When I was eight I wrote an essay, certainly for some fascist language arts teacher, which I began with the phrase, “I was born at an early age …” I thought it witty. She thought it C-level work, the grade not professional rank, and it’s a good thing, too. If I’d gotten praise for my smart-aleck-ness early on, it may not have developed into a full-blown case of smart-assism, something of which I’m very proud.

I’m Typing It was then I knew I wanted to write for a living. While I wasn’t sure exactly what I would write or for whom, or even if it would be any good, crafting wordiness into indecipherable babble would be a major part of my life’s calling.

One thing led to another and I became a writer who blogs. And now all my fellow blogger friends have decided to proliferate the same third grade fascism and decorate their blogs with how-to guides and top 10 lists telling me how I’m supposed to write good.

Well “phtphtphtphtphtphtphtphtpht” to you. (That’s how you spell the word made when sticking out your tongue and blowing. I looked it up.)

First, allow me to say that I do read several blogs about blogging. It’s part of social media and there are a handful of people out there who advise responsibly, whether it be on deciding whether blogging is right for you, developing a strategic, business approach to blogging or even the (dreaded) “how-to” write blogs.

But I will also say there are two types of bloggers that irritate me. One regurgitates the same blogging advice over and over again, proving they really know nothing about blogging in the first place. The other are those who feel the need to share their great wealth of knowledge about blogging despite the fact their blog is about something totally different, like endocrinology or some other topic I can’t spell without help. These bloggers bug me. Tell me about anthropomorphic robotic design, not how to write headlines sure to get my post on the front page of Digg.

Every day my RSS reader is crammed full of junk posts telling me how to blog. You have to write headlines as how-to’s or numeric lists. You have to use related imagery. You have to link to exactly 17 other bloggers, 14 of whom must be more important than you and so on.

But in the end, successful blogs are ones that provide consistently strong content. CONTENT. Not wrapping paper. Not ribbons and bows. Not Digg shouts and Stumbles and Sphinns for friends. If you write something meaningful, people will notice. If you don’t, we’ll notice as well because your Digg shouts are annoying as hell.

(Yes, I’ve been guilty of them, too. And to all my Digg friends, I’m sorry.)

So, mister bloggy blog, blog stud, I challenge you to come up with something I want to read. And formulaic headline advice won’t cut it anymore. Challenge me. Make me think. Help me learn. Force me to grow. And stop peppering my RSS reader with crap.

For my part, I promise to do the same. No more formulaic headlines, unless they tell the story I’m trying to illustrate. No more blogs about blogging, unless it’s a useful case study that might enlighten you to a particular challenge or strategy I’ve tackled.

I will continue to link to people, mainly because I like people and want them to like me, too. But I do promise to link to articles I think will add depth or context to the subject matter and not just be a link whore.

And from now on, I’m no longer going to Digg, Stumble or Sphinn my own stuff. If what I offer is of note, you will do it for me. If what I offer isn’t, then it doesn’t deserve the recognition of being presented to those communities.

(For the record, I refuse to plug Reddit. I hate Reddit, don’t feel the need to include Ron Paul in my headline just to get votes, can’t even buy karma there and hope it steps on a rusty nail. Hey Reddit … phtphtphtphtphtphtphtphtphtpht!)

This is my pledge to you. Will you join me? If so, tell me what you don’t like about the state of the blogosphere and what we (you and me and all our friends) can do about it. The floor is yours.

IMAGE: “I’m Typing” by pirate johnny on Flickr.

[tags]blog, blogging, howto, ethics, blogger, improvement, self-improvement[/tags]

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is the founder and chief instigator for Social Media Explorer's blog. He is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for CafePress, one of the world's largest online retailers. His opinions are his, not necessarily theirs. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://www.businesspundit.com Rob

    When the barrier to entry for content creation drops to zero, and traffic is earned primarily by pleasing the mindless masses who spend all day on aggregators, you can’t expect much incentive for high quality writing or thinking.

  • http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com Jason Falls

    Good and fair point, Rob. I’d rather have good posts than popular ones, though. Hence this one. Thanks for chiming in.

  • http://www.roberteilers.com Robert Eilers

    Hey Jason,

    Where did you find the spelling for sticking out your tongue and blowing? I hope I’m not one of those that can’t add anything significant to the conversation of the blogosphere. I’m trying to come up with insightful posts. There are a couple I have in mind I hope to post next week or two.

    Hey could you write a post about how to write insightful blog posts about blogging? (tongue is very much in cheek)

    Glad I stopped by.

  • http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com Jason Falls

    Robert — It’s in the dictionary of stuff no one but Jason Falls can spell. I’ll sell you a copy for $3.00 and a pack of Juicy Fruit. As for insightful blog posts about blogging … trust your gut. I’ve read some of your stuff and you’re fully capable of challenging us. I look forward to reading them!

  • http://techkeyla.blogspot.com Sujoy

    Hi Jason,

    Ironically, the title to this post is”How to” improve your Blog in 4 steps.LOL. Thanks for the wonderful links. But the copyblogger link is wrong. There has been a typo, and it redirects to copybogger, which doesn’t exist(shame). It’s true though that the blogosphere is flooded with How-to’s and numbered posts trying to instruct each and everyone one single point with many catchy headlines. Phtphtphtpht was brilliant. I guess I spelled it correctly. :P

    Cheers!
    Sujoy

  • http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com Jason Falls

    Hey Sujoy … Thanks for the head’s up on the link mistake. I’ve fixed it. Thank you, too, for reading!

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