Saturday, May 2, 2015

Discussions Only We Know: How Outspoken is Too Outspoken?

Discussions Only We Know

How Outspoken is Too Outspoken?

We all know someone in our lives that will just tell it like it is without qualms about who's feelings they might hurt, what opinion they might step on, or what controversial matter they might plow through. Or maybe you're the way yourself.

For me, these people always border on grating. Even if I can admire them for their blatantly honest opinion and I always know where I stand with them, these people always leave me feeling like I'm walking on eggshells, bordering on the cliff over an abyss, cringing while waiting for the ax to fall. I'm always wondering when I'm going to be the one to offend this type of person and over what. And how far will they go to make me feel their wrath? I’m all about saying what needs to be said. Ask anyone in my real life. If something needs to be said but everyone is avoiding saying it, I’ll typically step up to the plate and lay the cards on the table. But I prefer not to have to do that. I don’t get any joy out of it.

Honesty (and the necessity for it while blogging) has been discussed here and among other blogs frequently. It's crucial. It's imperative. It's necessary. I can’t shouldn’t review a book here on my blog or anywhere else without giving you my honest opinion about it. That’s the whole point of reviews for books and any other product or service one might be reviewing. But when is it too much? Or is there such a thing as too much? We should always be honest in our reviews when it comes to our opinion of a book. We should always be honest about citing our sources and giving credit where credit is due. But what about over sharing? Or maybe I should say "over opinionating?"

You can easily say that your blog is your blog and what's on it will be your opinion no matter who you might offend--readers always have the option of…well…not reading. But we also have to realize that putting our opinions on our blogs is putting it out there for the world to see. And we need to take responsibility for those opinions and the impact that they have on others.

This subject, like the moral of modesty, is not so easy to draw the lines on, and there will be much debate over where those lines fall. I can't tell you where the lines are, but I can tell you when I think you've crossed it. I can tell you when I think I’ve crossed it.

I’ve run across this in the book blogging community in various forms and in various weight. I’ve seen bloggers who give off the impression that if you disagree with their opinion of a particular book then you must be the biggest idiot around and they’re going to lecture you into why you should agree with their opinion of that book until you agree or shut up and disappear. I’ve seen bloggers who have cemented ideas on what blogging should be and what your blog should look like. I’ve seen bloggers who want to tell you how to market your blog and if you’re doing it any other way then you must be a novice. Or *gasp* maybe you don’t market your blog at all? Then you’re for sure a moron. I’ve seen bloggers make mistakes (granted sometimes big mistakes) and other bloggers offer up opinions on how everyone should treat those who make mistakes. I’ve seen bloggers respond to drama in the book community—whether it be authors behaving badly or bloggers behaving badly—and they have an opinion on how those people should be treated and if you don’t comply then you become one of the “behaving badly” too.

Granted, I do have to say that this isn’t something I’ve seen from the majority of book bloggers. It’s just a here or there kind of thing. Overall, the book blogging community that I’ve been exposed to has been nothing but awesome. Occasionally, I’ll run across one of the bloggers mentioned above.

So here’s what I think: Over sharing/too much opinion becomes too much when people are scared of the backlash that will inevitably come from you if you disagree with them. The problem lies, therein, with the fact that others are usually only aware of this feeling--you are often oblivious. Have you ever picked up on the vibe that others might be afraid of you? If so, do you care? Should you care? Do you have the opinion that “well that’s just the way that I think and everyone else ought to see it that way too?” Or do you leave room for other ideas and feelings?

There's a balance, and anytime balance is required, it's not easy. We have to work at strengthening ourselves to be better balanced. After all, I wouldn't be able to jump onto a balance beam and do a back handspring without first practicing how to walk. Blogging is no different. Exercise, practice, trying to do be the only way we're going to succeed in this area.

Do you want to be a blogger that encourages debate and conversation over a book or over the ideas of what blogging entails? Or do you want to be a blogger who shares your ideas with the worlds and the world can do with that information what it will because you don’t care about what anyone else has to say? Do you want to have a conversation? Or do you want to just share your opinion? Honestly, either way is fine, but I know that there’s only one type that I’d want to have anything to do with. Which type are you?

