#436: To offend, or not to offend?

GETTING MORE TALE #436: To offend, or not to offend?

It’s 2015 and any serious business has an online presence on Twitter, Facebook, and everywhere else.  Ever sit there at your computer and wonder just what the social media guru for a business does?  Ever looked at something online and said, “I could do what they do, and with the resources they have, I could do it better.”  I know I have.

But could I?

There is a huge difference between a paid social media person, and someone like myself who is doing this on his own for the sake of the music.

Let’s look at the goals of the paid social media liaison:

  1. Engage in conversation with customers on social media.
  2. Make interesting posts involving questions, to kick-start the conversations.
  3. Give a peek behind the curtain of their business.
  4. Don’t offend anyone.

The first three points here are all pretty easy to accomplish, especially for us as writers.  Just substitute “customer” with “reader”.  Most music writers online that I follow and read regularly do these things, and with style and fun.

Rock journalist Mitch Lafon is a great example.  Almost daily, he poses loaded questions to his many followers.  Things like “Slippery When Wet, or New Jersey?”  “Iron Maiden, or Judas Priest?”  He also asks fans to choose which interview he’ll post next.  “Slash or Geoff Tate?”  (Slash won.)  Mitch has a very engaged following on social media, thanks to his regular posts and questions.  He’s quite a natural at it, and he has done a fantastic job.  The great thing about social media is the ability for everyone to get involved and be heard.

As for a peek behind the curtains, this is all but expected on social media now, no matter who you are.  Movie studios are always posting drool-inducing teaser photos from the set via Twitter.  Bands do the same from the studio.  I have always tried to give you a look at how my creative process works, showing you the mess behind the scenes at LeBrain HQ.


The exciting life of a music blogger

The tricky point is the fourth one: “Don’t offend anyone”.  It is very difficult to go through life without offending anyone.  I might be considered an expert on such subjects.

When I used to write CD reviews for our old company newsletter, we couldn’t really say anything negative.  The reviews were one paragraph each, and had to be to the point.  We only reviewed CDs that we could praise, because as a store, we were trying to sell CDs!  We didn’t want to offend a fan, nor discourage one from buying a CD.

We did the best we could considering the circumstances.  Our monthly newsletter had some humour content, such as “funny customer quotes”, similar to my Klassic Kwotes here, but watered down and tamed.  You couldn’t have somebody read the newsletter and say, “Hey, they’re making fun of me!  I’m never shopping there again!”

I’m not doing this to sell anything.  I started this for the sheer joy of talking about music, and to shine a light on neglected albums that deserved more attention.  One of my earlier reader’s comments said something like, “You like everything, how come you don’t have any negative reviews?”  Very well, then!  My negative reviews have since become some spicy favourites.

Surprisingly, the negative reviews (or stories) are no more likely to receive negative comments than positive ones!  It seems that there are many people out there who will take the slightest words the wrong way, or personally.  (My radio buddy Craig, who openly loathes all social media, refers to these people as “humourless bastards”.  He has also noticed that many of them use three names on Facebook, and have a picture of a cat as their Facebook photo.)

Creative freedom is more important to me than ruffled feathers.  It’s different for a business, and I’m glad for that reason that I’m not doing this as a business.  I admit that I have purposely sought to get a reaction.  I’m the guy who once wrote a Quiet Riot review by pasting a picture of a piece of shit on the album cover.  It’s all supposed to be fun.  If you’re offended by that, then you’re reading the wrong website.  (I have a lot more toilet humour where that came from.)

Even if you’re using social media to promote a business, a little bit of humour never hurts. No, you don’t want to go out of your way to offend someone’s tastes, or sensibilities.  You also don’t want to have bland, faceless content.  Let your personalities shine, be creative and have fun with your social media.  You don’t have to take a page out of my book and uses pictures of poop as a product review (tee hee)*, but if you’re not having a laugh, neither are your followers!

* I’m also not discouraging you from using pictures of poop in product reviews, either.


  1. Great stuff..so true dude…Ya gotta have fun…..my 16 yr old daughter has started her own WordPress Blog as well on makeup and she’s having a blast doing it…..fun fun fun. …..QRs Condition Poopical are deserving of the honor bestowed upon them….we paid hard earned cash dammit for those mediocre releases….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have never been offended by anything you’ve written, LeBrain!

    I used to use FB to push my blogposts, but not any more. FB is a scourge. It got me into hot water two years ago on an innocent PRIVATE status update (don’t mention “the union” and “management” in the same sentence, kay?), and it got to the wrong people. I have great work friends, don’t I? :(

    It is not in my nature to be offensive- I am a natural born crowd pleaser. But, I do have an opinion, and at times it can be strong. We live in this senstivity era where everyone easily gets offended with everything. It’s almost like we can’t talk about those defenses because it isn’t PC, or someone will react and say your opinion is wrong. I guess this all stems from freedom of speech – your freedom to speak your mind does not prevent you from having someone be offended by it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I AM OUTRAGED. I am offended that people get offended. That offends me. I find that offensive. I shall be writing a strongly worded letter to my local politician.


