Blogs are great forums for folks to share their true thoughts and feelings…but also easy opportunities to make enemies! Not too long ago, a local high school teacher got herself in trouble when she revealed her true feelings about some of her students. While she didn’t name names, she did levy some pretty serious put downs about kids in her school and as a result is no longer in the classroom.
Not too long ago, someone read my blog and took offense at something they thought I was saying. While I wasn’t saying what they thought I was saying, the truth is I left the door wide open by not being all that clear–leaving something unsaid when discussing a controversial topic can get you into trouble as well as what you do say.
For those of you who blog your feelings and opinions (isn’t that what blogs are for?) and/or comments on other people’s blogs…do you have any criteria by which you evaluate what you are willing to write?
Here are a couple of mine that I try to keep (though I admit I haven’t always done so):
1. Don’t write to instigate conflict just because you can. We academic types sometimes like to stir of “intellectual” controversy for the fun of it. This doesn’t meet the standard of saying only that which is constructive (Eph 4:29f) for others. Constructive doesn’t mean noncontroversial. But, I need to ask whether what I want to talk about is wholesome and for the benefit of those who listen. If not, I shouldn’t open my mouth.
2. Avoid gossip. This should be obvious. But, I also think it isn’t necessary to jump on public figures who screw up unless there is something I think we can all learn. For example, do we need to discuss the latest actor who is destroying his or her life with drugs? What benefit do we get by musing about the lurid details of the person’s life?
3. Re-read what you write from the perspective of those who might disagree with you. Did you accurately portray the opinions of others? For example, portraying Republicans as not caring a bit about the poor or Democrats as only interested in taxing you to death isn’t accurate.
4. Just because you think or feel it doesn’t make it worthy of sharing. One sign of narcissism is the willingness to share any and every thought or feeling. And yes, I realize I am incriminating myself since I write a blog.