I learned a great lesson in the power words while serving on a committee to write an employee manual.

With all of us being in management positions, we knew what actions would be grounds for dismissal, however, we also knew each word in the manual had to be perfect. The misuse of one word could completely change the meaning of a sentence, which in turn, could lead to a discrimination law suit.

The example that comes to mind is:

Instead of saying “you will be terminated if you (fill in the blank)”, the wording read, “You may be terminated if you (fill in the blank)”

As most of us know, it’s never black and white. There can always be extenuating circumstances.

This lesson came into play last week when I was working on my “The Unseen Benefit Of Commenting” post. The words flowed. Within a short period of time I had the whole post written. I hit save and began the editing process.

As I reread what I wrote, I realized the words I used could be misconstrued as a type of medical/psychiatric advice. My first thought was to add a disclaimer stating “I’m not a doctor, blah, blah, blah…, read at your own risk….”.

My second thought was, “I need to rewrite this post”

I did the latter.

Today’s Lesson

When we blog, we often get carried away with our words. We want to share our experiences and opinions. We know what worked for us, how things affected us, and we feel it may work for others, too.

Let’s face it, we often blog in an attempt to help others.

But, what about those who don’t think like us? What about those who read what we wrote and take it literally. What about those who read between the lines and don’t read the words that say, “I think”, “It’s my opinion”, or fail to read our “Terms of Use” policy? Or those who are looking for someone to blame? Someone to sue?

With our blogs being read worldwide by people from all backgrounds and education levels, it’s important we consider our potential audience. Although many people visit our blogs, the majority are not commenting. Students may be using our blog posts as part of their assignments, and/or some may make a life style change based on what we wrote.

Choosing and using the right words shows we’re blogging responsibly.

Today’s Assignment

Have you ever read something and taken it to be the truth, only to be mislead?

Before you publish a blog post, are you editing it so your words cannot be misconstrued?

Have you ever heard of someone being hurt by the written word?

Although the wording on some blogs may not fall into this “category”, I’m curious to hear how others deal with the specific wording in their posts.

.


P.S. This is also a great time to check your “Terms of Use” or “Disclaimer” policy. If you don’t have one, click on mine (in the header). You’ll find a link at the bottom where you can get one for free.


Photo Credit: Caveman 92223
— Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

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  1. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara. Editing is one of my most favourite things to do. I have often misunderstood things I have read, and I’ve also had my words misunderstood. It can get pretty sticky and it does pay off to take that extra bit of time to polish things up.

    At the end of the day, there will always be someone who misunderstands something. I hope when/if that happens that the person will, instead of jumping to their own conclusion, clarify things first.

    Davina´s last blog post..Step Out Of Crisis And Into Power

  2. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Davina – Like you, I hope others won’t jump to conclusions and will take the time to ask for clarification.

    Editing is fun, isn’t it? It gives us a chance to reread what we wrote and make changes so the words not only make sense, but also flow.

  3. I think it is very difficult with blog posts to edit them so that everything is crystal clear and cannot be misconstrued.
    The reason is, and it’s obvious from some of the comments on my blog, that people read posts very quickly and will just skim read.
    They can then come away with a false impression of what they have read.
    This can be very difficult to modify. Many don’t give the attention to a blog post that they would when reading a book. I guess if people are subscribed to a lot of blogs they will jump through the posts very quickly even if they want to comment.

    the three dog blogger´s last blog post..27 Ways To A Better Behaved Dog And A Happier Life For You And Your Dog

  4. LanceNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,
    I do consider what I write, very much, how it might be construed. And, if I think that someone might take it in some fashion different from what I’ve intended, I do re-write it. That said, I’m also sure that I don’t “catch” everything and how it might possibly be taken… This is interesting, when I really think about it. What are the potential effects? Hmmm….

    Lance´s last blog post..Let’s All Just Let It Flow

  5. Al at 7PNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – that was a great example about how sometimes a single word can change the meaning, or even just the tone, of what we’re trying to say.

