How to be a Positive Force In The Blogosphere And Beyond

Are you a force for positive change in the world?

Do your thoughts, words and actions uplift those around you?

Obviously we’re not all perfect, shining examples of enlightened beings. We have moments of lightness and moments of … well, not-so-lightness. And that’s fine. In fact, it’s the moments of not-so-lightness that catalyze us and drive us forward to grow and evolve.

My experience here in the blogosphere is that the vast majority of people writing and participating in this new relatively new realm are overwhelmingly positive. (Now I acknowledge that I could be self-selecting the people I “hang out” with). Most bloggers seem to either consciously desire to be a positive force or do so naturally and unconsciously.

And while this post was written specifically with bloggers in mind, the ideas in this post are almost all universal. Change a few words and you can apply them to any type of business or personal endeavor.

So if you want to be a positive force in the blogosphere and beyond, read on!

1. Intend to be a positive force
When you say to yourself and to the world that you are a positive force in the world you set the tone for everything you do. Intention is a powerful driver of action. If you have not consciously set your intention to be a positive force, you might want to do so now.

2.Be The Change You Wish To See

Gandhi said it best and your blog is your community and a virtual world. Take a look at your “world.” Does it reflect the changes you wish to see in the larger world? If so, congratulations! If not, what changes can you make to your world that will bring about the changes you want to see in the larger world?

3. Be Accountable
I will admit that this is one of the most difficult things for me to do. As I write this, I feel the weight of many “promises” I have made that I have yet to keep: Memes I have not responded to, comments I have left hanging, posts that inspired me but that I have not linked back to. Every time you say you’re going to do something and don’t do it, you lose a bit of energy. Each time you make a promise that is not kept you reinforce a belief that your word is not true. So, while it is very tempting to want to say yes to all the amazing invitations you receive, know your limits and …

4. Be Willing To Say No
This is a natural follow-up to the last one. In order to do what you say you will you must be willing to say No. You need the willpower to accept that you can’t do everything. Claim the power to choose what you will do, and then do it well! Learning to say no here in the blogosphere will serve you very well in the wider world.

5. Set Clear Boundaries
Similar to the previous item, this one is about knowing and honoring your boundaries. Examples of setting boundaries include: Letting readers know what types of comments are acceptable on your blog and then moderating out those that don’t meet your criteria. Setting clear time boundaries for commenting on other blogs, and social networking. And, if you are not a full time pro-blogger, you may need to set clear boundaries around how much time you spend blogging.

6. Take the High Road
While the vast majority of bloggers and blog readers are positive, there are a few vocal examples of not-so-positive members of this community. If you’ve read my article on the 10-Best-Insulting-commments or perused the comments over at Digg on my comfort zone article you’ve seen some examples. And there are certainly some bloggers out there who have chosen to use their platform to discredit, demean and insult others. As a positive blogger it can be tempting to respond to these people. (I can assure you that I was sorely tempted to reply to some of the comments on that Digg page)! But experience has shown me that this is rarely a good idea. It turns into a case of fighting fire with fire and inevitably by engaging them, you end up joining them on the low road. Far better, I believe, to let them have their space to rant while you continue on your chosen, positive, road.

7. Acknowledge That You Can’t Do It Alone
No blogger is an island! Our power to bring positive changes to the blogosphere and beyond increases exponentially when we come together. Whether you join or create a formal network such as the Positive Blog Network, or connect informally with other bloggers, these connections will provide fuel for your ever-increasing positive contribution.

8. Write What You Know
It can be tempting to write about something because you think it’s what people want to hear or because you think it will bring you more traffic. However the way to stay positive and, ultimately, to attract the best readers is to write about what you know. Your personal knowledge is immensely valuable to others. When you honestly share what you know people will want to listen.

9. Don’t Be Afraid To Ruffle Some Feathers
Admittedly, sometimes being a positive force means stirring the pot and creating a bit of chaos. Bloggers are good at this! If you’re worried about losing subscribers or want to make everyone like you, you will never become a top blogger. And that may be fine. But if you want to truly shine, you must be willing to speak your truth clearly and without apology. Unless…

10. Admit and Apologize When You Make a Mistake
When you are speaking your truth and stirring the pot, there may be times when something comes out that you later release was not true or fair or friendly. In those cases, positive bloggers acknowledge their mistake and apologize for what they said.

