Are You a Blogging Warrior or Wimp?

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For the first time in a while, I’ve found myself wanting to cuss out certain bloggers.  As a rule, I try to keep Pushing Social out of the middle of self-serving or self-righteous controversy.  But I was sorely tempted to give a few trolls and Oatmeal a piece of my mind.

Even though as an African-American I know the price a society pays when good people stay silent, I decided to avoid the debate.  Unfortunately I know that most online dialogue is about pageview pimping not constructive dialogue.  In this environment I felt that I wouldn’t be effective.  Yet, you can see why I’ve been a little conflicted.

As I’ve thought about my responsibility to you, my beliefs, and society as a whole, the word “Courage” kept pushing to the front.  My friend, Mark Schaefer seeded the thought earlier that courage, taking action when you are afraid,  was key to blogging and I slowly began to wrap my head around his profound insight.

He’s right and it’s probably time you started thinking about what Courage means to you:

Time to Make an Omelette

“You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs” the saying goes.  Great blogs have a singular focus and a distinct perspective.  This means that their publishers often have to face-down idiots, trolls, and readers that disagree.

Bloggers willing to tackle controversy step outside the echo chamber and write about topics that incite heated discussion.  There is an echo chamber in advertising, social media, partisan politics, and other subjects because many bloggers enjoy the comfort of siding with the majority.

You’ll Drown in The Middle

Last weekend I ran in the Warrior Dash, 3.2 miles of trail running punctuated by obstacles designed to kill you.  After running 1.2 miles, over 200 people had to negotiate a lake crossing.  At two points in the lake, you had to clamber soaking wet over barriers.  Inexperienced Warriors  clumped in the center, fighting over one over to get on the platform before their exhausted legs refused to tread water any longer.  But some clever runners, realized that they could negotiate the obstacle easily by staying on the edges avoiding the pack.

After (barely) finishing the obstacle I chastised myself for running in the middle.  I knew better.  Avoiding controversy and sticking to the middle is a recipe for blogging irrelevance too.  Unless you are a debate moderator, there’s little reason to be balanced. The competition is too fierce. Bloggers need to pick a side, or create their own.

Readers are Attracted to Leaders

Every time I’ve taken a stand, this blog has attracted more followers.  I never had to be nasty, but I did need to be decisive.  The formula is simple – Fans follow leaders and leaders assert a clear position.  If you are struggling to gain a readership, check to see if you stand for something if not, you’ve found what you need to change.

The courage to be unpopular, provocative, and contrarian inspires readers.  Again, don’t be a jackass. Be respectful.  Keep an open mind.  But, don’t let the opposition confuse your civility for timidity.  Your forceful advocacy helps your readers clarify where they stand.  They will appreciate that you lead from the front.

Being Courageous

Unless you are Mitt Romney, Matt Drudge, or Arianna Huffington, you probably won’t need to fight for your beliefs all that often.  The discouraging thing about “civil discourse” is that the topics are becoming more trivial every day.

Plus, some subjects aren’t controversial.  I haven’t seen rose gardeners square off in some time.  But, look for opportunities to let your readers know your principles and point of view.  When you need to fight, bring your A-Game knowing that your readers are standing in your corner.

What do you think?

About Stan

Stan Smith is the Managing Director of Pushing Social a content marketing consultancy for aggressive, results-focused organizations.

9 thoughts on “Are You a Blogging Warrior or Wimp?

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  3. Stanford Post author

    The Oatmeal did a comic slamming Christianity. It was unfair, short-sighted, and offensive but it did its job. It pissed me off. But he has every right to say what he wants. Like I have the right to say he’s wrong and misguided.

  4. Brenda Clevenger

    Great post as usual but it leaves me wondering what Oatmeal did to get your blood boiling. Was the owner too self serving by stirring up controversy and bukoo linkbacks over the plagiarism lawsuit?

  5. Jenna B.

    Good thoughts. Walking in integrity isn’t easy, just like in life. Way to go, Stanford. Keep striving for excellence. I’m excited to stick around and see what happens.

  6. Trent Dyrsmid

    Yeah same here. I write content as honest as I could. I know I cannot please everybody. I’ve had critics in the comments. But this is me. What you read is what’s surely on my mind.

    But with this post it’s good to be pushed to take sides once in a while.

  7. Jeff Smith

    I do my best to make it very easy for those around me to decide if they’re going to like me or not. And when I blog, I try to make sure my readers know where I stand on a particular issue.

    But I find myself playing it a bit too safe on my blog, as I’m trying to help everyone, and not just the ones that are on ‘my side’ of a particular issue or practice.

    Maybe I too should take off the kid gloves…

    Great post!

  8. Chad Miller

    Stanford, you’ve kicked me in the teeth! I’ve been too safe on my blog, and I’ve known it.
    I’m encouraged and challenged by this post to begin expressing my convictions and beleifs regarding leadership in the family and workplace.
    Time to get out of the middle of the pack. Thanks!

  9. Mustafa Khundmiri

    This topic really makes sense Stanford. Thanks for bringing it up.

    Being a blogger today requires you to exceed your own expectations and raise the bar high with each post. It’s not just about writing content, but you need to share ideas that position you as a leader.

    Your readers will love you for taking a stand. But then, it’s not easy. Not every blogger is ready to take on the challenge. Which is exactly why we need more of such posts – to encourage, motivate and push us to take action :)

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