Blogging on bloggers
Steven Colbert shows the confusion surrounding Cingular's name change

20 common mistakes of eager bloggers

keyboard.jpgJohn Moore @ Brand Autopsy points to a great sidebar from a recent BusinessWeek article by Marshall Goldsmith. Goldsmith is on the preeminent leadership coaches and all around management gurus.

While Marshall's position has us look at these items through our business goggles, they apply to all people in general. An alternate title for me is "20 common mistakes of eager bloggers". I really think that this list of 20 is a great guide for people who are blogging today and here's how I would apply each point to blogosphere best practices:

  1. Winning too much: The idea of blogging is to open conversations, not dominate it. Allow for participation and don't roll over people with hasty comments.
  2. Adding too much value: The same applies on the blog. Allow your visitors to add the value, be open and guide people along.
  3. Passing judgement: Be open to everyone who visits. They may have a different background, come from another country or be a lot smarter than you are. Excluding people by judging them isn't what this is all about.
  4. Making destructive comments: Flaming somebody for any reason is not necessary. Bloggers need to be an independent shepherd of ideas, not a dictator.
  5. Starting with "no", "but" or "however": This is one of my biggest pet peeves with people in general and it seems to run rampant in business. Keep an open mind, don't shoot somebody down...help each other converse to a mutual conclusion. That's not always 100% possible, but it's a good goal.
  6. Telling the world how smart we are: As people try to get their 15Mb of fame, they're certainly not shy about proclaiming their superior knowledge. The truth is that it's only opinion. Yes there are smart people out there, but the smartest are usually the most unassuming.
  7. Blogging while angry: If something makes you angry, a negative comment, a contradictory opinion step away from the keyboard. Come back to it after 15 minutes and see how you still feel. If you still feel the same, call it a day and think about saying nothing. If you do respond, keep it as genial as possible.
  8. Negativity: Being negative isn't a very admirable characteristic. While some people take on what I call a "Yes...but" (ref point five above) personality, they only crush valuable ideas. Don't be one of those people. Offer solutions, suggestions and stay positive.
  9. Withholding Information: Don't flog! Ever! Blogging needs to be transparent, honest and have full disclosure. If you're a PR firm creating a blog for a customer which you are planning to post on (that's a red flag already) make sure you tell people. Nothing loses credibility and pisses people off quicker than being deceived.
  10. Failing to give proper recognition: Like on this post, if you find something through another user, credit them. Tip the hat. Link back and engage them on their site to get their feedback. (Not doing) this is unacceptable and people can see right through it. Better they hear it from you. Also, disclose what you know and don't hold back for your own benefit.
  11. Claiming credit we don't deserve: if your user community creates ideas which you roll with, give them recognition.
  12. Making excuses: Just don't do it. This is self-explanatory. Own up if you say something wrong, apologize and move on.
  13. Clinging to the past: Don't push off ideas or comments with one foot in the past. Learn from what happened and move on.
  14. Playing favorites: This happens a lot on some blog communities. It's okay to be loyal to your supporters, but allow everyone to participate. If someone new has something new to say, let them say it and help them build on it.
  15. Refusing to express regret: If you did post something that was incorrect or hurt somebody else, share that regret with the community. Empathy is a dying characteristic that engenders loyalty when expressed honestly.
  16. Not listening: This may be the cardinal sin of blogging. It's all about listening, adapting, participating and growing with the people who bestow their time to you. It happens, but those bloggers will soon be swept under the table.
  17. Failing to express gratitude: Blogging is a funny thing. It's so personal. You are permitted to interact with amazing, smart people all the time. Failing to tell them how much they mean to you and help you is unacceptable.
  18. Punishing the messenger: This comes usually in the form of comments. People injecting reality or helping you to see that you are in fact, *gasp*, wrong. Don't take out your disappointment on them, really listen to what they are saying. Most likely they're on your side and want you to see the light.
  19. Passing the buck: Step up to the plate, lay it all out there and take responsibility. We write the posts. We spread our message and ask for opinion back. If we're wrong we need to eat our words. Don't pass the blame to anyone else.
  20. An excessive need to be "me": You know where you have faults. You may procrastinate every day and rush to get things done. You may translate that to mean that you are a 'pressure guy/gal'. Striving to be that go-to pressure guy/gal only perpetuates your procrastination. That's one example, but there are more...you know who you are.

I would love to get everyone's feedback on this. Thanks again to John Moore and Marshall Goldsmith (by proxy).

Those are the mistakes...what are the things bloggers are doing right? Let me know what you think.


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