VVC Notes: Opinionated Blogging

VVC Notes: Opinionated Blogging

Last weekend I went to Portland to attend the Vida Vegan Con, the conference for and about vegan bloggers.

The conference was a lot of fun and I learned tons. Plus, I got to see “vegan mecca” (aka Portland) and experience the “vegan minimall” where Food Fight, Herbivore, Sweet Pea are all lined up. I didn’t spend nearly enough time exploring the city or tasting the food. But I will be back.

I didn’t take any pictures but if you want to see some pictures from the conference then check out the Flickr photo pool from the conference right here >>

Just as we did with the Animal Rights Conference, I took notes at this conference and I’m sharing them here at Vegan Soapbox. These are just my notes and my not be exact quotes. Below are my notes from the session called “Your Blog Sucks! Opinionated Blogging.”

Speaker Panel: Jasmin Singer, Ben Grossblatt, Jordan Pattern, Laura Beck


  • If you’re any good at all, you’re going to piss some people off.
  • Caring about the negative comments can paralyze you.
  • Have something to say; don’t forget you are responsible for keeping readers interested. Try to have your own spin on things; don’t just regurgitate.
  • Consistent and high quality posts are key.
  • Don’t target your criticism at people who already agree with you.
  • People want to get to know you and have a personal connection with you. Find your voice – write and write and write, read and read and read.
  • Use the right tone for the piece.


  • I dont know how to tell people how to have an opinion
  • Some influences in her life that helped shaped opinions: circumstance, punk rock
  • The vegan blogging community is an amazing community. But in order to keep our community strong we need to have strong opinions, critical thinking is required. Well-placed, thoughful “not too bitchy” criticism is necessary.
  • It’s important to distinguish between criticising people’s actions vs attributes. There is room for all of us.


  • He said, “For the record, I don’t think your blog sucks”
  • His blob, suicide food, is satire. His presentation was about satire as a force for social change.
  • Satire: use of ridicule and scorn to expose vice and folly. Satire is to confort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.
  • “Meat people say things that are so stupid they come pre-satirized”
  • His advice: put your own sense of humor in your blog – add to the outrage.


  • A lot more people send negetive comments than positive ones.
  • The more you produce, the more people you reach and impact.
  • Let the mean comments slide off you.

Questions from the audience for the panel:

  • Do you have advice for dealing with criticism?
    Jordan – if you want to dish it out you need to be able to take it
    Laura – if things stick with me there’s usually a grain of truth in it
    Ben – “i haven’t gotten any valid criticism”
  • Do you edit your writing when someone makes valid criticism?
    Ben – yes, I fix old posts
    Laura – use strikethrough and rewrite
  • What blog post got the most hatemail?
    Jasmin – “I can’t do it for you” post
    Jordan – when calling people on their privilege
    Laura – anything that talks about locovores, veganism and privilege, meatweek
    Ben – anything that makes the rounds on the BBQ websites
  • Do you swear in your blog? Why or why not?
    Lura – yes, it’s my voice
    Jordan – you’re never going to appeal to everyone
  • Do you do anything to try to solicit positive comments?
    Jasmin – I’ll ask people to leaf nice comments if there’s something about veganism in a mainstream blog/website to help even out the comments section.
    Jordan – We just have no idea who is listening to our podcast
    Laura – I try to leave positive comments elsewhere (implication being that there’s sometimes reciprocation).
  • How does it affect your writing for other jobs?
    Laura – some people love it and some don’t, you could get fired
    jordan – have other voices (inside v outside)
  • Do empty/meaningless positive comments bother you?
    Ben – It’s nicer to hear “you’re great” than “you suck” but if it’s empty it’s frustrating.
  • When you have an issue with a vegan person or a vegan product, do you take it directly to person/ place etc or go public on your blog about it?
    Jasmin – no, take it directly
    Jordan – sometimes, when it’s warranted
    Laura – If I already have a relationship with the person then yes. I think about what the outcome might achieve before I blog about it.
  • Have you ever been threatened?
    Ben – yes, a lot. People threaten to sue me all the time. Usually they’re idle threats.
    Laura – Nothing serious
    Jasmin & Jordan – no threats

So, there you have it! Notes from the Vida Vegan Con session on Opinionated Blogging. Hope you found it useful! If not, just send the link to someone you think would.

To read notes from other talks given at Vida Vegan Con, please go here: http://www.vegansoapbox.com/topics/vvc2011/

One Response to VVC Notes: Opinionated Blogging

  1. I’m so glad you posted this – I went to a different session during this. It was so hard to choose between all the great options!


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