In the last few weeks, I have wondered at what point the ‘nice to be nice’ blog corner we’re part of becomes a negative thing. I think it’s when people stop speaking their minds in a constructive way because they don’t want to be that one negative voice on the scene (and don’t want to jeopardize advertising or press, or risk a huge alienating backlash).
And I think that leads to all kinds of behind-the-scenes conversations that readers never know about. Of course, every industry has this. But I’m not just talking about bloggers talking about blogging, I’m talking about the stuff readers might be interested in. It makes me think there’s a lack of editorial integrity if people are not prepared to say what they really think. Isn’t the blogosphere supposed to be more transparent, more honest than that?
For example, this week I noticed that the prices of one handmade seller have more than doubled in the last two years (and I don't think they were under-priced in the first place). I bought many pieces from her at the beginning, but I would not now. I feel that my only option is to no longer blog about her products; if I’m not prepared to buy something, I’m not going to blog about it.
But I wonder if that’s enough? In the parade of product cheerleading - from Etsy sellers to big box stores - there’s very little constructive criticism of price, product, service or integrity. (If there’s any, it tends to take on the obvious big retail targets). And I wonder if, by omitting what we think, we’re really part of a shiny happy deception; creating a medium that peddles only in ringing endorsements – advertorials even – rather than real reflective discussion.
But look, it’s not like I want my blog to become a catalogue of complaints or criticism. And I’m not talking about bitchy mud-slinging either. But right now I feel that there are two streams of dialogue in blogging: There’s the positive, ra-ra blog voice. And then there’s the more discerning and constructive voice of the person, who occasionally thinks, hey that was a disappointing purchase, or jeez, that doesn't seem all it's cracked up to be.
And I wonder if praise is really more meaningful when it’s in a context of reflective and reinforced discernment rather than repetitive oozing positivity.
I wonder which one you would rather read.