Blogging Responsibly Part Two

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?

23 thoughts on “Blogging Responsibly Part Two”

  1. I’m pretty sure I wrote something on the same lines some time ago Mitch, or perhaps I’m thinking of the one you wrote before. I also remember Brankica’s post. It’s funny that one of the people against that post was someone who promoted that particular product, it’s almost as if they were taking it personally.

    As for me blogging responsibly, yeah, I’m pretty sure I do, and I’m sure if I didn’t you would put me straight. 😉

    1. Sire, you’ve always been more than fair to any topic you’ve undertaken. I remember the conversations between you, Darren and Risley and how you handled those and that topic. Respectful while naming names; that was cool. I think you’ve been very responsible; way more than myself, although you do state your opinion quite verbally on one of your other blogs when talking about politics. lol

      1. And one day Sire, I’d love for a politician to see it and comment on one of your missives; now that would be exciting! lol

  2. I would. If it was a product or a company or a service, I would put names down. If it was a political figure or a public servant, I would put the name and details down in my blog. If it was an individual, I would not.

    As you well know, some of my blog posts have got some serious opposition!

    1. Rummuser you’re absolutely correct, yet I think you’ve also been very fair. You’re more like me in most of your posts, which I find kind of neat worlds apart.

  3. Hi, Mitch.

    I am new to the blogosphere and this is my first time to read your posts and comment on one of them. Reading about responsibility here is very timely for me because when I asked my boss if we could have a blog for our rendering company, I just had a rough idea about what I was getting myself into. However, I didn’t fully realize the enormity of the responsibility that I have taken upon. But, you hit me with it right on the face.

    Although I am not the kind of person who badmouths people, I now get that I hold in my hand the power to initiate a movement online if I want to. Novice as I am, I know that is quite ambitious, but it really got me thinking. So, thanks, Mitch. 🙂

    1. No problem Kim, and I’m glad to give you something to think about. And though I talked about power in the example of talking about people, the other side is that we sometimes say things that lead people in different directions, or offer suggestions and even teaching points that we hope will show people how to do something. But if we get it wrong and people trust us…

      Of course, don’t let any of that scare you. No matter what we do in life it’s a risk, so just be honest and yourself and it’ll all work out fine.

  4. Mitch,

    I think some people just can’t take feedback. When criticism is dished out like Brankica did, with professionalism and respect, I see no reason why not take it onboard.

    I have issues with some bloggers who dish out advice about stuff they know nothing about. Julien Smith wrote a post once with a headline, How to loose 30lbs in a month.
    I called him out as being irresponsible. As bloggers, especially those like Julien who have tens of thousands of followers, we have a responsibility. A morale responsibility.

    When we tell people how to loose lots of weight and we are not qualified or trained to do so, this is irresponsible.

    I did the same thing with Tim Ferriss’ books, and this is how we first met Mitch 🙂

    1. Yes, exactly John. Ferriss has something in his new book where he tells people about an experiment he did on himself to lose a lot of weight by staying as cold as possible, showering in cold water, dressing with few clothes and working out in cold weather, etc. He lost a lot of weight in a short period of time, yet I thought it was irresponsible to put it out to people as something to try in the first place.

      It does show, however, the power that a blogger can have. Just creating some titles will have that kind of effect of driving people to a blog post. It does beg responsibility across the board.

  5. I think that’s criticism can be constructive as long as it is written in an appropriate manner. If it’s not, then there are only “ugly words”.

    A blogger who respects his work will never go and attack someone just because he can. It’s ok to have an opinion, but it’s not ok to offend and be vulgar!

    1. Great stuff Mia. It’s okay to take care of yourself and promote yourself in public, especially if you have a gripe about something. But sometimes it needs to be measured. And when it comes to picking on someone else… well, over here we call it cyber-bullying and whether it’s a child or adult, it’s uncalled for.

  6. I think there’s a definite difference between being responsible and professional with our criticism, and being libelous. One is tactful and grown-up; the other is, well, illegal and just plain not cool.

    And I’m definitely the same way; I’d have to wait until I seriously cooled down before writing anything, because I tend to run hard and hot for quite a while, and my temper gets the best of me when I’m irritated. =) Something I inherited from dear ol’ Ma, I guess, lol.


    1. Delena, we all get hot and bothered sometimes, but it’s our responses to these things that, as you said, make us either adults or children. It was much easier when you could just hit someone who made you mad, but only kids can get away with that (actually, in today’s world I don’t think they can still get away with it). Ii do step away when it comes to blogging. I might have to continue learning how to step away for awhile when commenting sometimes as well. lol

  7. I personally feel that I am a responsible/matured blogger who has something to tell the new generation. Sometimes in fact more often than not (lol) I get trashed by some young bloggers for whom blogging is all about making money for which they will do anything (plagiarism, publishing unverified data, writing only to satisfy Google search etc). Being bold is very important at the same one could do that with some diplomacy. Probably I need to improve on that aspect 🙂

    1. Ajith, I’ve never seen you not being courteous in your opinions, even on your personal blog. Yeah, sometimes people will disagree with a point, but overall that’s not such a bad thing. It’s when we call someone out that we need to sometimes be careful. My only worry with the review I wrote about the restaurant on my other blog was that it was a relatively new restaurant in the town & I didn’t want it going down because of anything I said. Yet, I did hope that someone would see it and customer service would improve another step. But we do what we have to do, right?

      1. Ah okay 🙂 I had many restaurant experiences – some with reviews written after as well. Btw, which other blog are you talking about than finance blog and your business blog?

      2. Ah yes Ajith, you’re many posts behind. I have a local blog that I write on as well which I mentioned a few times over the course of the last couple of weeks.

  8. Most of the times I advice my customers, mainly business blogs to write topics that are honest and implement personal touch. From what I have seen, the responsibility levels are always different. When I write, I don’t have a choice. 100% of my income is coming from internet. I remember some of your previous posts and I am also very careful, how I use contradiction in my articles.

    1. You’re giving good advice to your customers, Carl; now if you can only get them to open themselves up for comments, although, based on some of the articles I’ve seen, I can understand why they don’t.

  9. Hi Mitch,
    i feeling criticism and praise are part and parcel of lives of bloggers.We should always take the flak with our heads high because it will only lead to refinement of our personality.

    1. Interesting thought, Shivam. I assume you also believe that when we write something about others, no matter who it is, that we take into account how our words will impact them?

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