Would you rather have a following that constantly agrees with your every word or would you prefer a following that questions the things you say?
Truth be told, although most people would “ideally” answer this question in the latter, the majority of bloggers—deep down—would prefer a slap on the shoulder after each article and a, “Yes, I love that! I agree! You’re so dang smart!”
I think there is a little bit of that in all of us, especially when we first commence communicating our thoughts and feelings online to a world who has no clue as to who we are. Seriously, who doesn’t want a little praise and head-nodding here and there? I know I did.
Finding Comfort in Our Own Skin
But I also think the more mature a blogger gets in this business, and the more comfortable they become with their own skin, the less they seek the need for constant agreement.
I’m not saying here that experience leads to intentional confrontation or disagreeable writing, but it often does lead to a greater sense of purpose, mission, and sense of self.
And for many, “purpose” is the antithesis of creating a following full of “yes puppets” ,“ditto-heads”, and blind followers.
To give an example of what I’m talking about, this past week I sent out an article to my newsletter subscribers entitled “Let’s Stop Calling Social Media a Tool…Seriously.”
The core premise behind the article was a simple one—Social media should be viewed as a culture, NOT a tool.
And as you read this statement, you likely agree, disagree, or feel a little of both. In fact, after sending out this email I got about 100 emails arguing, for and against, the premise I had made.
One of the reader responses came from my good friend Troy Claus, who stated:
Why I love your stuff is because you make me have heated debates with myself lol. I will read what you write, agree with you, then build a case why I disagree, only to build a counter case against that…so well done
As you might imagine, this email brought me a huge smile. The idea that one of my readers was debating back and forth, with himself, defines everything I strive for when I write and communicate these days.
Again, it’s not that I’m looking for a debate, but rather that I’m striving to challenge myself, my readers, and my own beliefs as I attempt to share my thoughts with the world.
It’s also why I appreciate writers like Mitch Joel, John Falchetto, Danny Brown, Jason Falls, Margie Clayman and others. These folks force me to take a stand—with myself—and help me cognitively go places I haven’t gone before.
The bottom line is this: When I write, I want to move people. And when I read, I want to be moved.
At least, that’s where I am today as I write these words.
So tell me, and give me the hard truth if you would: What do you want your audience to feel when they read your stuff? Would you prefer very little disagreement, or are you OK with having many of your readers feel contrary to your thoughts? Jump in everyone, I’d love to know your take on this.