with Mir Kamin
I'm a freelance writer and mother of two working from home, which theoretically means I can set my own schedule so as to best accommodate my family. In reality, "flexible hours" often equals "working too much." Yes, I'm my own boss; no, that doesn't mean life is easy. It's hard to leave the office when you live there. But I love what I do and feel very lucky. And not just because I get paid to work in my pajamas.
To learn more about Mir, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! or visit her blog at http://www.wouldashoulda.com/
Earlier today I was among a group of bloggers when someone asked if folks would be willing to share their most controversial posts. This led to what I felt was a really interesting discussion, both because the posts in question often surprised me (I had a hard time seeing why there would be any debate about several of them), and because time and again folks would respond by saying that they didn’t have any controversial posts.
In fact, multiple people said that they fear disagreement and/or drama, so they try very hard not to write anything that could offend.
It’s not that I have a problem with this viewpoint, per se, but it definitely got me thinking. Bloggers are usually folks with opinions—who reads blogs written by writers who don’t have strong feelings about things? That would probably be boring. And certainly bloggers are portrayed as loving the social media back-and-forth, if not a plain ol’ spotlight. So I started wondering how true that supposed archetype is, and where I fall within it.
There is a certain segment of “rock star bloggers” who make their mark—and draw their audience—by being deliberately provocative. Love, hate, it doesn’t matter; what they write engenders strong feelings in their audience, and they’re often at the center of disagreement one way or another. While those types of bloggers tend to have enormous audiences, they also tend to have a lot of trolls and a fair amount of unpleasantness to fend off.
I can’t tell you if the drama is “worth it,” because I am not one of those bloggers.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have bloggers who never express much of an opinion about anything. Their blogs are… fine. Nice, maybe. But also kind of boring. Again, people who don’t express much in the way of feelings are unlikely to provoke feelings in others. But there’s an argument to be made that we read blogs because we want to share in someone else’s personal experience, and if their personal experience reads simply as a passionless itinerary or a to-do list, most people aren’t going to stick around.
Fortunately, I’m pretty sure I’m not one of those bloggers, either.
I think that I’m the sort of blogger who has a lot of pesky feelings, and I’m not shy about expressing them, though I usually take the time to make sure I’m not hurting or offending anyone in the process. Sometimes I lodge my foot in my mouth by accident. (Hmmm, if I’m blogging, that would be… my foot in my keyboard? I’m not sure.) Sometimes I am so fired up about something I will write about it knowing full well that it’s a charged subject and not everyone will agree. And in those cases where readers leave less-than-complimentary comments, I feel like I’m able to deal with that in a civil manner. (Thankfully, it doesn’t happen too often.)
I don’t love it when people get angry about what I write, though. Most of the time, I try to avoid that. I don’t write about a lot of universally charged subjects; I almost never write about politics, for example. On the other hand, I’m not going write about nothing just to make sure no one ever gets mad at me.
This isn’t something I struggle with, not really; I’ve always written about my life with a balance of honesty and privacy (I hope!) and for the most part, it works for me. I enjoy the occasional debate and don’t consider myself someone who can’t handle disagreement. But I wonder if it’s a more complicated matter, say, for newer bloggers. Or folks who are much more private in general. But I also wonder if people who seem to love “stirring the pot” feel like they’re making authentic connections with others, or if it’s just sort of an exercise in needling others.
Do you have a set of “rules of engagement” when it comes to blogging and controversy?
Subscribe to blog via RSS