    It’s very hard to edit our own blog entries since the editor and the writer have the same way of looking at things. That being said, I typically try to put down what I write for a day so that I can re-read with a more fresh perspectives, but it’s not as good as having a separate person editing it.

    Al at 7P´s last blog post..533,000 Is Too Much

  6. I do always reread what I write – but that doesn’t mean I don’t get misunderstood. As you said: the audience can vary so much in age, educational level and even native language that to prevent all misunderstanding seems impossible to me. Also – at times the fact that English is MY second language creates misunderstanding. I’ve had my readers teach me English…

    But then my blog is hardly going to be a base for future legal action. 🙂

    Katinka – spiritual´s last blog post..Activity & passivity – the value of ‘meditation’

  7. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    You raise an interesting point. Words do change the meaning along with intent. Sometimes I think that I have my post just right when I re-read for the 5th time only to find something that just doesn’t sound right only to re-edit again.

    Yes, I have read things that turned out to be very wrong and it is frustrating. Sometimes I get the feeling that folks are just writing to be just filling up space and not taking the time to research.

    But I guess that is why the internet is wide open.

    Linda´s last blog post..Vu1 Technology

  8. Mike GoadNo Gravatar says:

    My best example of misunderstanding something was when I provided clarifying information in a forum to a discussion item that I thought was in error and whose author I didn’t think had a grasp on the topic.

    Turned out I was commenting on an inside joke and the author had a very complete grasp on things.

    ooops!

    I almost always read and re-read everything before I post — even comments. I don’t consciously check to see if it can be misunderstood, but I think it’s something that happens as I edit.

    Mike Goad´s last blog post..Blue Heron on Lock

  9. SusanneNo Gravatar says:

    As human beings, I think it’s a challenge to make yourself understood–and to understand–even with a rich language to help.

    I find it’s not so much about being misconstrued as it is simply a matter of differing points of view. I’m talking about subtle differences. I’ve learned that the same word can, and often does, carry a slightly different meaning for different people.

    It’s the same question as: How can I really know what Red looks like to you? Some days I think it’s a miracle that we are able to communicate at all.

    Thanks, Barbara, you always get me thinking.

  10. Good point, Barbara. I often think about this issue, especially since I work with several ministry related websites. Thanks for the link to the Terms of Use form. I’ve already used it and will soon be adding it to our sites. You are SUCH an encouragement!

    Tammie @ Are You For Real?´s last blog post..Our Hometown Christmas Parade

  11. chrisNo Gravatar says:

    I’m a very critical reader. I’m always trying to read between the lines. This why when I write, I edit my words carefully and thoughtfully to make sure that I write what I mean figuratively and literally.

    chris´s last blog post..I Shall Return

  12. Hi Barbara

    One thing about law it’s that it changes from nation to nation. Have I violated some Ugandan law in my blog? No idea, honestly, I just I hope I haven’t.
    Thankfully for us, the law of a nation is restricted to its borders.

    So Barbara go by American Law, I will go by Spanish Law and so on. It’s hard to protect you against any possible lawsuit in your own country. On a global scale, it’s impossible. Just be honest, humble and do not offend for the sake of it.

    (And pray 🙂 )

    Miguel de Luis´s last blog post..See you December the 22nd

  13. My first ‘edit’ is “Will this be misconstrued by, or hurt, anyone on my circle of family or friends?” If the answer is yes, or maybe, I delete the post. It means I’ve written about something that should remain private. Beyond, I just write. I have only once written something that was a bit preachy, and I did have a commenter freak out on me. I commented back with background information that clarified my position. I never heard back, so potentially I lost that reader. I was concerned, because the rest of the comments supported my position, so I guess I wasn’t completely out in left field.

    Other than that, I just write. It is my opinion, and my perspective based on my realities. And I always invite my readers to state differently.

    I do not get hurt reading out the blogs. I might not agree with what they say, but I never take it personally. If I continue to not like what they say, I simply drop them from my reading list.

