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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Do You Speak Up?

A few weeks ago, I was scanning my blog list and came across a popular blogger's advice post. I rarely comment there because most of the posts are meant for people looking for the basics. Still, I usually read it briefly to see if there's any meat on the bone that could be useful to me.

I was surprised when the blogger gave what I felt was erroneous advice. It wasn't terrible, it'll-kill-your-career advice, but it was a little amateurish, especially from this blogger.

My first instinct was to challenge the statement, but in the end I decided against it. First of all, I was busy and the advice as I said, wasn't detrimental, just short-sighted. Secondly, the blogger is popular and I didn't have time to spar with all the blog buddies who'd feel the need to support the blogger.

Lately, it seems if you speak out against a review, a statement, a philosophy, or the color of the sky, you don't just take on the person taking that stand, but his gang too.

It makes me feel like you can no longer have a difference of opinion without having a lawyer present, and that's kind of sad.

Have you ever corrected someone who gave erroneous information? Given the current argumentative climate of the internet, do you think you speak out as much as you used to when someone has an opposing view?

On Back to Basics: This week, I talked about adjusting your attitude about spending and why it's okay to hoard. Yes, I talked about hoarding! Bwahaha.

And don't forget, when you comment, Like, retweet, or mention Back to Basics or The Frugal Way Facebook page, you rack up points for the giveaway at the end of the month.

Stop by and chat. Recommend it to your friends--cuz that counts too. Oh, and if you already Like the FB page, could you let me know in the comments if it's coming through on your timeline? I can't tell from my vantage point. 

In the past, I haven't always gotten updates from other people's Facebook pages and I'm not sure if it's a Facebook snafu or a step I was missing. Some people's pages come through fine, but others I have to physically go to the page to see updates. Does anyone know why that happens?


Deborah Walker said...

I sometimes do. There's a lot of advice around and that's great. But one size doesn't fit all. I sometimes say, 'Oh, well I don't do things that way etc' to give the writer another perspective.

Luckily I've never gotten into any arguments about it.

LD Masterson said...

I try not to get into online arguments but I will sometimes through out a IMHO comment that's contary to the opinion in the blog.

I do have a couple sensitive points that will cause me to challenge a post. Luckily, I don't run into those very often.

Darke Conteur said...

Honestly, unless I feel it's downright wrong, I won't, especially when it comes to writing. What may not work for one person, might work for another. There are no writing rules anymore, just loose guidelines

I have noticed this 'ganging up' trend, not so much with blog comments, but just with any comments. Last night on the news, they movie reviewer said a reviewer for Rotten Tomatoes got slammed big time from fans of the new Dark Knight series. It was so bad, the web site had to turn off comments. :(

Renee Miller said...

I do speak up, but not through blog comments and such. There are times I'd love to comment, but for the very reasons that you didn't do so, I don't either. When I do speak up, I try to do so in a manner that's constructive, although I'll admit to occasionally letting my emotions get the better of me. We're all human, right? Thankfully, that doesn't happen very often.

It's a matter of, is it worth it to weather the ensuing shit storm? No. I have bigger fish to fry, and while I can handle the online bullying that grown folks seem so eager to engage in, I don't see the point in giving them a new asshole to tear.

Dru said...

Only if I see that it will make a difference, otherwise I keep my thoughts to myself.

Giacomo Giammatteo said...

Maria, great thought provoking post. I used to do this in the early days, on my recruiting side, but, as you said, you end up having to spend a LOT of time fending off supporters. I decided it wasn't worth it. It's a shame, but that's what it has come to in many cases. I almost broke my 'rule' last week when I saw someone give advice on how not to be 'too honest' on your resume. I even wrote the response, but didn't hit send. I was too busy. Shame isn't it?

Angelina Rain said...

It's very, very rare that I speak up. I only do it when I feel that I absolutely have to and even then I comment anonymously and try (usually unsuccessfully) to not return to read the follow up comments or the person's response.

The last time I spoke up was a little over a year ago when I saw this one author brag about this one publisher and tell everyone that they should sub only there because that pub is the best. I knew for a fact that the pub wasn't selling and their authors were only making less then $10 a year, and that their authors got no support from the publisher. In that one case I felt like I needed to stand up so that some authors wouldn't make the mistake of going with that press.

REF: Facebook
Facebook only allows a small amount of people to see your page newsfeed. They have set it up where they want you to pay for more people to see it. The Frugal Way shows up in my news feeds like once every couple of months.

Maria Zannini said...

Deborah: Using 'one size doesn't fit all' is a great way to tell someone they're not (entirely) right. I've been around long enough to know who has rabid groupies and which blogger is just looking for a fight. Maybe that's why they say outrageous things.

