NoMoreTomorrows

Surviving is not Living

Responsible to Who?

with 5 comments

“You can please all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot please all the people all the time.”

(Quote attributed to being a variation of Abraham Lincoln’s original quote)

Being a public person seems like it’s a tight rope to walk. Everybody has an opinion, as I’m sure you’re familiar with that popular quote as well. I’m not that public and not that popular, but I do have narcissistic, self-aggrandizing aspirations to be important and popular. Because I saw another post today where the blogger wrote something and then got jumped all over for it, it made me think about responsibility when you’re a public person.

Caitlin’s post today, “10 Personal Questions, Part III” is a giveaway for her readers. In that she admitted to cheating in college and getting an A. Because she received backlash over it, she chose to edit it. Then she received more backlash about lying and about deleting the earlier comment for a new one. It just seems like she can’t win no matter what she does. This is where you refer to my quote at the beginning of this post.

Jen spoke about birth control once, asking opinions when she was considering changing her type of birth control. She received a comment calling into question her faith and her lifestyle.

I have seen it happen in every blog I regularly visit. A reader (or readers) decides it’s their duty to call out the blogger. Now, it is NOT my intention to say a reader should never disagree with a blogger. Absolutely disagree. I don’t think it’s wrong that readers responded to Caitlin by questioning her decision to put her cheating out there as she did. They said the comment seemed flippant. That is their right to say what they observed and the manner in which they interpreted it. What I don’t agree with, is when readers revert to a public flogging, when the comment is not stated respectfully or with kindness and instead seems to bring the blogger before us to stand trial and defend themselves. That is sad to me. But it happens. A lot.

It makes me think about my responsibility on this blog. Do I have a responsibility to be careful what I post in regards to weight loss so that it does not trigger someone with an eating disorder? Do I have a responsibility to not post my authentic opinion about something so as to not offend someone? Do I have a responsibility to post for my readers as opposed to posting for myself?

The conclusion I have come to is this: my responsibility is to myself and myself only.

Now, before anybody jumps on that to say I don’t care about my current and (hopefully) future readership, let me explain.

I blog because I like getting my thoughts out there, because it will help me track my life’s journey with weightloss and more, and because I have a passion for helping others and I believe that I am capable of helping others change their lives. I enjoy blogging and if it was only for me, I’d keep it private. I publish it because I DO want readers, and I DO care about my readership. But I say that I am only responsible to myself because if I operate that way I believe I will continue to keep my readership in mind.

Putting myself first means I’ll post in a way that will keep readers and not push people away. It means I do and will continue to, put things under a microscope to make sure I’m posting what is true and writing in a way to where my words have the least possibility of being misunderstood. I received a comment once in response to my statement on keeping my kids out of public school in my post “Too Extreme?” The reader felt I had been harsh in making that statement. I don’t feel my intention was to come off that way at all.

At the end of the day, my only responsibility to my readers is honesty. If I were to reach my goal weight by a pill or a surgery and then tell you I used no alternative method but eating right and working out, then I have done wrong by you. I pledge to you, my reader that anything you read from me will be completely honest and authentic. I want you to get a glimpse of who I really am by being a reader. I will apologize for what I have said that hurt others when I did not intend to, and I will welcome questions and criticism. I will hold myself responsible to maintaining the kindness and compassion on here that I attempt to live by in my non-blog life. But I will also demand respect from my readers, to me and to other readers. I will also stand by the fact that this is my blog, and that I hold all rights and responsibilities to my work. When I feel strongly enough about something, I won’t apologize for it. There are hills worth dying on, and things worth standing for without retreat. But I will walk that tight rope the best I know how to. And I hope my readership will always know my true intentions and will read my words with that understanding.

Check out these other blog posts on blogger responsibility.

Struggling with blogger responsibility

Diary of a Stay at Home Writer: The Real Freedom of Speech

Two Cents

What are your thoughts?

To what extent do you believe bloggers have a responsibility to their readers?

And to what extent should readers simply exercise their right to not read a blog whose writer they’re not thrilled with?

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Written by No More Tomorrows

September 29, 2011 at 1:24 pm

5 Responses

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  1. this blog is worded PERFECTLY…i agree with you, your blog should be for you…honest and straight-forward, but not so as to offend anyone…i’m a recovering anoretic and personally, am not offended by your posts. your blog is great and i will continue to follow! :)

    Trista

    September 30, 2011 at 4:31 am

    • Thank you for your support! I don’t post as much as others about my eating and working out but those that do are usually the ones that get criticism about triggering disordered eating in others. I can understand that thought but we have the freedom as readers to not read those blogs that trigger us in some way.

      No More Tomorrows

      September 30, 2011 at 7:20 am

      • so true…i hopethat you continue to write what’s in your heart and exactly what you feel…and i hope that you’ll stop by or follow my blog as well :) happy blogging.

        Trista

        October 1, 2011 at 9:09 am

  2. I am very proud of this post. Thank you. Holy moly huh? I went back to the post today to check on my comment, (which was about a dog…totally unrelated) and was floored. I won’t comment on how I felt about some of the comments…but I DO love your post here!

    I came under SERIOUS fire on a post, a 2-parter, I wrote about my adoption. http://cueyourlife.com/adoption/

    It wasn’t in comment form, thankfully..I’m new to blogging and would have probably cried at my desk if I had to deal with comments like sweet Caitlin did yesterday. I got some emails, mostly positive…but it was actually Mom CYL that freaked out about it. It turned out to be a good thing…taught me how to stand up for myself, my writing and my rights, and we worked out our differences. (Basically, it taught me to say…”I’m sorry for offending you, but, this is NOT about you. This is about me and my life and whatever anyone chooses to believe is simply their choice. I hope that people know me well enough to see that I would not purposefully do harm…but if they choose to form an opinion BEFORE talking to me, I cannot control their attitude.)

    I’ve come under SERIOUS fire before too…in my life…when I decided to divorce my husband. (for cheating on me with another married woman for months, who ended up pregnant) It was a really tough time, but I can honestly say I’m glad it happened because I learned A TON about people, “friends”, family and religion. I am the strong person I am today, because I had to deal with all of that.

    Responsibility to readers is a tough thing…especially in this situation. Bloggers almost always say they have no expertise and that they are simply enthusiasts who want to share. I don’t find that there’s much responsibility to readers in that situation, other than to be honest to yourself and share your loves. Truth is only what the writer believes is true. I’ve heard before that ANY artist’s greatest struggle is the fact that once their work is published (or shown, etc) the artist loses all control over how it is interpreted. Think about poetry or paintings. It’s really quite the pickle…because it is both the amazing AND scary thing about being an artist!

    Anyhoo…I can ramble…sorry!
    .
    Thanks again for the post.

    Jamie

    September 30, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    • I am queen of rambling, so it’s okay. Thank you so much for your input. I think the key in all of it is to know who we are, as people, so that if someone lashes out at us about what we’ve said (maliciously, not just as a friendly correction) that we can take it and let it go, and not hold on to it. I’m still learning that. It’s not easy.

      No More Tomorrows

      September 30, 2011 at 12:53 pm


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