Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jan 21, 2016
By now, at least if you live in the United States, you’ve probably heard about the controversy about the Academy Awards not having a single black actor in any of its major categories for the second year in a row. It’s turned into a major issue, calls for boycotts, and the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite has become fairly prominent. Not one to duck an issue, even I did a video giving my overall take on minorities and award shows in general:
Even if this isn’t a world breaking issue, it’s a big one, big enough that all sorts of people are weighing in on both sides. The wildest has come from a woman named Janet Hubert, the woman who played the original Aunt Viv on the show Fresh Prince of Beverly Hills. Of course she’s taken the position that the calls for a boycott are ridiculous, but her reasoning has more to do with the feud she has with Will Smith and, by extension, Jada Pinkett-Smith, than anything else. Most of her video is against them instead of against their position, which is sad.
What’s not sad, and is more telling than anything else? Her video, only reason a couple of days ago, already has more than 2 million views. I didn’t even know what her real name was until I saw Philip DeFranco talking about it.
Many years ago I said that it takes guts to have an opinion and to put it out here on social media… under your own name of course. A year later I asked if people were ready to be controversial after reading someone else’s blog post recommending it as a way to gain notoriety.
It’s a tough thing to come to grips with for most people; I can say that because of how many blogs I visit and how many I share and seeing how most people write their content. Suffice it to say that there’s a lot of vanilla writing out there. Nothing wrong with that, and truthfully I prefer that to those folks who are over the top, use tons of profanity, and seem to always be ranting instead of offering any real commentary or, gasp, solutions.
Does “controversial” work? Well, I released the video above at 11:30AM and it was already in double figures by 3:30, the fastest any of my videos have ever reached double figures. When you’re talking about someone with almost 200 videos on one channel and having many of them never reach double figures, I think that’s saying something.
In the past I’ve also talked about having to balance free speech and controversy as it pertains to your business, and your personal blog as well. If your business can work with lots of different people, there are things you might not want to put out in the open because they could affect your opportunities to make money. If your blog post is too negative in one direction, you invite trolls and suddenly you might have something else to deal with. Then you’re back to asking yourself are you ready to be controversial.
Personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with going against the grain if you feel strongly enough about it. However, I always believe that with any action someone needs to think about their ethics, or the ethics of their words and actions before saying something, let alone doing something. If your only intention for being controversial is to drive traffic or sell products, I hate to say this but consider yourself pretty scummy; yeah, I said it! lol
Controversy doesn’t always have to be about something big. In the post about being controversial that I linked to, I used an example where one professional disagrees with other professionals on something and explains his reasoning. That kind of controversy will never make the news and is pretty lousy if one is trying for publicity. However, within that niche it’s the type of post that sets them aside from the norm, and if the right people see it that guy will easily be their favorite because he dared to offer a different opinion than everyone else.
It’s along the lines of something I do on occasion when I see another person giving tips on how to make their blog popular and says “write high quality content”. I’ll challenge them to define what high quality content is instead of just recommending it, which I did some years back. I’m thinking that’s a bit controversial. 🙂
In my opinion, if you’re going to go controversial, whether it’s within your niche or not, you need to show that you really care about the topic; that’s the first and most important thing ethically. After that, I believe that:
* you should highlight what the issue is
* you should be able to offer a real opinion
* you should add some facts to back up your opinion
* you shouldn’t intentionally go out of your way to hurt someone who doesn’t deserve it
I’m talking about being truly controversial. Having fun and knowing your audience doesn’t count as controversial, like this post by my buddy Bren on why she’d love to be a man; check it out because it’s funny and, of course, I commented. lol
By the way, the top 3 videos on my YouTube channel were all with me fussing about Verizon when I was trying to get FiOS into the house. Does controversy sell? Well, my top video just passed 10,000 viewers… I got nothin’ else… 🙂
What do you think about this topic? Please comment and share and above all else, be nice to each other.