How to Handle Delicate Situations with Bloggers

Image by Rugosa Rosa

 

As a fashion blogger, I often find inspiration in our community and its members– the discussions we have, the questions we ask, and the ideas we share.  As a writer for IFB, I often find those topics worthy of a larger discussion within the community.  Sometimes they're a bit controversial and I love to read the reactions of our members.  Other times I may be uncertain or confused about my own feelings.  IFB, and our blogs, can be a great resource for talking and communicating.

 

What do you do though, when someone takes offense at what you may be saying? Maybe you don't mention them by name, but discuss an activity you didn't know they participate in.  Maybe you reference a project they are working on, with the goal of opening up a greater discussion of the benefits and setbacks of those kinds of engagements.  And someone's feelings get hurt.  It could be a blogger who you greatly admire and respect.  It could be a blogger you've never had any interactions with, or it could be one you're vaguely familiar with.

 

Regardless of who they are, communication broke down and you should both respond in the best possible way.  Afterall, your goal isn't to alienate or isolate bloggers, but to welcome them in to the discourse.

 

How to Soften the Blow

There are ways to handle this situation– both before you've posted the article and afterwards (in the event of unexpected fallout):

  • Talk to the source first– explain to them the discussion you want to have, the ideas/questions/opinions you had, and what their thoughts are on it.
  • Refer to the original inspiration/blogger and their ideas in a positive light.
  • If someone is the inspiration for something, and they feel it is negatively reflected on them, be sure to point out positive features of them & their ideas.
  • Invite them to participate in the discussion and share their viewpoints!  Quotes and interviews can be an amazing addition to a post, and providing the readers with more to think about and discuss is never a bad thing.
  • Make it clear that your opinions are expressly yours and not the blogger in question (unless that blogger DOES share your same opinion!).
  • Acknowledge their feelings and let them know you genuinely do understand and care about their viewpoints.  Ask follow up questions if you're concerned you've been misinterpreted yourself.  Point out the value in what they are saying.
  • Above all, in all aspects and components, be genuine, sincere, and nonjudgmental.

 

Blogging is a very small, very tight knit community.  No one wants to be mocked, made fun of, misinterpreted, or misunderstood, especially given the time, energy, and efforts we are all putting in to our sites.   At the same time, there are great discussions to be had in the community and oftentimes they can't be had without people putting aside their insecurities to open up the topic to a greater audience.

 

How do you handle delicate situations with your fellow bloggers?

 


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10 Responses

  1. Annimal

    I totally offended a blogger I admire my first few weeks blogging and was horrified! I did a post about preserving vintage clothing and thinking before you chop it up and said blogger wrote a rebuttal post the next day that she can do whatever she wants to her vintage clothing! I was surprised it blew up in my face but other bloggers supported my preservationist view also. And before the month was over the offended blogger started commenting postitively on my blog and even followed! So I guess she agreed to disagree! It was rough though, thanks for sharing your thoughts on a touchy subject!!

    Reply
  2. Madeleine Gallay

    Recently the John Galliano issue became very divisive with some people (me) feeling that his need for help was genuine and not believing for a minute that he has a mean racist unattractive bone in his body. Others, understandably, were so shocked and devastated at the nature of his slurred anti-semitic, Hitler-loving remarks that the decision to shun him was clear.

    It stretched our ability to have a conversation that was so fraught with emotion and some bloggers that violently disagreed with me became people that I genuinely care about at this point. I don’t know if anyone’s beliefs have moderated – mine have not at all. But there were only a few who resorted to crude hateful remarks to me and most had a rich dialogue.

    There is no need to put up with vulgar or rude and I deleted those. The rest .. we had lengthy conversations and that was s good thing.

    As to John, I believe he needed help desperately and that destroying his life was the only option. Rock bottom.

    Reply
  3. Allie

    I think a lot of bloggers have too thin of skin. When you choose to put yourself out there on the Internet, you HAVE to know that not everyone is going to agree with you or love you. It’s just a fact of life.

    I have been seeing a lot of bloggers freak out when someone critiques their fashion, their blogger community activity, etc. As a person in the public arena (no matter how large your blog, you are making yourself a public figure by having a public blog), you need to learn how to choose which voices you want to hear.

    Sometimes the criticism could be constructive, helpful feedback. Sometimes it’s just mean-spirited and should be ignored. Sometimes it’s a good idea to share the critique with another blogger or friend and see if maybe you are just being uber sensitive and taking it far too personally.

    I have offended other bloggers purely by accident. It is usually because I took things out of context and/or they responded taking something far too personally. It’s always about miscommunication, and like your great comment, the best advice is to go straight to the source before using a blog as a platform for critique. 🙂

    Reply
  4. Rhoda

    Nice points there. People will always have issue no matter what you do as we are humans. It’s nice to know that people like your work, however that is not alwyays going to happen. Both parties involved should sort it out. I htink as bloggers we could definitely use these tips. Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

    Reply
  5. Fabienne Jach

    I think that’s sound advice for any type of conflict. People put up their defenses because they feel attacked and it escalates from there. It doesn’t need to. It also doesn’t hurt to think about what’s really at the core of your tension, often it can be something deeper that loses its energy upon acknowledgment.

    These are great tips, Ashe, I’m proud to belong in a community which exercises such integrity.
    🙂 f

    Reply
  6. Kylie

    I think being genuine and sincere is what it all boils down too. The fact that we all have different views it what makes blogging useful.. and interesting. Thanks for this post, this needed to be discussed~! xo

    Reply
  7. Heather Fonseca

    I try very hard to always stay positive. If I can’t think of anything nice to say I just don’t say anything. I certainly don’t WRITE down anything unpleasant. It’s just not needed. There’s enough stress in life as it is.

    Hopefully that will keep me from finding myself in any uncomfortable situations with other bloggers!

    Love,
    Heather

    Reply
  8. Shannon

    I agree with everything has been saying. I think part of having a blog is putting ourselves out there and some people might not always agree with what we say. I think an oppinion wirtten during a post and an oppinion commenting negatively on someone else’s blog are two different things. I think as bloggers we should be allowed to post about anything we wish and If other bloggers don’t agree with our comments that’s fine to each their own! I wouldn’t go around starting comment fights though! happy blogging loved this post!

    Reply