Friday, 2 December 2011

Blogging and Politics

So today I'm going to talk about something I usually don't talk about on my blog, but makes up an even bigger part of my life than my blog does (and that really is saying something)! This post is really centred around something that, after a few comments and conversations on Twitter I really started to think about: How many (if any) readers have I lost not because of my blog, but because of my political affiliations? 
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I am very political. I worked on the 2010 election campaign, I've volunteered in my local party and I've done work experience in the House of Commons. When I open the newspaper on a Sunday I always reach for the News Review before the Style pages, and every morning when I set out to attack my Bloglovin' feed I always check up on the political news first. That is just me, what I'm interested in and what I am passionate about. While anyone who has ever had a conversation with me, even at blogger events will have noticed that I find it very hard to not end up bringing a conversation around to politics, here on my blog (aside from the odd link in my Weekly Love roundups that I find amusing and could possibly be interpreted as party political) I try to keep things about fashion, food and general lifestyle, which, after all is what this blog is all about. 

However, my Twitter page is a totally different matter. I tried for a while having two separate Twitter feeds, one for my blog and one for personal and political ramblings but it soon became way to complicated so as my followers will very well know @makingmewonder is akin to a crazy stream of conscious including fashion, beauty, food, complaints about the London Underground and lots and lots of political opinion. Increasingly I've noticed that my Twitter followers, I who I know are readers of my blog taking offence to some of my more political Tweets. Some of them have un followed me on Twitter, and I wonder if any of them have decided they are not going to read my blog anymore because of my political beliefs. I know at least one person has, because they told me that they were doing it.

You may have noticed that I have not actually mentioned my exact party political affiliation in this post, though those of you who follow me on Twitter my politics is blatantly obvious. However, I have not mentioned it in this post because for those of you who are not aware of my politics I want to know, if you know I was strongly in support of and an active campaigner for a political party that you do not support, would this make you stop reading my blog, regardless of the content I am posting on this site, or on my beauty blog The Glossy Guide? I'd be really interested to hear your thoughts! 


This whole argument comes down to one question. When you choose to read a blog, what is more important to you, the content or the person behind it? 

34 comments:

  1. For me personally, I will read a blog due to content mainly and the person behind it can be just as important. If someone's personality is detrimental to their blog, I'll unfollow, but if there's nothing openly irritating then I'm a loyal follower :) x

    www.drummingheartbeat.blogspot.com, ps. please someone teach me how to use this thing!? x

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  2. The person behind a blog is important to me; there are definitely some bloggers that I don't feel that I would really 'click with' and therefore their content, no matter how amazing, won't really hold my interest. I need to 'like' the person and care about what they care about (if that makes sense). However political standpoint wouldn't factor into this - if anything, the fact you care deeply about something is a positive thing in my books, regardless of whether I agree with the opinions or not!

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  3. This is so ironic that you posted this today. First off I am not religious. On Pinterest there has been a lot of stuff about religion on the boards. How can I put this nicely? I can't. Some of the people following organized religion are going on other people's boards and making terrible comments because those people choose to not follow any religion (and of course in the US this often spills over into religion). I may have lost followers on Pinterest because of my "likes" - if anyone looks at them. But I still follow blogs and boards that constantly mention religion if they have other good content. But then again, I must say that when someone on Pinterest made a Tea Party Political Board, I unfollowed them.

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  4. *spills over into politics.

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  5. I think this is interesting in how bloggers interact with other social networks. I've made a considered effort to separate most of them off. My blogs, Pinterest and Tumblr are for fashion and lifestyle stuff. There is so much great political content on those sites I'd love to post, but now you've got me thinking why I personally don't feel the need to censor myself to filter out politics on Twitter. I suppose it is because I am known for both on Twitter, or it is more of an interactive personal medium?

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  6. Emily Charlotte2 December 2011 20:43

    I personally read blogs based on a mixture of content and the person behind it, purely as the two are so strongly linked and some of the posts I enjoy the most are those that include more of an element of the individual. I don't think I would ever intentionally stop reading or unfollow a blog based on the writers political beliefs, unless it began influencing their content so much that every post was solely politics-based, although that's purely as political blogs aren't of particular interest to me rather than anything against the interest of the blogger.