  14. I’m sure I’m misunderstood often. Once I was talking to someone and they misunderstood something I said that I thought was pretty clear. I said something like “I took an umbrella because it was raining.” And they asked “What was raining? The umbrella?”

    Sometimes I think about the balance here. On the one hand, if you state something very directly, it’s a powerful statement, but it could be misunderstood. On the other hand, if you spell out all your assumptions and all the possibilities, people see what you really mean, but it might sound wishy-washy.

    I think the balance depends on the tone you want to set for your blog. Steve Pavlina has said that when he states his opinions as facts, some people complain, but he also gets the point across a lot better. But Barbara, for you I think it would be disastrous to start being overly assertive.

    Hunter Nuttall´s last blog post..Does Work Suck? Fix It With ROWE!

  15. MomGrind’s legal page contains the following paragraph:

    “MOMGRIND™ is a blog Site. The Site publishes rumors, opinions and speculations, in addition to accurately reported information. Information on the site may contain errors or inaccuracies; VDL, Inc. does not make any warranty as to the correctness or reliability of the site’s content.”

    I think every blogger should put something similar on their legal page.

  16. Thanks Barbara! I’m launching into some touchy subjects and needed your post today.

    As for word choice — sometimes I think it’s like the saying, “It is often easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.” Mainly because you can’t please everyone, but I agree with Urban Panther that you really do need to avoid hurting others.

    Hi, Vered — Good idea. Guess I would first need a legal page, though!

    SpaceAgeSage — Lori´s last blog post..Relationship (or leadership) is not about control

  17. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – It may be worth us adding something like Vered has. I haven’t been sued before. I would expect that the average intelligent reader would realise that my experiences would be different to theirs.

    But one guy did threaten to sue me many years ago because I decided to close down my website and discontinue my free weekly newsletter.

    I try not to worry too much about people misunderstanding things. After all, I’ve come to realise that there’s always someone who will misunderstand what you have to say, not matter how clear you think you’re being.

    One exception was my post on blogging like Barbie. I get a few searches from young girls with phrases, “how can I look like Barbie”. At first I was going to edit my post but in the end, I decided that in the long term, seeing a few swear words was not as bad for them as a desire to look like a Barbie doll.

    What really does worry me – is when folk start giving out dangerous information that could seriously harm someone’s health. After the Heath Ledger suicide, a popular blogger made the mistake of comparing someone who was severely depressed to someone who was feeling a bit down.

    And he advised them that all they needed to do was read a particular book – to hell with medication.

    It was so irresponsible. But the trouble is, some folk believe these people, because they see them as someone to look up to and respect. And a lot of the time, they’re not an authority on anything, aside from bullshitting folk about how much money they’ve made from blogging and other stuff. It’s frightening.

    Cath Lawson´s last blog post..I’m Not A Bloody Fortune Teller But….

  18. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Three Dog Blogger – Good point. Many blog readers are skimming our posts and misconstrue what we said, hence they may leave a comment that doesn’t make sense. In those instances I have commented back by saying “THIS is what I said…”, in a tactful way, of course.

    Hi Lance – Like you said, we probably can’t catch everything, but if we try to blog responsibly, it’s reflected in our work.

    Hi Al – Isn’t that the truth? It would be fantastic if we had someone to proof read and/or edit our posts, thus giving us that unbiased eye.

    Hi Katinka – I’m glad you brought that up about English not being everyone’s’ native language. The English language can be very confusing with so many words having different meanings and pronunciations.

    Hi Linda – I agree. It is very frustrating what we rely on the written word to be factual. For that reason I’ve gotten to the point where I’ll read several reliable sites to find out if “it” is the truth. The process of doing that becomes time consuming, but I don’t want to be mislead and make a decision based on a falsehood.

    Hi Mike – Your experience in the forum you spoke of is a great example. But I’m thinking, how would you have known it was an inside joke?

