Sometimes You’re Sorry…Sometimes You’re Not

02 Apr

Blog long enough, build an audience big enough, and eventually you will upset someone. That’s just the nature of blogging. Even with my politically neutral, limited-sharing-of-opinions blog I’ve managed to upset some people. Once I was legitimately at fault, I posted a video that had a PG-13 word and I underestimated how people would respond. I posted an apology on the blog and moved on.

The other times that people have been upset about something on my blog or Facebook fan page (not my personal page which I initially keep to a limited audience) it hasn’t been my fault. At first when I got those angry comments or emails, I would apologize to the person. But I stopped doing that after I realized that the reason the person was upset was because of something in his or her own life that bothered them that was stirred-up by my post. For example, I regularly receive Facebook comments along the lines of “that would be great if my school got iPads” or “it must be nice to have time to do that.” Those aren’t things that I can control or influence for the reader. I can offer suggestions on how to remedy the situation, but I can’t actually control it so I don’t apologize to those people who are really just complaining.

A note about Adsense:

If you run Adsense on your blog you can control some, but not all of the content that pops-up in an ad unit. You can exclude categories of advertisements. Even if you exclude a category that has potentially offensive content (I exclude gaming, dating, health, and a few other categories) that does not mean that an advertisement you don’t approve of won’t show up in a reader’s browser.

Adsense displays advertisements based on a reader’s interests and browsing history. Therefore, if a reader has been reading a right-leaning political blog before visiting your blog, he might see an advertisement for a right-leaning organization. Or a reader who was shopping on the Victoria Secret website before visiting your blog might see an advertisement for similar clothing products. (True story, last year a reader emailed me very angrily because she saw an ad for a bra and thought that I knew what she was looking at online. I replied with an explanation of how interest-based ads work).

Everyone can read what you publish and therefore everyone can have an opinion about what you publish. Publish your posts and stand by them…unless of course you really are sorry.

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  • iTeachTeachersTech

    I find this post very timely. I have a post that I’ve been holding off on publishing for about two months now because I’m not sure how people are going to react. My blog is primarily about sharing tech resources with teachers and how to implement them with sound instruction. However, the post I’m holding is more of an editorial piece, but I’ve got strong feelings about it. Should I just bite the bullet and publish it since it is MY blog, or just trash it? I’m thinking it might be a good conversation starter and I might actually get some comments on it, which I’m not having luck with currently. Your thoughts and advice are greatly appreciated.

    • richardbyrne

      If you’re ready for push-back then by all means publish the post. The few times that I’ve deviated from the norm and published opinion posts on I’ve included a little disclaimer like, “this is an opinion piece, regular posts will resume tomorrow.” Whether people love it or hate, it is good to give folks a little insight into who you are and how you think. That’s part of the reason why I always include a little story about my week in my week-in-review posts.

  • Devon Lee

    On my personal blog I shared an opinion that really set someone off. However, all of their complaints were based on them not actually reading what I wrote. Had they gone back and read what I wrote, they would see that I wrote in a non-accusatory tone, of which they accused me of doing. Sometimes, you just have to express your idea and let the chips fall where they may.

    One other suggestion: Keep things above board by not doing cheap personal attacks. Then, the person offended carries the responsibility of reading a contrary thought and not being offended when no offense was intended. I hope that makes sense.

    Great post. Looking forward to the next one.