Barters and Back Scratchers

**Rant alert**

Probably not the best way to end the year, but what would you rather have, that I rant at the end of the year or the beginning of one? Either way, this was gonna come pouring out like acid one day or another.

Ok, maybe acid was a little harsh. There is a lot of noise in my head about this topic. I don’t quite know where to begin this post, so why don’t you read this insightful post by Shailaja V on her blog, and come back here so that I can start… you know… ranting.

Hi again. Glad you decided to come back. Hope you liked that post. Now let me give you a bit of an outline as to what ticked me off. Several things do, but I mean in the context of blogging, microblogging and all those jazzy social media thingies. A little something about me: I love travel pictures and travel blogs. I go hunting for travel pictures on Instagram to drool over them; it’s just something I do. I like most of the pictures that show up on my Instagram feed because they are beautiful. Anyone who I’m following on IG knows this. By ‘like,’ I mean both what it means in English as well as what it translates into in Social Media lingo. Sometimes I do miss out on posts. Now, it so happened, on one of the days I ‘liked’ someone’s picture. Immediately, she/he ‘liked’ one of mine. Now this is someone who had ignored all of my posts until then. I don’t know what it was about this “I liked your picture only because you liked mine, and I am only returning the favour” attitude that pissed me off to monumental heights. Well, clearly, I have some extreme emotions.

From that day on, I tried as hard as possible to not ‘like’ her/his posts even accidentally. I didn’t want a like-barter. Eventually, I couldn’t bear the stress (I am so dramatic) of swerving around the person’s posts that I unfollowed her/him. That’s my solution to everything. Until one day, the same thing happened on Twitter, this time with someone else, when I went on an all out rant fest. Exhibits below:

Now. Let’s come to blogging, shall we?

I started blogging in 2008, but I wasn’t regular until 2012-2013 (that does not stop me from boasting about the fact that I started in 2008). Back then, it was a sparse world. Most of the comments we received were from non-bloggers (something that sounds almost unheard of these days), and no one left inane comments like “nice. pliss read my’s. URL.” It was still good even in 2012-2013, when I discovered indiblogger for the first time – a platform where you can share your posts, and other bloggers promote them or vote for them. I was a little gullible then, and when someone said “nice, please read mine now” I actually believed my post was “nice” and I obediently rushed to read theirs.

I discovered some great blogs on indiblogger. Eventually I learned some of those telling me my post was “nice” had not even read it. It’s an instinct you develop over time – you learn such things. The naivete that comes from being a blogger from the year 2008 soon wears off. I will also admit that I learned a few tricks and spent some effort finding out who those accounts were that did exactly that which pisses me off today (read tweet rant above) – the backscratchers, a vote for a vote. Let’s face it, I am only human and I wanted my name on that home page (something that has not happened ever since I grew some integrity). I hang my head in shame today that out of every vote I received for every time a post of mine made it to the top, only few of the voters really read them. I voted for others anyway, cos they were helping me reach the top. Like I said, only human, and hanging head in shame now.

Reiterating: I discovered some great blogs and bloggers through indiblogger. As of now, even my Facebook friends list has more bloggers than people I went to kindergarten with. Although, forgive my honesty, great bloggers on indiblogger are now a thing of the past. The new blogs have posts like “Latesht hot piks of Katrina Kaif” and I’m sitting here like, can’t that just be googled? Or hate-filled, political ones, cos yes, let’s divide the country, that sounds like fun (there I said it!). In fact, I think it was when I saw one of those “hot pics” posts on indi that I got real pissed – mammoth pissed. Come on, I am from an ancient time when we had real readers and we strove to create real content that was not copy-pasted! When we could share stories inconsistently, and whenever we felt like it, because we wanted to, not because we had to, not because we had an audience of fucking Yes Men to maintain.

It was then that I decided that enough was enough. Blogging is a responsibility, and not one I take lightly. I did not want “top Indi post” anymore. I was not going to sit and read (yes, I did read every post I ever voted for, whether I commented or not) through terrible grammar and useless content and trashy riffraff just because they might do the same for me (they don’t, of course, that’s just what they want us to think). I visit a few blogs I trust will be good, like those of my good mates over at the B-A-R or the ones I discovered during my early days on Indi. I still comment only when I feel I have something worthwhile to add.

