour (we even liked it!) the author has since failed to moderate our comments which light heartedly challenge his assertions about our blog.

Firstly we must address his main point, that we follow blogs for the sake of it.  We are a ‘team’ of writers, a blogging collective’ if you will, and each of us follows blogs we like under this name.  We follow the blogs which we enjoy, not for any potential gain.  We are a blog for IBS sufferers, we are not selling anything, nor do we aim to make money.  Our website has ads to cover the cost of the site, nothing else.

This particular blogger  took great pleasure in attacking our following bloggers whom we enjoy.  We repeat we are not a company.  We respect the bloggers that take the time and effort to produce great work, so to any of you that we have followed, please know that is the reason for our follow.

Secondly – the author demeaned the IBS condition in a crude and ignorant manner.  We have a sense of humour, we understand that not everyone understands the condition, but as we repeatedly state IBS covers far too many symptoms, from mild bloating through to debilitating pain, and anxiety.  We took it in good humour originally, however the authors inability to allow our perfectly reasonable comments to be published has angered us deeply.

Finally, we respect everyone’s opinion and right to express it.  However we feel that it is imperative to allow a fair response.  To write a blog, with no intent other than to mock others is not in our opinion right or proper.  We have been taken back by the warmth and kindness of the majority of other bloggers, it is such a shame that this one individual chooses to mock those who simply wish to help others.

Many Thanks

IBS Health Team

Clearly my lack of a quick reply had ruffled some feathers.  I tried to be understanding and decided to let it go.  At that point, I had only replied to one or two of my long term followers, but didn’t care to get into a pissing contest with anyone new.  Like most people, my work responsibilities trump blog chatter.  I don’t live in constant fear that my words might upset someone, it happens sometimes.  I was ready to just let it go.  Then this gem was posted in the comments section:

Other comments were approved after the ones we originally posted (the timeline clearly shows you had time to approve those), please spare us further comment, we all do this in our own spare time to try and help people with IBS – everyone here has no further interest in being a target of your sarcasm and ridicule.

In case you think we take IBS too seriously  I would just also like you know I watched my young cousin die of leaukimea, I am aware of where ‘IBS’ ranks in the scale of things, and have perspective on the severity of the condition, it does not mean we should not try to help.  I hope you have the courage to actually allow this to be published, so far your actions would make that seem unlikely.

We are all going to take some time away from wordpress, you have soured the experience for us, which is sad given how many kind and genuine folks there are out there.  We hope that you find the time and  imagination to create clever original blogs which do not simply mock others, the internet has certainly given rise to the brave ‘keyboard warriors’, you appear to be one of their number. 

From all the team we would like to say  ‘Ordinary riches can be stolen; real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.’ Oscar Wilde

Okay.  That’s enough little missy.  Now please sit down and shut up.  Listen to what I have to say and try not to shit yourself!  This is my blog.  Actually, let me re-phrase that: THIS IS MY FUCKING BLOG! 

Over the past year and a half I’ve written about lots of topics, including but not limited to:

  • bullies
  • coffee enemas
  • obesity
  • fecal matter on grocery carts
  • being a temporary replacement Pope and dealing with priests abusing little boys
  • 18 decapitated heads lost in an airport
  • G-spots on 84 year old dead ladies
  • internet dating and the woman accused of manslaughter in order to do so (Freshly Pressed on that one)
  • Santa’s embarrassing Nazi reindeer griping about bringing toys to “unpure kinder”
  • heroin flavored ice cream (Ben and Jerry’s started following me on Twitter after that one)
  • an NFL player who tried to use urine from his rottweiler to pass a drug screen

It’s hard to believe that someone as sensitive as you would want to read such horrid topics.  Certainly no one would blame you for passing on my brand of humor – it’s just not for everyone.  But here’s the funny thing;  YOU FOLLOWED ME!  No one forced you to click that little button.  Surely after reading the sordid tale of my college dog crapping out a condom you would have rethought your choice.  Nope…still there.  My take on visiting the urologist was graphic and icky and sprinkled with weiner and butt jokes – but you stayed right there following along like a good soldier.

As a follower, you were sent each one of my posts.  I suppose you enjoyed reading them, even though until earlier today, you never commented on a single one.  Not a peep.  You never clicked “like” on a single one either.  In fact, after deciding to follow me, you didn’t appear anywhere on my blog ever in any way, shape or form, until today.  It’s hard to imagine that I could have misinterpreted your silence.  What the hell was I thinking?!

I’m sure that IBS is no picnic.  I’m also positive that the world is a shitty place (no pun intended).  I’m also fairly sure that the state of the world is dealt with by at least one of us with humor.