    Hi Susanne – You’re welcome. You’re right. The same word can hold different meanings to different people, especially when our words are being read by people all over the world.

    Hi Tammie – You’re welcome. I’m guessing when dealing with ministry related websites proper wording becomes very important. Thank you for your kind words.

    Hi Chris – I would assume your role as a school administrator plays a huge part in the written word.

    Hi Miguel – What a great point. Laws in different countries can vary immensely . I love your advice; be honest, humble, do not offend for the sake of it, and pray. 🙂 So true!

    Hi Panther – What you’re doing by asking yourself those questions if blogging very responsibly. We certainly don’t want to hurt others, especially our loved ones, with our words.

    Hi Hunter – Oh yes. There is definitely a balance we need to consider. Like you said, powerful statements can be totally misconstrued, whereas when we don’t take a stand, we can be labeled as uncommitted, unreliable or wishy-washy.

    I do love how Steve Pavlina uses the tagline line of “Personal Development for Smart People” on his blog. I’m guessing it reduces the number of idiotic remarks he might receive in his forum and accurately targets those who he’s writing for.

    You’re right. For me to start sounding overly assertive would be disastrous. For one, that’s not who I am, and secondly, the subject of blogging has too many variables.

    Hi Vered – I’m so happy you shared that. With your legal background you are well aware of how the written word can be misconstrued.

    Hi Space Age Sage – You’re welcome. I agree. We cannot please everyone.

    It’s been awhile since I heard that phrase; “It is often easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.” Thanks for sharing.

    Hi Catherine – Thank you for sharing such great examples of what you’ve experience in blogging. Isn’t it amazing what people are searching for when they land on our blog posts? Like you said, you were sharing an article about “Barbie blogging” and young girls are searching for “how can I look like Barbie?” Fortunately you didn’t provide them with any advice.

    The health issues that are discussed on blogs can be VERY dangerous. Many take what they read online to be the truth and if they practice what they’ve read, their health (both mental and physical) could not only become worse, but death could result. I agree, it is frightening.

  19. Hi Barbara
    I am back again! Interesting issues you raised Barbara and I also enjoyed reading the comments to date.

    Because my blog is broadly of the “self help” genre, I am concerned that someone may misconstrue what I have written. I re read my finished posts at least twice to check on things that may be misunderstood.

    I am hoping that the way I write my posts makes it clear to readers that I am not trying to come across as an expert but just another person offering a different perspective on a topic.

    I have a pretty weird sense of humour and I know that this could potentially be taken the wrong way. Humour taken the wrong way can be a minefield. For this reason I have held back on injecting more humour into my posts. I put some out there every now and then to test the waters. I guess I am still experimenting with blogging in general.

  20. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    Oh my! I just sent off an email about a product that is in everything…my goal was to share something I had found to be true for myself, it was not my own words, but I thought was important information for my diabetic friends. The actually email was a hoax. I felt terrible and sent out an apology and now have little credibility with some of the folks I was attempting to assist or inform….I am getting a lot of teasing and that is always good 🙂
    The another side of the coin is that misinterpretation can and may open a line of dialog if folks want to talk things through and find clarity.
    I don’t know if I have a legal page…learning something new here!
    Thank you as always for the valuable information.

    Patricia´s last blog post..The Queen of Preparation and an Awesome Mom

  21. Barbara –

    Great thoughts!

    I often have that problem – I write something and wonder if it really says what I intend it to say. When that happens, I usually end up rewriting it at least once, if not twice. And sometimes, I just end up deleting it altogether (though that’s rare).

    Should I have a disclaimer/legal something or other? I don’t know but it’s probably a good idea. My sister, who is a paralegal, would probably faint if she knew I didn’t have one yet. 😉

    ~Annie

    Annie Anderson´s last blog post..Best present ever

  22. Linda AbbitNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks for reminding me of the power, and reach, of our blogs, Barbara. I write as if I’m talking to a friend, and forget some times that my words and ideas travel much further than that.

