Tag Archives: controversy

Are You Offending People Away From Your Blogs Or Websites?

There’s a young lady from Australia whose Instagram page I used to follow named Sheridyn Fisher; that’s her picture to the right. I think she’s very attractive and for awhile I enjoyed pictures of her and her adventures, as well as her pets. She was once either a Playboy model or almost a Playboy model; I’m not quite sure how that all worked out but it proves that I’m not the only one who thought she was attractive.

SFisher012

She’s also an entrepreneur of sorts. She has a line of swimwear, which figures, and along with modeling some of the images herself, she has other models who will show off some of her wares. That’s nothing to be mad at either I must admit. However, one of the models on one of the Instagram posts decided to share a feeling of hers that, in retrospect, was one of the most idiotic things anyone has ever said while pursuing a career. She said it made her sick to her stomach knowing some men over the age of 40 were looking at pictures of her and felt they were all dirty old men.

Dirty old men? For looking at some pictures that she willingly took to show off her body wearing swimwear? Dirty old men? You mean the early part of the major demographic of 35-54 year olds that most advertisers want to reach because they’re the ones that have the most money per capita to be able to afford to buy, well, maybe not women’s swimwear but calendars, magazines, or whatever else pretty women might be a part of?

Yeah, I was offended. Sheridyn didn’t say it but if she didn’t remove the comment before I saw it and she didn’t say anything in response to it either. Truthfully, I doubt she’s ever looked at her Instagram account because if she was anything like me and what I talked about earlier this year lamenting the lack of moderating comments on sites like YouTube and Instagram, allowing trolls and such to ruin the overall experience for everyone else. Sure, I do understand that if you get 5,000 comments it might be hard to get rid of some of them but something has to occur here and there, or so I feel.

I thought about this as it relates to blogging in general. Sometimes we take controversial opinions on something and that’s fine if we’re ready to deal with people not liking it. I do that from time to time when I’m in a state where I just have to express an opinion; nothing wrong with that and I think more people should think about doing something like that from time to time. Remember the saying “if you don’t stand for anything you’ll fall for everything”.

However, being controversial is something most people will do on purpose. What about doing things that might be subconsciously turning people away, things you really haven’t thought much about and one day wake up to the reality that you might be offending a part of your audience in some way that you’ve never thought about?

WYL_MudFlapSm2
Michael Porter via Compfight

A few nights ago I was checking out the videos of someone I’d just discovered on YouTube. I thought she was a breath of fresh air and decided to check out some of her older videos. I came across one called Apology and was drawn to watch it. In it, she apologized for some things she said regarding people on welfare because she didn’t think before she said it.

She was upset because a lot of people dumped on her after the presidential election because she decided to support the loser of the election (no, I ain’t saying his name lol) and, being one of those people who shoots from the hip, went over to the dark side because a lot of people on Twitter baited her for her open support there.

She ended up taking a major hit in subscribers and her popularity for awhile. It seems that even if you came from nothing and have made something of yourself that people don’t think that gives you credibility to start castigating everyone else because they need assistance from the government. I didn’t watch the video that offended so many people, but I did see that it got nearly 15,000 dislikes and only 1,100 likes and, being someone whose income comes only from YouTube, it seems that she got the message that she’d been insensitive; thus the apology.

Some people forgave her after a bit while others moved on, and she’s now back up around 300,000 subscribers or so and has moved on with life. But she’s kind of a celebrity and kind of ditzy cute; do you think your own business, website or blog could survive such a faux pas? Think about it; how often have you said something that came across as mean and been called on it? How many times have you written or posted something that someone else might see as sexist or racist when it wasn’t your intention to do so?

If you’re in the United States, all I have to say is Paula Deen for you to understand what I’m saying here. So many people were shocked by her admission, even though I’m not one of them. That she might have thoughts like she did & said the types of things she’s said didn’t surprise me in the least. But her public persona was something else, and it all came crashing down when this came out about her. And, if you watch the link above, which goes to a YouTube video I created about the situation, what you’ll see is that I believe her biggest mistake was waiting until someone else broke the news instead of being proactive.

Still, the point of this particular article is to ask you if you’re taking care to not be potentially controversial when you’re not trying to be, or not potentially being inflammatory and insensitive when you are trying to be. I left a lot of people in my dust during the 2008 presidential election, and a lot of people who lost their minds on Twitter before and after that election lost a lot of business and a lot of money as well.

There are many stories where a slip of the lip at the wrong time has cost someone their livelihood. How careful are you being in trying to make sure that person isn’t you?
 

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Participating In Social Media Takes Courage

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.


by Scott Feldstein via Flickr

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?
 

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Not Following Opposing Views; Good Or Bad?

I’ve been thinking about this one a lot lately. I tend to have certain criteria that I employ when I’m deciding who I’m going to follow on Twitter or on Facebook. I wrote a little bit about it when I posted an article titled Why I Don’t Want To Follow Some Twitter Folks some time ago. I didn’t address some other things, though I easily could, and I may mention them as I write this post.


by Ben Jordan via Flickr

See, what I recognize is that I refuse to follow anyone whose views I pretty much know I’m not going to support. So, being liberal, I don’t follow anyone I already know is conservative or Republican because they’ve put it in their profile. I also go back through a bunch of messages before I add anyone on both Twitter or Facebook, and if I see that they support a different political view than mine, I won’t even bother.

