Communication these days happens at the speed of thought which means that exchanges of ideas that would once take laborious writing, printing, and distribution can now happen with the push of a few keys. It’s important to remember these days that any writing (even the traditional dead tree kind) is now just one part of a larger conversation and like any good conversation half of it should be spent listening and giving the other person permission to talk.
This may come as a shock but I am not the end-all of knowledge on any given topic. A bigger shock may be that neither are you. The world is a big place and a lot of it is online these days. Many, many voices have something to contribute.
Here are a few things I’ve learned in the last five years of writing SFL:
1. Expect some percentage of people to misunderstand you, disagree with you, and outright despise you. There are a few in every crowd.
2. Anticipate that some fights are not worth having. Don’t be this guy.
3. Having done 1 and 2, go ahead and invite both commentary and criticism. Just put it out there that you want to listen. Asking people to fix what they think you got wrong with your ideas is the fastest way to start a conversation.
4. Lastly, don’t let it get you down. If your point is thoughtful and your writing is solid more people than not will appreciate your effort — even if they disagree.
So say your piece. Make your point. Then prepare to listen large once you’ve started the conversation.