    I have a Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Comments Policy on my blog. Hat tip to you and Vered for giving me the lingo to craft them with. Even with those in place, if I mention a medical condition (i.e. depression in caregivers is not unusual), I also put in an additional warning in the individual post that this is just my opinion and to seek medical advice, etc., etc. It’s just part of my New York upbringing and resulting “paranoia” according to my husband.

    Linda Abbit´s last blog post..Inspiring Quotes for Caregivers: On Caregiver’s Rights — 12/10/08

  23. Evelyn LimNo Gravatar says:

    Vered’s wordings for her legal page is funny…LOL!! I do spend a fair bit of time editing my posts. I try my best to be mindful of the language I use. I don’t want to sound as if I am imposing my views on others. My perspective is always to invite readers to open their minds and consider more alternatives to a conventional view. What they conclude thereafter is for them to draw.

    Evelyn Lim´s last blog post..Whose Pain Is This?

  24. JeanneNo Gravatar says:

    Reading your blog always gets me to thinking! In my opinion, we all have our own “take” on things. If someome takes one of my posts and reads it “their” way, rather than mind….oh well. It’s my blog and I’ll say it if I want to. But that’s just me, I guess. I try not to hurt anyone’s feelings and I would never, ever comment and say something bad about a person.

    But there are people that do that….and it’s sad.

    Jeanne´s last blog post..Can’t Anyone See I Need Some Help Here???

  25. J.D. MeierNo Gravatar says:

    Great topic!

    I think this is an important topic because I’ve seen a lot of people clam up to the world for fear of being misconstrued. I’ve also seen incredibly defensive writing with so many disclaimers that it was no longer worth reading.

    I think a few things help. For example, here’s a debate frame:
    1. facts – look it up
    2. policies – agree on outcomes and metrics
    3. values – subjective

    Just knowing what you’re working with can help you set the right context and tone.

    I think it mostly depends on what your audience values. For example, if I’m writing for academic, I write more formal, abstract, and I try to go for as much precision and accuracy as possible. Other than that, I write a lot less formal (at least where my editors will let me 😉

    I think a shift in mindset helps too … for example, thinking of a post as a backdrop for a conversation. This way, you don’t have to get it all written down or get it all right up front or be all things to everyone. Instead, it’s a frame for a dialogue to elaborate as needed. I’ve seen this approach help some people — where previously their inner-critic blocked them from posting. I guess from a metaphor standpoint, you can find a healthy spot somewhere between etched in stone and scribbled in the sand.

    That said, I try to make a quick edit pass to catch the big issues. I try not to spend $20 on a $5 problem though and timeboxing helps me avoid over-engineering.

    J.D. Meier´s last blog post..Lessons Learned from Peaceful Warrior

  26. NaturalNo Gravatar says:

    a lot of things we read on the web or the printed word is supposed to be true. just because someone say it is so doesn’t make it true. we have to do our own due diligence work and check the facts.

    yep been hurt by words. i try to contact the person and clear up whatever what said or written.

    i cringe at my “tone” in some of my older posts. i learned i had to take it down a thousand because people really don’t want your advice, even if you mean well. i suggest, not tell

    Natural´s last blog post..The Day of the Fight

  27. JannieNo Gravatar says:

    Since I’m more in the entertainment than the self-help, how-to or advising mode, I have almost unlimited leeway with what I write.

    I do always try to be kind, tho, in all writing because yes, the pen being mightier than the sword, can hurt very deeply.

    Jannie´s last blog post..Austin Rain of Terror

  28. Fantastic considerations! I definitely spend a large portion of my blogging time going over my writings and editing it to avoid any possible misunderstandings. I write about spirituality, and my blog has developed a reputation as being helpful for mental health. Awesome, except people in an emotional crisis can often misunderstand things – and in such subjects, even the tiniest misinterpretation can mean a lot. I also include lots of disclaimers. The good news is, after a while, it becomes automatic – you already know what possible misunderstandings are, and already writing to cover that.

