Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Hump Day Hmm - Are Friends and Associate Fair Game to Blog About

My friends, family, and coworkers are certainly included in my blog posts from time to time, so my immediate answer to whether or not they are fair game is yes. But I would say they are fair game with some basic ground rules. I don't write about people and include their full name, and I rarely include their name at all unless they're aware of it. I don't write about someone in a negative way with their name attached to the post. I tend to lean towards giving others their privacy whenever I write.

I started this blog at the repeated suggestion of friends who love to blog. I knew I would enjoy it myself, but I never could make myself want to commit to something I knew I would find so completely intoxicating. I was right about it becoming an addiction, but so were they. Why avoid what you enjoy? The five posts generated from the chat with my co-blogger have made the whole blog worth doing if we quit tomorrow. It was fun to share a conversation with people that highlights why I find conversations with my friend so enjoyable. He brings in such totally different perspectives, and still we often come to similar conclusions. He just makes me think.

I write on my blog, or on anyone's blog, to share my view of the world. I might talk about business, politics, or whatever else strikes my fancy, but that is the point of a blog. It is a place where I can let other people hear what I think about, and it gives them an opportunity to respond and help me consider a different side. Invariably, some subjects include personal relationships or business relationships, and therefore those posts include people. If the people being discussed are unaware that I am writing about them, though, I consider it only fair to avoid being specific. I've actually learned to use non-specific but descriptive nouns (i.e., my friend's roommate, my best friend, my daughter) in conversation and it comes fairly naturally to avoid using proper names. I can't explain just how I picked up that habit, but it does make writing in a more anonymous fashion easier. Most of the times I have gotten in trouble for something I've written about someone have been in direct chats with a friend or associate of the person when I wasn't thinking about it getting back to that person. Because of those experiences, I take even greater care when I blog not to give specific details that might lead someone to get offended- at least not because the materials is about them. I am sure I have offended people with my opinions or my tone when I write about politics, but I find that comes with the territory. Passions run deep in campaigns, and adrenaline runs high, so people can get very caught up in their viewpoints or with their candidates. I don't tend to apologize for offenses caused by my opinion, simply because it is what I believe. If someone reading my blog does not like it, they can read somewhere else. If I offend someone on their blog (or on a blog not my own), I do try to apologize if I find it is warranted. If anyone reading my blog has been offended by my comments on their blogs, I hereby apologize for writing what I did there. I know no one believes it, but I am not a terribly confrontational person by nature. I just get wound up in what I believe at times, and sometimes I find it hard to contain.

Julie Pippert, Sponsor of Hump Day

-- Robert


Anonymous said...

Hi Robert,

I haven't spent much time on your blog except for these hump days and I can tell you (from being one of those "liberal women" of which you speak, that you are quite respectful and not offensive in any way. Good points all around.

But quick, fix the typo on Julie's name before she pops over...

Robert said...

Thanks for the editorial advice. I fixed it now. I was typing fast in the midst of a very busy morning and didn't check myself.

And I am glad I have not been offensive to any of the "liberal women". I used to be very good at making conservative viewpoints come across very well to my English and Social Studies teachers in high school, who were all liberal women except two (both conservative males who taught, of all things, government). Thanks for stopping by.

le35 said...

I think that there are definately times that we are going to disagree with each other in the bloggosphere. However, we need to respect each other too. I like that blogging is a great way to discuss things we don't agree about respectfully. We can have time to cool down before repsonding. I love that. I like the guidelines you suggest on how to do that. Good post.

Robert said...

I prefer public debate to be respectful, and when it can't be I prefer it to end. That does not always work, but that's my nature. I think by being respectful of another person's point of view, I often learn new things that I adopt (or adapt to a suitable form) when I agree. When I disagree, I at least understand that I do. I also have a lifetime of experience debating with people who love to point out all the exceptions to the rule, so I'm used to very frustrating respondants. It's easy to be respectful when the person I'm discussing something with us doing it, too.

melissa said...

With all of these liberal women visiting your site, I may have to accuse you of being a closet Democrat.


Robert said...

I can assure you I am not a closet Democrat. I have, however, helped numerous friends come to grips with the fact that they are Republicans/conservatives. :) Call me an idealist, or a dreamer.

Julie Pippert said...

BWAHAHAHA was I a typo?

I hang out with you and le35 because you're cool but also because geez why would I only want to talk to people just like me? Although I think we have a lot of similarities, though.

I was serious when I linked to that article about why encouraging disagreement is a good thing...I DO think ti is valuable and I think it can be done respectfully and constructively. You do.

I agree with your philosophy and approach about discussing others.

I have found there is a lot of agreement about this, and I also found that blogs I visit regularly follow this general guideline.

There are other types out there, but they aren't in my feed reader, put it that way.

Julie Pippert said...

Speaking of typos...I think the sick has moved to my hands...

Robert said...

You can ask my wife about just recently spending several hours late into the night debating something with my cousin. I don't only hang out with like-minded individuals by any stretch. He does not follow the "disagree peaceably" guideline, and often gets very combative, but he's still fun to verbally joust with because he thinks so very differently than I do. He loves to take semantic arguments to the ends of the earth when he can't win a point on the merit of his argument, but will hammer home the merits whenever he knows he is right about them. He's always been a fascinating person to talk to in that way. We apparently had him so fired up that when we returned in the morning (we were at a family gathering and staying at a hotel) he'd stayed up even later into the night getting pages of material printed, highlighted, and commented on for us to read. If he hadn't gone to the airport, we might all still be sitting there debating these issues.

That said, I rarely like to debate things for that long with someone so totally at odds with my world view. Someone who has a true antagonism towards religion and God, towards the sanctity of life (and I don't only mean unborn children), someone who obviously assumes many people are simply evil because they have a different understand of what his worldview represents (not sure that phrase makes sense)... they can be very tiresome. In high school I hung out with enough people who nitpicked everything said by anyone else to last a lifetime. I love academic circles because they spend time thinking philisophically, but I can't stand them for the same reason at times.

This response has turned into a rant, but I really am smiling as I consider that night. It was a lot of fun for me. I am not, despite what my cousin might say, an anti-intellectual. :)

Thanks for stopping by, Julie.