On Tuesday night, the Mariners beat the Pirates 7-4, and I was the LL staffer who recapped the game. The exchange on Slack basically went like this:
Nathan: Someone needs to recap this damn game now.
Peter: I can do it if no one else can.
Nathan: No. You will recap this game or else you are forever banished to the depths of Halos Heaven.
Peter: But Nathan I said I could recap the game.
Nathan: I don’t give any shits what you said. You will recap this game or else.
And so I did. It was a fun game. I enjoyed recapping it. Afterwards, the Mariners made a trade, and I quickly wrote that up. I also enjoyed that.
Fast forward to Wednesday morning. I woke up, made my coffee, hopped on my bike and headed to work. Not much of the morning routine had changed at all. I booted up the old eight-hour ball and chain, opened up my email, my Twitter, and then...I noticed something was quite wrong.
I had tweets of people calling me an idiot—more than normal. I had emails with subject headings such as "you piece of shit" and "fuck you." My personal favorite: "youre garbage piece."
I’ve been working on various outlets of SB Nation for a few years now, and I had a good understanding of what was going on. Every now and then, Yahoo! aggregates content from SB Nation and the various team blogs. For much of yesterday, Lookout Landing’s traffic numbers were getting the lovely Yahoo! bump. And with the lovely Yahoo! bump comes the people that use Yahoo! as their main source of Internet.
Oh dear, I can see how that headline might make some Pirates fans upset. But such is the life on the Internet. The main staff at LL were quite excited. As of writing this article at approximately 7:00 pm on Wednesday, Lookout Landing is the fifth highest trafficked page in the SBN realm, which is impressive considering we don’t write about football around here. The .com hub is number one, like always, followed by blogs devoted to things people all around the nation like: MMA and WWE. In fifth place is a blog devoted to something only people who like the Mariners like: Lookout Landing.
I’ve always kind of wondered what it is like to be an actual writer. I think I got a little taste (the littlest of little) of it yesterday. Being an actual writer on the Internet means people just yell at you for no reason. Take my favorite new Twitter friend GREG, who came crashing right out of the gates like he was leading Hannibal’s elephants to victory.
GREG and I had a lovely back and forth for much of the morning as I calmly sipped my coffee and tried to figure out what I had done to make GREG so upset. Eventually, I got to the bottom of it, which was even more confusing than the surface.
From there, it all started to go downhill. But it was OK, because it is all in the name of #clicks. See, the funny thing about blogging, and realistically the Internet, is that anytime something you put out exceeds expectation, it is a gratifying feeling. Sometimes that photo you put out on Instagram ends up with 100 likes, or whatever is a high number for you on that platform, and you smile. Sometimes, a Tweet starts to get retweeted by people with that blue verified check mark next to their name and somehow that validates those 140 characters or less. Sometimes, when you write things, Yahoo! picks it up and you get hit after hit after hit after hit x 200,000. You sit back and chat amongst your blogging friends with a smirk on your face, as if you hit it big, when realistically you just hit a chance circumstance.
The hate kept flowing throughout the morning. Every now and then I would check my phone and notice that I have some emails in my sporadically checked email account with SBN attached in the username. The results were always great.
There is no signature cut off there. His email did not contain one. Instead his salutation was "sick of woodburn after 1 article," signed, anonymous. To be fair to anonymous, we here at Lookout Landing don’t necessarily try and hit the greater public, and as such, our writing styles can be hard to digest. I welcome constructive criticism, and I agree with anonymous. I am not funny and I add garbage and rubbish because I am the living and breathing face of the Trashiners. I apologize anonymous that you were so enraged that you couldn’t capitalize anything, added a double space between couldn’t and even, and used the number 1 instead of writing out one.
As the afternoon progressed, the hits were still rolling in for LL, but luckily the vitriol was starting to die down a little bit. The insults on Twitter were getting weaker and weaker. Some would pop in as a notification on my phone, and by the time I checked the mean-spirited tweets had already been deleted by the offended Yahoo! reader.
Being a writer on the Internet isn’t necessarily a hard gig because I am not a writer on the Internet. I blog, for free, and get paid a small chunk of change elsewhere for my exploits (go Zags)—nowhere near enough to make a living wage. I supplement my writing lifestyle with an actual paying full-time job. So all the consistent emails and Tweets telling me to change my profession make me think:
- Yahoo! reader thinks I officially write for Yahoo! despite the fact Yahoo! was just purchased several days ago for a fraction of the money the company was worth years ago.
- Yahoo! reader thinks that anyone who is writing anything on the Internet makes a living off of it.
- Yahoo! reader is sadly misinformed by their own ignorance on how the world of the Internet and people getting paid for doing things on the Internet actually works.
My guess is two out of three.
At the end of the day, here is the scary thing about it all. I am a middle-class, white male. And this was the brunt of what I got and much of it wasn’t even that bad. I honestly cannot even comprehend the constant and vicious stream that any woman/non-white/LGTBQ/anyone other than my demographic receives. It makes me wonder how anyone can actually keep a presence on the Internet and not want to blow up their computer forever. I have no answer for that, other than I guess deep down many of us like the attention for some reason, good or bad.
So in a nutshell, for one day, my ego hit it big. And it was hardly the feeling I wanted it to be in the grand scheme of all. But hey, at least I was able to write a totally worthless post about the whole kerfuffle on an off day.