    I did my degree in politics so like you I'll often have a read of political stories before turning my attention to more trivial things such as fashion and beauty. I follow people on twitter whose political views I don't agree with at all, but that would never lead me to unfollow them if they present their views in an intelligent and reasoned way. I'd only unfollow someone who started ranting and raving about something they clearly had no real knowledge about, and hadn't taken the time to educate themselves about political systems and political history.

    Sorry for such a long-winded comment, not sure I've really made my point very well despite the length! Essentially I don't think I would stop reading your blog if you introduced a more political focus, even if I strongly disagreed with you. Healthy debate is important after all! xxx

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  7. I don't usually follow bloggers on Twitter because it's all about giveaways and stuff I'm not interested in. I can say that I have a popular Tumblr blog with thousands of followers and I do censor myself after having posted political posters and then gotten messages saying, "Crafting is supposed to be fun!" I had to say to myself, what is this blog all about? Should I have another blog for the "real" me?

    But in the US the political stuff is insane. There is no middle ground and things are so so so hostile and god forbid you are on different sides. That's why politics isn't mentioned on the lifestyle blogs. I mean I follow an insane number of blogs (including yours) on bloglovin and I don't know what political affiliation most of these people are, because no one talks about it. Because if they did they would probably lose followers, and then probably sponsors.

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  8. No, your comment makes perfect sense. I love reading political blogs, but I don't think I'd ever want to write something like that. I really have no interest in political blogging at the moment, so I don't think I'll be integrating any more political content into this blog any time soon!

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  9. Anette Kirkeby2 December 2011 21:53

    Both are important! I like blogs that shows a bit of the person behind it. It doesn't have to be all about the person, but I like it to be more personal than say a fashion magazine. I prefer blogs
    where the person behind it has an opinion. Big or small.

    I read lots of blogs of people that have different opinions than me, but it has to be something I can respect, even if I don't agree with it. An example would be a really nice fashion blog, but the person behind it was a rascist. Even if it didn't come across in the blog, I wouldn't read it!

    http://sistergoldenair.blogspot.com/

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  10. Great, original post Rachel!

    Personally I read a blog based on the content and, as it's obviously closely linked, the person behind it.

    I firmly believe in letting people be free to think and believe whatever they chose to - except if those beliefs are harmful towards others or if I feel I'm being preached to. Those really are the only times I have an issue with it.

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  11. Great post! It is obviously primarily down to how passionate the reader is about politics. I have my own political opinions, but I respect the opinions of others too. Although I can understand why clashing opinions can get heated with other who are equally as passionate as you. It's hard to draw a conclusion from this one! I think up to a certain point it's all down to the content of the blog, but eventually you want to get to know the person behind the blog too. But at the end of the day it depends on the individual. I guess that didn't help too much! Very thought provoking though! x

    Natalie | Just a Thought

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  12. I am very political too. I read blogs for the content and the person behind them, if I feel they make posts that infer political beliefs I don't agree with or object to I might slightly be inclined to unfollow them based on the quantity and the severity/weight of the post. I'm looking at your twitter and I can tell your political affliation and while it's very much not at all my own I'm not going to unfollow you or your blog.
    While I respect other beliefs, everyone is free to have their own, I also have my own beliefs and sometimes I don't want to read blogs that are really heavily laced with bias I don't agree with. It seems silly but If I'm reading a beauty blog I like to read about mostly beauty (Twitter however is an open forum so people should post whatever they see fit.)
    I get enough talk of politics at uni, and in real life. It's nice to zone out sometimes which is why I read (mostly) beauty blogs.
    This comment is kind of a stream of thoughts and I'm not sure as to whether it makes much sense. It seems kind of contradictory? I'm burnt out studying for a political science exam aha.

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  13. No, it does totally make sense. And I think you've actually managed to encapsulate the thing about Twitter perfectly, in a way I was having trouble doing, how it is an open forum.

