Web’s Top 10 Blowhards and How Not to Be One
I have been waiting to be inspired for a new post (am working on a series, in fact), and I saw an article in PC Magazine brought to my attention on Twitter: “Top 10 Blowhards on the Web.”
It’s an interesting read, and who know if the author put someone on the list because he/she didn’t sign an autograph or give a reciprocal link, but guess who the #1 blowhard is?
That’s right. Robert Scoble.
That’s all I will say about that except that there’s a history there, but it started me thinking about what I like about good bloggers and “cewebrities.” If you want people to follow you, sure, you have to be a little bit controversial (I try to be), but here’s my list of things that will get you into my Twitter or .rss stream:
- Be smart. I am so in awe of other people like David Armano , Shannon Paul or Jason Falls who offer such good advice (for free) but really make us think at the same time. I can’t remember either one of them either “mailing it in” on a post. They’re smart and every time I read their blogs, I learn something new.
- Be a good writer. Social media is great and all, but it’s still about communication. Ask any of my former students this, but the ability to tell a story and express one’s self well in 75 percent of what will make you a good blogger/writer. Oh – and don’t write like you text: every story has words and a beginning a middle and an end.
- Be a good person. One of the reasons that I am so stoked be headed for BlogWorld Expo in two weeks is that I will finally get to meet so many people whom I have admired for so long. I think that I will be doing a lot of the “I’m not worthy” because people I love people who are smart and successful but act like the rest of us. Nothing turns me off more than ego, which is what landed many of the people on the “Top 10″ list.
- Tell me what you think: come strong to the mike. There are some awfully good writers whose posts are “yeah – I agree with what he just said.” That’s fine, but original, thoughtful and insightful writing goes a long way in my world.
- Make whatever medium you use to communicate, especially your Web site, navigable. Nice looking blogs get my attention and tell me that publisher gets that aesthetics make a difference too. I actually don’t use my .rss reader much and tend to go directly to blogs. If it looks good and is easy to navigate, all the better.
- This one is a firm grasp of the obviously, but transparency and disclosure are king. I have developed a nice little consulting business on the side with my primary employer’s blessing, but I would never consider a favorable posting for a client, and even if I did, I would caveat the hell out of it. Nothing gets you smoked faster than if someone tags you as a schill.
- Be funny. This is part of entertainment, but I like read people who make me think as well as make me laugh. Some of the most gut-busting posts have come from folks like Jason Falls or Ike Pigott. These guys make a point but can also make you laugh your tail off.
- Finally, know where the line is between promoting yourself as a brand (Geoff Livingston in going to flame me on the “personal brand thing – heh) as becoming a caricature of yourself as a self-promotion machine. Sure, use as many online tools and tactics as you can to promote you and you and you, but know that there is a line at which you are great at self-promotion and become a self-promoter. There have been people whom I have quit reading because I really like humility.
That’s my list. And as for all of the above, when it comes to humility and I get to be on panel with some wicked smart people and rub elbows with even more, I can tell you that “I’m not worthy, I’m not worthy.”