Do Readers Expect Too Much From Bloggers?

Do opinions have a place in blogging

I stumbled across a comment recently where someone said blog posts should be objective and not based on opinions. I found that odd. After all, opinions are what make blogs blogs. Remember they were originally started as more of a journal than an educational tool. The content has morphed from personal blogs to a wider variety or topics including business and niche blogs. Let's look at niche blogs specifically, since that's the type of blog the comment was left on.

Here's why you may be expecting too much from your favorite bloggers if you expect what they say to be objective all the time:

  1. Blog posts are often controversial (and conversational). When you post about controversial topics, you should have an opinion (even if you try to present both sides, it should be somewhat clear to readers where you stand). That's basic transparency. The controversial nature of blog posts is a good thing -- a very, very good thing. What makes blogs different than other online media is the open interaction. If you lay out absolutely everything, there's really little left for people to comment on. Where's the conversation?
  2. Blogs can't cover everything. It just isn't possible. Therefore every single post is, in some way, influenced by the blogger's (or blog owner's) opinions. For example, even how-to topics are chosen. I would be much more likely to write a how-to on article marketing that focused on the PR elements of more limited runs. I wouldn't likely write a how-to post on article marketing through spammy article directories. Even if the article itself doesn't spout opinions, the choice to publish it did. The same is true when the blogger chooses how to write that how-to (the steps, tools, etc.). If there is more than one way to do something, then opinion played a role in that post.
  3. Blogs rely on personality. Make that "successful blogs rely on personality." A blogger's personality can't really shine through their posts if they never share opinions. It's a fundamental aspect of readers being able to connect with them.

If you expect bloggers to always be completely objective and not focus on their own opinions, I'd say you're expecting too much (and the completely unnatural). That's not to say that opinions should be influenced by things like sponsors, but that bloggers should always be able to share their opinions on their own blog. If you don't like it, start your own. That's the beauty of it. Everyone can have a platform.

What do you think? Should bloggers refrain from sharing their opinions and stick to completely objective educational posts?

Profile image for Jennifer Mattern

Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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7 thoughts on “Do Readers Expect Too Much From Bloggers?”

  1. I find that expressing my opinion (good or bad) brings on the conversational element of a blog that makes it appealing to readers. And a blog is ultimately about the reader. If a blogger can’t express his/her opinion, why should he give a damn about yours as a reader? Might as well turn off that little plugin. There’s no reason for a give and take. If the poster doesn’t like it, he/she has the option to find another blog that doesn’t offer an opinion. But I bet they’re in for a snore of a read. Those are called textbooks.

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  2. Gret point Jim, about the give and take element of opinions through posts and comments. 🙂 And I agree completely. Without opinions and the blogger’s personality coming through, I can’t imagine a blog keeping my interest for very long.

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  3. The open platform of the modern weblog has made it such that people are able to interact, and express their opinions and share knowledge. It is this familial aspect that keeps readers coming back to the same blogs. It is what writers’ groups and networks abound from. Without the personal factor, blogs would lose what makes them different from textbooks. The current idea of a blog is one that allows readers to jump into the conversation. Blogs are the next wave in interactive marketing and socializing, and education. They require the benefits of different personalities and opinions because that is what makes them interesting, while still conveying information.

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  4. Also, if newspapers and TV newscasts aren’t objective, why should bloggers be? At least bloggers are open about their opinions. Most media outlets say they are objective, but project their own agenda or slant in a style that is slightly less subtle than canon fire.

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  6. Hello Jenn,

    Glad to see I gave you some material to write about, even if you did take it completely out of context.

    Your first point seems to say that people should intentionally omit information to create controversy as an attempt to spark conversation. What good is the “discussion” you refer to if those participating don’t have all the facts? Sensationalism may get you some attention, but it’s a sad way to go about it.

    As to your second point, nobody claimed a blog should cover absolutely everything. And nobody claimed that 100% objectivity is required. What was stated, was that people should write as objectively and honestly as possible. Bias isn’t good writing, it’s irresponsible.

    As for point number three, personality can shine even when the author is being objective. At no point do you have to give up your personality to write objectively. It is possible to express your opinion without misrepresenting an issue by omitting information too.

    Your article here is an excellent example of an overall lack of objectivity. You completely failed to address the nature of my comments or the context within which they exist, twisting them in such a way as to promote your own point of view.

    I hope this isn’t a common trend in your writing, I would hate to think misleading people was part of your business model.

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    • If anything, I find it amusing that you think the entirety of my post revolves around your comment. I read the comment regarding content meant to educate, and you said it should be objective. It sparked a question in my mind which I chose to explore here on my blog, sharing some of my own opinions. This post was sparked by a comment left on Deb’s blog. It’s not meant as a response to that comment, so claims that nobody ever claimed this, that, or the other thing are moot. But thanks for stopping by. If you’re going to accuse me (or any other commenters) of anything such as misleading readers, in the future I’ll have to ask that you refer to the comment policy here and sign all comments with your actual full name.

      Reply

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