The talent found within the streets of Harlem continue to amaze me. During my #Meet50Bloggers tour, I met up with yet another amazing writer and blogger, Marc Polite. Marc is the author of two novels and currently runs Polite on Society, an awarding winning political blog. He speaks up and writes the truth, no matter the circumstance. You can trust his opinions and views, as he is not one that will sugar coat the facts from the public eye. Marc doesn’t chase the trending stories, as he is more interested in reporting the social commentary, literary reviews and political analyses, rather than the latest Kardashian drama or Hollywood scandal.
Who is Marc Polite and how did he begin his writing journey?
Great question and funny that you ask that… I’m actually a gamer turned blogger. I got into the media space looking for information about games and cheat codes. This lead me to started blogging about it. However, I gradually went from talking about games, Mortal Kombat, Playstation and Xbox to politics. On Facebook, I would comment on the notes section, but after a while my comments would get lost on the wall by other comments. I wanted a place for my content to live; Polite on Society was born. I commented on social issues; we’re not supposed to talk about, like race and police brutality. Topics amongst these are to be kept on the hush, but on Polite on Society we talk about them. I have a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Masters in History which gives me a great advantage to being connected with what I wanted to discuss and write about on my blog.
You run a blog Polite on Society (great name by the way), where you discuss a vast range of topics on politics, history, and things in this realm; do you report widely on trending topics also?
I try to keep up with trending topics if it’s geared towards my views of the blog and focuses on my areas such as history or politics. The thing is, if you try and keep up with trends and it is not your blog’s focus, it can quickly take you off course. For me, I don’t do the whole gossip and celebrity reports that revolve around pop culture. Again, unless it goes with what I’m doing for Polite on Society. Such as the acceptance speech by Jessie Williams at the 2016 BET Awards or Kendrick Lamar performance at the 2016 Grammy Awards. These were popular trending topics that I could weigh in on and comment.
Jessie Williams received a ton of comments about his speech, but here we are today and look at what’s happening.
It is always disheartening when you see things of this nature. Alton Sterling life was ended by six shots, I don’t know how you can justify this. Two large police officers were on top of him and had him restrained. Trevon Martin, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile just to name a few, how many more. There is a pattern; because of my studies I am able to identify in what is happening. For Sterling, I know how this will go; they will say he was a criminal and this is his fate, he deserved it. So now you have to be the perfect victim to deserve some type of death. As a history major and studier of history, I am able to observe it. I cannot look at this and be hopeful, it is depressing. Today, I had to pull away from social media to avoid seeing the videos. Such a tragic situation, there were other options to restrain Sterling without ending his life. Things will never be resolved with this same pattern.
How do you feel you are judged within the “blogger community” by having a blog of this nature? Outside of fashion, beauty, lifestyle and your typical genre blogs?
Blogs with lighter and trending topics naturally get more hits. For me, it is difficult being a political blogger and a black blogger at that. There is a constant uphill battle, because people are chasing hits and not necessarily interested in what I’m bringing out; book reviews, this event, political topics, community issues that people can learn from. People care about how many hits, viewership and the latest trend. I have my own map that I have created for Polite on Society, that drives me to my own way. There are days when I am tempted to go the other way and touch base on lighter topics. It’s tough for me, my blog is very serious, when people go on the net they tend to want to dumb out and watch silly videos, goof off, not hear about the political ramifications or latest world disaster, therefore it’s a constant battle. However, there are those benefits when it’s worthwhile; a reader will tell me they learned something from my blog they hadn’t seen anywhere else. I continue down my own path.
What matters most to you; a good story or the truth spoken by your opinions?
The truth of my opinions matters more to me. Since I deal in non-fiction, the truth is most important. A good story can be inspiring, but if there is no truth in it at the core of it, then it’s just a tale.
Biggest challenge to date with being a blogger/writer?
The biggest challenge for me is I have to wear a multitude of hats; chief writer, editor-in-chief, photographer, audio, videographer and I don’t have a team where I can delegate assignments too. I have to split my time between being an employee, a husband, father and the multiple hats I wear under Polite on Society. Time constraint, causes me to sometimes have to push blogs back from the week I wanted them to publish to the next week. At the end of the day, I am a one man show and I would love to be able to cover more events, topics and even do some investigative journalism, but it wouldn’t be fair to take that much time away from my family. There has to be a balance. I have a ton of ideas that remain on my flash drive, because unless I’m going to be up until 1:00 am writing it won’t happen.
How important is social media marketing to you and how/what platforms do you use to promote?
Very important. Mostly my traffic to the blog is driven by Facebook. Twitter comes second and then Instagram. I’m not a large Twitter’er, but I do go on to see the trending topics and if it relates to my blog concept. Things spread through social media, making it very important for your blog presence to get spread in a larger way.
