Heather Wolpert-Gawron

What’s my role in this debate?

By on September 28, 2008

Dear Fellow Edubloggers,

Many of you have been blogging far longer than I have.  I have many of you on my Google Reader and I admire your wit, your writing, and would now love your advice.

Last week, I posted a review of the Stephanie Meyer Twilight series.  If you’ve read the review, you’ll see I was (to say the least) not a fan.  The point of my post was to encourage parents and teachers to read what the kids are reading so that they can be a part of their dialogue.  And, while I clearly didn’t like the book, I really like talking to people about all the new tween and teen literature out there and their opinions of them.  (Hence, the crowds of kids in my room at lunch, each there to check out new books in my awesome classroom library, or just simply there to hang out and talk lit.) 

Anyway, my posted review clearly hit a cord.  Generally I try to respond to everyone who comments on my website (pretty easy when you could count your daily hits on one hand), but the response to this review has been a little intimidating and, frankly, freaky.  

For not liking these books, I have been called an 80 year-old virgin cat lady, an unmarried woman who has never known love, a failed writer, a horrible teacher, a horrible mother, and basically the reason for our failed economy and global warming.    

In the other camp are the supporters, those people who have come to my defense and the defense of their shared opinion – that the popularity of these books seems to overshadow the honest appraisal of them.

I am grateful I have sparked such discussion, and I am excited about appropriate debate, but my question to you, dear readers, is this: what is my role now?

Clearly, on my own website, I am entitled to give my opinion, and I am also committed to a certain level of transparency, so I’m not looking to delete others’ opinions.  

But am I now the referee?  

Am I the moderator?

Or is my only role to write my opinions, as a print journalist would, send the baby out into the world, and then stand back to allow it to create its own life?

Am I supposed to address each email, try to defend myself somehow, or hang back and let the dialogue continue without further input?  

 So far, I’ve allowed the comment dialogue to continue with no input from me other than making sure the language is no more than PG-13 rated.  

My question to you is this: what role do we have as bloggers once our voice is out there?  Thanks to all who apply. 



Heather Wolpert-Gawron

aka Tweenteacher

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  1. DigiTim
    September 28, 2008

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    Absolutely you should continue to be part of the conversation, but I don’t think every commenter expects or needs a personal reply. Some people are just itching for a fight and I’ll bet you NEVER sway the opinion of someone that disagrees with you just because you defend yourself in an email to them. Blog discussions can take on a life of their own. You set the rules for moderating [or not] comments and feel free to interject your thoughts in the flow. Comments can be fodder for follow-up posts.

  2. Catherine
    September 29, 2008

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    While every fandom has its own crazy, rabid fen, Twilight fans seem to be unique in their ability to… merge upon anyone who dares say anything negative about their beloved books. I’ve blogged about some of the more serious occurrences and believe me, you got off lightly. Unless you say anything negative about Twilight again (and they catch you and link you from everywhere – that’s how it gets around) I doubt you will really have to worry about any “debate” that gets as big as your previous post.

    It’s a sad day that valid criticisms (like what you had – and I totally agreed with) earns people being piled on, like you, and in the case of others threatened and physically assaulted.

  3. Dewdew
    September 29, 2008

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    I just think that you should know that people who have voiced their opinion have persuaded some people at least to realise that the books are not as great as they initially thought.
    There are some people though who you will never be able to persuade as their mind has been blocked by their fangirlyish immaturity.

  4. Casamyr
    September 30, 2008

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    Yes I would stay in the discussion, but I wouldn’t be a moderator as such. If there’s something you want to address then I’d say go ahead and address it but don’t feel the need to respond to them all. That is a sure way to insanity.

    I’m a teacher too and I have been stunned and appalled by the attitudes of so many of the fans towards those who don’t agree with them. It is perfectly valid to dislike this series and I personally cannot stand it. But there are so few voices out there trying to engage in debate with the fans on why they like the books and talking to them about many of the issues we can see in there. I say for you to keep it up. We need voices like yours out there engaging with the kids and helping them to read more deeply than they seem to sometimes.

  5. Kelly
    October 1, 2008

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    I agree with all the above posters – I cannot believe the viciousness of some of these fans, and I’m sorry that you aren’t the first person who’s been personally attacked for voicing your opinion.

    That said, your review was totally honest, unmerciful, and hilarious. Major props for you. 🙂

  6. Pat
    October 2, 2008

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    I love watching a great debate and appreciate you putting it out there. I do want to read the books now so I can form my own opinion. I think it is great that you shared your opinion and whether I agree with you or not, I think a blogger has the right to share their own opinion. You don’t have to agree with the writer but comments should not be nasty, anymore than if you were in a face to face conversation. I know when I blog, I sometimes tell my husband that I will probably make people mad with what I’m about to publish. Thanks for having the courage to be open and honest! You are in my google reader and will stay there!

  7. Jordan
    November 17, 2008

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    I actually agreed with you on your review, and I’m an 18 year old girl. Twilight is actually the worst book I’ve ever read and I’m glad educated people are actually interested in what today’s youth is reading. I really think that lots of young girls are getting a completely wrong and damaging view of life through these books.

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