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Overheard on #Blogchat: Controversy and Blogging


Do you participate in #blogchat? Every week, this weekly discussion on Twitter focuses on a specific topic and bloggers everywhere are invited to join in. Because I often have more to say than what will fit in 140 characters, every Sunday night, I post about some of the most interesting #blogchat tweets. Join the conversation by commenting below.

Something that is always on my mind when I blog is whether or not I’m being too antagonizing. So, this tweet caught my mind:

propickup I think too many people hide from controversy when blogging

I think propickup is right – and why is this the case? Are we worried about offending people or losing readers? Is it too much effort to defend a controversial post when the comments start rolling in? Are you worried that advertisers will desert?

Maybe a little all of the above. Bloggers shy away from controversy at times because we just don’t want to stir the pot.

But isn’t that part of the reason why we’re blogging in the first place? Earlier tonight, I talked about another #blogchat tweet talking about how a blog is your own creating, and you get to make the rules. So, it follows that you should be able to voice your opinion.

While that’s certainly true, we also blog because we want people to read what we write, either as entertainment or to help them learn something. If you don’t want people to read what you write, why put your work online? It’s just as easy to type your thoughts into word processing programs. So, with that in mind, I think it’s important to always think about how you approach controversy. Some tips (this is a bit of a brain-dump right now, so add to them with comments!0:

  • Don’t rant for the sake of ranting. If you have something important to say, really passionate ideas, that’s one thing. If you’re trying to drive traffic by saying things that are shocking, you’re barking up the wrong tree.
  • Research! Before you go off on a subject, make sure you full understand it. Read about the topic from multiple sources and even spend some times talking about it with  friends or other bloggers so you can formulate and educated post.
  • Avoid defensive comments. If you write something controversial, you’re probably going to get comments calling you stupid. Some of these comments may even make good points. Before you reply in a really defensive, angry way, take some time to ensure you’re adding value with your comment, not just defending yourself.
  • Address weaknesses in your argument. This is debate 101! If there weren’t weaknesses, there wouldn’t be controversy. Talk about good points that the “other side” has in your post.
  • Don’t single out readers or other bloggers (in most cases). If you’re going to attack something, attack an idea, not a person.
  • Edit, edit, edit! When you’re passionate about a topic, as is often the case with controversy, it is easy to write 7,000 words about the topic. You don’ t have to limit yourself to a few hundred words, but create something that people will actually read, not something that’s so long it turns off readers. If you truly have 7,000 worth of points to make, split it up into multiple posts.

We don’t have to be afraid of controversy. Often, controversial topics are the best, and even people who don’t agree with you will come back again to read more of your work. Be thought-provoking and don’t be too afraid of making people mad.

Check out “Overheard on #Blogchat” here every Sunday to read about some of the most interesting tweets from participating bloggers.


  • Rose

    A little controversy is a good thing. I blog about controversy issues. If you have a strong opinion on something or are passionate about a subject why fear blogging about it. So what if everyone doesn’t agree with your opinion.

    Great post Allison.

  • Christy Smith

    Hi Alli,

    All of your points here are solid, especially making sure you have a good grasp of your topic (research isn’t a dirty word!) before you post it.

    If you aren’t willing to put something out there that people may not agree with, then I think you miss a big part of the blogging experience. It goes beyond debate-you definitely sign-up for that as a blogger! If you are truly interested in what other people are thinking and have to say, then you have to open to listening to perspectives that are different than yours. Not everyone will agree, but having a constructive discussion opens everyone’s minds.

    Vanilla posts are boring. Give me controversy any day.

  • Sarab

    How to take part in chat this sunday ?

    • Alli

      To participate in the chat, just follow the hastag #blogchat on Sunday evening. It goes really, really fast, but you don’t have to read every single tweet. Just reply when you see something interesting, tweet good points, and ask questions/make comments that are on topic.

  • Sarab

    actually am new to twitter an this site.. so pls can u gimme link to go where chat is started , will appreciate really …

    • Alli

      Hi Sarab,

      There is no one location where you can find the chat. Basically, hundreds of people across Twitter participate by including “#blogchat” at the end of whatever they tweet. On Sunday nights, if you search for this hashtag, you’ll see every tweeter that’s participating.

      Some of the many ways people participate:

      -if you use TweetDeck, create a new search for the hashtag blogchat – it will make a new column that will continuously update

      – follow on what the hashtag here: http://wthashtag.com/Blogchat (again, it will continuously update)

      -sign in at TweetChat and follow the blogchat hashtag here: http://tweetchat.com/room/blogchat

      Again, there are just a few of the ways people participate. TweetChat is my personal favorite because I find it to be the fastest. Hope that helps!

  • Michele Price

    Great points in an easy to read style. Now for some controversy…so many times I see people engage their egos when they think they are writing for engagement.

    My co-host for Social Media Manners #SMManners Tues 10pm ET http://whthashtag.com/smmanners Dabney Porte and I find many times people plain ole do not have people skills. So instead of creating dialogue and debate they create conflict. That is a whole other animal in my book.

    I love a great debate when someone can focus on the topic and is intellectual vs emotional in their responses. The only way we create change is to challenge how we look and accept what is right now.

    Thanks for reminder the whole point of blogging is to create dialogue. Let me see how I can do that and do it with grace and charm (social media manners) VS ranting- acting childish.

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