Attracting Controversy – What I Have Learnt?

In my career as a dietitian reflection is a key component of the job. Looking back over a situation, analysing it and thinking about what you have learnt and what you would do better next time. To be honest, a lot of us probably do it generally in life on a day to day basis. So why not with blogging?

I had my first experience of the not so nice side of blogging last week over a recent blog post. I wouldn’t say I was trolled as such but just was on the receiving end of some not so nice comments over social media.

I had made a little decision about the direction of my blog and what I wanted to write about recently. The gremlin is off to school soon and I was worried about writing too much on the specifics of her life anymore. I didn’t want every detail about her antics online; she may not want everyone reading this. I made the decision to write differently, my opinions perhaps and general stuff and humour about parenting.

Opinion however, can equal controversy and this can equal nastiness, especially online.

I thought for my self and possibly for others going down more of a controversial route, I would have a think about writing about what I have learnt as a blogger. Would I do anything differently next time? I’m not sure there will be a next time but hey!!

Learning Points

– Firstly, no matter how hard you try, not everyone will get what you are writing about. You could be talking about the new red car you have bought and someone will call you out and say it’s blue. You may think you have been neutral and balanced but not everyone will see this. Be prepared for backlash.

– People will not even bother to read the post properly; they may read the headline only, the first paragraph and make a snap judgement. I even thought some commenters may have just gone from previous comments on social media and not the post itself! Many bloggers came to me confused to what the issue was with my post; they couldn’t see it. I guessed they were either a) being kind and supportive or b) they had ACTUALLY read it properly, as true writers, bloggers can be good readers too!

– If it gets shared by any big blogging networks, be prepared for them to try and ensure it is read and interacted with as much as possible. Everyone loves some good click bait and if it means using the most inflammatory parts of the post to entice people, so be it! I’m not really moaning about this; as bloggers we all do it to get the reads BUT when you don’t architect this, it can be a little overwhelming!!

– Social media is a good way to hide behind a keyboard and be quite mean. It’s quick and easy. I know this as I did not get barely any negativity on my blog itself. To read the post, fill in your email and make a blog comment takes time, effort and proper reading of your post.

– Haters are gonna hate! Some people are just horrid and out to be nasty over anything!!

– Do not bother replying to the negative comments. I replied to one positive and then stopped. I steered well clear after, as my husband informed me it wasn’t pretty. If you know you will get upset being criticised, this is vital. It was hard at first but I managed it and am very glad.

– If you are lucky you will get some good blog stats. I had my best day of blog traffic ever that day with over 3k page views (this may not seem a lot to some) but was massive for me. This definitely makes up for any negativity. I also had a few more new followers too, so some must have agreed with the post.

Next Time?

If there is a next time and I dare to write about anything potentially controversial again would I do anything differently?

– Triple check the spelling and grammar. I had an error and of course this was picked up on. It seemed a bigger deal than the content of the post.

– Ask blogging buds, family or friends to have a read of the post if you feel nervous. I didn’t do this, perhaps I should have done. One of my very loyal blog friends told me one the lines in it was definitely inflammatory but that was it really. Perhaps she should have read it first?!

– Make a decision to if you really want it shared. I tweeted a large blogging community and it was shared twice over and I have no clue where else. This was the catalyst for the negativity. If you are scared to let more of the general public see it and get involved, don’t try and get it shared!

– Steer clear of the negative comments on social media for the get go. If you know you are not going to respond, there isn’t much point reading it and getting bothered. Look for the positive.

I found writing this pretty cathartic and useful. Although, I wasn’t in floods of tears in a heap last Friday, I have to admit I was a little taken about with all the negativity one post received.

But, like everything, I’ve learnt from it and if there is a next time, I’ll be ready!!