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  14. I'm so glad you've brought this to attention. There have been several times when politics have crossed into my blogging life and it HAS had negative effects - either on my 'followers' or the backlash in comments. My posts concerning the 2010 elections or the student protests were met with dips in my follower count and people purposefully glossing over the content of my post and highlighting how pretty my nails looked... A particularly rude person took offence at a post where I transcribed a bit of banter/conversation between my friend 'Lib Dem Dan' and I, and unleashed an unnecessary attack on me via twitter...
    I am verging upon a ramble so will stop myself. I would never unfollow a blog if they were of a different political faction; on the contrary, a personal favourite blog of mine is INCREDIBLY opposing politically and while I would never unfollow them, I do tend to avoid commenting on posts that clearly would cause any rift between us. In the context of fashion blogs, it is so easy to tune out content and scroll through a mirage of photos so perhaps it's more flexible in terms of disconnecting oneself from the person behind it...

    xx

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  15. I read a blog because I like most of the things it has on and the person behind it is not offending me in some way. If I don't like something, I might say it, but this does not mean I will attack the person who wrote what they believe. Unless they try to force it on me. In which case I'll just unfollow. But having different opinions on things such as politics or even religion is good, as long as people having the opinions are mature enough not to take personal offence if someone does not share their point of view.
    x

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  16. You know where I stand on this. I think it's pretty petty for someone to stop reading a blog because of party affiliates, especially if the blog (likes yours) keeps politics pretty separate.
    I'm interested in politics, so it's always good to know other people's views on stuff.

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  17. Interesting post! I follow you on twitter and know which party you support. I am of the opposing party but still follow your blog because you don't mention politics on it, and I think it's a great blog. At first I was a little taken aback, though. But I'm very politically minded too, and enjoy debate but it's nice to keep it separate sometimes and have a place which we can all enjoy- like a fashion blog- without alienating people for their political affiliations.

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  18. To me the most important part is the person behind the blog. I will follow a blog only if I like the blogger, or find him/her interesting. I have a thing for charming people, with strong personalities and a good sense of humour!
    Anyway your politics wouldn't bother me since I'm French and know nothing about your politics other than "Tories", "Whigs" and "Liberals"... :)

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  19. I think I have a fairly good idea what your affiliations are and mine are completely different. If I'm honest it does change my opinion of someone, but I don't think that it means I wouldn't read your blog or follow you. That's not to say I enjoy every tweet about things I might not agree with, and sometimes I might want to start a bit of an argument, but at the end of the day I guess I have to put up with your 'politics' tweets from your 'blog' ones?! (Joking!!!)

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  20. I'm glad people seem to be saying that they don't mind reading a blog that is written by someone on the other end of the political spectrum as long as they're not something crazy like a member of the BNP (don't worry people, I'm not!), as long as it does not spill into the blog.

    And as for my Tweets, feel free to step in with a different point of view if you want, I think Twitter is a great forum for political debate!

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  21. I've only just realised that you've taken the party logo off your sidebar. Whoa, when did that happen?

    And I think this is an excellent, and very though-provoking post. Blogs should be read for content, but they seldom are, as far as I can tell, which is a real shame.

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  22. Over a year ago on the old blog host - get with the programme! :D

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  23. www.martienna.blogspot.com4 December 2011 14:36

    look amazing :)
    i like it ;]
    cool blog !

    if u want follow me and writte comment ;*

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  24. fantastic post!

    kisses,
    Klaudia B.

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  25. I *think* my political views are in direct opposition to your own, but that wouldn't make me unfollow your blog unless a) you posted something deeply offensive (and we're talking BNP-offensive here) or b) turned out to be the type of person who refuses to listen to opinions other than her own, neither of which I can imagine coming from you :-)

    Politics is such a grey area anyway, there are few people who can truly say they agree with every single policy and view held by their party of choice, so I rather welcome reasoned opinions that differ from my own. The "blogosphere" would be quite dull if we all agreed with each-other!

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  26. I am pretty sure my political views are completely opposite to yours, however, I love reading your blog, because you are a nice person! Just because you support party A and I support party B doesn't mean we can't be friends, share interests or anything like that! I have never read an offensive tweet from you, or even a hugely opinionated political one. I have never taken umbrage at what you've said because you seem like a young lady with very reasoned points and with a level of understanding as to why you think and believe what you do. The people who've unfollowed you because of your political beliefs are narrow minded and aren't prepared to look at the huge canvas which makes up who you are - political beliefs are one bit, what about everything else? You have my 100% support in this matter :)

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  27. I enjoy reading your blog because I like what you post about, I already new you were very politics focused but I can't say I've ever thought about it in great depth. Everyone has their own interests and passions and although I probably wouldn't enjoy this blog as much if it was politics focused, it's only because it's not a subject I'm as enthusiastic about as you. I think it's great that you have your own views and I guess if other people feel strongly about not wanting to listen to them then fair enough. It shouldn't be a personal attack though...

