The following is a re-post (archives!) from Wednesday, February 17th, 2010. Pretty sure it's still applicable.
While talking with a friend not long ago she told me of something that had recently happened in her life. While at home on a typical weekday, she had a knock at the door. She knew the person at the door, mainly from previous visits, though not too terribly well, and welcomed the visitor into her lovely home. And believe me, her home is lovely. The front room is like something out of a magazine. She takes great care in how she adorns the walls of her home, really puts her heart into working to create a spirit that is welcoming, inviting, comforting, and enjoyable. Though every detail of her design style isn’t necessarily what I would choose for my own home, it’s clear that each embellishment is something of great value to its owner.
The visitor stepped two feet inside my friend’s home and the door was closed behind them. My friend offered the visitor a place to sit, to relax and visit, to enjoy company and engage in conversation. The visitor refused and stood, arms folded, face scowled. My friend was confused, so she remained silent. That’s when the visitor unleashed; the criticisms alternated between yells and sharp whispers. The blasts were many and specific; starting with a detailed put-down of each and every item in her home, the aggression escalated until the visitor finished off with insults of my friend’s very character and being. Vowing to never return, the visitor did an about-face, and quickly opened the door, stomped out and slammed my friend’s door.
A few years ago, my brother and I were talking on the phone about the tone with which people sometimes make comments on blogs. Our conversation resulted in a discussion regarding The Responsibilities Of The Blog Reader.
Are you expecting a list here?
It’s really rather simple:
If you don’t like it, walk away.
I’ve done it, you’ve done it: You read a blog that somehow, for some reason, makes your blood boil. You disagree with the point being made, or you don’t believe that someone’s life could actually be as perfect as it is being portrayed. You become irritated. It’s understandable. What we choose to do next is where I make my point: If you don’t like it, walk away.
I’m not talking about when people write things that are (as far as you know) patently false. In fact, I think it’s a good idea to speak up, such as when someone might have said something incorrect about a topic close to your heart (religion is a prime example). Also, if someone has asked for their readers’ opinions in the comments section, it’s a great idea to make a comment and to be honest. This is where I make my next point: Be nice.
I don’t give this advice blindly; it’s something I’ve learned from personal experiences. There have been blogs that I’ve read and when I was finished reading I found myself feeling an almost rage at how ridiculous, not only the blog content was, but also my reaction to the situation. And so I’ve walked away. There are people who I know in real life (IRL? Is that how The Kids say it these days?) whose blogs I’ve stopped reading because I just couldn’t take the feelings I’d get after reading their posts. Often, blogs are – at whatever varying level of detail – a personal journal, and there are times when knowing someone on a more superficial level is the right path.
There have also been times when I’ve read a blog with incorrect information about something dear to me (religion is a prime example), or when the author has asked for honest advice/answers. Comments in these situations (and any, for that matter) can be made in a respectful manner. For a great example of this, please see this post I wrote last year, and check the comments for Caroline’s comments. Truly, top-notch and classy, civil discussion.
As always, I am Not The Boss Of You (unless I am), just trying to pass on a little wisdom so as to achieve my goal of World Peace Through Blogging.
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