Blogging Responsibly Part Two
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on May 5, 2011
If you’ve never been told this before then let me be the first to let you in on a secret that really isn’t a secret. If you’re a blogger you’re one of the most powerful people on the planet. Yes, it’s true; take a moment to let this thought sink in because I’m going to say more. Puff up your chest, smile, and glory in your power, because once you’re done with that I’m going to slightly bust the bubble.
The reason this is part two of blogging responsibly is because back in 2009 I wrote a post titled Take Responsibility For Your Blogging that centered around a woman who got outed because she created a blog and started badmouthing another woman who she may or may not have known all that well. The woman went to court and the court forced Google to tell them who the woman was so that she could file a lawsuit. Of course, this woman then turned around and tried to sue Google for giving up her anonymity but it was tossed out of court.
Whenever any of us writes a review about something, or talks about someone, we’re exhibiting power that we never had before we started blogging. Even if your blog isn’t all that well attended. it will be found by the search engines, and with the proper search terms someone’s going to find you, whether you’re only on the second page or if you’re in the number one position.
Of course, some of us take it to the next level. If we work our blogging community we can spread that message further. If we’re connected to Twitter and put our message out there we can really reach a large audience. Is that audience listening? Maybe not all of them, but many of them will be and if they decide to pass it along it’ll spread even further.
Sometimes with what we have to say it’s not pretty. I’ve talked about the post I wrote on one of our local restaurants that got a lot of response on another blog of mine. Well, yesterday on my business blog I wrote a post titled When You’re Not Respected As A Professional. It was probably one of the most vicious things I’ve ever written, although, since it’s me, you know it wasn’t overly hard. It was basically a lesson about being a professional towards others will calling someone out who has been unethical in our business dealings. If you want to kind of see another side of me, check it out.
Here’s the thing, though. In the entire post I never mentioned the person’s name. I certainly told the story of what happened, and I issued some ultimatums and my position. However, without mentioning a name, no one knows who this person is except that person, and maybe a couple other people I’ve spoken to about the issue locally. In essence, in this instance I called someone out, but only that person, if he ever reads the post, will know who it’s about.
Probably. See, that’s the thing about the internet. You never really knows reading what, and what the ramifications of it will be. Some people let that kind of thing stop them from doing what I did; I don’t have that kind of fear, as you know. Whereas I take precautions on how I might say something, if it needs to be said then I’ll say it. And if it gets personal… well, sometimes you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do.
It reminds me of what one of our blogging friends, Brankica, ran into when she wrote a review on a product called MarketMeSuite that was pretty hard hitting. It was very comprehensive as well, nicely written, and in a way took a lot of guts because the title was, well fairly specific in saying how she felt about it, and you could see the disgust for the product in how she wrote it. And she took some heat from a few people about it, but stuck to her guns. I applaud her for that and I think more people need to be ready to show that kind of honesty and dedication to a position.
However, going after a product in some way and calling out someone are kind of different things. If someone is famous or well known maybe it’s different. There are many people online who make their bones going after top bloggers. But if it’s someone who you know you have some power over because you’re internet savvy to a degree, even if it’s only that you write a blog and they don’t, suddenly the question of responsibility becomes a new thing. Indeed, even telling the full truth sometimes won’t keep you from having to later go further in protecting your right to say what you feel, if you know what I mean.
If you check out that post I linked to you’ll see that it was fairly measured in what I wrote. If I’d been angry I would have written that much differently, definitely gotten personal, and probably wouldn’t have had the mindset to put my statement out the way I did. I definitely know I’d have had to edit myself later on, removing some things while adding others. However, I feel that with that post I got my point across, hopefully showed many others a lesson in teaching someone how to treat you properly, and was still responsible overall in how I blogged about my situation.
Of course others might judge it differently, but so far I’ve had nothing but support and I appreciate that. Most people have written me email instead of commenting on the blog; I find that interesting as well, but sometimes commenters just don’t want their names on something they see as a hot topic.
Do you consider yourself as someone that blogs responsibly? Would you be afraid to write something like that, if you check it out? Or would you go further, not hold back at all, name names, and even more?