Looking for Something?
Posts Tagged for

offensive content

If You Aren’t Offending Anyone, This Will Be The Result…

Author:

Photo via twob under the Creative Commons license.

Earlier today, a friend of mine posted a silly quote/picture on Facebook. I won’t repeat it here because it admittedly was a little risque, but it did make me giggle. And within an hour or so, ten people had liked it (keep in mind, she isn’t a blogger or social media person, just a typical user with 200 or so friends), so I guess it made others giggle too.

Then, one of her friends left a comment saying, “This really isn’t funny. Shame on you.” I’m paraphrasing, but the woman was clearly very offended. The original poster immediately responded with, “I’m so sorry! This just made me giggle and I have a long day! I certainly didn’t mean to offend anyone, though!” Again, paraphrasing.

Was the picture a little offensive? Okay, maybe. But it was also hilarious.

Another story: I was surfing some blogs about *nerd alert* video games, as I often do, and I came across a strongly-worded post about whether or not one console is better than another. For those of you who aren’t gamers, this has been a hot debate for years upon years in the gaming industry – “hardcore” gamers are usually either fans of Microsoft (Xbox 360) or Sony (PlayStation). It’s a debate comparable to Mac versus PC.

The writer was extremely critical of Sony, as his console of choice is the Xbox 360. He made some really great points, but the content was also pretty offensive for Sony fans – and they weren’t shy about letting him know that in the comments. He definitely had supporters as well, but several commenters were upset about his piece.

Now, my friend on Facebook could spend her days posting nothing more than G-rated jokes and politically correct comments and the game blogger could write a post entitled, “Why Microsoft and Sony Consoles are Both Awesome,” but let’s face it…those things are a bore.

If you aren’t offending anyone, the result is the above picture – a yawning audience.

Let’s make a few things clear. There’s good offensive and there’s bad offensive. Being “offensive” in the context I’m suggesting does not mean:

  • Being rude or being a jerk in any way
  • Being controversial for the sake of being controversial
  • Being snarky toward individuals or groups (i.e. attacking)

What it does mean is:

  • Posting your opinions even though you know some people will disagree
  • Recognizing humor, even stuff that makes you groan or blush
  • Not hiding behind “anonymous” but rather using your posts in conjunction with your name/brand

You don’t have to be in-your-face about it. You don’t have to be mean. Deb Ng is one of the most friendly, accommodating people I’ve ever met, but her blog posts on Kommein are often very opinionated and may offend or upset others. Pace and Kyeli at Connection Revolution are all about peaceful entrepreneurship, not aggressive snark, but I’m sure there are regularly readers turned off by their content.

There are a lot of in-your-face people out there as well of course. Johnny B. Truant. Ashley Ambirge. Elizabeth Potts Weinstein. Lots of other successful or up-and-coming bloggers. So yes, that’s one path to take on your honey-badger blogging journey. But the point is, you don’t have to be aggressive to be offensive. At least, not the good type of offensive.

In fact, I would go as far as saying the goal isn’t “to be offensive.” That word is a bit strong. The goal is to be thought-provoking, interesting, and original, knowing full well that there will be some people who will disagree and there might even be some people who are offended.

You cannot please everyone. And you shouldn’t try. If you write for everybody, your content will be too watered-down and boring for anybody. Write for “your people” – the people who are inspired by what you have to say, rather than writing to please everyone. The best content is always full of ideas and opinions we can discuss and debate.

Revenge of the Nerds: Why Baiting Your Readers is a Bad Idea

Author:

Not Alyssa Bereznak. Obviously.

I’m not ashamed to say that I’m a bit of a nerd, and right now the nerds online are all flustered over a recent Gizmodo post where blogger Alyssa Bereznak wrote some pretty offensive things about a recent online dating experience. The basis of the story is this: she went out with a guy who she deemed to be way too nerdy for her and proceeded to write an entire post making fun of the guy, even though he didn’t really do anything wrong. The “moral” of her story was that you should research a person using Google before you go out together.

Gizmodo is a popular tech gadget blog, so as you can guess, most of their readers are a lot like Alyssa’s date. The vast majority of comments on the post and the comments I’ve seen on Twitter, Facebook, etc. are negative, and many are extremely negative. There are a lot of things I personally find offensive about her post, but what I (and many others) keep coming back to is this: Why is a post dumping on nerds be allowed on a major tech blog, where most of the readers fall into the nerd category?

Some have speculated that Alyssa’s post was purposely offensive to her readers in order to drive traffic. Maybe that is the case; I don’t know. If that’s what happened, who made that choice? Alyssa? Gizmodo? Again, I don’t know.

What I do know is that baiting your readers in this manner is a bad idea.

Sometimes linkbait works, and sometimes it doesn’t – but if you’re being purposely negative, you’re playing with fire. I fully believe that you should write posts that express your opinion, even if your readers aren’t going to agree. If that makes sense for your blog, do it. But it’s a fine line to walk, because if you’re expressing an opinion simply because you want to drive traffic, that choice is going to come back to bite you. Here’s why:

  • For some people, this will be the first time they hear of you or your blog.

