Thursday, September 2, 2010

Blogging the Controversial: Guidelines (for me)

Lately, I have read some really brazen controversial posts on a couple of blogs. First of all, let me say that neither of these bloggers are friends of mine personally and I highly doubt either of them have actually read my blog. These posts, however, along with one of the comments on my Walk the Line post, did get me thinking about the way I write when I blog about controversial issues.

I realized that I have some unwritten guidelines for myself and I thought I'd share them with you. I want to emphasize something here, and I think you'll see how this ties in with the whole post, but these are my PERSONAL guidelines for myself. I am not trying to insist that anyone should follow them are that this is the best way to do things. Like many things in life, blogging is both very communal and very, very personal. What one chooses for his or her blog- the direction it is to take, the scope of the blog, the level of transparency are all the blogger's decision. So to, is the writers approach to a given topic. I just want to share mine.

This blog is primarily a personal blog and it is a vehicle I use to express myself, formulate my own ideas, and analyze them FOR MYSELF. However, any public blog (in my opinion) carries with it the notion and hope that it will be read and appreciated by others. Which is why I try to consider others when I post, especially something of a sensitive nature.

Here is how I try to address controversial topics on my blog:

1) I try to convey an air of humility. I have done "controversial" posts on, (probably among other things) politics, morality, and the different choices that parents make in regards to their children. I am very quick to admit that I have a very, very limited scope of knowledge in all three of these areas. My participation in politics consists of following the news, doing research, conversing with others, and actively voting. My moral compass is based primarily on the Bible, but we all know I don't do the greatest job in reading it every single day. And my parenting expertise? It consists of a couple of books and approximately seventeen months of field study.

The opinions gained for the above experiences are mine, I am entitled to them, and I will not apologize for them. But I will also not pretend that I am the authority on these things or that my opinions is even always right.

2) Along those lines, I welcome civil discourse in regards to any post on this blog. I know that is not the road all bloggers chose to take, and that is fine, but it is something that works for me for two reasons. First of all, I feel like if you have given me the time and the graciousness of attempting to gain some understanding of my viewpoint, I owe you the same courtesy. Second, if I don't allow dissident comments, I personally miss out on a potentially edifying opportunity to further explore my position and the reason behind it.

3) I try not to make divisive statements. Obviously, I can't alleviate this completely, but I do try to. I don't want to say things like "If you are working outside the home, you are outside the will of God" or "If you chose not to breastfed your baby, you are selfish". I try to steer clear of that kind of thing for several reasons. For one thing, it is in direct opposition to guideline number one. Also, I feel like it's lazy writing. Is it the easiest way to convey my passion on the given topic? Probably, yes. Will it garner the most comments? Also, most likely, yes. But could it hurt others and even play into their insecurities? Yes. And I refuse to purposefully do that. In most cases, polarizing statements are just not profitable. It is worth it to use other techniques to engage people and share my opinions, even if the strength of that opinion is not successfully conveyed. There is a fine line between "watering down" a post and not being true to myself and caring enough for the people who read this to risk people thinking that is what I'm doing.

4) I haven't done this yet, but I am planning to start. I am going to begin praying over the controversial posts I write. I want the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart to be pleasing in His sight (Psalm 19:14).

In a nutshell, that's my approach to blogging the controversial!

1 comment:

Amy said...

love love love this!!! SO well written! i really admire you for being so honest on your blog, but never crossing "the line"