We think that it’s OK to magnify what we perceive to be character flaws in bloggers in public, for all to see.
We think that because certain bloggers have achieved a level of success, they are now open to public criticism of their character (which is different from their ideas.)
I fear that we’re losing our sense of decorum and decency.
A blogger I respect greatly recently called out a couple of bloggers I also admire, and disagreed with them on his well-read blog. The first post was a disagreement with ideas. And this I can handle. He went point by point through a blog post another blogger had written, and explained why he disagreed with each point. This brings people’s thinking on the concept forward, so I can live with it (although if it were me, I would have been mortally embarrassed to be called out in such a public way on such a well-read blog.)
In a post later in the week, he attacked an A-List blogger’s character (calling him “snarky” when he responded to comments, and announcing to the world that he had unsubscribed.) This bothers me more, and here’s why.
- First, this A-List blogger puts a lot of heart and soul into every post he writes, and I have personally been GREATLY helped in my business by what this person puts out for free.
- Second, I worry when the blog community turns on itself. We are in the business of putting out ideas. And those ideas are open to discourse. When that discourse is respectful, we can all learn something. But when it turns personal, we are losing sight of ideas, and instead tearing down people.
I think we sometimes forget that whether you’re an A-lister or a D-lister, we’re all still people. People with feelings. Just because you’re successful, does that mean you should be attacked as a person? That’s certainly not the kind of environment I want to create for my kids.
As a blogger myself, I’ve been put down by people, and told I’m doing it all wrong. Fortunately for me, most of this has happened in private. It makes me feel awful whenever people do it, though, because this blog is a labor of love. I do it to help as many people as possible, while also building my business. If you put your heart and soul into something, with the intention of helping others, and then find yourself to be the recipient of personal attacks, how would that make you feel?
Bloggers who have achieved certain levels of success have learned a whole lot along the way. People who envy their position may criticize, but as they say, until you’ve walked a mile in another man’s shoes, don’t judge. That A-List blogger may know something you don’t.
I think the debate of ideas is a great thing. We can help each other learn and grow when we discuss ideas in a respectful way. I just disagreed with something Jay Baer wrote yesterday, and I told him so in the comments. We had a good discussion there.
But when we start slamming each other personally, we create a blogging environment that is destructive, and that squashes the very ideas we’re trying to promote in the first place.
I, for one, am calling for an end to the madness. Let’s remember what our parents told us. If you don’t have something nice to say (about someone’s character) then don’t say anything. Bloggers have feelings too.
Image Credit: Katie Tegtmeyer