I don’t like being scolded.
Like most people, I feel uncomfortable, even threatened, when someone wags a finger in my face.
I certainly don’t like feeling stupid or defective or manipulated, which is exactly how I feel when a hyperconfident spinmeister tells me how to fix my presumably lacking life in five easy steps.
(Shall I tell you how I really feel?!) 😛
Oh my. Where did that rant come from?
Since my return to writing, I’ve been researching current blogging strategies on things like how to develop content, better engage readers, increase your stats, and get and keep followers. I’ve been exploring what’s different about blogging today as compared to blogging when I left in 2007.
Not much has changed in those 12 years. Good writing, much to my relief, is still key. Editing, thankfully, is still important. “Take away” — that thing you want readers to take with them when they’re done with your post — is every bit as vital as ever.
One aspect of take away, however, seems to have changed: the attitude behind the writing, or as writers call it, tone. In some parts of Blogland, I’ve seen a shift in tone.
A few current blogging “experts” I’ve recently stumbled upon recommend an in-your-face, “you need to do this now” approach to a blog’s take away, something we avoided a dozen years ago for fear of sounding preachy and condescending. It seems some of today’s bloggers wag a figurative finger in their readers’ faces telling them, in no uncertain terms, what action steps readers must take, and take immediately, to acheive desired results. Readers, it seems, need to be schooled.
Ai yi yi. I cringe just thinking about it, let alone writing it.
That is so not who I am, nor is it who I want to be. If this really is what blogging has become, I’ll bow out now. Not everything in life can be solved by 5-Easy-Steps-To-[fill in the blank]. Some things can’t be fixed. And when they can’t, I want and need encouragement and understanding, not a lecture.
And I. Do. Not. Want. To. Be. Schooled.
No one does.
The moment I sense finger wagging in a blog I’m reading, I move on. Like Arthur’s cry in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, my mind reacts with, run away, run away. My emotional margin has little interest in being slaughtered by killer let-me-fix-you rabbits, a single undermining nibble at a time.
That tone in a blog, the one that erodes my limited confidence, doesn’t attract me, even with click-bait promises of answers and how-tos. It astounds me, actually, that so many finger-wagging blogs have the size followings they do. I don’t get it. (SMH)
To my fellow bloggers, I will say this as gently as I know how: I may be old-fashioned or behind the times, but I think there is much to be said for compassion, civility, humility, and a simple coming-along-side-companionship tone in the blogs we put out there. I appreciate learning by example, as do most people I know. Show me what you’re doing (I’ll figure out how to apply it), but don’t yell at me or scold me into doing what you think I need to do.
Whatever you choose to write about in your blogs, whatever else you do, please don’t wag your finger at me. If you do, all I will see is your wagging finger, and I’ll miss the gist of what you’re trying to communicate so passionately.
And to my dear readers, I say this: I never want you to feel like I’m wagging a finger at you. I probably couldn’t be that blogger anyway now, even if I wanted to. You see, my finger-wag broke several years ago. As I recall, I lost my finger-wag when I started facing real life, no-easy-answers issues. I realized life was filled with challenges, mystery and wonder, and that it was way beyond my ability to understand. There were no tidy answers to my messy whys.
I have no finger to wag here.
Admittedly, I would not have said that when I was 20 or 30 or even 40 years old. Like most younger folks (relatively speaking) at those ages, I naively didn’t know what I didn’t know. In my ignorance, I thought I had much to say. 😉 I thought I had answers and how-to solutions to solve or fix most issues. And I could be quite opinionated about it (forgive me).
Rather, I hope you’ll find my small part of the Internet to be warm and inviting, a safe place where you’ll find understanding, empathy, maybe a bit of quirky humor, some off-beat-but-hopefully-accurate information, and perhaps a few giggles along the way.
In this season of my life, I’d much rather we explore and wander together, mutually encouraging and supporting each other, observing and learning and loving and laughing while we wonder at our marvelous world.
So, sorry folks, you won’t find easy answers and checklist solutions here. Nor will you find lectures. My finger-wag is busted.
The good news is this: if I can’t point or wag my finger (as perhaps I did in my youth), then I am free to offer you my open, surrendered, welcoming hands along with a wide open heart. I’d much rather offer you those than a finger-wag any day of the week.
Until next time,