    Regarding people getting hurt from the written word, sometimes bloggers do get nasty comments that are quite painful. But it’s a good chance to take an inner inventory, too.

    Cheers,
    Albert | UrbanMonk.Net
    Modern personal development, entwined with ancient spirituality.

    Albert | UrbanMonk.Net´s last blog post..Turning Around Your Stories with The Work of Byron Katie, Part 3

  29. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Leanne – It’s great to see you again. That’s true about using humor. Depending on how it’s presented, it can easily be misconstrued. Keep testing the waters. 🙂

    Hi Patricia – You’re right. Open dialog is often seen in a post that contains incorrect information. Hopefully others will read the comments and not believe all that’s written in the article.

    Hi Annie – First, thanks for the link to the Christmas tree. I found it on your site. 🙂

    Re: Disclaimers and/or Terms of use statements. I think they’re useful and may give us one layer of protection.

    Hi Linda – I’m guessing with you writing about elder care there are issues you talk about that could be misconstrued. Reminding people to seek medical advice is a great idea.

    Hi Evelyn – Isn’t it great when we can do that, “invite readers to open their minds and consider more alternatives to a conventional view”? Let’s get them thinking. 🙂

    Hi Jeanne – You’re right. There are many who will say mean things. Like you said, that’s said.

    Hi J.D. – I hear you. Some may not write anything for fear of repercussions, or have so many disclaimers the value is lost.

    The debate frame is a great way of looking at blog posts, and I like your example, “try not to spend $20 on a $5 problem”.

    Hi Natural – You’re right. It’s better to “suggest” than to “tell”. From there, each individual can find a method that works best for them and their situation.

    Hi Jannie – “The pen being mightier than the sword.” So true!

    Hi Albert – Welcome to the BWAB community. With the subject of your blog, and your experience, it sounds like you’ve learned when to insert a disclaimer, and when one is not necessary. You’re right. Those who are in an emotional crisis situation are extremely sensitive.

  30. I think there’s always a danger with the written word, whether in blogs, emails (which are often so easy to misconstrue), letters. Body language and tone are such a huge part of communication that without them, misunderstanding is easy!

    Blogs are sometimes in a funny “no-man’s” land of advice-giving (as Natural said she now suggests rather than tells) and that just makes it all more complicated!

    Vintage Mommy´s last blog post..Holidays by Hand: Food Glorious Food!

  31. @Barbara, I must admit that I am not the best proof readers. This is probably one of the things I need to improve as in ‘investing some time to understand what people might think about certain phrasing or statements’. Having said that, I must say that sometimes I do not want to be diplomatic and that’s intentional – esp, when picking on liars and those who spread fake info.

    For somebody who picked the English language (as a secodn option in our tri-lingual system) very late, I hope I will be bailed out. But sometimes, when I listen to George W Bush Jr, I feel that, I am not the worst in this world when it comes to grammatical or phrasing errors 😆

    Punctuation is another thing that has spoiled my party several times – even in official documentation. And I remember the famous medieval time story where the judge verdict went against an innocent person due to a misplaced comma. (‘Hang him not, let him go’ became ‘Hang him, not let him go’) or something like that…

    Ajith Edassery´s last blog post..Global Recession and Current State of the MMO Blogosphere

  32. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Ann – You’re right, words can easily be misconstrued. It can get complicated, but it should stop us from sharing our thoughts, ideas, or life lessons.

    Hi Ajity – What a fabulous example of how a comma made such a huge difference in the outcome of a verdict. THAT, is powerful. Who knew?

  33. […] their opinions as facts to challenge people to either agree or disagree with them, while others choose their words carefully to avoid offending […]

  34. I think about this every time I write a post. Sometimes it makes the process of getting the post complete very time consuming. I don’t like telling people what to do because what works for me may not work for you.

    I have read a lot of posts stating what is right vs. what is wrong and I am always skeptical – the only person who knows what is right or wrong for me, is me. I like to use words like “consider” and phrases encouraging people to “seek further information” or “think about what works for you.”

