Friday, June 18, 2010

Blogger's Etiquette

This is a really long post.  It's about a serious topic.  It has opinions about other blogs.  I've put a lot of thought into this issue, and to be honest I'm a little late at writing it.  The wounds are probably already closing and I'm probably going to open them back up.  For that I apologize in advance.  Ye be warned.


I follow a wide variety of blogs.  One of them happens to be O My Family.  A couple weeks back she was discussing some rather serious stuff.  She braved the storm and spilled her heart.

Some other bloggers weren't particularly enlightened.

I've been meaning to write this post for a little while, because I have an opinion.  I have a strong opinion.  But at the same time, I have compassion.  A lot of compassion.  Sometimes these two conflict with each other.  One always wins, but sometimes it's unclear as to which it should be.

On the one hand, you have the blogging world.  We exist for a purpose- to voice what we have to say.  We like to discover what's going on for others, hear see what others have to say, research our own lives via others.  But for the most part we are all a little selfish and just want to have our voices heard.  We have our opinions, and we're going to voice them.  Sometimes they are going to conflict with other blogger's opinions.  It's a tough world, and as such, we bloggers should always be prepared for the criticism that could follow any post of ours.  If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

On the other hand, you have the blogging world.  We blog because we want people to hear what we have to say, and sometimes to feel like we aren't alone in the universe.  Sometimes we need other people to hear our story, in hopes that we can help someone else deal with a similar situation.  It can be a terrifying thing, but posting our own story is very scary.  We are opening up and putting ourselves in a glass house for the whole world to see.  We secretly hope they'll see the best and won't point out all the flaws, because we all have them.  It's not to say we aren't expecting ANY criticism.  We just are hoping to not get it.

In the mix you have our personal worlds.  We live in a physical form and have to choose whether or not we share it with the digital form.  If we choose to share it, how much do we share?  All of it?  Can we get by with only sharing the bare minimum? Because the details are just too much for us to even acknowledge outloud, let alone on the internet.  These are all serious questions, and they can play a big role in how we are received.

Oh, you want my opinion on the subject?

I am 100% for freedom of speech.  HOWEVER.  As a blogger in this community, I personally feel that I want to be more inclusive than exclusive.  I don't always agree with the things I read.  In fact, Allison and I often don't agree (surprise!).  However, I love hearing the other opinion, and sometimes it changes how I view things.  Sometimes I'm completely surprised by what I read.  As such, if there is something I read that I personally don't agree with, or I personally see a flaw in, I'm not going to make that view public.  It infringes on the inclusive vibe.  I will, however, grudgingly agree that anyone else has the unfortunate right to do otherwise.  I fully respect the right to free speech.  I think it's very useful.  I just simply choose not to invoke my right at every moment I disagree.

While we are all prepared for the criticism, as we should be, we're probably hoping not to get a lot of it.  We probably also try to make sure we don't get it, right?  We list things like "please don't take offense" or "warning, here's my opinion" or even "I know I'll hear otherwise, but..." and we try word things as best as possible.

Sometimes the truth is a little more than we want to bare.  They are the wrinkles and sometimes scars that are the reason behind judgment.  Why wouldn't people judge us?  We judge ourselves constantly.  So maybe we choose to leave a few details out.  It's our one protection- we can choose just how much we say or don't say.

But sometimes it acts against us.  Sometimes being a little vague comes off as "I don't have any real details."  And unfortunately this world is very judgmental.  It also jumps to conclusions.  Especially about sensitive topics.  We all seem to forget that a blog doesn't cover the entire story, that sometimes the entire story wasn't made for public eyes.  I unfortunately have to count myself in that category.  Yes, even Miss "I believe in being inclusive and not judging others" has dropped the ball a few times.

I must say I had several opinions on Allison's story.  Some were skepticism, simply because the world we live in tells me I should be skeptic.  The rest were mainly compassionate- 1: I could be wrong with my skepticism, and she deserves my compassion.  2: Even if I'm not wrong, this is obviously a very hard situation for her and she deserves my compassion anyways.  I can now see that the first type is correct, and the skepticism was forever lost.

I wonder if someday I'll be in a similar situation.  I'm new to the blogging world.  I think a LOT about what I put out there.  Am I saying too much?  Can I leave this detail out?  Are my posts too long like this one?  Should I just keep my mouth shut?  Do people want to read any of this?

I seriously hope I never have to deal with it.  But if I'm ever in a situation like that, I will be running to Allison and asking for help.  She did pretty well, in my book.  Her response is actually what totally made my opinion of her and the others.  I have a lot of respect for her.  Not like I didn't before.  It just really set it in stone.

Please, dear 6 readers, if you are still reading help enlighten me.  How do you decide what to share?  How do you decide if you should voice your opinion in response to someone else's?  How do you say "yes this is appropriate" or "no, I'll keep that to myself"?  Please please please enlighten me.  Because I have no idea what the answers are.


suki said...

I share what I am okay with certain people reading. Some of my readers are friends I know offline as well, so I use them as a gauge.

It's a little different in terms of responding to blog entries. I don't always comment. If I disagree or don't have anything to say, I don't comment, or I keep the comment private, maybe email them if it's something that really struck a chord in the opposite direction. But that's just me. I don't like conflict. :P

Caroline @ The Feminist Housewife said...

I think to myself, "Do I want every person that I know [and don't know] in the world reading this?" Would I be ok having my mother-in-law or an aquaintance question my views about something they read on my blog?

I also have to remind myself to stay true to myself, to be honest and open.

So somewhere, in between all of these thoughts, I wonder the same thing that you do. And I don't think there is a perfect answer.

I'm having a conflict right now - how much personal information to share. How much to keep to myself...etc.

Lynzie said...

Good point, there, Caroline. Yes, I usually use the same thoughts- would I be ok with my mother reading this? If my writing can't pass that test, then it never makes it to the next stage in the decision-making process.

It's just such a tough call, sometimes.