    Another great post Mike. As you rightly point it’s hard to not offend some in the internet age and when you factor in trolls who are contrary for shits & giggles even more so, as your radar for truth (possible Bon Jovi song title there) becomes dulled.

    Also, it’s nice to see someone else who refuses to adopt WP’s new “improved” posting interface. NO SIR! I shall stick with the old one, yes it may not look as sleek as the new one, but, damn it, it’s mine.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Well, I’d sent it on a stone tablet two weeks ago, in anticipation of this post and his comment, but the boys in the canoe are taking too long so yeah, I went all smoke signal on this one.


  4. Don’t know about you, Mike, but I reckon (and the missus seconds this) that I’m an easier person to live with since I started Vinyl Connection. Something about having an outlet for creativity and passion about music and being boss of your own cubby house.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’d say, if anything, the blog just supplements my usual non-stop blathering about music. Or maybe makes it worse, ‘cos then I can tell her what I wrote about, too! Oh my poor dear long-suffering lovely wife…


  5. I enjoyed this one Mike, my theory is that we like praising stuff for the joy of turning others on to things we love and also because we tend to review from our own collections, rather than shit people send us to review. or maybe we’re just a bunch of positive dorkwads?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I review music that I listen to…sometimes I buy rotten albums and keep them, but I still listen to them. It’s fun now and then to write a negative review as long as it’s honest and I’m not posting “Creed sucks” without even listening.

      Liked by 1 person


    My radio buddy Craig got locked out of his Facebook account TODAY, because one of his photos was “insensitive.” It was a meme with a guy at a computer saying, “I don’t use antivirus because I don’t want my computer to get autism.” Now, I’m not stupid, I realize this is a hot-button issue. But to lock him out of his account over a meme that others (including me) posted? It’s not making fun of autism in any way. Somebody without the balls to speak to him personally reported it. That’s uncool.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I used to write reviews of albums for a record label, off and on. It was unpaid except I got to keep the CD of what they sent. All of my write-ups were positive – but that’s because I genuinely liked everything they sent me. I loathed the day they might send me something that I thought sucked. Fortunately, they had cool bands and that never happened. True story!

    Most of our blogs are (generally) positive because we bought the album knowing we’d probably like it, so duh it’ll likely be a positive review. Sometimes negative reviews can be fun, I know we all do it. I have done a few drunk reviews of records others didn’t like. I once typed WORST ALBUM OF THE YEAR into Google and reviewed whatever was the consensus worst album that year (it was Lorde) and hooboy it was bad bad bad…

    Anyway, it is all just for shits and giggles. Sometimes things go pear-shaped, but for the most part it’s just saying ‘hey everyone, look what I got! Here’s what I think of it!’ and generally people are cool about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember that Lorde review! I totally remember that.

      I miss the drunk reviews, with Xmas around the corner (YIKES) I hope you have a chance to dip into the cups. I’m sure if you took a poll you could have us vote on a drunk review album (cough).


  8. I go on my Facebook page about once every month or two. I think Facebook sucks gorilla balls. It is a place where too many people(usually distant family members and friends of friends you dislike) monitor every word you say and post stupid ass comments, that can sometimes can be hurtful. Plus a ton of people post personal shit that should be kept as personal, family matters. When I first went on Facebook I did not know about logging out, so I had nosy assholes commenting about how I had nothing better to do than post on Facebook, meanwhile I had not actually been on the page in days.
    As for offending people, the first posts I submitted as a guest review I was slamming rock royalty such as Roger Taylor, Brian May, Stevie Nicks, and Lindsey Buckingham. I know I am small potatoes but my comments are out there on the web and accessible, so even a big rock star could read our negative comments one day.
    I however have every right to do this. I paid tons of money over the years for their albums, and I paid a ton of money for their concert. As a paying consumer, I have every right to expect the best, and when a lesser quality product is delivered, I can report on my feelings. The reader may disagree with my opinion, and that is fine. That is why I have a comment section. I am not offended and actually hope someone disagrees with my assessment. I want to read other opinions. Often the comment section is the best part of a blog post. As for trolls and those easily offended, there will always be a section of society that has learned that if they whine loud enough, people will do what they want. I don’t want to offend those people, so I will refer to a cute, cuddly bunny. All of you easily offended, and internet troll types can kiss the bunny between the ears.

    Drunk reviews. Sounds like an idea.
    A fifth of scotch review on the 5th
    8 glasses of wine review on the 8th
    10 beer review on the 10th.

    I’m in.

    We should do a challenge to drunk review a Nickelback album, and all post at the same time.


      1. How about a Jagger review when drunk on Jager bombs

        A review of The Big Lebowski drunk on white russians.

        A Thorogood review after one really big bourbon, one really big scotch and one king can beer.


        1. Haha those are good ones. I need to try the one bourbon, one scotch and one beer thing. Although I don’t tend to mix drinks. I pick one and give ‘er. So maybe I could do three albums, each one all on one booze! Ha.


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