For those who have been paying attention, I was going to post a good-hearted humor rant today on “what to do if you’re a blogger who’s out of content”, but after Somebody‘s mean spirited verbal bashing of a fellow blogger, I felt I had to hold off out of respect, especially since I used that blog as part (but nowhere near all) of my inspiration for the post. So instead, for those of you who feel that they must spend their time bashing bloggers instead of contributing useful information to the discussion, I give you a rather dry post on how to do it right. (And for those of you who feel I have attacked you personally, feel free to use them if it will make you feel better, as this will help you think straight and realize that, chances are, it wasn’t about you.)
Let’s face it, every now and again your favorite blogger, who is only human, will say or do something that you think is completely idiotic. And sometimes it will rattle your cage to the point where you’ll forget about your shy lurker ways and feel the need to post something scathing in reply to knock that smarty-pants off the high horse (s)he’s riding. And it’s okay to feel that way, especially if the blogger posted something that is quite silly when the blogger should have known better, but it’s not okay to go psycho and anonymously deliver a raging verbal smack-down dripping with acid. Not only is it likely to have the opposite effect of what you intended (as the blogger might simply get angry and bust you down so hard that your sagging ego will still be reeling this time next week), but you’ll like a complete idiot to the majority of his (or her) readers who will be saddened or angered at what will have been a completely unprovoked, and if you misinterpreted the blogger’s message, an unwarranted attack on your part. Unless, of course, you do it right. So here are three tips to help you get it right if you truly have nothing better to do than bash (your fellow) bloggers.
1. Keep it light-hearted and keep the humor genuine.*
Every blogger needs a good bashing once in a while, especially if the blogger is perceived to be a thought leader by those in the mainstream media that are supposed to be in-the-know and the blogger is overly prolific. It’s no secret that I like to bash a few of my fellow bloggers from time to time (and take a few lumps myself, though not always where I expect them), and will not hesitate to jump into the fray when a blogger posts something that I believe the blogger clearly should have put more thought or effort into; but each and every time I do my utmost to keep my public comments from getting too personal and too nasty, unless I believe it to be reasonably clear that the comments are in pure jest (as nothing livens up the blogsphere like a good natured smack-down). Let’s face it, without your bloggers, all you’d have is the traditional trade publications and the analyst firms, and that would be a very sorry state of affairs when you consider how stale some of the publications have become and how a number of reputable analysts have made it public knowledge that they are forced to be quite reserved about what they do and don’t say about their firm’s customers in their public writings. Remember, without us to keep the pressure on, they could feed you the same-old, same-old year after year and keep calling it “new-and-improved” when it’s “yesteryear’s news”.
* The only exception is when you decide to engage in a debate against yourself. Then sometimes it’s funny to take it over the top.
2. Make a valid argument.
Comments along the lines of wake up and smell the coffee you arrogant sloth, EIPP has been old news since 2003, while potentially true, are not very helpful and only serve to demonstrate your ignorance as you have not offered a single fact to back it up. If you had instead said “I’m sorry, but I don’t see the relevance or importance of yet another new EIPP solution from vendor X because vendor Y has been offering exactly the same solution for three years, details at this web address“, you would have made a valid discussion point and engendered a lot less animosity along the way.
3. But most of all, keep it civil.
Sometimes a blogger will get it dead wrong, sometimes a blogger will climb too high a horse, and sometimes the blogger will do both in the same post. Although the latter is quite rare for a professional blogger, bloggers are only human and it can happen, especially if the blogger believes he is right. But if he’s not, chances are he wants to know it because professional bloggers care more about getting the message right than looking stupid on occasion, as long as you’re civil in pointing out his mistake. Remember, bloggers are only human and a personal attack is likely not going to accomplish anything besides enraging the blogger who will have difficulty seeing past your incompetence in communication and his gut-instinct to take you down a peg or two. But if you’re calm, clear, rational, and polite … chances are he’ll not only concede every point, but thank you for it.
As long as your blogger makes an honest effort on a regular basis, he or she deserves a little slack from time to time. And if he starts abusing that privilege, and you feel that you must call him out, then feel free to do so, but be civil and constructive — because if you’re not, you’re not helping anyone. Finally, all the good bloggers publish their e-mail addresses on their blog and we’re all open to constructive criticism. So if you can’t be subtle, you can always consider going direct to the source with your comments.