A dear friend was recently lamenting that her blog had become nothing but blah, blah, blah. There was no commentary, discussion, or meaningful debate. But ironically, she said that it was not her style to “take a stand” on any issue. She would rather go with the flow.
Obviously if you stay in the safety zone of “likability,” you’re never going to attract much conversation other than a polite “great post!” But think about this … on the social web, the only distinct value you can deliver is your opinion. And if you never offer an honest opinion, you’re not really creating much value. You are probably well-liked but invisible.
When I was in my 20s, I had a revelation that helped me be a better man and a ultimately, a better blogger.
In a performance review, my boss made an interesting observation: it seemed like it was important — maybe too important — for me to be “liked.” At that time, I just assumed everybody had this same goal, but the more I thought about this, I realized that innovation, change, and progress can never occur if you are preoccupied with just being popular. I’m not saying anybody should be rude or disrespectful. I’m saying that there is tremendous value in learning how to take a stand in a kind and nurturing way.
A focus on being liked as being the end goal may get in the way of being respected. It’s easy to be liked. It’s difficult to become respected.
A new outlook
So I began to re-frame my perspective. It’s impossible (and exhausting) to try to be “liked” by everybody. But I do think it is realistic to have a goal of being seen as “fair.” Somebody who is fair can take a stand and attack issues without attacking people. Somebody who is fair can have the courage to take a strong stand and also exhibit humility and admit when they are wrong. Somebody who is fair is at peace because their beliefs are congruent with their words and actions. I think there is tremendous power in that … in life, and as a blogger.
Trading a goal of being “liked” for one of being “fair” will unleash your creativity and embolden your writing style. Having the courage to start a conversation instead of meekly repeating what you think people want to hear is liberating. And I think you might even be surprised when you voice an opinion and others chime in and say “Yes! Finally somebody is saying what needs to be said.”
Trading in “like” for “fair” will make your words MATTER. Isn’t that important to you?