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  28. Interesting you mention this, as I remember talking to you outside the Motel event last month.. and yes my views are totally different to yours but as long as you don't say anything majorly offensive (like someone else said, literally BNP or EDL...) and listen to others' views which I'm sure you do, then it's all cool. I enjoy your posts and in fact I prefer when there is a bit of "substance" apart from pretty nails, nice dresses etc. as we're all a lot more than our blogs.

    xx

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  29. I was actually thinking about my conversation with you outside Motel as I was writing this post - it was my mental example to myself about how I can't help but let politics spill into my conversations!

    And it is nice that we are all something more than simply the things we blog about - I wish sometimes I had a politics blog to take to an write about how politics people judge me for writing a style blog!

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  30. Excellent post Rachel and it actually made me follow you on twitter.

    I'm not associated with any political party here in Ireland (I was briefly with an Independent Presidential Candidate in our recent Presidential election but that was short lived) but I have a keen interest in poltics and my twitter account is also my own space to talk about whatever takes my fancy which regularly includes news and politics as well as beauty and my blog and anything in between.

    As for why I choose to read a blog, it's normally the content that draws me in and then I get a good feel for the person behind the blog. I don't always have to agree with everything about them but as long as I like their blog content then I'll keep following and reading.

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  31. I think this is a very interesting post and I really commend you for writing it. I thought about this issue earlier in the year when I did a few posts centred around my views on feminism and gender politics, and although one in particular was actually based around fashion (JC Penney released a shirt in the US that I, and many others, thought was offensive) I still noticed a decrease in followers after I posted, which I obviously thought was absolutely outrageous considering I didn't even state my views as strongly as I may have if we were talking about it in "real life". I was simply inviting discussion.

    I think perhaps that some people follow fashion and beauty blogs and twitters as a bit of light relief, because it's an interest of theirs and they don't need to work particularly hard to engage with it. I wonder if it's more the demand on their intellect that those people who unfollow object to? I don't mean that in an offensive way, and I by no means think that accounts for everyone, but it's understandable - lots of people use blogging as their escapism from the real world. I just don't know whether they consider it separate and therefore don't like it when the two subjects collide and the resulting conflict makes them feel they should unfollow.

    I'm not sure, I mean my political views are far FAR from yours which I'm sure you've picked up on from our meetings, and it's very clear when I'm with you in the real world what your views are. Sometimes when you're tweeting about PMQs or whatever I do feel the need to disengage, haha, but I'd never unfollow because of it. Variety is the spice of life, right? And if I agreed with everyone I'd have myself a very boring Twitter feed and life. A few of my very good friends are fierce with their political views in the same way that you are, that doesn't mean I don't get on with them - just makes for some very interesting (a lot of the time drunken) conversations.

    I actually like it when blogs and their respect Twitter feeds engage in subject matter which isn't simply "I like this top from New Look". Also: this is a style blog, right? So why is politics relevant at all?

    xxx

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  32. That idea of light relief is interesting, I'd never actually thought about it that way, and it is interesting how you noticed a drop in followers when you posted a more 'issues' directed post rather than the usual fluff that is mostly to be found on fashion and beauty blogs.

    And this is a style blog, and it was my thought also that what has politics got to do with it made me write this post. Before the issue had arose, I have not even considered that some people might consider it an issue that I held certain political views, that are mainstream and by no way extremist, when I barely ever even give politics a passing mention on this blog.

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  33. I can kind of understand why someone might unfollow a twitter if they strongly disagree with the things that are tweeted, but even then, if politics doesn't make up the majority and they like the rest of the stuff you tweet, I don't get it. Just pick the parts you like and ignore the things you don't if you're offended. I do that with plenty of my twitter feed!

    With a blog I think it's pretty childish to unfollow a blog you ENJOY READING just because the blogger's politics aren't to your tastes - the two rarely cross over, so why deny yourself reading the rest. For me, that puts too much emphasis on the idea that different is wrong and I don't feel happy with that. Xx

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