Who hasn’t heard of Gizmodo? It’s a huge blog, right? Well, yes…but there are definitely people who have never heard of it. Maybe this is the first you’re hearing of it – and let me ask you, what is your impression of Gizmodo? Even if you’ve heard of Gizmodo before, this might be the first time you’re hearing of Alyssa. What is your impression of her? The point is, the first experience a new reader has with you is their only experience with you. Make sure it’s a good one – or at least one that represents you well.

  • Some of your regular readers won’t be back.

If you’re being completely honest on your blog and people don’t like you and what you have to say, that’s one thing. Let them go. It’s better to have 100 readers who really “get” you than 1000 readers who feel “meh” about you. However, if you’re writing bait posts, some of your regular readers are going to stop reading your site. You don’t always have to agree with members of your community, but at least respect them enough not to stomp in their faces by making fun of them. The nerds who Alyssa offended and who may very well have been some of Gizmodo’s biggest supporters might not be back – and that’s some pretty hefty revenge for any blog.

  • Traffic spikes are just that – spikes.

Let’s say you have a post that is super helpful and goes viral. You’re going to see a huge traffic spike, which is awesome. When things calm down again, some of those people are going to stick around to read more, and even though it might be a small percentage, that’s how you build a traffic kingdom, block by block. But what if you write a post that goes viral for a negative reason, like the Gizmodo post? When things calm down, what’s the likelihood that anyone will stick around to read more? So not only do you run the risk of losing regular readers, but you also won’t gain new ones for more than a day or two. Spikes are only spikes, not sustainable.

  • It’s ethically questionable.

There’s no law that says you can only write what you 100% believe. Frankly, though, the ethics behind doing something like that are questionable about best. It’s a personal choice, I guess, but I would have a hard time sleeping at night if my name was attached to a bunch of stuff I didn’t actually believe.

Overall, I think the Gizmodo post was a really bad idea. I’m not just saying that because I was personally offended by what she wrote. I’m saying that I think it simply didn’t make sense to be posted on a site where nerds are your fanbase. Was the post purposely meant to bait readers? I don’t know. Maybe. And if so, I think it was an even worse idea. There are a lot of really positive ways to get traffic that take the same amount of effort and have much better long-term results.

Have you read the Gizmodo post? Has it changed your impression of Gizmodo or the writer? Do you think there are any benefits to baiting readers with an offensive post?

15 Brilliant Bloggers Talk About Offensive Content

Author:

Brilliant Bloggers is a weekly series here at BlogWorld where we look at the best posts from around the web all surrounding a specific topic. Every week, we’ll feature three of the most brilliant bloggers out there, along with a huge link of more resources where you can learn about the topic. You can see more Brilliant Blogger posts or learn how to submit your link for an upcoming edition here.

This Week’s Topic: Offensive Content

Offensive content is a pretty broad topic, but one that I love writing about. Should you curse on your blog? Should you worry about being politically correct? Do you tell people who don’t like what you post to shove it or do you try to make all members of your community as comfortable as possible? What about your social media accounts – should you treat that differently than you treat your actual blog? And who decides what is offensive and what is not?

My answers to these questions might not be the same as yours – and that’s okay. When it comes to offensive content, it’s all about doing what is right for you and your brand. It’s not always an easy question to answer, but reading others’ opinions about it can help you look at the debate from all facets. So, without further ado, let’s see what some brilliant bloggers out there have to say about offensive content.

Advice from Brilliant Bloggers:

OMG: F**K, Sh*T, or Worse in Your Corporate Social Media by Maria Pergolino

I really like this post because it talks about the offensive content problem not just from a blogger or online persona perspective, but from a business perspective. If you’re a business owner, be aware of you your employees are representing you online! After checking out this post from Maria, head to Twitter to follow her @InboundMarketer.

Social Objects: The Frickin’ Art of Cussing by Troy Janisch

Troy’s post is awesome because even though I’m someone who doesn’t shy away from swear words on my own blog, I whole-heartedly agree with him that there needs to be an art to it. In this post, he talks about a piece of artwork that included a dirty word and why it got a reaction from people. It’s about being effective – and frankly, as he says, most of the time, frickin’ does the job. Check out the post and then follow Troy on Twitter @socialmeteor.

1 Way to Keep From Offending Your Readers by Richard W. Scott

I won’t spoil it for ya – if you want the one without-a-doubt way to avoid offending your blog’s readers, you have to click through to Richard’s post. It’s a good one; you won’t be disappointed. I usually like to link to a person’s Twitter profile here, but I couldn’t find one in this case…so, if you’re out there, Richard, let me know and I’ll add it!

Even More Brilliant Advice:

Did I miss your post or a post by someone you know about offensive content? Unintentional! Help me out by leaving a comment below with the link!

Next Week’s Topic: List-Building

I’d love to include a link to your post next week – and if you head to the Brilliant Bloggers Schedule, you can see even more upcoming posts. We all have something to learn from one another, so please don’t be shy! Head to the schedule today to learn how to submit your post so I won’t miss it.

Learn About NMX

NEW TWITTER HASHTAG: #NMX

Recent Comments

Categories

Archives