So to the folks that think I will scratch your back: I don’t want your barters, and your fake niceness. I don’t have time for your meaningless drama and nothing puts me off like bad grammar. I am not a butterer and I can see through your bullshit like a bullet that pierces through its target’s heart. I don’t want you to share my posts on Twitter only because you think I will share your empty-headed or venom-filled posts in return. Because guess what, I am choosier than that.

Irony is, all those I’ve called out in this post are still gonna vote for me without even reading a word of this. LOL.


13 thoughts on “Barters and Back Scratchers

  1. kalaravi16 December 28, 2015 / 6:54 PM

    Err…lady Bheem, is it safe to comment, I solemnly swear I read every word, every comma of the above post! Pretty candid stuff, huh?! I can pretty much understand that when one is as sincere and has genuinely great stuff in his hands, he doesn’t have to scratch backs or barter for votes. You have, through your own skill and hard work rightfully earned the position you are in now. All the same, like you yourself admit, in the initial days (that you look down in shame) you too went through similar phases of peer adulation for the sake of votes! Personally, I don’t think there is anything to be ashamed of that act, you were learning the ropes then, and would have been glad of any and whatsoever help or encouragement that came your way! Likewise, I think it may be unfair to label any entire new breed of newbies as wannabes or opportunists just because it looks like they are out there to cream people to ‘like, share and comment’ on their hard work. Agreed not all new posts mark up to aspired standards of awesomeness, but one cannot randomly be discriminating and holding on to one’s high horse. It is a free land, we are all free to read/not read, like/unlike, comment/no comment and for all other feelings, our own blogs! The crux of my overlong comment is that, nothing wrong in helping someone trying to climb a ladder, is there? A helping hand when you are starting off is welcome to many. And like mercy, helping is twice blest!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Diva December 29, 2015 / 9:41 AM

      Lady Bheem, I actually like that 😛
      Of course it’s safe to comment, sweetie. Like I said, this post is about those who comment without reading, just so that I visit theirs. I know for a fact (without you having to swear) that you read my posts simply because I don’t think we’ve met through Indiblogger! 😀
      Yes, there is nothing wrong with peer adulation. Even now when I see a great post, I let them know. While praise is not what we’re actively looking for, we all love praise. Nothing wrong in dishing out some genuine praise – like when you do for someone’s great cooking skills.
      Not all the new bloggers, as in I wasn’t trying to generalize, but have you noticed so many bloggers have suddenly sprung with absolutely no original content (one example being the Katrina Kaif guy (yes, that was a real post I saw on Indivine)) But I am not giving up on any of them, because I still go on Indivine and actually look at all the posts, not just those who are on my network (also why I don’t add anyone to my network, I just go hunting on indivine so that my range isn’t limited).
      Absolutely nothing wrong. Like I said above about the cooking skills thing – if they’re genuinely good, they deserve praise. If they’re just here to mooch off freebies, I dunno, it just seems wrong that they’ll vote/promote/comment to get one back.


  2. shanayatales December 29, 2015 / 2:21 AM

    I understand where you are coming from, as I have been-there-done-that. When I started blogging in Jan, I was naive enough to think that there were certain “rules”, especially during AtoZ. I visited every one who visited me; I shared posts in return too. But thankfully, I did use some discretion while sharing, and I never activated auto-share.

    Post AtoZ, I have given the whole thing a lot of thought. I don’t necessarily analyze the motivations of people when they like/share/comment on my posts; I thank them, because I am genuinely thankful as they took the time to like/share/comment.

    But if they are doing that for reciprocity, then they are wasting their time. Mostly because, while I do try and visit back, I only comment if I have something of value to add, and I am pickier when it comes to sharing these days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Diva December 29, 2015 / 9:50 AM

      Oh, A2Z (I did it in ’14, and did not have the courage to do it again in ’15) I did the same. Because there’s something about A2Z which is very honest, straightforward, and genuine. It’s a challenge you undertake for your own sake, and for your blog’s sake. So many stories that were a delight to read, and they deserved their praise, (at least a Like if I had nothing useful to add). Those were genuine comments that they left on our blogs too.

      I am also extremely grateful to those who share my posts, but only if I am sure they have read it. Like I said, I know there are a few who do, and this mainly includes those who are not visiting my blog through indiblogger, where reciprocation is the law of the land. As for those who leave genuine comments, if not here then on Twitter or Facebook or even ping me elsewhere to say something nice, I know that they have read it for sure, then I do visit them back (who doesn’t love comments?).

