Paul has been passionate about writing for over 35 years. He has also worked as a bookseller and librarian. He lives in Florida.
Writing political opinion pieces and publishing them online can be a worthwhile and enjoyable pursuit. It can also potentially generate financial rewards, depending on where the articles are published.
There can also be definite downsides to writing politics, though. This is especially true in countries like the United States, where the political divisions run deep and it can be easy to trigger anger and outrage, regardless of the tone and quality of the article.
This article examines five frustrations associated with putting your political writings online.
5 Disadvantages of Writing and Publishing Political Opinion Pieces Online
Here are five negatives:
- Articles can go out of date quickly
- Trolls and obnoxious comments
- Politics can be a turn-off for some
- Abrasive writers do best
- Commenters who don't read the article
I explore each downside in more detail below.
1. Articles Can Go Out of Date Quickly
Some writing topics are evergreen. For instance: if you're writing about how to fix a leaking faucet, hiking in the Appalachian Mountains, or Plato's Theory of Forms, you can be pretty sure that your words will still be relevant in 10 or 20 years' time.
Politics, though, usually isn't like that. More often than not, you're dealing with current events and the particular public mood of the moment. That means that no matter how relevant your article might be when it's written and published, it's likely to go out of date, and often very quickly.
At the extreme end, it can sometimes even mean that by the time you've written your opinion piece, polished and edited it, then clicked the publish button, it's already yesterday's news.
2. Trolls and Obnoxious Comments
Unfortunately, politics is one of those subjects that tends to bring out the worst in people. Your article might be well-reasoned, informed, and moderate in tone, but that doesn't guarantee that the responses you receive will be of the same caliber.
Some readers can get angry and verbally attack you in a personal way. They can launch straw man arguments and misrepresent your opinions. There might also be unhinged individuals who deliberately respond in an inflammatory and insincere way.
You will need the skin of a rhinoceros to endure some of the abuse that you're likely to receive.
How you respond to trolls and obnoxious commenters, though, is up to you. You don't have to "like" their comments or respond to them, unless you choose to. You may also find that other readers step in to argue with the aggressors on your behalf.
3. Politics Can Be a Turn-Off for Some
Rather than get angry, some people will just turn or walk away when they see that you've written a political piece. They may dislike your views, or it could be nothing to do with your particular viewpoint—they might just be averse to politics generally.
If you're writing for a site like Medium, and you write about a variety of subjects, it's not uncommon to lose a few followers when you publish a political piece.
I've heard it said that if you don't want to annoy anyone, stay away from politics and religion. There's definitely some truth in this.
4. Abrasive Writers Do Best
While it might be comforting to believe that a well-researched and moderately toned article that's full of carefully constructed arguments and assertions will be widely appreciated, the reality is often very different.
Unfortunately, it's the writers who provoke the most anger and negative emotion that garner the most attention. Often deliberately, they express divisive opinions in an indignant, uncompromising, and uninformed way.
In the world of television, it's the political pundits know for stirring up the hornet's nest who usually attract the largest audiences—commentators such as Piers Morgan and Tucker Carlson being good examples.
Writing isn't that much different.
5. Commenters Who Don't Read the Article
People read political articles for all sorts of reasons. Often, they are seeking information that bolsters their existing beliefs and feelings. Others might just be looking for an argument, or an opportunity to vent.
Some commenters can be triggered purely by the title of an article. They jump to their own conclusions, skip the main text of the article, and launch straight into writing a comment.
Unthinking and lazy readers and commenters can be frustrating, especially if you've spent a long time researching, writing and editing your article before publishing. While you might have explained in clear detail what your views and reasoning are, there are never any guarantees that the reader will take the time to consume this information before they comment.
Is It Worth All the Trouble?
Despite the challenges, I do think that writing politics is still worthwhile. It just demands a certain level of hard-headedness. It also helps if you have realistic expectations regarding human nature.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.