opinions welcomed…maybe

Something that transpired recently got me thinking about blogs.

The content of a recent blog post written by a real-world and social media-world friend of mine introduced a new service. The service was developed by someone we both knew, and it offered a new angle on an existing business model via a small fee.

My very brief, civil and what I considered innocuous comment on the post questioned the need for a service similar to existing ones. I signed off with hope for good fortune on the project.

My comment, the service developer later advised me via phone, was considered negative, hurtful and detrimental to the service developer. I offered an apology for the comment’s evident lack of clarity. I offered to amend my comment on the blog because its objective was not to do any of those bad things. It merely accurately stated my thought: ‘why did we need another similar service?’.

The offer to amend the post was negated when the developer advised the comment had already been removed by the blogger at the developer’s request.

Later in the day, when my blogger friend called me, I told him that I had no problem with the comment’s deletion because the blog is owned by the blogger – not the community. I refer to it proudly on this blog as “my house, my rules.”

But what, if anything, is to be learned by all this goofy drama that I stirred up? Well, a couple of things for me. Maybe some of these things apply to you as well.

My opinions and the words I express them with are all mine and that won’t change. But in certain communities, it seems my opinions (whether respected or derided) have more impact or weight (I’m not sure which) than I may realize and I need to be aware of that. And to be clear – that’s meant with humility.

Speaking of clarity, spending a little time clarifying a point in such comments might be a consideration. If I don’t feel like clarifying it, maybe it isn’t worth making a comment. Hmmm, it doesn’t seem like anything good can come from that kind of thinking, but we’ll see.

Feelings come into play here too (don’t they always). When people have a passion for something they’ve created and someone questions it (innocuous or not) – it’s like one is calling the other’s dog “ugly”. While it’s not meant to be personal sometimes the transmission feels that way to the receiver. It’s discourse, though, and sometimes that can be disagreeable, no getting around it; just keep it polite, I guess.

Lastly, and this one is a question I’ve yet to answer – whether we are writing or being written about on a blog, shouldn’t we come to expect by the very nature of the tool we are using the possibility of a differing opinion? Among the “atta boys” shouldn’t we anticipate the occasional, civil “um, wait a minute”? Shouldn’t we welcome it?

Otherwise, what’s the point of a blog?

2 Responses to “opinions welcomed…maybe”

  1. Peter, it sounds like the developer passed on a great opportunity: to explain to readers why, indeed, another such service is necessary. Maybe your comment made them think about it for the first time and realise – gee – maybe we really don’t need it.

    It’s easy to sit in one’s cave writing away and forget that somebody might actually read this and have an opinion about it. I’m sure you are always polite and gentlemanly when you comment. The more compelling message here is, if you put your thoughts out on the intarwebz, be prepared for other people’s opinions. If you can’t take the heat, get out of the blogosphere.

  2. I think so but I also think as Dave pointed out to me in a helpful way, that may be it’s part of a learning curve and as evidenced by my post…it’s a learning curve for me as well.

    If we’re smart, it’s a unending learning curve for everyone.

    Best always,
    – Peter