Responsible to Who?
“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.
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.
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?