Monday, January 30, 2006

12 Steps to Fearless Blogging

How to blog without fear is an acquired skill, and may require frequent blog and online forum debate. I have a recent friendly blog debate example for you to assess, if you care to.

You state a fact, theory, or opinion in your blog. Then someone posts a comment, a question, criticism, or complaint. Let's say it was a very harsh statement, that may even alarm you, or hurt your feelings.

What do you do?

You reply promptly, as nicely as possible. Hopefully, you refrain from using vulgar, filthy, or crazy speech. But you must be more than just polite and friendly. You must also be firm, bold, and aggressive. Especially if the criticism is foolish or betrays an underlying hatred of blogs or free expression.

When I say "blog", in this article I refer to:

(A) writing posts on your blog

(B) answering comments on your blog

(C) posting comments at other blogs.

How To Blog
Without Fear

(1) Beneficial: discuss and debate only those issues that are really useful to people, related to ethics, or concerned with effective methods ("best practices").

(2) Authoritative: make sure you've done your homework and know what you're talking about.

(3) Polite: try to be a lady or gentleman. Don't use vulgar, filthy, hateful, or crazy speech.

(4) Bold: state things as firmly as possible, so there is no mistaking your viewpoint.

(5) Supportive: defend your mentors, role models, allies, friends, and more importantly: Truth, Integrity, Human Dignity.

(6) Smart: become an expert in some area, even if it's a tiny specialty nobody cares or knows much about. Be increasingly knowledgable, growing in wisdom and experience daily.

(7) Armed and Dangerous: have your facts ready, including quotes from respected experts, both print books and online sources. Include the post URL or page number of the book.

(8) Revise to Perfection: write your reply, then, prior to clicking "Submit" or "Say It", sit there. Stare at your text. Ask, "Is this too angry, bitter, hysterical? is it just an emotional reaction, without substance? Is this what I really want the whole world to see?" (I often delete or radically change my first bursts of writing, not to soften, but to make the statements sound more intelligent and professional, when necessary.)

(9) Question Your Motivation: are you getting upset just to save face, to try to defend yourself to a bunch of dopes? Are you really in the right? Are you making a personal attack that you may regret later? Why are you even spending time in this debate? Are you trying to educate?

(10) Delete, Shorten, Improve: it may sound redundant, but be sure to finely craft your response. It may be quoted all over the internet, or in a book like Naked Conversations by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel. Your words may be shot back to you in a job interview, when the prospective employer Googles your name or blog title.

(11) Copy Before Submitting: always use your Edit function of your browser to Copy your comment at another's blog, then you can Paste it in your own blog, as the nucleus of a new post. Or, if something goes wrong in the submit process, you won't lose that brilliant text you worked so hard on. You can Paste it back into the comment form and try to submit again.

(12) Aggressive: your attackers, or friendly debate opponents, will probably be highly polished, intelligent, or have great writing and debate skills. If you appear uncertain, ill-informed, over-emotional, or weak, they will bury you and the whole world will laugh at you.

[signed] steven edward streight aka vaspers the grate

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