The very nature of blogging is personal. It means you are providing perspective – your perspective. This perspective is not the same as somebody else in a different situation, with different experiences, with different goals.
And most likely, you are providing opinions.
I read a lot of blogs. It’s part of my job. I read blogs about blogging. I read blogs about SEO and social media. I read blogs about cars, and job hunting, and celebrities, and sports and politics, and fashion, and partying, and writing, and business, and finance and science, and… you get the picture. In very few blogs do I find nothing but facts.
Often, in fields I know a thing or two about, I find facts clearly stated. Only, sometimes I disagree with the “facts”. That’s right, they are more assertions than facts. Of course, I might be wrong, but mostly I just have a different opinion of what works best or what is most appropriate in a certain situation or what someone’s motivation is for having done something.
The very fact that there can be more than one opinion on such topics means that they are not facts, but opinions. So why are they presented as facts?
Well, as I said earlier, the nature of blogging lends itself to making such assertions.
Trained journalist would be horrified (and many are) at what goes on in the blogosphere. And bloggers should be, too.
When we blog writers make assertions that are no more than our personal opinions, we should state so. “I believe that the most effective tool to accomplish this is…” Or, “It seems to me he made such a stupid comment because deep down he…” Or, “What I think they should have done is…”
There is another way that bloggers present opinions as facts – a sneaky way that even journalists use to avoid being completely objective. They cherry-pick the facts. Yes, in a certain situation, there might be dozens of facts, and an opinionated person can easily report mostly those that make the subject look good. Or look bad. Or look scary.
Politicians and political bloggers are infamous for doing this – on purpose. (Just read anything written about climate change, which we know by the blogs we read is both an impending threat and a total scam.) Other bloggers are often guilty of doing this unintentionally.
But our readers deserve better. They deserve the truth, or at least the most objective attempt to portray the truth that you can muster. Trained journalists know they always should seek out a source with an opposite opinion, even when the story looks pretty one-way to them. Make sure your readers get the full story or at least a good balanced reporting.
Don’t be shy to express opinions. To add perspective. To make bold statements. That is the strength of blogging. But make sure to be transparent with your readers as to what is fact and what is opinion. Don’t we owe our readers that much?
David Leonhardt runs The Happy Guy Marketing. He is an online marketing specialist who spends way too much time reading blogs and writing plenty of his own (and everyone else’s) .