Personally when I come across a blog that screams “over opinionated”, I’m off that page in a matter of seconds. I don’t reply. I don’t argue. I don’t engage. I just run for the hills. But what do you do if an “over opinionator” stumbles upon your blog? (This hasn’t really happened to me, but I guess theoretically it could.) What if they’re commenting on all of your reviews and your posts and blasting your thoughts out of the water? What do you do then? Do you respond? Do you just ignore? Do you remove their comments? Have any of you run across this problem? How have you handled it?

As always guys, I’m curious. What do you think? Let me know!


  1. WOW, what a GREAT post!! It's very thought-provoking, for sure! Now I'm wondering if perhaps I've been too opinionated myself......

    Recently, I published a post in which I blasted a very popular book series. Well, I did get one comment, but did not publish it. The person who commented told me that I was being very unfair. I didn't like the tone of the comment, so I decided not to publish it. Was I wrong to do that? Maybe. I don't know.

    I guess I shouldn't have published such a controversial post, because there are a LOT of book bloggers who like this series. I got no other comments on this post, although it garnered 94 views. Perhaps people were scared to post a comment in which they disagreed with me.

    So now I'm wondering if I should post about controversial topics at all. But then, if I post a 'politically correct' post, I'll be okay? I guess there has to be a balance between blog popularity and honesty..... But it doesn't seem right to me that, if a blogger dislikes a book or book series, they should just remain quiet, so as not to offend those that do. It's a Catch-22 situation, I guess!

    Thanks for the TERRIFIC post!! : )

  2. I haven't run into this problem but I think I would handle it like I would in real life: respond politely but otherwise don't indulge them. I have a sort of philosophy that smiles and niceness are contagious even if the people don't show any outward sign of being affected. And no one can benefit when you get unnecessarily angry about some person who has made it their mission to criticize your every move.
    As for people who disagree with me, I love those people who still comment their opinions on my posts without being nasty about it. We're all going to have different opinions and that's what makes life interesting right? It'd be a terrible place to live if everyone just went along with everything else. Great post!
    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

  3. I think it's a great to do a self check periodically. I'm curious which book series you didn't enjoy that everyone else seems to. Personally, I think there's a difference in disagreeing with the masses and having reasons to back your thoughts up and telling everyone else that they're idiots for liking a series that you didn't enjoy. I don't think posting a controversial opinion is wrong so long as you're not attacking the people who disagree with you. But there is a balance. My discussion topic that I have scheduled for this coming Saturday kind of addresses "politically correct" posts/thoughts. I don't think you need to altar your thoughts or opinions to match the masses, but like I said, just make sure others aren't scared of you or potential backlash from you if they choose to disagree. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting Maria!

  4. I completely agree Laura! We typically get what we give. If you try to cultivate positivity and don't engage with negativity then that's what you'll usually get back. I too agree that I still like when someone posts commenting that they disagreed with my thoughts/opinions as long as they're not rude, nasty, etc in their comments. Thanks so much for commenting!

  5. I have gotten comments usually by drive-bys who didn't like a book I did or found some political reference to piss them off in it. I am not so naive as to belive everyone will love and hate the same books I do. Our reviews are our opinions and with those comes all of our baggage and life experiences. I welcome different opinions as long as they don't lessen my love/hate of the book. I tend to respond politely, even if they were insensitive to my opinions.

  6. I hope I make it clear that I'm open to differences of opinion! I tend to use a polite tone even when I'm critical of some aspects of a book, or speaking out about something I feel strongly about (whether pro or con.) As for other people's blogs, I enjoy reading when someone is passionate about something, or opinionated, but not when they are hateful or rude about it. If I see hatefulness or rudeness, or anything that indicates that a difference of opinion will be met with those (by the original blogger), I tend to leave the post or site without engaging.

    Re comments: I haven't had anyone get mad at me or be critical of my blogging so far, but if I did, I would try to reason with them, and if they crossed the line into incivility or trolling behavior, I would probably disallow their comments.

  7. Definitely a post I will think about....I don't engage with people who seem to push their ideas down my throat...I have seen those blogs. I might read their posts, but then I scurry away, without commenting.

    I especially don't like those that seem to advocate doing things their way or the highway....some blog designers I've discovered are like that. I feel ignorant when they talk about how you "should" do something, and what you "shouldn't do."

    I am not in the blogging community to show some kind of expertise...what I don't know would definitely fill a book. But I am having fun, and isn't that what we want to do?