Do You Make Snap Posts?

Filed as Features, Interviews on August 22, 2008 4:30 am

I have been collecting topic suggestions from my readers this week and one of the replies I got was not a suggestion for my forthcoming content but a cry for help.

This blogger had been notified by a visitor that some of her old posts were, while funny, likely to land her in hot water. She quickly thanked the visitor and unpublished two or three of the worst offenders.

That wasn’t where the problem ended though.

Later in the week the same visitor came back to check on progress only to find a fresh post with all the same problems. The blogger realised she had a problem.

The problem wasn’t so much her snarky, ranting, writing style. That is, for good or bad, why her readers subscribed. Her problem was she posted her articles quickly, off the cuff and with zero fact checking.

She saw something she didn’t like, assumed she knew what she was writing about, and posted. We all know what “assume” leads to.

Thankfully there is an easy solution!

  1. Check your facts
  2. Write the post in draft
  3. Cool off
  4. Come back
  5. Publish if still looks worthwhile

Another solution, my preferred solution, is not to write negative posts about other people, but that wouldn’t suit everyone.

What do you think? Do you write quick-fire rants or do you consider posts carefully? Have you been on the receiving end of this kind of blog post? Please share in the comments …

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  1. By Dana posted on August 22, 2008 at 4:39 am
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    I’ve been known to post a rant or two, but they’ve been carefully thought out and what I considered to be issues that plagued many others besides myself. The little every day stuff – nah. I save that stuff for twitter :) (@crazeegeekchick)

    Reply

  2. By Chris Garrett posted on August 22, 2008 at 4:41 am
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    Heh, Twitter is great for venting isn’t it? I expect the same problem applies though, Google and Archive.org have long memories, what we write today could be pulled out a year from now and make us look bad :o

    Reply

  3. By jon burg posted on August 22, 2008 at 4:55 am
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    The desire to post rants is both natural and dangerous. Bloggers feel a strong personal connection with their readership. They feel their readers are trusted friends.

    However, these emotional feelings of connectivity often do far more damage than good. Your blog is not only your personal statement to your readers, it’s your personal statement to future employers. Your twitter account is your presence in the social community. Nobody likes someone who comes into a party fuming mad.

    Write the post, or better yet, write it as a letter to yourself. Then send it to yourself, or possibly a close friend or mentor. By the time you come back to reading it, things should have cooled down and you will now be able to react sensibly. If they haven’t, refine the letter and resend.

    Remember, nearly everything we write is being archived somewhere, whether it be a true direct archive or in the minds of our readers. The good news is that with all the clutter, rants often get lost in the shuffle. The flip side however, is a double edged sword – (a) either your rants get recognized and shared, taking things out of your control, or (b) your posts are getting lost in the shuffle.

    Your personal life is supposed to get checked at the door when you enter the workspace. Your digital identity is your digital resume. So before you rant, ask yourself, is this something I would want on my resume?

    Reply

  4. By Chris Garrett posted on August 22, 2008 at 4:58 am
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    Good point about employers, and even if all your facts are correct, a ranter might not be the best first impression!

    Reply

  5. By Andrew posted on August 22, 2008 at 5:40 am
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    I don’t tend to post rants because I don’t see the value in them. Sure they can be fun, but they are, by definition, reactionery so cannot be researched.

    I have sometimes posted on things I had issues with but it is fairly straightforward to couch your points in language that leaves room for doubt.

    For example, it wouldn’t be too bright to accuse someone of lying without fact-checking, but stating that it doesn’t seem right, or doesn’t make sense to you is not an accusation and also leaves room for ‘well I never…’ follow ups.

    Reply

  6. By Darren Cronian posted on August 22, 2008 at 5:40 am
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    Chris you could say that I post my fair share of rants, and this week I had to edit one post because with hindsight I should have written it differently and it could have landed me in trouble with an airline. I’ve struggled to put in the quality time lately, that I usually do when writing a post, and published it without thinking.

    You don’t want to ruin your reputation over one post so good tips and I agree with them all.

    Reply

  7. By Darren Cronian posted on August 22, 2008 at 5:44 am
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    @ Andrew

    I think it depends what you rant about. If by ranting you are starting a healthy discussion on a specific issue, and the issue is resolved then I think ranting can be valuable. Like Chris mentioned you have to be careful that you have the full-facts and make sure that the facts come from reliable sources.

    I’ve ranted and it’s got people within the industry talking, and it’s made people sit up and listen.

    So ranting can be useful depending on the context.

    Reply

  8. By Chris Garrett posted on August 22, 2008 at 5:47 am
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    @Andrew – Yeah, I try to keep the tone light even when obviously being critical. If you keep it about behavior and not individuals it works better

    @Darren – I think you manage to work your rants well, I don’t get an “attack” vibe from you, more a “this could be so much better” kind of feel :)

    Reply

  9. By Tom posted on August 22, 2008 at 6:08 am
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    I think you need to stop and think. I have also been hit with subpoenas because of things I have written about local condo developers and things like that. So now I think twice before I publish anything. I don’t want my hot headeadness to land me in court just because I am angry one day or trying to be funny in a rude way.

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  10. By Stephen Hopson posted on August 22, 2008 at 6:31 am
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    Hello there Chris!

    I never rant at my blog because that’s not what it’s for. I write with the intention of providing a safe place to share inspirational tips, thoughts and stories. A rant would be wildly out of place.

    But I must admit a well placed rant could generate a lot of attention, drawing more traffic from unexpected places. But that’s not me.

    Besides an inappropriately placed rant (or ill-timed for that matter), could seriously hurt the writer in some unexpected way – in the very least it could leave with a highly unfavorable or unprofessional impression.

    I don’t know about you but when I come across someone who rants incessantly, I would not want to do business with that person.

    Reply

  11. By Cathlyn Driscoll posted on August 22, 2008 at 8:14 am
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    My partner and I have a section on our blog called “Ranting on Message.”
    It’s a branding and marketing blog, and we sometimes blow off steam in our rant section. However, we never target the offender. Instead, we generalize about who they are and what it is they are doing wrong. This is our way of informing our readers who may be utilizing the same offending practices and why they shouldn’t be doing it and what they can do to correct the situation. By not targeting a specific offender, we make no direct offense and this allows readers to mentally put themselves into the story themselves if the shoe fits. This informs, yet protects us and the offender. No harm, no foul.

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  12. By Graham Richards posted on August 22, 2008 at 9:36 am
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    Hi Chris,

    In my Freelance Fundraiser’s Jottings, I do occasionally have a rant about things that are blatantly wrong or misguided. However, I do try to think through them first, rather than fire off a salvo. For example, I had a go at Nokia for poor customer service and used it as an opportunity to point out to charities that they too need to care for their donors, or they will lose them.

    I also “knocked” The Media Trust for their London-centric training programme and the fact that there are many charities in the north who would love to attend, but the travel and overnight accommodation costs prohibit them from doing so.

    So I think that if there is a positive point that can be derived from having a rant, go ahead and rant! If no one ever spoke up, these people might never get the message that they need to improve their act!

    Reply

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