Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Edit your Opinions

Should people write about important deep stuff on the Internet?
Should they all "strictly restrict their remarks to the weather"?
There is a lot of good writing out there; thoughtful stuff; impactful stuff.
There is also a lot of discouraging stuff; distasteful stuff; thoughtless stuff.

The written word is powerful. I want to try to use it for good. But, I'm not a talented writer. I am sure no one would publish my writings. So, I publish myself on Blogger. But, being self publishing, means I have no editor. The ease of typing a few thoughts & pushing publish means I may not even do self editing. There in lies my problem.

The words I write are my responsibility. I need to take care. I need to edit my own opinions. Just because this is my blog, doesn't mean I can write whatever I want. And, even if I take care with what I write, it doesn't mean that I am always right.

Here's a good standard
- Philippians 4:8
"Finally brethren, whatever is true,
whatever is honorable,
whatever is right,
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is of good repute,
 if there is any excellence
and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things."

-Ephesians 4:29
"...such a word as is good for edification, according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to the hearer [readers, too]."

I want to be careful to edit myself, in written & spoken word.
And, sometimes, even when I think I've properly edited, I still may be wrong.
I still may need to take back stuff I've said.


*********** I was just reading this passage, in 2 Timothy
& thought is was so appropriate for this discussion.**********
"But avoid foolish & ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife.  And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel, but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth..."


That is not to say that a gentle, intelligent conversation or debate is wrong.
I think it takes discernment to know when & what to discuss, don't you?


What do you think are the positives to the whole blogosphere?  What are the negatives? 
How are you going to make it better?

14 comments:

paisley and lace said...

I think you are a great editor in both spoken and written word. I have been very encouraged and challenged by you. You are one of those friends I know I need around to help me not become stagnant.

Sometimes I find I can be encouraging and thought provoking more easily to my friends than my family. It's probably because I throw too many unedited words out there. I need to be as thoughtful and patient with my family as I am with my friends.

Stef said...

Love this! Amen, amen, amen!

I'm not going to weigh in, because I did plenty in your last post :)

Charlotte said...

Great post, Erin. Blogging is a huge responsibility...when we talk, the words just disappear, but posts remain forever. (Or until we delete them.) :-)

One thing I appreciate from the blogs I read is a 'realness'. I enjoy hearing about the great times in that person's life, but I also appreciate it when they post about a bad day or how they were down and encouraged by something. That can have more of an impact on me, because it can be encouraging to see that others have bad days and fail too. For some reason it is encouraging to know that you are not the only one that struggles with stuff. When they share them it means also that I can lift them up in prayer. But them have read a couple blogs that were downright depressing. So it is a balance, just like with the friends you talk to and what you chose to discuss.

I always try to be careful when I write, but like you, I am no professional writer either and I am sure will offend someone someday; and that is why we have grace. :-)

Melissa Joy said...

I appreciate this (and appreciate *you*). And Charlotte hit the nail on the head a few times, too.
I actually have two blogs, and I use them for similar yet different purposes ("connecting", I guess, but on different levels). My private blog is pretty much for family members only; it is almost like an open diary for me, in which I do (purposely) very little editing. I post oodles of pictures there as well. This is a way of keeping in touch with relatives, especially the ones who live 3000 miles away, and we otherwise have very little relationship with. It helps to share my heart with them, and give them a glimpse into our daily life (which they would otherwise miss out on).
My public blog that y'all see is very edited in comparison. But like Charlotte said, I am all about being real. I don't hide all the ugliness to be comfortable behind a pretty facade. I am, however, in control of what you do and don't see - I may let you see into occasional deep, dark windows of my grief, but that's all it is: an occasional glimpse. An occasional glimpse of my struggles, an occasional glimpse of encouragement, an occasional glimpse of fact or photo.
I don't tend to post lots of debates or heavy stuff. So the purpose of my blogging is different: recipes, quotes, pictures, etc. don't face the same type of editing issues as heady conversations about theology, philosophy, and the like.
So anyway... thanks for the reminder. I don't tend to like causing a stir - but then I guess it's usually when I least expect it, that I've done it. :)
By the way, I love you.

Erin said...

Charlotte & Melissa, thank you!
You addressed something very important! Being honest about bad days, sadness, etc., can be very honorable & edifying. A pretty facade is not praise worthy!

Krista said...

Sometimes if I am writing something that I wonder about how it might come across, I wait to post it until Nick has been able to read it. He has completely nixed some of my posts. :) I really appreciate having him help me edit things.

Most of the time I just do the editing by myself though. One thing I try to keep in mind, if I am writing about bad days or bad experiences, I try not to write until *I* am in an appropriate state of mind between myself and God. Sometimes, I have sat down and ranted, and then realized it was just that- a pointless rant. No one wants to read about my bad day AND my bad attitude, that is not sharpening to anyone. So rather, I write about hard times when I am emotionally able to do so and have the attitude that God wants me to have. Admit it was hard, admit it was a struggle, but not be angry about it.

Another issue that someone recently brought up is blogging about your kids. Will they be okay with all the stuff you are writing about them? In this area Nick is also better than I am. He has nixed photos I was going to put up. Pictures I thought were funny, but the kids might someday think are embarrassing.

Brittany Martin said...

As far as posting goes, I suppose I try to imagine saying what I write to my friends in person. If I find myself ashamed for ranting or rudeness, I delete the offending sections.