      And your last line just summed up everything I’m trying to say 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Shailaja V December 29, 2015 / 7:55 PM

    Well, that was a very wounded person speaking, I can tell 😉 And I understand the frustration too. It isn’t easy. I know. After a long time of blogging, commenting, sharing and liking, I have come to the understanding that it is all part of a process. It’s up to us to decide where we want to be on that ladder. Let’s face it, we’re all on the same journey, each moving at a different pace.

    Completely agree with the ‘Read completely before comment’ aspect. It’s also why I am very stingy about sharing on Facebook. That and of course, I flood timelines with enough of my updates anyway 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Diva December 30, 2015 / 10:02 AM

      Don’t even tell me about Facebook! The only reason I come to Facebook is to share my posts, and now it’s come to a stage that whatever I share, people assume it’s just a post and happily ignore it (I am only guessing, considering the non-existent interaction people seem to have with me over Facebook)

      At this point, I have jumped off the ladder, I think (imagine: no smile, nice leather boots, biker jacket, sling bag full of books, wild hair blowing in the breeze as I jump off the second last rung – nice image, right?) I’ve already begun to forget sharing on Indi. I am just gonna stick with the blogs I already like and maybe go searching on Twitter.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Maniparna Sengupta Majumder December 29, 2015 / 9:20 PM

    Well, I’ve been all through these things, since I’m on Indiblogger. It’s a little more than 2 years I’m blogging though the “spark” kicked off only last year. During my initial days on IB, a few veteran bloggers visited and left comments on my blog along with their blog links, my naivety was so much that I had no idea about returning the favour, and, they vanished in the thin air.Never to show up again. I have nothing to say against them, everyone has the right to choose their way. I still know some very ‘famous’ and ‘popular’ bloggers who send out DMs or PMs if one somehow misses voting for their posts. Amuses me really! 😀

    Dil pe mat lo….don’t get angry. They are not worth your anger…. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Diva December 30, 2015 / 10:07 AM

      It’s annoying right that they’re only commenting to get you to visit back. Yes, it’s their choice, but I still feel it’s a sad tactic.
      Oh, you know what, I almost mentioned that part about getting mails from “popular bloggers” then I left it out. It was funny when it first happened, but then it just made me mad. For the record, I never voted for that person again (I did it the first time cos I genuinely liked a post of theirs)

      I know, I should really calm down. I just had to vent it out somewhere…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. matheikal December 30, 2015 / 3:42 PM

    Some mutual back-scratching is understandable. But you’re right it has reached shameless depths.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Diva January 12, 2016 / 9:47 AM

      If someone has genuinely read a couple of your posts, said something worthwhile in the comments section, you may feel like visiting their blog, out of curiosity or gratitude or whatever. But right now, it’s sort of an unwritten rule “If I leave a comment, you must leave one under mine, no matter how stupid and meaningless my original comment was.” At first it was just the comments; now it’s the sharing. It’s no longer the content that rules, it’s how many people you know.


  6. nomadwrites January 13, 2017 / 9:05 PM

    Even today, every time (and will always be) I go happy getting a feedback. (No. nice comments isn’t what I expect) An opinion of what one felt reading my work. I would much prefer “please read my work” rather than “amazing nice post”. Most times, I have pointed out amid 30 “so amazing” comments, in a nice way that the post could have been better (and then I go back and see all 30 were replied to, except mine 😀 )
    That said, blogging is more for myself and the blogosphere I am in. Also, over time, you learn through comments the ones who have actually read 🙂 Wishing you a happy stress free and more writing/blogging year 🙂
    (P.S. at risk of making the comment longest, I will add, sometimes there are such heartfelt really good posts out there, that I feel people who commented without reading did miss a lot 🙂 )

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Diva January 16, 2017 / 10:27 AM

      One of the saddest examples I came across was, this blogger had written a post about his/her departed mother. While many fellow bloggers offered condolences, this one blogger was all “Nice post!”, with a link to their latest post. It was not “nice”.
      It wasn’t even on my blog and still it irked me so much that someone would do something so insensitive.

      I haven’t been sharing my posts on IB for over a year now, I think. Honestly, I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything, especially since it’s turned into a political battlefield of sorts lately (or, at least, that’s how it was around the time I left). If someone stumbles upon my blog, reads, comments, offers feedback, well and good. Otherwise, IB isn’t a place I’d consider friendly or useful anymore. Saying this makes me sad, cos it used to be an excellent platform, with some really nice people behind it.

      Liked by 1 person

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