I was sorry to read of the untimely passing of your nephew.  I’m sure the pain of your loss was deep and lingers to this day.  I work with special needs children and I have attended many funerals of some of my favorites.  I’ve cried with their parents and comforted their siblings and classmates.  I passed on more prestigious and lucrative positions in my profession to work with these kids and do my utmost to help them live their lives to the fullest.  I was reluctant to take time away from those kids today in order to entertain your trivial pissing and whining.  I’m sure you can understand that.  Sometimes people ask me how I can work in such a setting.  I tell them that the kids are great to work with, because they are.  I sometimes admit to them that when things get tough, I go home and write a blog.

Feel free to thank me anytime for all the free publicity I’ve given your cause today – but just remember, not all of my followers actually read my blog.

Profiles In Mediocrity

Blogging has been a part of my exciting life now for about a year and a half.  Like life itself, blogging has had its ups and downs.  I’ve been Freshly Pegged and Freshly Pressed.  I’ve drawn pictures of pigs in dresses and smoking rabbits in dive bars.  I’ve been shut down and resurrected.  I’ve had a few likes, and more than a few comment streams which took on lives of their own.

One of the biggest thrills I get is when the plus sign lights up telling me about the addition of another follower.  The thought that someone out there enjoyed my writing so much that they clicked the “follow” button is a big reinforcer.  For a moment, I can convince myself that I’m doing something right.

I often feel like I should write a quick thank-you note to new followers.  I picture a brief, personalized message on that fancy handmade stationary with the deckled edge.  Alas, I’ve been so busy watching early German fetish porn and trying to come up with new posts, I never get around to sending the notes.  To be perfectly honest, I haven’t even gotten around to buying the stationary yet.

I’ve decided instead to spotlight a couple of lucky followers as a gesture of gratitude to you all.  If it’s not you, I’m hopeful you’ll understand.  Perhaps I’ll do it again in a few months, and you’ll have another chance then.  Don’t act so petty about it – we both know that pouting’s not a good look for you.

The first follower I’d like to profile is none other than ibshealthteam.

She's gorgeous!  Just stay upwind of her!  Trust me on this.  (Image from vodkamom dot com)
She’s gorgeous! Just stay upwind of her! Trust me on this. (Image from vodkamom dot com)

ibshealthteam is a blog devoted to providing support to the thousands of women and handful of men who suffer from the dark, shameful secret of IBS, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  I tip my hat to this courageous blogger, who’s single-handedly taking on this embarrassing, often malodorous syndrome.  The author appears to be a beautiful woman who posed for her Gravatar photo on a beach with her arms outstretched and the wind in her hair.  It’s hard to imagine such a lovely creature could know anything about the constipation and flatulance related to IBS, but maybe the seabreeze is helping matters.  She is truly devoted to getting the message out to as many people as she can.  In fact, virtually every  blogger I know has been followed by this brave beauty of the bowels.  There is a rumor that she has followed every single blog on the WordPress site.  I’m sure a few of us who suffer from over-active imaginations may have come to believe that we too suffer from IBS, forgetting for the moment that we hit the all-you-can-eat buffet at El Sombrero over by the mall last night.

The second new follower I’m going to profile is acvhub.  The acv in acvhub stands for apple cider vinegar.  I’m pretty sure hub part stands for “hub”.  This exciting blog showcases the myriad of healthy uses for, you guessed it, apple cider vinegar.  Careful readers/viewers will notice that the posts specify Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar above all others.  I say readers/viewers because the blog posts are created using a unique formula;  Each one is actually just the written transcript of the accompanying video.  It’s kind of like going to a meeting and having that chucklehead from marketing read his Power-Point presentation to you verbatim.  Pairing the videos with the text is a great idea, because let’s face it, not all blog readers can actually read.  I don’t know if the makers of Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar are aware of the blitzkrieg of free publicity they’re getting or not.  Obviously the good people at WordPress are oblivious to it.

Yessiree, this magic elixir will cure your hangnails, your hallitosis, your lumbago.  It'll win the election and give you an erection (apologies to Tom Waits).  (Image from Amazon dot com - in no small ironic twist, Amazon Shop is also a new follower of mine)
Yessiree, this magic elixir will cure your hangnails, your hallitosis and your lumbago. It’ll win the election and give you an erection (apologies to Tom Waits). (Image from Amazon dot com – in no small ironic twist, “Amazon Shop” is also a new follower of mine)

Since both of these bloggers appear to be prolific, if indescriminate followers, I’m secretly hoping that they cross paths and join forces.  I’m certain that Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar can be used to effectively treat and cure irritable bowel syndrome.  The Bragg company will be able to use the resulting profits to give up living like parasites on blogs and start advertising during the Super Bowl like everyone else.  The IBS people can move on to another cause.  They could even use the same initials to represent another group of sufferers.  Of course, I’m referring to Irritating Blog Sycophants, wherein people who actually write are followed by people who aren’t even people, who use the creative efforts of others to selfishly plug their products and causes.

Tune in next time, when I profile several followers who don’t appear to write anything whatsoever or speak English, yet follow my blog.  I’m guessing they are just tagging along for the centerfolds and off-color cartoons.