A Warm Welcome or a Burning Conflict: Which are You Creating?

goaway.jpgA warm welcome at a blog leaves me with a really good feeling. There’s nothing quite like knowing that your host is happy to see you and that you can feel relaxed about hanging out to have a read. The right welcome can set the perfect mood from the start – and get you a loyal reader.

I realized how much difference a warm welcome makes when I dropped a comment on Ways to Recognize a Client from Hell at Charfish Design’s blog.

Charlie replied within minutes, happy and pleased to have me reading. Alright, granted, he’d recognized me from my comments and posts on other blogs. The notoriety was cool, but what got me right in the heart from the get-go was Charlie’s cheerful tone and open welcome.

I felt good. I felt comfortable. I subscribed, and I’ll be visiting Charlie’s blog regularly. I am welcome at his home as his friend. So friend I shall be.

However, warm welcomes aren’t always what you get when you arrive at a new blog. Some blogs – while welcoming in spirit – have a community where smiles hide fangs and someone’s always ready to stick a knife in your back. This upsets me, disgusts me, and does the blogger a huge disfavor, turning away their readers.

As a guest at other people’s blogs, you have the responsibility to be nice to others.

Deb at Freelance Writing Gigs is currently trying to turn a bad situation around. Who goofed up and set her blog on fire? Not her – she continually strives to write good content. She wants to help writers find solutions. She opens up discussion on topics that people normally hush up about. She brings bad situations to light and helps writers improve.

Yet, many newcomers to her blog – and even regular readers – hesitate to comment or participate in discussions. They are turned off by continual conflict in comment threads and the barrage of condescending remarks that come off as snooty and lofty.

They’re afraid to join the community – and I don’t blame them. The commentators at FWG pit up against each other like bulldogs, bitching and blaming each other in snippy back-and-forth arguments.

Hey. Let’s be honest. Call it what it is: jealousy and envy.

On our blog, we accept open discussion and friendly debate. Freelance Writing Gigs does as well. So why does FWG constantly end up with nasty comment sections no one enjoys?

Because commentators aren’t careful. They’re being disrespectful of the hospitality FWG offers. They lack diplomacy and tact, looking down their noses at others. They can’t see the difference between discussion and dissent. They have preconceived notions about who writes what and why, and they wield their judgments like battleaxes.

Has anyone stopped to think about the effect this might have on Deb’s career? She’s a professional writer and blogger – and commentators are making her look bad, without any damned good reason. They could be costing Deb revenue and jobs. They could be turning away Deb’s potential clients.

Do you really want to be the reason someone’s career gets hurt?

Deb’s doing something very right at the moment. She’s wiping the slate clean to start over. She could’ve clamped down hard on commentators and spent many precious hours moderating the kindergarten, burning the candle at both ends.

But she didn’t. She’s giving everyone an opportunity to meet and greet each other as equals. She’s opened her doors graciously, offering everyone an opportunity to begin again on a new, positive foot.

Before writing that comment – on FWG or on *any* blog – before hitting submit, think about what you’re saying. Think about how your bragging hurts other people’s self-esteem or how your harsh opinions hurt feelings. Think about the image you’re creating for the blogger by being rude or careless with your opinions.

Think about what kind of person you are – and what you’re contributing to the conversation.

Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.