Of course there's always the possibility of somebody out there being offended--and the internet is like having a conversation where potentially the whole world could overhear what you say! So, just like you wouldn't want to be at the park with a crowd of other moms, loudly spouting off about how often you spank your kids, you have to use wisdom.

Brittany Martin said...

Oh! And I also think what Krista said about having your husband read a post--especially a highly opinionated one--is a great idea!

laura said...

Krista - that's a great point. I have started many posts and abandoned them because I just wasn't in the right frame of mind.
I am terrible at editing myself and more to the point, I hate doing it. I frequently give up on posts because it's just too much effort . And even here, I'm writing "too much effort" and thinking about how that could be misconstrued and feeling exhausted. :)
(You've actually started something in my head that I may post...:))
I know for sure that I think it's good to write about deep things on our blogs...I think it just is a question of what kind of deep things we're writing about and how we're writing that's an issue.
okay yes...before I go and post 1,500 words on your comment section, I'll stop. Erin, this is a great example of a good blog because you've caused me to reflect on something for enough time that I actually am going to go and write about it myself. :) I think if you post something that makes people stop and think and reflect on things - that's a valuable thing. :)

Stef said...

I love what Krista wrote there! And I've done the same thing as you, Krista. Written about something, had Jason read it and his first question is "why?" and it gets quickly deleted :)
What you said about being careful that MY attitude is in check & right before God and ready to move on before I post something like that is also how I feel. Nothing is worse than going to a blog and feeling like someone's unchecked, rotten attitude is just beaming there on their website for all to see. Its completely unedifying and can actually have a negative effect on me, personally. I begin to see negatives more than positives and follow person x into their slump of an attitude.

Also, the thing about our kids! Loved that too, Krista. Jason and and I talked about this a few months ago (we have one rather difficult child) and Jason asked me not to post such detail about our struggles with that child. My worry is that the people who know us really well will think I'm trying to "hide" those struggles on our website; acting fake, like our family life is all roses... but Jason reminded me that those types of conversations are for my close, in person (or at least one on one over the phone) relationships.

We do need to remember that our blogs are being seen by *way* more people than just our viewers who leave comments. And, I'm not sure my Mom's relatives in Indiana, want to log on and read only about my bad mommy days ;-)
Which is why I think an idea like Melissa has is great! Not that I'm comparing my little every day struggles with your pain and grief, Melissa... but I think its good that you keep those deep, real, bare boned things more for who you are very close with.

I have to say, out of all the "close friend" blogs I read, I'm pretty sure I can say I've ever been "offended" by any of you. Your blogs are often just little glimpses into your lives and its been super fun watching your families grow and learning things from other moms on the web. I have, however, seen other "mommy" blogs (people I don't know) where I sit and wonder, "why on earth do these ladies blog?!" or I wonder if they like to invite major controversy, or how their husbands can be okay with some of the information they give out about their marriages and such. - but like I said, I'm not close friends with them, it would be easy to never go back to that site and I would lose next to nothing :)

Stef said...

sorry... that last paragraph should say I've "Never" been offended by any of you :)

Erin said...

The word of caution for what we post about of kids is very wise. Thanks ladies!

Sarah@EmergingMummy said...

It is tough. I often have people come back and ask me about something I wrote - in a rush or on a rant or just plain ridiculous - years ago on the blog. They just read it so to them it's very fresh but to me, it's old news and usually not representive of how I currently feel. That's why I've become more cautious about what I share and when and how, particularly because words do carry a lot of power.

Great, thoughtful post, as usual.

Stef said...

I love what Krista wrote there! And I've done the same thing as you, Krista. Written about something, had Jason read it and his first question is "why?" and it gets quickly deleted :)
What you said about being careful that MY attitude is in check & right before God and ready to move on before I post something like that is also how I feel. Nothing is worse than going to a blog and feeling like someone's unchecked, rotten attitude is just beaming there on their website for all to see. Its completely unedifying and can actually have a negative effect on me, personally. I begin to see negatives more than positives and follow person x into their slump of an attitude.

Also, the thing about our kids! Loved that too, Krista. Jason and and I talked about this a few months ago (we have one rather difficult child) and Jason asked me not to post such detail about our struggles with that child. My worry is that the people who know us really well will think I'm trying to "hide" those struggles on our website; acting fake, like our family life is all roses... but Jason reminded me that those types of conversations are for my close, in person (or at least one on one over the phone) relationships.

We do need to remember that our blogs are being seen by *way* more people than just our viewers who leave comments. And, I'm not sure my Mom's relatives in Indiana, want to log on and read only about my bad mommy days ;-)
Which is why I think an idea like Melissa has is great! Not that I'm comparing my little every day struggles with your pain and grief, Melissa... but I think its good that you keep those deep, real, bare boned things more for who you are very close with.

I have to say, out of all the "close friend" blogs I read, I'm pretty sure I can say I've ever been "offended" by any of you. Your blogs are often just little glimpses into your lives and its been super fun watching your families grow and learning things from other moms on the web. I have, however, seen other "mommy" blogs (people I don't know) where I sit and wonder, "why on earth do these ladies blog?!" or I wonder if they like to invite major controversy, or how their husbands can be okay with some of the information they give out about their marriages and such. - but like I said, I'm not close friends with them, it would be easy to never go back to that site and I would lose next to nothing :)