The Words You Write

purple pen

Over the last week there have been blogs a-plenty typed up, published, posted, shared, commented upon. Millions of blog posts.

The massacre in Iraq. Robin Williams’s death. Racial upheaval in our nation. Russia. Ebola. Celebrities. Weight loss.

And…oh boy…religion.

Words have been written with seeming authority. Readers have taken these words in, let them sit in their gut. They’ve responded. Some out of anger and hate and angst. They’ve responded with vitriol that eats through the soul like acid. Others have despaired of the state of humanity (is there any good left in the world?).

Yet others have taken the words of bloggers as full on truth.

This blogger (that would be me) wants to point out the man behind the curtain. Go ahead, pull it aside. You’ll see that in blogging there is no Wonderful Wizard. Just regular old humbugs like me.

Bloggers don’t have the world figured out any more than you do.

Yesterday I read a post by an insanely popular blogger. Let’s just say I wish I hadn’t. And I’d rather not be responsible for the pollution of your mind in linking up to him. Also, I’d rather not contribute to his site getting more hits (or page views).

This blogger wrote irresponsible words about suicide. He wrote in absolutes as if he was the ultimate authority on the matter because he’d “struggled with depression” before. He said that this is how it is. Double stampy. No backsies. I’m right, you’re wrong.

Guess what. He’s not an expert on depression or suicide. He’s a blogger.

Not a psychologist or social worker or doctor of any kind.

He is a public figure using his platform to spout his uneducated opinion.

This kind of hooey happens every single day in the blogging world.

I call bull-manure on that.

Can I tell you something about bloggers? We’re all trying to get as many people to click on our blogs as possible. And we like getting a bunch of comments.

Why?

Because publishers look at that. Because, if we run ads, each click gets us a couple more pennies in the jar. Because some are attention seekers who get a thrill from inciting online chaos.

And so, some bloggers will do anything to get people to read their blog. They don’t care about the backlash. They don’t care who they hurt. They will be as provocative as they can to get more attention/hits/comments.

So, they manipulate you.

It is no different for the big news corporations. Say the most shocking thing and get more viewers.

Manipulation.

I don’t like being tugged around like that and I’m guessing you don’t either.

This blogger I was talking about, the one who said ignorant things about suicide? He’s constantly writing these uber controversial posts. Whatever. He can do what he wants.

But.

His words about suicide were irresponsible. Foolish. Poorly timed Especially considering how large his audience is.

And it was a trick to get folks all riled up.

Because that’s what some bloggers do. And they sully the work others do to use their blogs to make the world a little more beautiful.

If you’re a writer, the words you write are powerful. They can be weapons or balms or whoopie cushions. Your words, spoken or written, exit you and enter the world and have eternal impact.

Let’s be careful with those words. Can we please?

Let our words be tempered with love and weighed in wisdom.

And, for goodness sake, if you don’t know what you’re talking about, be an adult and keep your words to yourself.

Stilling the words in order to listen is always an option.

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15 thoughts on “The Words You Write

  1. This makes me love what you write and what you say a whole lot more. Keep speaking out the truth – and with the love and care that you do. I have been amazed at the SO many “experts” writing on suicide the last few days. Reading some with horror and some with tears (yeah, me, the one who never cries), and some touched me to the core of my soul.

    Keep writing, Susie.

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    • Beth, whenever I see that you’d left a comment, I know it’s going to be full of encouragement. Thank you for that.

      Yeah. Everyone’s an expert. But what they need to remember is that they are experts of THEIR situation/life. We’re all different.

      Yes, I have read some loving posts about suicide that gave me peace when thinking of the friends I’ve lost that way. It’s heartbreaking to know that someone finds it the only option. And it’s a far more complex situation than some would like to make it. One can’t simply make themselves happy and get over it.

      Thank you, Beth.

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      • Susie, you are like the candle in the darkness. I firmly believe that. Your faith shines so bright. And the fact that you don’t preach it and are open in saying you don’t have all the answers is a blessing. You just *are* and that is a gift.

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  2. Exactly. Thank you for this post, Susie. I read the post you allude to and I agree that it was speaking on a personal experience and putting that experience forth as basis for absolute authority. And I appreciate you rightly pointing out that, though we have made much of the Internet as a way to correct the distorted media that comes from the big conglomerates, it has become almost indiscernible in some corners as bloggers hope to improve their numbers. So here’s a big cheer for YOU for your honesty and humility.

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  3. I’m very thankful for this blog. I read the blog you refer to also and it left me with an ache in my heart. I’m a survivor of a parents suicide and my own suicidal thought and attempts. I have been stable for the past 9 years. I would never presume to be an authority just because of it, though. What he said would have destroyed me 10 years ago. I pray no one is harmed by that thoughtless, arrogant, opinionated blog. I appreciate you addressing this with your compassionate words.

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    • Thank you so much for being so vulnerable here. I’m so sorry for the pain of losing your parent in that way. And I’m glad for your stability. What a gift you are. I’m so thankful that you’re still here.

      In some of my darker moments, the other blog post would have made me feel even more hopeless and defeated. I join you in praying that it doesn’t have that impact on someone who is so deeply hurt.

      Thank you for your comment and the encouragement.

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  4. You’ve put my thoughts to words. As the verse goes, “If I speak in the tongue of men and angels, but have not love, I am only a clanging cymbal.” I find half- truths without compassion spoken under the banner of Christ to be just as detrimental…maybe even more so…than lies boldly told.

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  5. So very true – your words… Thank you for eloquently sharing your heart. I agree 100%. Humility and the willingness to admit that you do not know it all are so important. Let love and compassion rule.

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