11. Recognize That You Don’t Have All the Answers
One of the most powerful aspects of the blogosphere is the incredible wealth of information that is available. If you are writing what you know, there is absolutely no reason to be tempted to write about things that are unfamiliar. If you find yourself tempted to write about something unfamiliar to you, choose instead to find other bloggers writing about that subject and pass that information on to your readers. You will serve your readers better that way, and ultimately they will reward you with their loyalty.

12. Engage In The Conversation
Similar to the previous item, this is about seeking out and connecting with other positive bloggers. When you join the conversation you bring value to everyone. You learn and grow, you get to share your wisdom outside of the confines of your own blog and you discover resources to share with your readers.

13. Appreciate Your Readers
It doesn’t matter if you have 1 subscriber or 100,000. Your readers have come to you because they see value in what you are sharing. Regardless of how many readers you have it is your responsibility to honor and appreciate them.

14. Accept That Your Readers Are Your Friends
Address your readers as friends. Don’t write down to them. Don’t imagine that you are the teacher and they are the students. The best blogs are truly conversations between friends. The writer is as much a part of the community as the readers.

15. It Doesn’t Have To Be Perfect To Be Positive
Finally, remember that positive does not have to be perfect. This post is a perfect example. I read this post over at Problogger last night just before turning off the computer. I jotted down a few ideas and went to bed. This morning I got up at five to write this before my daughter woke up. She’s eating her cereal now as I finish it. Is this post perfect? Nope. Will it provide value? I think so. So, in your quest to be a positive force in the world, keep in mind William Stafford’s wise words: Lower Your Standards. Because if a post is gathering digital dust on your hard drive it’s not bringing a lot of positive change to the blogosphere or the world!

And this is where you come in. This is where the conversation starts. I know there are many more ways to be a positive force in the blogosphere and beyond. How are you being a positive force? What important points did I leave out? Share your thoughts below, or take this conversation back to your blog and share your ideas with your readers.

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      11 Responses to “How to be a Positive Force In The Blogosphere And Beyond”

      1. Lyman Reed on October 4th, 2007 11:09 am

        Great list, Edward! #15 is a key thing for me to keep in mind. I’ve also heard it put another way:

        If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.

        Not exactly the same thing, but well worth remembering.

        Thanks!

      2. Dana Wallert on October 4th, 2007 7:23 pm

        You know, I’ve written several posts about the pitfalls of perfectionism, but I’ve never thought of it in this light.

        “It Doesn’t Have To Be Perfect To Be Positive”

        I love that Edward! Thanks 🙂

      3. Edward Mills on October 4th, 2007 2:43 pm

        Lyman. I like that. Whichever way you say it, I suppose the point is, if it’s worth doing, better to get it done than to allow perfectionism get in the way.

      4. Jennifer on October 4th, 2007 5:13 pm

        This is a great reading. I love the list. I am not sure if I am a positive influence in the world. I like to think that I am though. I am happy mostly.

      5. Edward Mills on October 4th, 2007 5:40 pm

        Jennifer. If you “love this list” you are definitely a positive influence in the world!

      6. Bradley Woods on October 5th, 2007 12:19 pm

        I came across this quote just before finding this post and I thought it was relevant so I share it with you…

        To help the young soul, to add energy, inspire hope, and blow the coals into a useful flame; to redeem defeat by new thought and firm action, this, though not easy, is the work of divine man

        ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

      7. CustomersAreAlways on October 5th, 2007 12:29 pm

        Are You a Positive Force?…

        One of my favorite blogs to read about personal development is Edward Mills’ Evolving Times.  He has a great post titled How to Be a Positive Force in the Blogosphere and Beyond which has some great advice on how you……

      8. Edward Mills on October 5th, 2007 9:35 pm

        Bradley. I love that! Thank you for sharing it with us. It is most definitely relevant. Gave me goose bumps!

      9. Links Roundup - October 9th 2007 | Blogging Tips on October 9th, 2007 2:03 am

        […] How to be a Positive Force In The Blogosphere And Beyond – A good post showing you how you can make a name for yourself in the blogosphere. […]

      10. Easton Ellsworth on October 11th, 2007 6:39 am

        Awesome. Copying and pasting this post right now so I can study it. Thanks Ed!

      11. Brown Batch #26: Link Love Fiesta » Brown Thoughts on October 14th, 2007 9:00 am

        […] Times – How To Be A Positive Force In The Blogosphere And Beyond Obviously we’re not all perfect, shining examples of enlightened beings. We have moments of […]

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