Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Feb 15, 2012
A few days ago, I had a post that also had a video where I ranted about MLM schemes. I can’t remember if I mentioned in the video that what prompted the rant was something that happened on LinkedIn or not, but that was the genesis for everything.
One of the strangest things that came out of all of that mess, which continued until late yesterday afternoon when I finally decided my participation in the “conversation” had to end, is that the overwhelming majority of people who agreed with me wrote me privately rather than put their disgust out in the public like I did. As Sheriff Bart said in Blazing Saddles, “I’m quickly becoming an underground success in this town”. I got as many supporting messages in private as the guy who started the post got on the post itself; it did and didn’t help me, as you can imagine.
I’ve stated on this blog before that one of the gutsiest things a person can do online is court controversy, whether you started it or got yourself in the middle of it. Social media can be dangerous as much as it can be fun. This weekend another friend of mine posted something on his Facebook page that I kind of took exception to, so I commented on it. He said he had a right to express his beliefs, and I agreed with that while also saying if you have the guts to put out a belief like that in public you have to have the guts to take criticism for it from people who don’t agree with your position. I never heard back on that one.
How many reminders do people need before they realize that free speech really isn’t free? If people want to rant about things without giving others the opportunity to comment, set up a blog, don’t accept comments, and get on with your bad selves.
Unless you’re a big name once people realize they can’t leave comments they probably won’t come back, but you probably don’t care at that point. As Seth Godin seems to feel, sometimes getting your point out is more important to you than getting feedback. I find that sort of thing incredibly useless and selfish (I refuse to visit his blog or read links people share on Twitter), but to each his own.
Here’s my overall point. If you’re always afraid you’re going to create controversy, you’ll never be a good blogger. Controversy can pop up in the strangest places on the strangest topics. There is no safe topic, from babies to puppies to chocolate cake to the Muppets to weather. There’s always the possibility someone might not like what you said or how you said it. I once wrote a positive post where I mentioned my dad’s history and suddenly I was being attacked for talking about my dad being in the military. Didn’t see it coming, but I didn’t back down either, though eventually I had to block the guy because he became a major league troll; strange indeed.
Blogging isn’t for the faint of heart. If you’re skittish your blog will be unreadable. Being flexible enough to see someone else’s point of view, even to the point where you sometimes might change your mind, doesn’t mean you don’t get to express yourself in your own way. Deciding not to change your mind and sticking up for your point of view, while trying to do it in a nice way, doesn’t mean you’re not flexible. Sometimes you have to adopt the position that my wife learned from Jack Canfieldone night: “What other people think of you is their problem.”
So, who’s ready to start blogging?