Gareth via Compfight
This post has been in my head for some time now, but I haven’t quite been ready to write it. After this weekend’s events, though, I’d say it’s time.
Event #1: Stacy of Stacy Makes Cents posts to her Facebook page, “I support Chick-Fil-A.” Nothing more and nothing less. And she’s roundly SLAMMED by people who yell at her, swear at her, tell her she has no right to post her political opinions, and so on. These people who are ironically calling for ‘tolerance’ and ‘respect’ for all, have shown no respect or tolerance for Stacy, with whom they have a difference of opinion.
Event #2: I alert my fans to this incredible injustice and encourage them to go over and show her some love. Agree or disagree, but do it respectfully, is my point. And by some, I’m slammed, and told I shouldn’t post my political opinions and I’m clearly biased.
Well, I have news for you: Everyone’s biased. Get used to it.
Bloggers are People, Too
This blog, and all things related to it (my Facebook page, my Twitter account, my Pinterest, etc.) are my work. They are my job. I approach them professionally, but I don’t stop being an individual person with my own thoughts, feelings, and opinions when I come here. In fact, part of the point of a blog is to, you know, share my life (which includes events, thoughts, feelings, and opinions) with my readers. Not everyone will agree with me on every point and some will disagree with me on most points — and maybe this isn’t the right place for them. That’s cool, no hard feelings. You won’t like everyone you meet.
But you know what? Work or not, this is space is still mine. It’s mine to share who I am and what I do. Sometimes I’m going to say things that you may not agree with. This is true of all bloggers. They all are people, with real thoughts, feelings, and opinions. They have the perfect right to share them with you, whether or not the topic on their mind is the “usual” subject of the blog. And when they share something you don’t like, you have the right to:
- Ignore or hide the post
- Unsubscribe from their feed or Facebook page
- Share a different opinion in a respectful manner (i.e. “I disagree with you because…”)
These are all cool. Maybe you just can’t stand to read a particular post — so don’t. Maybe the blog wasn’t what you thought — unsubscribe. Or maybe this issue just kind of bugs you and you need to share in the discussion and bring light to an alternative perspective. I love when my readers share other ideas and perspectives with me! It helps me to have understanding of others and more compassion for them too. I really enjoy respectful debate.
However, if you see something you don’t like, you do not have the right to:
- Yell at, swear at, or insult the blogger
- Threaten repeatedly to unsubscribe, but hang around and passively-aggressively continue to insult them
- Tell them they don’t have a right to their opinion or that they shouldn’t talk about “that subject”
- Accuse them of being mean or biased (unless, for some reason, they actually were mean — in which case it’s cool to say “I felt like what you said there was a little too harsh,” but NOT cool to say “You’re just a nasty rude b****!”)
On that last point, there have been a couple of times I got a little too passionate and said something in a less-respectful manner than I should have, and a reader called me on it gently. And I apologized to them and corrected what I said. There’s no problem with saying, “I felt that was disrespectful,” or “I feel offended by that.” Most bloggers never want to come off that way and appreciate the respectful feedback! But that’s totally different than getting angry and engaging in name-calling.
Bottom line? Bloggers are people. They have opinions, you won’t always agree. But they have the right to share them, especially in their own space.
I Define My Space
Being a blogger is awesome because I’m the boss! I get to make all the decisions about content, advertisers, layout, and so on and so forth. Sometimes it’s a burden to have to wear so many hats. Mostly it’s fun.
But part of that is that I define what goes in my space. Whatever’s happening in my life or what is on my mind is usually what goes in my space. I have a habit of posting on Facebook when an issue gets me riled up. I like to talk about whatever it is with my readers.
I reserve the right to say what I want (respectfully) and to change the definition of my space as my life changes. I’m committed always to bringing you a natural, alternative lifestyle with a respectful tone. But exactly what I say or what subjects I discuss may change over time. If the blog changes to something that doesn’t suit you — there’s an unsubscribe button. That’s fine.
Readers, however, do not define a blogger’s space. Readers come to the blog accepting it for it is, and accepting the blogger for who s/he is. If the readers don’t like what they find, they are welcome to go elsewhere. They are not welcome to try to force the blogger to change.
We’re All Biased
The comment about being biased kind of got to me. It’s like the person thought that somehow I’m incredibly, irrationally biased, but s/he was not. That’s…junk.
All people are biased.
We all have grown up and had specific experiences and have come to have our own worldviews. Everything that happens to us is filtered through that worldview. Many (most) people are unable to separate their feelings, which are based on their worldview, from “reality.” This is especially true if a belief is deeply-held or if a conviction has come about through a powerful experience.
There is nothing wrong with this. This is simply how everyone sees the world. Understanding that everyone is biased actually can lead to increased compassion. When a reader shares a powerful life experience with us, and then goes on to insist upon a viewpoint I disagree with, I will continue to disagree…but I will have strong compassion for the reader, and understand why s/he feels the way s/he does.
Insisting that somehow, you are not biased and just some other people are is silly. We are all biased. It’s just the way life is! So if the blog you are reading just doesn’t suit your worldview, no one’s forcing you to read it!
I Love My Readers
The vast, vast majority of the time, I love my readers. I love talking to them about many different subjects. I love learning new things from them. I love the generally respectful and awesome nature of my community. I love how helpful and knowledgeable my readers are. I just really enjoy the positive, happy nature.
Even though I felt called to write this post because of a few incidents, never think that isn’t true. My blog lives and dies with the community I’ve built. I need every one of you who feels called to keep reading in order to keep my blog going!
And I fully respect that many of you have at least one major area in which you disagree with me. I love that I have a diverse community! We come together to celebrate the areas in which we do agree, in which we can help each other, and we learn to overlook the ones where we don’t. We don’t need to agree on everything and we can quietly agree to disagree on certain subjects. I love the amazing maturity present in many of my followers!
So, just remember. Bloggers are people too. Follow us, learn from us, enjoy the areas in which we are the same. Respectfully disagree or just ignore the issues where we don’t agree. There will be times! And that’s okay.
How do you feel about the bloggers you follow? Is it hard to remember they’re “just people?”
**Note: This is NOT a debate about the Chick-Fil-A situation. We’ve discussed it, and it’s over. Stand where you will, respect those who feel differently. This post, however, is about remembering bloggers are people and that it’s important to show them — and other readers — respect. Please keep your comments to that subject. Comments that are just about Chick-Fil-A will be deleted.**
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