Integrity while blogging; this subject has been on my mind a lot for the last few months. Writing is such a powerful way to connect with others; words can heal, hurt, bring happiness, relief, induce anger, controversy, make people think, help people not feel alone. And when the proverbial pen is in your hand, you're free to write about whatever you want.
There are lots of articles out there who recommend shock value as a way to grow your blog. If it's not controversial in some way, you're not writing dangerously enough. If it doesn't make someone hate you, you're playing it too safe.
I personally believe it's important to write your truths. To write about things that may not be the usual topic of discussion. To get people to think about things that might need changing. But I also personally believe there's a way to go about it that maintains your integrity.
There was this blog I used to read, a fairly popular blog written by someone I considered "a bigger blogger." I thought she was a talented writer and had a beautiful way of describing life experiences from a unique view. And then one morning, I got an email from a BIG site that I subscribed to. I opened their daily newsletter and saw that a popular post was happening over there, one that was garnering a lot of buzz. The title alone offended me, but I clicked over anyway; one of those things you don't really want to watch but the shock value brings you in for a glimpse.
The first thing I noticed was the blogger's name...the blogger whose blog I had read for the past couple of years. The blogger I had really admired. I scrolled down, still in slight shock that her name was under such an offensive post title. Of the few immature and highly disrespectful sentences that I read, I was in total awe. I couldn't believe that the talented blogger I knew had written this extremely hurtful and ignorant article. For what? Likes and shares?
I relate it like...if given the mic on the cool kids' stage, will you sell out or will you be true to who you are and your readers? Will you throw your talent down the drain for some 5 minute fame, tabloid level exposure? Would it really be worth it?
The lesson learned for me was that I can have a different opinion, and I can write about it, but I want to always say it in such a way that I could say it to a friend face to face. I don't want people ever leaving my blog feeling insulted, mocked, belittled, or ridiculed. I think in the long run, this is more important than a "hot" post that causes divide and hurt feelings. We can stay true to who we are and our writing passions without succumbing to the lure of selling out for quick exposure.
It's easy to spew hurtful and offensive opinions. The writer with true talent and integrity shows it by writing in such a way that no one walks away feeling bad about themselves, but instead perhaps pondering a view point they hadn't previously considered. And isn't that the whole point?