Linda: Yeah, I have my flashpoint topics too. There are certain lines you don't cross with me. I'm all mild mannered and sweet until you push my buttons. LOL!

Diane Carlisle said...

I don't take offense to comments if someone feels they must correct me. I also do not delete comments, even if they are antagonistic towards me. I only delete obvious and mostly rare spam.

I also do not feel the need to correct other bloggers as I feel each blog is mostly opinion. If they have a large fan base, then maybe they are more entertaining than they are saturated with helpful facts.

Maria Zannini said...

Darke: There's a vigilantism that's absorbing the interwebz. I suspect it has to do with the small level of anonymity that give these shrieking crows so much voice. It's like watching a train wreck when they go on a tear. Who has that much time?

Renee: What annoys me is that the blogger or original speaker making the point does nothing to corral the rowdier ones.

Though I have seen a few classy authors stop the abusers. They stay on my radar because I admire people who can tell the difference between discussion and flaming.

Dru: I'm with you. If it's not going to make a difference to that discussion, I don't bother.

Maria Zannini said...

Jim: LOL. I think I might've seen that post on resume honesty. Sad, isn't it?

Although it's the author's responsibility to be thorough and correct, it's up to the individual not to pander to a mob mentality. No matter what's said, we should analyze the points for ourselves rather than follow blindly.

L.G.Smith said...

When it comes to writing advice on the internet, I usually keep my mouth shut. People are at all different levels of development when it comes to craft. If they're smart, though, they'll read widely and pretty soon figure out what's good advice and what's kind of lame and amateurish.

Mike Keyton said...

I don't bother, Maria. Like you seem to be hinting at, life's too short to be getting involved in tribal politics

Ref Facebook, I have no idea why some friends appear on a regular basis and others don't. My page is basically an overgrown thicket

Maria Zannini said...

Angelina: Damn Facebook! I will never understand that thing. Thanks!

Ref: publishers
I am always suspect when someone crows "too" much about any one thing.


Diane: In the blog I witnessed, it passes itself off as an authority, which is why the misinformation caught my eye. But you're right, some do it for entertainment. I just hope the readers know that. ;-)

Maria Zannini said...

LG: If I were to give any advice, it would be exactly that. Don't take anything at face value, even if it's from an alleged authority. Reading widely, research, and experience are the only ways to know what works for you.

Mike: I don't see your profile all that often. At first, I thought it was because we were in different time zones, but now I think it's Facebook mucking up the works.

Brenda ND said...

Good advice. We should all try to be accurate when we post

When I blog, I try to check my information, but in the past when I've gotten a fact wrong and a reader pointed that out, I've corrected it.

As a blog reader, I usually weigh the information I take in.

Barbara Ann Wright said...

Before I disagree, I must really feel the need to speak. ^_^

A very knowledgeable agent once wrote a blog post that contained an actual error, like, "You must do X because that's the standard!" But any search of "the standard" turned up Y instead of X. Several comments pointed this out, but she ignored them. Several comments clearly intended to get on her good side said she could have whatever she wanted, even after others argued that clearly she could have whatever she wanted, but she had no right to call it the standard. It was small, as tempests in teacups go, but it was still frustrating.

Mike Keyton said...

Maria, probably one of those 'list' things. Your blog pops up regularly on my page, peeping out amidst the foliage

Maria Zannini said...

Brenda: I kind of dislike it when someone claims to be the end-all of expert on a topic. It gives the discussion no where to go. Around here, when I'm not sure about something, I'll ask my commenters. Someone is sure to know--or knows someone who knows the answer.

Barbara: Troublemaker. :)
I think I remember that kerflaffle with that agent. Her goof went viral--as many agent goofs tend to go when they're caught 'misquoting'.

Mike: Thanks for reminding me of lists. I used to do lists back when FB did something that severely limited whose timeline I could follow. It might be time to bring out the old list again. I don't like being dictated to on who I should be reading.

Jackie Burris said...

If I "speak up" it is usually not in a blog comment on the post that catches my attention to the point I feel like have to say something. When pointing out something that I feel for "sure" is an error than look up the person's email and politely tell them what I found, after that it is in their court whether they will correct the error or let it stand and that way do not have to "deal" with being called out by those who come crawling out of the shadows just to argue that black is white and white is black.

Saves me and the person who wrote the post stress and angst, I hope!

Maria FB and I have mostly parted company. I simply no longer care or have the time to try to make sense of the crazy site, my posts appear as updates and certain other things that I have linked with as well but other than that it is just "there".

Maria Zannini said...

