Writing annoying content gets you noticed

This whole debacle started with an article from the NY Times. Search “Blogs Falling in an Empty Forest” and you’ll find it.

It’s a fairly well written piece about the ups and downs of blogging. It states the obvious fact that most blogs fall into obscurity, or as Richard Jalichandra, chief executive of Technorati puts it “That most blogs have an audience of one.”  Is that so bad really? Is it really news that there are hobbyist bloggers who don’t really have a decent readership? Nevertheless, the article struck a chord with said blogging community and before long it was hitting the front pages of the social news sites. Nothing too inflammatory here.

Sensing that the topic had resonated with bloggers, outspokenmedia.com did their thing and opened the irony floodgates by publishing a blogpost called “Why I hate bloggers”. The first paragraph is a tour de force of irony.

I hate bloggers and I hate blogging. And if you want to know why, the New York Times did a pretty good job illustrating the point yesterday. The medium is thankless and the people who do it…oh my goodness are they some of the most whiny, annoying and vapid people on the planet. Bloggers need to be locked in an Internet-void room and kept there.

Lest we forget this was published on a blog, a blog with a readership bloggers.  I’ll leave alone the point that she seems to hate blogging because the New York Times told her to. What is the tactic at hand here? It’s akin to a writer at The Jerusalem Post publishing an opinion piece about how they became a “self hating jew”, or a speaker at the Star Wars convention announcing he’s renounced his faith as a Jedi and has turned to seek solace in Twighlight. It’s surely suicide?

I’ll grant that the tactic of grabbing attention quickly was executed superbly. But why so mean? Are these really the opinions of the author or is this a ploy to kick off a conversation around their brand? Well… what do we know about blog readers?

  1. A lot of them have blogs
  2. They like blogs
  3. By definition, they must like bloggers
  4. They like to find material to blog about on other blogs
  5. They’re an endless supply of links to be mined

Upon closer inspection, the piece is written specifically to illicit a planned response in you, and for clarity’s sake I’ll demonstrate what that reaction might be.

“The problem is you didn’t post anything interesting. It was only your sister commenting because you were boring.”

But YOU didn’t write anything interesting, all you wrote was a pathetic piece about how you hate bloggers, a breed you clearly belong to.

They’re like the Nancy Suns of the world who get interviewed by the NYT and say crap like this: “To be honest, I would love a book deal to come out of my blog,” she wrote. “Or I would love for Salad Days to give me a means to be financially independent to continue pursuing and sharing what I love with the world.”

So it’s “crap” for people to want a book deal? Or is it just that you’re full of crap? God damn it I hate this blogger, must keep reading and get more mad.

“Here’s the simple truth: A blog won’t make you less boring, it will just emphasize the fact that you are. That’s why most blogs fail.”

Evidently your blog has succeeded on the back of you being boring? What have you ever actually offered other than empty critique?

You see dear blog readers, writers and lovers, this is designed to get you mad. The game is simple; write something that gets peoples backs up and watch the links to your blog roll in. Google doesn’t care that you linked saying “this blog is entirely ridiculous, a blogger who hates bloggers”…google just counts the link. One more notch on your digital bedpost.

There’s another guy using a very similar tactic to get himself publicity right now, his name is Arthur Kade. He tweets things as like “All of my female friends are hot and have implants and the unattractive ones at least have successful, high paying jobs.” Combined with a few videos of the guy acting like the most annoying man on the planet and you’ve got yourself a decent recipe for attracting attention. Negative attention is still attention, and it’s better than no attention at all to some brands.

@LisaBarones post immediately got the exact response that outspokenmedia hoped for, the post solicited most of its link juice via twitter, with tweets such as:

for someone who complains about whiners this person seems to be whining a lot: Why I Hate Bloggers: (via @anotorias)”

“Ranting about whiners is a tricky biz. Can’t do it without turning into a hypocrite (re: @outspokenmedia)”

It’s unfortunate that this has become the nature of the internet, content that annoys people ends up with the same attention as content that doesn’t. Maybe there needs to be a way to tell google or twitter “I like this post” or “I don’t like this post” so that you can vent your fury about something without benefiting the sites rankings in anyway. Maybe this is why sites like reddit, with the ability to vote a story down, will remain  relevant while the twitter wave smashes through the interwebs.

This is such well written link bait that even in the knowledge that I’m being cleverly manipulated, I feel obliged to respond to a few points made in her post.

@LisaBarone tweeted I love that not one person came in to support the bloggers or really put me in my place. http://outspokenmedia.com/4d0z #wimps”. The reality was that people had jumped in to support bloggers in the comments section.

Despite jumping on bloggers backs for blogging about things that people don’t care about, LisaBarone has a blog kneesockz.com/blog/ with had 5 updates in 6 months and none since March. Died by her own sword?

LisaBarone gets paid to blog, most don’t.

LisaBarone isn’t actually a blogger, she’s the “Chief Branding Officer” of Outspoken Media. It just happens that she blogs all day long, but she’s definitely not a blogger since “being called a “blogger” is an insult.” Well let me tell you something LisaBarone, you’re a blogger.  A clever link bait writing blogger, but isn’t there a way to tempt people to link without being so damn mean? The mainstream media is filled with putrid filth and bile, lets not allow our internet to take the same route for the sake of getting a few back links. There’s some interesting stuff on the outspokenmedia.com blog, there doesn’t need to be purposefully inflammatory content to garner attention.

Notice how I didn’t dish out a link to their site all the way through my post? Aren’t I clever.

Phil Harper - Social Media Consultant