I’ve learned many things in life. Over the course of 40+ years you hope that you have and you hope that you continue to do so. One of the things I have learned though, sadly, is that common sense is not always so common. What one assumes is a basic truth may not be seen as one by all. This became glaringly obvious to me the other night as I was scrolling through Facebook. I felt the need to share this story with you and then it hit me, that perhaps we all needed a reminder of what I deem the cardinal rule of blogging (and life in general).
Let me give you a bit more background. As I said, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed. I am not a huge fan of Facebook in general but I do love it for the blogging groups that I belong to. A post in one of the blogging/business owner groups I belong to (not one mentioned in my Facebook Groups for Bloggers post) caught my eye. I read it. I reread it and then I immediately got a pit in my stomach. Here I was in a professional blogging/business owners group and a member had mentioned the group’s owner, a negative comment the owner had stated previously, and a rude comment about another blogger’s blog design (which the group owner had previously stated). To make matters worse, the owner of the group “liked” the comment and others had chimed in. I was shocked, disgusted, and sickened. I closed my app and tried to put it out of my head. I was so bothered and disturbed by this that I went back an hour later, reading it again, thinking to myself, “Surely grown women wouldn’t be acting like this or saying this. I must have read it wrong.” Nope. The post was still there in its entirety with a few more likes and comments sadly. I went to bed and stewed about it.
I got up the next morning. Checked the group again, saw it still there and left there for all members to see. I screenshot the post and started emailing the group owner and blogger. I stopped. I instead left the group and unsubscribed from the woman’s emails and newsletters. I could have written her an explanation of why I was doing so but felt that someone with that little business professionalism was not worth my time. So instead I am taking to my blog to share my thoughts.
The Cardinal Rule of Blogging
Ready for it? It shouldn’t be a huge surprise nor should it blow your mind. It’s a concept we should all be familiar with.
The blogosphere is huge. It’s big enough for all us. Do we all have to agree with one’s choices of content, design, monetization, or comments? Not at all. Quite honestly that’s what makes blogging so amazing. We are exposed to views that differ from our own. We see our blogs as a reflection of ourselves and in turn fellow bloggers’ blogs represent their likes and personalities. A controversial topic, when written well, allows for a dialogue where people of different views can express their thoughts and opinions in a professional manner. You may not see eye to eye yet kindness and professionalism keep you both in line, so to speak.
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In creating a community around your blog you want to create a space where your readers know that their thoughts and opinions, though possibly different from yours, will still be honored and respected. When you foster a breeding ground where people are bashing others and you allow it, or even worse yet, join in, you are just as guilty in my opinion.
The Effects of Being Unkind
Loss of Readers
Let’s face it. Lots of blogging content is recycled daily. Want to know how to use the latest and greatest blogging tool or platform? Google it. I’m quite certain you will find a hefty number of bloggers with tutorials. All that to say, we as bloggers are disposable. Our readers can get information just as readily from the next blogger. What keeps our readers coming back to us is our presentation of said information and the relationship we build with our readers. By going the extra mile and being kind you establish a trust and a reputation.
Loss of Income
All those courses, ebooks, and workshops you’re selling? Word gets out that you’re rude and bashing others and watch your income decrease. I will in no way support someone that puts others down as a means of making themselves feel better.
Loss of Respect
Those that are offering to help others grow their blogs and their businesses yet are rude to others makes me question how they got so far. It makes me wonder about their professionalism, their honesty, and their integrity. If they are so willingly bashing others in an open forum I can not imagine what is being said in private messages, texts, and emails.
How Can We Stop This?
Simply. Create a space where others feel welcomed. Create a space where opinions are valued even if they differ from yours. Encourage your fellow bloggers. Go the extra mile. Lend a helping hand to someone starting out as a new blogger. You were there once before yourself. Are you a member of Facebook groups? See someone struggling with something? Can you help? Offer them some tips, and/or kind words. Avoid people that do not value kindness. Do not support their blogs or businesses.
It’s not that difficult.
JUST BE KIND
Surround yourself with those that value kindness. That saying “guilt by association” does hold true in my opinion. By supporting those that treat others poorly you are saying that it is ok with you as well. Whatever you do, don’t be that person that puts others down to make yourself feel better. Ever.
Have you run into rudeness in the blogging world? How did you handle it?