Over the last few weeks, we’ve been doing this series Authentic or Not? Each post looks at a different way social media can be automated or outsourced and asks whether it’s legit or undermines the value of authenticity which is so big in social media.
While writing each post, I’ve wrestled with how much of my own opinion to inject into each post. Do I present both sides of the argument with equal weight and encourage discussion? Or do I take a position and potentially stifle discussion by not leaving anything for others to add?
I’ve come to the conclusion, giving an opinion and backing it up is by far a better choice. Here are 4 reasons why.
1) Restating the Question Doesn’t Add Much Value
Regardless of what you blog about, most of your readers probably already know the questions.
Giving the pros and cons of each position may help bring some added understanding. However, if you do it in an “unbiased” way, you present both sides with equal weight, which usually makes both sides seem equally viable.
2) People Are Looking for Answers
I realize that one of the reasons people blog about an issue without stating their position is because they want to create discussion. That’s fine. Discussion is great.
But most of the time people would rather have answers than discussion.
Answers advance knowledge.
3) Opinions Advance the Conversation
Most issues come down to weighing conflicting values. For example, on the issue of scheduling tweets and status updates to post automatically, the values of effectiveness and authenticity bump heads. Most people engaged in social media already know this. What readers want is someone who is thoughtful and experienced to explain which value takes precident and why. (Which, by the way, I failed to do in that post.)
Some people fear giving a definitive position will kill the conversation, but I say it does the opposite. If you present original thinking on an issue, it invites people to critique your thinking. Sometimes people will agree and validate your position. Sometimes people will disagree.
What’s great is that when people disagree, it provides you the opportunity to either a) further clarify your position, b) tweak and strengthen your position to accommodate the criticism, or c) abandon or original position all together because it’s been shown to be flawed.
4) Answers Build Credibility and Readership
People’s time is valuable. They can only read a limited number of blogs. Anybody can ask questions. If you had to choose between reading a blog post that asks a question and a blog post that answers the question, which would you choose? I’m guessing the one that answers the question. If you had to choose between being a regular reader of a blog that asks a lot of good questions or a blog that provides a lot of good answers, which would you choose?
Your readers make that choice every day.
Write the blog that answers their questions.