Thursday, January 11, 2007

I feel the need to clear the air...

At the risk of sounding arrogant, I know my blog provides pertinent information to my readers, of which I have many. Yesterday I learned the impact of this blog stretched a bit farther than our dear Buckeye state. Honestly, that didn’t surprise me. What did shock and sadden me was that content in this blog was sparking negativity and creating the kind of drama I typically don’t allow in my life.

The issue in question was the posting of photos from Miss Ohio’s send-off party, which I found on the college networking site, Facebook. I found and posted them here on Monday, a third party saved and posted them to a national pageant message board on Tuesday and on Wednesday I received a request to remove them from my blog.

First and foremost, it is incredibly important to me that my intentions are understood. Had I known an “issue” would arise I would have never published them here. Rather, my intent was to share something which was already on the internet with those who, like me, couldn’t attend the send-off party. Most people’s desire to see such photos obviously comes from a place of interest and support for Melanie and the pageant. While I am highly aware of pageant message boards, I didn’t expect these pictures would end up there, and ultimately be subjected to negative “bashing.”

I met a lot of women over my six years of competing and I’m sure it’s pretty obvious from my blogs who I have been closer with… Melanie is one of the women who I wish I saw more often, or lived in the same area as. She is always kind, always has a great attitude and is always beautiful. I know Mel truly believes she is Miss America- and positivity like that is what it takes. I know she can do it, and I wish her nothing but the best in her pursuit. It saddens me that anonymous pageant “fans” spoke ill of her on a pathetic message board based on poor quality photos.

With that being said, the issue of whether or not to remove the photos was not easy for me. The damage had already been done. Whether or not the photos are on my blog, they’re already on the message board and will remain on Facebook, as I am sure the original poster is clueless to all this mess! Further, this is an independent blog, on which I can put whatever I want; there was an impulse inside of me that was annoyed by the request, especially considering it isn’t changing anything. Despite my simultaneous fear and rebellion toward authority, I have respect for the Miss America Organization, love for Melanie and a desire to continue volunteering and someday being an E.D.

I toiled for three hours, from the time I got the voicemail to the time I did modify the post. The only thing that mattered to me was Melanie, but I knew immediately she shouldn’t be bothered with this kind of petty drama days before leaving for Miss America. I don’t know if she cared or not, but for her sake I temporarily removed the pictures.

Now on my third blog, I feel like a broken record when I say this, but apparently there is a need to reiterate, if any image or information I share here is incorrect or in some way undesirable, I prefer the person with the problem contact me directly. My email is listed on the right sidebar, or if copying and pasting is too much trouble, you can leave a comment, which is sent to my email for me to approve before it appears on my blog, thus if it’s private I will likely infer that, or you could include, “Hey Abby, don’t approve this to be posted on the blog!” *sigh*

Clearly, this has been frustrating for me. I don’t like knowing people are mad at me and I certainly didn’t like the rude things said about Melanie and I on the national pageant message board. However, pageantry, like everything else, needs to adapt to the age of the internet. If photography is not allowed, especially for reasons beyond a professional photographer making a buck, then that needs to be made explicit at whatever the event may be.

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