To Blog, or Not to Blog

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Post by the lovely Lauren from A Typical Atypical, image by Jan Michellardi

For those of you who haven’t noticed, the infamous blogosphere is a strange yet wonderful world.

Journalists can hate us, but then become us. Speculation on an obscure podcast can be public knowledge by the next day. It can be a hugely reassuring and supportive world, full of like minded souls meeting and sharing, where comfort and friendship are all within grasp.

Alternatively, however, our casual posts can be taken the wrong way. Someone can be insulted or hurt by your words, and certain topics like religion can fire up plenty of debate and angry feelings. You may feel that as fashion bloggers we are immune to this complicated dance between saying what we want and saying what others want to say. However, when you write on any blog, fashion or otherwise, you write something anyone can see. I know blog writers who have been verbally abused on their posts, or who have had to withdraw quick and unplanned speculations, because of a flurry of angry responses.

When what you say is public, never expect life to be easy – just as you access the brilliant, the bright and the beautiful, so you manage to encourage all those creeps out of the digital woodwork.

So, how do you veto your own posts? What is OK to say and what “isn’t”? Here are some techniques myself and other bloggers use in order to use our right to free speech (and being more than a little opinionated).

  1. Disclaimers.

Whilst the world likes to claim a human right of free speech, that works both ways – people reading your blog have the right to say what they want. If you are not happy to be judged, add a simple disclaimer to your site – no need to make it stuffy, stick with short, sweet and slightly tongue in cheek.

Inviting debates.

The best colour for shoes may be the worlds hottest debate – and if you have something bright and controversial to say, it is worth giving the other bright and controversial readers of your blog a chance to say their bit right back. Invite debate – and let your faithful followers work it out themselves. This means you can be as controversial as you want!

Writing for others.

Now this is a provocative idea. The original purpose of blogging was to let us, the bloggers, have a voice. We used to write for us, and just for us. Viewers stumbled across our tortured whining, and stayed if they chose. Now though, I am willing to bet a big percentage of bloggers write for a commercial purpose. Not necessarily to make money, but to make hits and raise profile. For that reason, sometimes is it best to writ about what your readers want to her. Topical touchy subjects are great. Trends you hate can be hugely popular – be brave and write about them anyway!

Think!

Now, I am not saying that us bloggers don’t think – we are one fo the most intellectual and continually thinking groups out there. However, sometimes if you aren’t certain about how you audience will take you p[st, it is best to sit on it for 24 hours – and once you have a little distance, see if you still feel like posting it!

Be passionate.

Don’t avoid posting if you have a personal interest in the topic – it is likely that other bloggers will feel the same way. If something really gets your goat, it might be best for you to let people know – that old chestnut about “making a difference” really comes into play here! AsheMischief felt it was really controversial to post about the 9 year old blogger, but it was also an issue she thought needed to be addressed, whether she liked it or not.

Get over it.

You have something you really want to post, but now you are sitting on it for fear of putting of readers? It’s beautifully written, but not the most obvious of opinions? In this case, get over it. It’s great writing, it deserves to be out there – ignore you fear and be brave! Even if it comes back and bites you in the ass, at least you’ll know you bit the bullet and didn’t give in the unspoken peer pressure.

This is just a start – and you must remember that in the end what you write is your choice, and yours alone. No one has to read it after all – but now perhaps you can write about just what you want, without worrying so much about public response.

xox

Lauren from A Typical Atypical

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10 Responses

  1. Ashe Mischief

    Excellent, excellent post, dear! Sometimes the anonymity of the internet makes both bloggers and readers act in funny ways, that impact us in all to real ways. Sometimes controversy needs to be said, just to make people think about it, and all too often, I think we post something without realizing that it could be controversial.

    (And I still think that age + blogging is an ongoing issue that will need to be evaluated & reflected by the blogging community as a whole.)

    Reply
  2. dapper kid

    Fantastic post. I have seen some very articulate and educative bloggers come under anonymous (they never leave a name…I wonder why lol) attacks. I think that any opinion will always have someone to counter it, and the more a blog grows and its readership expands, you will no doubt get more people who disagree with you.

    Personally I enjoy the fact that blogs can cause a debate, provided the debate is to the point and everyone is polite. Blogs provide an instantaneous forum for debate and therein lies one its greatest powers. For me, I try to make sure that I am never negative in my posts – I post about collections and outfits that I like, and anything that annoys me or I dislike, simply does not garner the time or attention to be blogged about!

    Reply
  3. apricot tea.

    This was a great post! The “writing for others” & “get over it” parts really spoke to me.

    Thank you so much for writing about this.

    Reply
  4. Mel

    I love this post, another great souce of advice information. I’m a fashion blogger, but I’m also an english teacher and my kids have discovered my blog. I’m really stuck as to what to do, whether to carry on and risk more abusive comments off my pupils, or whether to lose the blog traffic i’ve already built up and change to a new blog. It’s really stressing me out. Any advice would be much appreciated. xx

    Reply
  5. Eyeliah

    Great post, you pretty much summed up how I feel. 🙂 I will definitely invite some more debates, good idea! Thanks.

    Reply
  6. MsUnreliable

    I feel like somewhat of a coward because my blog doesn’t allow anonymous comments…but at the same time, my blog is a lot of inspiration and not a lot of opinion, so if someone wants to disagree with me, they can just…not come to my blog 😀 Maybe a bit of debate is just what my blog needs to spice it up though…hmmm so much to ponder!

    Reply
  7. Alicia / InstantVintage

    Nice piece. There is truly a fine line between saying what you want and being wholly inconsiderate…I’ve had to pare down my use of gratuitous expletives…LOL.

    Great suggestions. =)

    Reply
  8. Marie Denee

    Very on point article here! I recently was at a road when I wrote my letter to the retail industry from the perspective of the plus size fashionista. As with every other post, I encourage feedback, so I was a bit nervous about this, but I did it nonetheless, in a professional and clever way!
    The feedback I received was very surprisingly positive! Maybe, because I voiced the concerns of my readers!….
    I do my best to stay true to me, all the while giving my perspective and thoughts through my blog!

    Reply
  9. Wendy E. Williams

    Timely advice for a beginning blogger, Lauren. “Get over it”…..must absorb this, must absorb this…..Not an easy prospect, as my sharp tongue has gotten me into plenty of trouble in my youth. As I have been tempered with the realities of life, at age 57, time to come out of my hiding place and join the gathering and share my love of fabrics, fashion, and how clothes affect us all. This is such a great site. I am listening and learning for now and will jump in further soon.
    Thanks to all you glorious creative people, you inspire me!
    Wendy in San Francisco

    Reply