August 8, 2012

10 Hazards of Becoming an Online Blogger

1. You will find that you may not be managing your time wisely. As a result your writing may take away valuable time with your family and/or friends.

Change it: Set a timer, do what needs to be done and GET OFFLINE. Otherwise you will find yourself missing on the best parts of your kids' childhood, cutting a wedge in your marriage, or finding that the small basket of laundry you had yesterday has morphed into a couch-sized mountain and you can swear you saw it breathing....

2. You may become obsessed with how much traffic is going to your site every time you publish a post.

Stop it: Stick to checking it once or twice a day.. not every 20 minutes. I promise all of the data will still be there.

3. If you make social media a heavy part of promoting your information it can literally drain HOURS of your time per day because you have to check it "really quick" and can get sucked up into watching what everyone else is doing.

Advice: I am one of those people who is verging on the need for a 12-step program. Between Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest... it's a slippery slope. It is easy for me to give YOU advice and say try to set a timer, etc. However, I do have something that can help. Turn off the social media at least two hours before you go to bed. Let your mind rest, refocus on your family, make plans for the next day... You get what I'm saying.

4. If you have a medium to large-sized following you may get your heart broken--a lot. Through comments and social media sites you receive a massive amount of happenings in other peoples lives. There will always be medical tests coming in, family members sick or dying, marriages falling apart, and many more. It can take a heavy toll. (On the positive though--there are lots of celebrations and miracles as well.)

It hurts: I cannot count the number of times I've found myself sobbing at news from an online friend, acquaintance, or stranger. When you have a decent following it's like bad news on steroids. Someone will always need encouragement and prayers. Your mind can become overloaded on who you were supposed to encourage and when. You may find yourself putting way too much of that grief on your spouse or significant other. This can take a heavy toll. Remember two things: 1. It's called compassion. And 2. Try not to let these things take over your real life. If you carry them with you everywhere you go it makes it very difficult to provide positive encouragement to others and can be unhealthy to you emotionally.

5. You will be emailed by that guy who says you won an iPad, the long-lost relative overseas who wants to give you money, and the charity you've never heard of.

Ha!: If it sounds too good to be true then it most likely is. Block, delete, forget.

6. You will receive comments/emails giving unsolicited advice on your thoughts of the day. This is normally just fine, and sometimes wonderful! However, there are those who are just plain mean! And they may email a lot!

It takes two: Do not engage people in a cyber-war. A simple "I will agree to disagree", followed by no more conversation on your part on the topic will suffice. Delete comment threads from extremists who only seek to harm. Whatever you do, don't be down in the dirt slinging mud back--you will look equally as foolish as the one who started the war.

7. There will always be people who will become super-angry and defensive if you do not share the same beliefs. Think "conservative v. liberal", as an example. Or vaccines v. none. Or even silly things like your preferred brand of laundry detergent, cereal, etc.

Answer above: See #6, "It takes two". Another suggestion is to make a clear statement somewhere on your blog that firmly states your beliefs. You can find mine here. About halfway down the page you will see a "You may ask me about" and then, "Before you ask me about". My inbox has become significantly smaller since posting those thoughts. By the way--everyone is a doctor, a theologian, an expert,... need I go on?

8. You will be asked to promote items on your site because, "you are the best blogger ever", "have such unique insight on your topics", etc. Meanwhile you realize it's an ad 'for the BEST abs ever' when you're 7 months pregnant.

If you are 7 months pregnant: resist the urge to punch your monitor or cry on your keyboard. Most of those emails I do not respond to because they aren't genuine. Sometimes I'll ask for more information about what they do as a company and there's no response. Ignore. Delete.

9. There will be readers who agree with absolutely everything you say and those who agree with nothing. Proceed carefully folks, your thoughts on a topic can become a viral motto. This may sound pretty cool but it's really not in all cases especially if you are just joking!

Think: This year the heat is on. Every time there's an election year we see opinions, anger, joy, stupid slogans, genius slogans... you get what I mean. These things can catch like fire!! I can think of two things I absolutely despise that are in vicious circles.. quotes with pictures of people who did not say it! (Lincoln, Einstein, and for crying out loud.. Morgan Freeman. Seriously, why do people need to put words in his mouth? He has amazing things to say without being misquoted.) and 10 year old urban legends. Going back to the quotes, some advice.. check your facts before you post.. especially in politics otherwise you may contribute to the dumbing-down of society. We don't want that.

10. Your blog will eventually land in one or both of these places: a search engine page looking for traffic that takes your entire posts as they are published  and/or on someone's hate list. It's just a matter of time. And when it lands on the bad list it is followed with a handful (or more) haters in your comments. Sad, but true.

It happens: Chik-fil-a. No matter which side you were on you were wrong and strongly disliked. There were many bloggers who fell victim to mud-slinging on other blogs. I was once hammered by a site that didn't like my approach to Autism. That person wanted me to agree that the diagnosis was "worse than death".. sorry, not happening. If you put me on your hate list for my opinions that I will merely ignore you. As far as search engines, I haven't found a great way to remove myself from their pages and would love to hear your solutions to this problem.

Give me your best advice to bloggers! What are some of the hazards you have run into?


Bonita said...

These are great and so true! I'd add to the list that you will be misunderstood from time to time either because you didn't write clearly or because someone read something into your writing that wasn't actually there.

Angela DeRossett said...

That is a GREAT one Bonita!! The pitfall to writing is that it lacks tone of voice.. lots of thoughts can be taken out of context. So true!!