The same kind of thing goes for religion for the most part. If I see someone always quoting Bible verses or other religious quotes, or talking about their religion in some way all the time, I’m not following. I just don’t want to hear it. In this case I do have some friends who consider religion an important part of their lives, so that’s somewhat different. I can say that because I think I only have one friend that’s a Republican (I have 2 others who’s registered as Republicans, but they’re really not).

There’s always this 800-pound gorilla in the room that says if we can’t talk about our differences then we’ll never come together to get things done. I believe that can be true in many circumstances, but I think the past almost 3 years have proven that it’s not going to work anymore when it comes to politics. Let’s face it; the Republicans have shot down everything President Obama has put forward with the only intention to get him out of office in 2012. They would rather hurt everyone in America so they can call him a failed president; this isn’t just my opinion, as I could find quotes from some prominent Republican leaders to prove the point.

Government has always been about negotiation; almost no one got entirely what they wanted, but we got things passed without this much animosity. Now, with all the animosity, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are just some things people can’t talk about, and if that’s the case then I’m not the one who’s going to get into a shouting match with anyone. I’m the guy who wrote a post on de-stressing one’s life after all. There’s civil debate, and then there’s ranting and ignorance that I’m just not going to deal with. Yeah, I’m going to share some ignorance, stunned that this is in, of all places, Boston:

I’ve reached this point in my life where I believe in two separate things, and I’m not necessarily happy about it. Those two separate things, which actually blends into one, are that there are communications that are important enough to have, even if it breeds controversy, in a working environment, while in one’s personal life they should decide what level of peace they’d like in their life.

As someone who does leadership training I tend to believe that people need to learn how to communicate with each other at work, even having opposing views, because work is about the company and not individuals. That and I do have that book to the left side on leadership that I wrote after all.

But when it comes to your own time and your own peace of mind… well, let’s just say that I avoid people like in that video at all costs because there will never be a civil discussion with anyone who can’t accept any real facts. It’s kind of like the debate between favorite music, only much more vicious.

Still, I’m going to put it out here as a question or two. Do you find yourself hanging more with people you agree with? Do you try to bring peace into your life or find yourself always arguing with people because you enjoy it or feel it’s necessary? And are your criteria lax or tight when it comes to who you’ll follow in social media?
 

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Are You Ready For “Controversial”?

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post based off a blog post I read where the person was talking about the concept of “high quality content” without actually explaining what it was, a pet peeve of mine. Well, this one isn’t quite a pet peeve, but it’s something that, once again, I see recommended often, and I think it’s a horrible recommendation.


by Enokson

That recommendation, as you have already guessed by the title, is to write controversial posts. Though I hate that as a recommendation, the truth is that I’ve written a couple of those in my day on this blog. I wrote a random thoughts post where I touched upon crime, hate, physical abuse and President Obama, among other things. I wrote a post where I said President Obama called Rush Limbaugh a racist (he didn’t, as I explained in the post). I’ve gone after writing groups like Helium, busted on a guy because he saw himself as better than everyone else and got called on it, and I’ve tackled the subject of health care a couple of times.

Still, it’s not always the best way for everyone to go. Controversy doesn’t always get the desired effect you think it might, and sometimes you just might be unleashing the demons from Pandora’s Box and not have the ability to get them back under control again. That plus you risk being labeled if you don’t get your message right the first time out and could end up with a mess like our friend Rummuser ran into, for which he wrote apology for after the fact, but possibly still lost a reader in the process.

Controversy obviously sells; look at what it’s done for Charlie Sheen and all the Twitter followers, over a million in 24 hours. But it can also take away. For instance, there’s a guy whose name I forget that used to be big on the blogosphere and even stopped by here to comment every once in awhile. His blog was very controversial, highlighted by his video posts going after this person and that person, using lots of colorful language. It was all fun and games until he suddenly started losing contracts because some of his clients discovered his blog, didn’t quite like his style, and decided to stop doing business with him. We’re talking six figure contracts suddenly drying up, and he immediately stopped blogging and removed every single video he’d produced.

Then there was a guy who supposedly built his blog on the backs of top bloggers by bashing every single one of them as harshly as he could. His blog grew greatly, and Darren Rowse, one of the people he attacked, grudgingly admitted it was an interesting strategy of success. Then one day the guy stopped, and when Darren was able to reach him to find out why, the guy said that he had hoped to get business from his blog by being seen as an expert in a particular area, yet all anyone could see was him as the angry blogger and no one wanted to work with him. So again, he shut down his blog in hopes of reinventing himself once time passed.

Even I had a brief encounter via a post on my business blog where someone thought I was writing directly about her, complained to her manager, who contacted someone I was contracted with to do work, who then called me and asked me if I’d change it. I said absolutely not, then asked him if he’d read it, to which he replied no. Then I read him the first two paragraphs and he said it wasn’t bad, and was actually true and positive, yet still asked me if I could be more circumspect when I wrote blog posts while we were actively working with a client. I told him that if it ever happened again he needed to go read the post before calling me about it because many of my posts I write in advance, and it’s not my problem if one person thinks it’s about them in that regard.

I’ve always been ready to back up my position on something I have to say. I also say my piece in non-threatening ways; I choose my words carefully, even when I’m mad. I’ve had people take something I said in the wrong way, and I’m ready to defend that as well. I don’t head lightly into controversy, and it’s not the thrust of this blog. I’d never want to make it the thrust of this blog. But I won’t step away from something if it irks me.

Still, I’d never recommend that someone be controversial just for the sake of being that way. If you have something to say, something that’s really bothering you, then by all means share it, get it off your chest like I did with my writing post and video, and move on. Otherwise, don’t make controversy your norm; you might not like how it all turns out.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell