Tell someone you think they’re biased and they’re likely to feel insulted. “How dare you?! I am NOT biased. I’m perfectly fair and I always present all sides of every issue!” But let’s face it, everyone has an opinion on everything. And wouldn’t it be a dull, boring world if we didn’t?
According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of “bias” is:
An inclination of temperament or outlook; especially : a personal and sometimes unreasoned judgment : prejudice.
The words “prejudice” and “bias” both have a negative connotation but if you think about it we all have both of them, about everything. I prefer apples and you prefer oranges. You’ll never be able to convince me that oranges are valuable and I’ll never be able to convince you that apples are valuable. We will always disagree, but that doesn’t mean either of us is not entitled to our beliefs, however wrong they may be.
Some bloggers go to great lengths to remain completely unbiased in their posts, but what happens? You end up sounding like a journalist. Journalists (well, SOME journalists) report just the facts, ma’am, and leave it up to their readers to form their own opinions, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be in the journalistic world.
But in the blogosphere, readers who choose to follow your blog do so because they like your opinion and your personality. If they weren’t interested in these things, they’d go read the news at one of those mass media websites. They read your blog because they feel a connection with you on a personal level and this is often because of your biases.
If you’re afraid to show your biases, consider this: Picture the people you interact with in your personal life. Chances are you probably associate with people who share your opinion on a number of topics and you enjoy their company and conversation. You probably also associate with just as many people who think you’re whacko, but you enjoy their company and conversation, too, because you challenge each other intellectually.
Nobody likes a wishy-washy person who never has an opinion, so start speaking up on your blog. Here’s how to do it respectfully:
Give your readers both sides of the story and then give them your opinion. Tell them why you’ve come down on that side of the fence. Then, don’t tell your readers what they should think. Ask them what they think and let them form their own opinion. Never, ever tell your readers they’re wrong or make them feel bad because they disagree with you. Let them know their opinion is just as valuable as yours.
Bias is never a bad thing. It’s only the actions we take because of our biases that can be hurtful. Understand that everyone – including you – has the right to their own opinion and treat your readers with respect. And then get in there and let your bias show. Your readers want you to get down off the fence and start a conversation.