Jackie: I think email is probably the politest way to make someone aware of an error. I guess it depends on what the error was too. I don't mind someone filling me and my readers in if that person has more up-to-date information.

FB is really pressing my buttons. Why can't they just leave it alone?

Angela Brown said...

I know I don't speak up or speak out as much as I used to. There came a time where doing the right thing, or correcting someone so others could have better information, mattered. Seems all that matters is "my thought and you can't argue that", whatever that means.

Maria Zannini said...

Angela: I miss the old days when discussion was welcomed and encouraged. Nowadays you have to weigh how much it's going to cost you in time. --I want my old internet neighborhood back.

Suzanne Brandyn said...

Hi Maria,
I try not to give advice on writing. Although I'm published I don't see it gives me the right to tell other people how. I do however share my experiences and what works for me, but I never say you should...

As for speaking out. We all have different opinions, even different tastes in reading. If I don't like a novel I don't do a review. :)

Shelley Munro said...

I tend not to speak up unless it's face to face. If it's on the net I tend to mutter and click away.

Facebook seems a law unto itself. I have no idea.

Writer Pat Newcombe said...

I probably don't speak out as much as I ought to online but in my private life I am quite opinionated and rarely keep quiet when I think things are not right... Not sure why I don't do that online... As you say, it can be quite intimidating when you know many may disagree rather than just one person you're talking to in real life.

Sarah Ahiers said...

I have and i do! But i usually just coach it in a very friendly way and make sure they understand that it's just what i've heard and understand and opinions may vary. That usually works.
I'm curious as to the blog/blogger and the advice.

Shirley Wells said...

I don't speak out on the internet as much as I do in my private life. If I disagree with someone online, I'll sometimes try to leave an "IMHO comment". Often though, I think life's too short and I move on. It's so easy for people to take offence online.

Nadja Notariani said...

In life, I tend to be fairly outspoken (bossy oldest daughter but on the internet...not so much. I made some remarks on my own blog about my own writing skills/insecurities/weaknesses - and it was wrongly construed by another writer to be some sort of veiled critique of her skills/advice/input. It ended badly, and left me wary to express myself for worry of offending another - for a time. In the end, I don't have the time - nor the energy - for that sort of thing.

As for your support of not spending and instead, 'hoarding'...I like it! I've been working on getting back to basics myself! It's too easy to spend just because it's easier. Because of this, I've been able to take two trips to the ocean so far this year with my kids - and three trips to see my daughter in Maryland. Sure, it takes a little time and effort - but these are well worth the benefits. By sharing expenses with another family - buying food and packing a cooler rather than eating out - and sticking to free activities - I saved a bundle! Love Back To Basics, Maria!

Maria Zannini said...

Suzanne: Your comment made me laugh because I know several writers with very little experience who love to give writing advice. :shakes head:

Shelley: Face to face is best. There are not enough emoticons to state the subtleties.

Pat: The mob mentality is alive and well on the internet. They're not quite so brave when someone is in their face.

Maria Zannini said...

Sarah: You're always funny though, so I don't think anyone ever suspects hostility. Besides, you look like you could handle yourself in a fight. :o)

Shirley: They do fly off the handle faster online. I wonder if it's because they don't read the comment or post with a enough attention. As a rule, I don't think people go out of their way to be cruel. Some do of course, but I'd hate to think that's the majority.


Nadja: Ref: misconstrued comment
See, this is why I think some people either don't read the whole post correctly, or else they're looking for insult where none is intended. I'm sorry that person took offense. I've been reading you for quite a while and I've never read anything in the least bit critical.

PS Glad you like Back to Basics!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I admit to holding my opinion back when it differs. I avoid arguments online. I've witnessed some real nastiness.

Maria Zannini said...

Susan: The other drawback to nastiness is that it makes it easier for other people to jump on the bandwagon. Silly humans.

Nadja Notariani said...

Believe me, for a few weeks I wracked my brain trying to figure out what exactly could have caused offense, but in the end I came to the same conclusions you found. There's not much else you can do.

Thank you so much for your compassionate comment today, Maria. It is very much appreciated.

Madeleine Maddocks said...

Speaking out does often backfire, I have found to my cost. I tend to hold back more, though sometimes I try to word my comment so that it sounds ok, as I'd want someone to tell me where I was going wrong. Maybe write your own post that includes the correct information/ advice instead could be a compromise?

Maria Zannini said...

Nadja: My heart broke about when I read about your puppy. I know that pain too well. Take care, my friend.

Maria Zannini said...

Ref: Maybe write your own post that includes the correct information/ advice instead could be a compromise?

That is actually a very good idea. I've done it in the past, usually set several weeks or months later so as not to embarrass the original blogger.