Thanks to everyone who commented on the last post. I didn’t respond to comments like I usually do, but I did read them and greatly appreciate your taking the time to read, consider and respond, even if you didn’t agree. For those who didn’t read, the post was about the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman tragedy, one could say a risky post since I usually blog about being a widow, writer, dog mom, etc., rarely about current events.
One blogger responded that writing about sensitive subjects (politics, race, religion, sex) can lead to offending and/or losing followers. That blogger is correct. Yet the comment made me think, what do we do when we feel passionately about something and it’s somewhat off-topic to our blog? This blog is a bit of a hodge-podge (‘expect the unexpected’ could be the motto). But if someone had a cooking blog, for example, then posted a political view, that might not go over well.
That said, some of the most successful writers in history wrote about extremely controversial topics (to both negative and positve consequences). The Freshly Pressed section of WordPress gives recognition to blogs in a variety of categories, including Religion, Feminism, Race, Politics, and so on. There are thousands of blogs dedicated to these subjects and others, which have large, loyal readerships even if they never get Freshly Pressed. What is it about these blogs, and the way they handle sensitive subjects, that doesn’t turn people off? How does one blog about controversial subjects?
After perusing some blogs and articles, it seems like the main piece of advice is to not to use a blog or post simply as a soap box (“This is what I believe and this is why you should agree with me!”), but to tactfully pose a point of view which readers might not normally be exposed to, or consider, otherwise (“Have you ever considered X, Y, Z?”). Humor, research, objectivity, and approach all factor in. Are you writing to people who think like you (i.e. preaching to the choir)? Or writing to a broader audience?
I used to follow a blog that mixes posts on faith with posts on writing and art. The problem (for me) was the faith-based posts seemed geared only to people of the blogger’s faith, as nearly every post (even those on writing and art) was presented though that specific prism. I tried to keep following but after a while got too annoyed. I couldn’t relate to the blogger’s point-of-view, nor was I learning anything new. It felt like this blogger wasn’t writing to me.
On the other hand, I adore the blog Love, InShallah , a blog devoted to the “the secret love lives of American Muslim women.” I’m not Moslem, but I love reading these beautiful posts and learning about the writers’ experiences, some of which include vastly different viewpoints than my own.
Blogging is fascinating. Where else could a writer have such a direct relationship with his/her readers? Be able to exchange ideas and thoughts with people all over the world? I’m still learning what works and what doesn’t, but my goal is to always be authentic. I welcome the challenge to try and engage without offending, provoke without turning away, enlighten without preaching. I’m also aware that I can’t please everyone. As RUN-DMC said, it’s tricky.
Any experience with writing about controversial subjects?
8 100-Year Old Tips for Writing About Controversial Subjects http://www.zemanta.com/blog/8-tips-for-writing-about-controversial-topics/
Writing Controversy http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/05/15/writing-controversy/
10 Scandalous Authors From History http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/05/17/scandalous-authors_n_1524300.html