Sharing your opinion in your comments is always a good thing. That is exactly what the commenting box is for. If every reader did this, blogs would soon revert back to the lively communities they once were.
However, today's world has become a little tetchy over people's opinions. It's difficult to know what to say which won't offend, upset or annoy people. It seems that tolerance has diminished, people have become super sensitive, or it is more common-place to respond, not always favourably, to people's opinions.
And yet some people are judged for not having an opinion. Sometimes you need to have a lot of faith in yourself, or the strength to say what you think. As a result many readers prefer to lurk in the shadows, out of harm's way. This is a shame, as the world would be richer if people felt able to air their opinions in safety.
This infographic offers a guideline to sharing your opinion:
And here's some code you could paste into your own posts (via the text mode) if you want to share this Infographic with your readers.
Do you know the whole story?
Isn't it irritating to read an opinion from someone who hasn't grasped all the facts? This is probably because that person skim-read the post or update and made an assumption what it was about. Gleaning at lightning speed won't allow you to fully understand, therefore disables your right to have an opinion.
This may sound cruel, but being invited to share your opinion is actually an honour. Trust is being placed in your court to provide something suitable. Therefore it is only good manners you respect this and make an effort to know exactly what's going on before responding.
Is it worth your while?
Before you launch straight in to share your opinion, think first about the point made, the subject in question, whether you have enough to say, or whether you have enough time to do your opinion justice.
A few words saying 'Nice post' isn't an opinion. In fact it's completely worthless. What is needed here is a considered and well-thought-through point of view which can't be rushed off in a trice while waiting for your bus to arrive.
Are you the best person?
Stop and think about your qualifications as an opinion-maker in this instance. How much do you know about the subject? Are you an expert in this particular field? Do you know enough to produce a valid contribution?
If you have any doubts, think who amongst your contacts would be a better fit. You could tag the person you recommend in your comment. If they are interested, they will deliver a much more suitable reply which will benefit everybody.
Do you have all the facts?
Sharing your opinion is often a welcomed opportunity to show off your knowledge. Make sure you are either an eligible expert, or you have done some suitable research to produce enough valid points to make what you write about is worth reading.
Opinions which are thin on the ground are frankly disappointing. Also avoid repeating what another commenter has already said, as this makes you look lazy. Focus on providing just enough value to offer something exciting and informative for others to enjoy. You don't want become one of those annoying people who drone on about nothing.
Have you listened politely?
A good opinionator will have always considered everything before starting to write. They would have taken their time to properly read and understand the other people's point of view. They will be in no rush to respond, as this thinking time includes forming a considered and effective reply.
In the social media world this is social listening. This involves standing back to find out as much as possible before joining in the online conversations. This means their contributions are more suitable, relevant and engaging, resulting in a thoroughly more enjoyable and profitable experience for all concerned.
Did you stop and think first?
Commenting is a spontaneous response to what you've just read. It is often a knee-jerk reaction delivered with little thought. A lot of people get an idea into their heads, mix facts with feelings, base their reply on gossip and hearsay, or totally misinterpret the true meaning of the post in their haste.
Whereas if you stopped and thought first about what you want to say, you'd get out of all sorts of trouble. Remember once you've submitted your comment, you won't be able to edit it. The last thing you need is to regret your answer because you were in too much of a hurry to check it properly.
How relevant is your response?
Sometimes you read an opinion on a post only to think they'd missed the point completely. Not only is this irritating, it is a waste of time for both the commenter and the reader. There is no connection with the original post, which is disappointing to both the readers as well as the search engines looking to index this content.
Relevance is a very important factor when it comes to sharing your opinion. You will want to be noted for what you say. Your desire to leave a lasting impression, boost your reputation or increase your credibility won't be realised if you've missed the mark or gone off at a tangent.
Did you have a good reason?
It's always a good idea to have an underlying objective for commenting, even when sharing your opinion. What are you going to gain from having your say? Will it be to expose your expertise, raise awareness for your cause, draw attention to you for the right reasons, or educate and entertain your audience?
What you shouldn't do is to use commenting and opinion sharing as a means for self-promotion. This is not tolerated in the commenting world. Peppering your reply with links makes you look like a spammer. Businesses who comment to talk about themselves will be ignored, avoided and deleted.
Are you fuelled by emotion?
This is where you have to be careful when sharing your opinion. It is very easy to fall into an emotionally-filled trap, wallowing in self pity or spitting hate at everybody. You may be deeply affected by what you have just read, but responding in anger or when you are upset is not a good idea.
This is another instance when taking time out is beneficial. It may be cathartic to write down your response immediately, but not in the comment box. Leave it at least 24 hours before returning to edit it extensively before submitting. By this time empathy will have the upper hand, and you will be seeing things in a more considered and appropriate light.
Could you share an experience instead?
Sometimes sharing you opinion may not the right thing to do. Perhaps telling a story about an experience you had may be a good alternative. This certainly may be more entertaining, relatable or easier to understand for your audience.
Remember none of us are obligated to share our opinions. It is also not a right of passage. Some opinions are best kept to ourselves. Biting your tongue is a worthy occupation if you want to avoid confrontation or upsetting someone needlessly. Telling your maiden aunt yellow doesn't suit her isn't kind if it's her favourite colour.
What's your opinion about sharing your opinion in comments?
We have freedom of speech, and the ability to comment, so sharing your opinion is another step towards world domination. But if it is done with tact, forethought, consideration and kindness, the whole experience becomes more beneficial and enjoyable.
Sharing your opinion is revealing the world from your perspective. It's important to be clear in what you mean, not make assumptions, and even admit when you are wrong or to blame. Commenting with politeness and good grace is imperative if you want your opinions to be heard, considered and accepted.
Let me know in the comments below your opinion about this post. Has sharing your opinion benefitted you in any way? Or did it get you into hot water? Certainly social media is a hot-bed of opinions flying about, good, bad and ugly, so I'm sure you will have plenty to say on the subject. We look forward to hearing from you.