How long have you been blogging and how has it changed since you first begun?
Seven years ago, 2009 to be exact, I began blogging. The different components that you need to make it all work has drastically changed. I needed all new equipment; new phone, camera, a serious equipment upgrade. The rate of the world is moving much faster now too. You turn the corner and a new app has launched. I mean now there is Facebook Live (that I’m learning LOL). I’m truly grateful that I was able to survive for seven years, there are a lot of bloggers who have left after all these years. My supporters are still there from day one and my expansion is going to happen- just a matter of when. I know there is a purpose behind Polite on Society, I am making an impact, people are reading my blog. Also know that just because people aren’t commenting, liking or sharing, doesn’t mean they are not reading-they just aren’t commenting.
Share with us a little on what your second novel to date, Everything to Learn Nothing to Teach, is about.
Everything to Learn, Nothing To Teach is a collection of essays that I present as social commentary on political, social, and economic matters. In a set of 16 essays, I discuss matters including the 2008 economic crash, gentrification, what reform really means, etc. I also talk about my personal experiences as well. What it was like growing up in Harlem, my parents experiences, my struggles with religion, and more.
Finding a way to navigate through life and discover your life’s mission is no small undertaking. In our ever-increasingly, fast-paced, interconnected, hyper-informed world, discovering what one wants to do with one’s life is a yearning that is all too familiar as we move through this existence.
In these tough times, figuring out what you are meant to do has become an industry all to its own. The seminars, conferences, and advice can be endless, which would probably explain why there are so many self-help books and life coaches. There is a wealth of advice out there for those who improve their lives. Having the necessary footing to make a wise decision is crucial in these times of uncertainty. However, despite the plethora of information, all of us must ultimately make our own decision as to where we would like our lives to go. – Book Excerpt: Everything To Learn, Nothing To Teach
As an author of color, do you find there is a large support group of other authors willing to lend help or is it more of a competition?
As an author of color, there are a good number of networks that I have found very supportive of my work. From the Harlem Writers Guild, to the New York City Writers Network, to the African American Literature Book Club. What I have found is a spirit of cooperation, more so than competition. While yes, it’s true that this is an industry ultimately, I have found that other authors have been willing to share their knowledge with me, even before I published a book.
In your words, what are some ways that more indie-authors can connect and support each other?
I think that indie authors can support one another by helping to spread the word about events they will be attending.
How are you empowering others writers/authors?
One way that I empower other independent authors is through my Author Profile features on Polite On Society. I also have conducted workshops on how to start your own blog, and other forms of digital literacy.
Where does Marc W. Polite the writer go from here and what’s next for Polite on Society?
In the next 5 years, I aspire to be branching out into different projects with my writing. I would like to have my books available in mainstream bookstores as well as indies. I would like to do a few recording sessions of my poetry, screenplays, documentaries, and promote my existing work in other parts of the country, and internationally as well. I would like to publish other writers, and bring more people onto my growing team. As for Polite On Society, after 7 years, I would like to expand and have a network of contributors outside of the NYC/DMV area.
Advice for upcoming bloggers and writers?
My advice for upcoming bloggers is to stay true to what you want to talk about. Don’t always feel compelled to talk about what everyone else is talking about just because it’s popular.
the VIRGO GIRL FIVE THINGS TO ASK:
What would you tell your 21-year-old self?
I would tell my 21 year old self, don’t put writing to the side! The Playstation ain’t going nowhere, so you can pick up the pen every now and then.
I start my day with . . .
I start my day with.. checking my e-mail and browsing the news. As much as I would like to say I start my day with a serious workout.. I’m not even close to being there yet. #FactsOnly
If you could invite any woman to dinner, who would it be?
If I could invite any woman to dinner, I would dine with Isabel Wilkerson. She is the author of the masterful work on the Great Migration “The Warmth of Other Suns”. I would like to know how she started that process of writing what in my opinion is a modern epic. It took 15 years to complete. That is dedication, for real.
Best advice you have received?
The best advice I have ever received is from my mother. She says “never let anyone define you” Once you let people do that, they set limits on you, and your possibilities began to shrivel. That is a danger to your creativity, and will stifle any and all attempts to express it.
Life motto you live by?
My life motto is “Just because you can doesn’t mean that you should”. We can all do things to either improve, or detract from the self esteem of others. Even when people have come at me hard, there are times where I choose to show restraint, and be the better person. I very well could go back and forth with them, but for what purpose? Nothing good will come of it, and it will only lead to hurt feelings. And since I am not out to get anybody (unless it’s on Xbox Live *Smile*) I choose often to keep the peace, if possible.
Visit www.marcpolite.com to learn more about Marc and purchase his books. Be sure to check out and follow Polite on Society and keep up with his latest happenings on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram and Youtube.