Treat our blogs like our breakfast tables

Trent Walton on Blogs

“There’s something sacred about reading a blog post on someone else’s site. It’s like visiting a friend’s house for a quick meal ’round the breakfast table. It’s personal — you’re in their space, and the environment is uniquely suited for idea exchange and uninterrupted conversation. In many ways, we should be treating our blogs like our breakfast tables. Be welcoming & gracious when you host, and kind & respectful when visiting.” – Trent Walton

(Source, Via SwissMiss)

A few days ago, a topic that stirred up a slew of interesting comments from Filipino bloggers in a group over at Facebook (of which I’m a member of) was about commenting on other people’s blogs. The OP (original poster) suggested that bloggers speak out their mind when commenting on issues and topics they feel strongly about “even if it negates point by point (sic) the author of the blog post.”

I see the OP’s point. Contradicting opinions make for a healthy discussion. Wouldn’t life be boring if we all agreed with each other?

But this is a tricky thing, especially in view of the Internet’s commenting culture. Discussions can easily and quickly turn from genial and polite to rude and blistering in a snap of a finger. If you see it happen often in meetings and public places, how much more in the online world where a blogger or a commenter does not have to contend with the restrictions of a personal confrontation?

The Yahoo news site is a perfect example of this, especially the OMG! section. An item on, say, Lindsay Lohan’s rehab or another drunk-driving episode, would spark off a word war of biblical proportions between readers who do not know each other. The comments are so over-the-top nasty that it’s just hilarious sometimes.

When people are so riled up, one can never trust them to stay civilized in expressing their thoughts, especially if done anonymously.

I welcome all comments in my blog, whether it’s negative or positive. You can even be blunt, if that’s what it takes to get your point across. As long as it’s focused on the issue, and not below the belt, I’ll publish it. Comments that are out of line, too personal and rudely off-topic, I’m sorry but they go to the trash folder.

When it comes to commenting on other people’s posts, I express myself. If the topic is something I feel strongly about, I’ll give my 2 cents’ worth. But I always remember that I’m just there to express myself and not to convince the author to my way of thinking, should his or her happen to be different from mine. Sometimes, you just have to agree to disagree.

So I think Trent Walton said it best. I love how he defines blogs as personal spaces. I can almost picture myself seated around the breakfast table with other people (you’re probably even there if you’re reading this), talking over cups of tea or coffee (sorry, but I only have those 3-in-1 instant coffee sachets that Filipinos love so much).

The bottom line is, be respectful.  Whether you’re the blog host or a blog commenter, you can be forthright without being rude about it.

As technology news writer Dan Frommer said on his site’s commenting guide: “Comment the way you’d speak to my face.”

So do keep that in mind if you don’t want to be slapped, punched, or have steaming hot coffee splashed on your face.

Other posts in the ‘hood about commenting that you might want to read up on:

2 thoughts on “Treat our blogs like our breakfast tables”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s