  35. I’m always cognizant of what I say and how. A title is a powerful tool and I want to respect the way I use it.

    Lately it’s been implied that if I reveal the more human side of me then this could be misconstrued as unstable and affect my medical licensing.

    This is nonsense in my view. People are human and there’s nothing wrong with showing that. Having said that, I’m not careless about what I write. And I don’t write to create controversy. It’s not my style. I just want to have some fun and be creative.

    Sheila@DrCason.org´s last blog post..Friday’s Photo Challenge- Home for the Holidays

  36. Why not base your Terms off of Steve Pavlina’s: http://www.stevepavlina.com/legal-notice.htm

    His are short and to the point.

    But really, I wouldn’t worry about words being misconstrued. As long as you proofread your articles, read them outloud, before you publish, then you are saying what you intend to say. Unless you’re a lawyer, doctor, or another professional, your words do not count as professional advice. As such, you can not be prosecuted for airing your opinion about something. At least, not in the USA.

    byteful traveller´s last blog post..7 Things to Know Before You Visit Sears Tower

  37. Sometimes my posts encourage people to “practice being selfish”. This is often misunderstood. I’m truly encouraging people to self nurture (to take care of themselves first so they have the ability to help others)…but some people are not open to anything relating to the word “selfish”.

    Stacey / Create a Balance´s last blog post..Celebrate Your Life Friday! 12.12.2008

  38. IvoryNo Gravatar says:

    Wow, you have great discussions on this blog! And I like the post. Since I mostly write tutorials about home and garden, I guess I didn’t really think about this much. Thanks for the reminder.

    Ivory´s last blog post..Aluminum Can Ornaments

  39. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Stacey Shipman – I agree. What works for us may not work for others. Incorporating words like “consider”, etc… helps to teach our readers to be informed “consumers”.

    Hi Sheila – Oh how silly – that showing your human side could affect your medical license. I see it as you being a compassionate doctor who is showing others that doctors are people, too, with interests that vary.

    Hi Byteful Traveller – It’s great to see you here. It’s been a long time. Thanks for the link to Steve Pavlina’s terms of use. I’ll check it out.

    Even though we might not be able to be sued, I would certainly not want to write something and have someone misconstrue the information and make a life or death decision based on what I wrote.

    Hi Stacet – Good point. The word selfish is often misconstrued as being negative, when in fact, like you said, sometimes we need to be “selfish” in order to self nurture and be better people.

    Hi Ivory – Welcome to the BWAB community. Yes, we get good discussions going here. Hopefully you’ll have a chance to join in again soon.

    Writing about home and garden is probably a fairly “safe” topic. I’m headed over to check out your blog.

  40. CarolineNo Gravatar says:

    Great post Barbara! I try to write in a universal language (if that makes sense). I don’t really think about how (or if) someone will re-act to my blog. I just hope that they get some insight out of my posts… This post makes me realize the importance of audience and not alienating your readers.

    Caroline´s last blog post..Getting back to center

  41. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Caroline – Thank you. I know what you mean about a “universal language”, and you’re right, we do not want to alienate our readers.

  42. DaphneNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    Great blog you have here. And this post got me thinking about the way I write my blog posts. I’ve seen other blogs where people give advice on health and finances when they are not qualified professionals and I do wonder if they will get in trouble someday.

    What bothers me more is when people quote things out of context. They use my exact words but leave out the second half of the sentence and therefore give a skewed representation of what I said. Does anyone else have this problem?

    Daphne´s last blog post..Planning For The Year Ahead (Part 2)

  43. AbdulrehmanNo Gravatar says:

    Great post, I was just going through your blog (although you’re blogging without one) when I found this one and yeah it’s great. Well, I’ll write a 1000 words for my articles but I HATE to proof read, lol!

    Abdulrehman´s last blog post..Has Live Search Lost It’s Market Share?