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Never Dedicate a Blog Post to Disagreeing with Someone

By: Guest | January 19, 2011 | 
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Editor’s note: I (Gini) asked Martyn Chamberlin to republish a blog post he wrote last week after I wrote about Chris Brogan’s bigger ear marketing advice. I’m a big believer in listening to all sides of a debate and opening our minds because, you never know, you might change your mind. At the very least, you’ll become more wise and understanding.

As humans, we love a good debate. We love to hash out stuff with others. We even love reading other people’s disagreements. It’s fun.

But you don’t want to dedicate a blog post to disagreeing with someone. In fact, it’s the worst blogging mistake you can EVER make. When you chose to publicly disagree with someone, you’re destroying your blog. No kidding.

Your subscribers don’t want to pop open their reader and read about why someone they’ve never heard of is so wrong. Who cares?

Yawn.

They unsubscribe.

But wait, don’t people love a good argument? Yeah. If it’s something they’re interested in. Where do you find good debates? Is it in Google Reader? or is it on Twitter and pingbacks and Google searches and word of mouth? You tell me.

The debate about Chris Brogan’s ear marketing strategy was really interesting. I engaged in comments and talked to Chris Brogan and Gini Dietrich about it on Twitter. Does that mean I’m going to subscribe to her blog? Nope. Next time she’ll be blasting away someone I’ve never heard of. I simply joined the conversation because I saw a tweet and it looked interesting.

What makes this mistake so easy to make

Maybe your subscribers won’t like an article, but you can sure find an audience that will. Here are some aggressive posts I’ve written over the months that attack various people/blogs/services. Sure, I found the audience I was looking for. Take a look at this.

  • 6 reasons you should quit Facebook like I did
  • What Chris Pearson doesn’t want you to know about Thesis
  • 4 reasons Fine Art Studio Online is bad (and a possible solution)
  • We artists don’t have time for this
  • I’ve made this mistake time and time again. You attack somebody? Of course you’ll get an audience. Of course people will start a lively conversation in comments. But not all visibility is good. In this case, it’s down right detrimental.

    And here’s the funny part. It’s always the small(er) blogs that do this. You’ll never see successful publishers doing this stuff. They’re smart enough to realize how bad it is.

    After the big flash and bang of the argument, everyone goes back to Twitter. By nightfall, you won’t notice anything. Maybe a few frustrated readers unsubscribed, that’s all. Oh, and you’ve made a few more enemies. Yeah.

    I will never, ever write another disagreement post again.

    Martyn Chamberlin is an artist who can’t resist writing about what’s going on in the tech world. He’s fascinated with how companies and individuals market themselves, using Web 2.0 as their distribution model. Check out his tech & marketing blog for more.

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    122 Comments on "Never Dedicate a Blog Post to Disagreeing with Someone"

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    johnfalchetto
    5 years 6 months ago
    Martyn, I am don’t want to make you my enemy but I disagree. I think you are confusing two things. Personal attacks and disagreement.Personal attacks which are defaming, racist, sexist are wrong. I enjoyed reading Gini’s critic of Chris Brogan’s post. It brought a discussion to the post. This is I think the whole point of blogging or online conversation, you discuss and debate ideas.If people unsubscribe, well its their choice, and if they don’t want to read different approaches to an idea there is a name for that: fundamentalists. Do big bloggers disagree? You betcha, just to name a… Read more »
    johnfalchetto
    5 years 6 months ago
    Martyn, I am don’t want to make you my enemy but I disagree. I think you are confusing two things. Personal attacks and disagreement.Personal attacks which are defaming, racist, sexist are wrong. I enjoyed reading Gini’s critic of Chris Brogan’s post. It brought a discussion to the post. This is I think the whole point of blogging or online conversation, you discuss and debate ideas.If people unsubscribe, well its their choice, and if they don’t want to read different approaches to an idea there is a name for that: fundamentalists. Do big bloggers disagree? You betcha, just to name a… Read more »
    markwschaefer
    markwschaefer
    5 years 6 months ago
    Completely disagree. How’s that for starting an argument on a blog? : ) Look, you can disagree but that doesn’t mean you have to be nasty about it. You can be nice, nurturing and professional and still have a lively debate. People disagree with me all the time in very public ways. I love it. I thrive on it. It helps me grow as a person and as a professional. The blogger I disagree with most consistently is Mitch Joel. We go at each other all the time in blog posts and podcasts. And through our disagreement we have become… Read more »
    markwschaefer
    markwschaefer
    5 years 6 months ago
    Completely disagree. How’s that for starting an argument on a blog? : ) Look, you can disagree but that doesn’t mean you have to be nasty about it. You can be nice, nurturing and professional and still have a lively debate. People disagree with me all the time in very public ways. I love it. I thrive on it. It helps me grow as a person and as a professional. The blogger I disagree with most consistently is Mitch Joel. We go at each other all the time in blog posts and podcasts. And through our disagreement we have become… Read more »
    Katjaib
    5 years 6 months ago

    So this is a post disagreeing with how Gini handled her disagreement with Chris’s advice? Very funny. And hats off to Gini for being so gracious.

    As you just pointed out, debate is healthy for stimulating ideas. Variety among points of view makes life interesting and helps us learn from each other. And as for the “Rules”, you’ve inspired a couple of posts of my own: “Don’t blog on an empty stomach” and “Why wearing red socks makes you a better writer.” Coming soon….

    Katjaib
    5 years 6 months ago

    So this is a post disagreeing with how Gini handled her disagreement with Chris’s advice? Very funny. And hats off to Gini for being so gracious.

    As you just pointed out, debate is healthy for stimulating ideas. Variety among points of view makes life interesting and helps us learn from each other. And as for the “Rules”, you’ve inspired a couple of posts of my own: “Don’t blog on an empty stomach” and “Why wearing red socks makes you a better writer.” Coming soon….

    Artists_Discuss
    5 years 6 months ago

    @johnfalchetto Show me an instance where either of the top three AdAge bloggers dedicate a blog post to attacking a blog post.

    It’ll take you a while.

    Artists_Discuss
    5 years 6 months ago

    @johnfalchetto Show me an instance where either of the top three AdAge bloggers dedicate a blog post to attacking a blog post.

    It’ll take you a while.

    JGoldsborough
    JGoldsborough
    5 years 6 months ago
    Not sure I agree. It’s all about how you disagree, right? If you just disagree to disagree and you’re an A-hole about it, then I’m with you. But if you can disagree constructively and share another well-thought-out side of the story, I think that’s fine. Controversy can bring readers and publcity. But if your blog is crap, they’ll just leave after the comment and not return. I guess I’m saying in the end, your blog has to stand on its own two feet. But if disagreeing isn’t stepping out of your normal style and you can do so constructively, have… Read more »
    JGoldsborough
    JGoldsborough
    5 years 6 months ago
    Not sure I agree. It’s all about how you disagree, right? If you just disagree to disagree and you’re an A-hole about it, then I’m with you. But if you can disagree constructively and share another well-thought-out side of the story, I think that’s fine. Controversy can bring readers and publcity. But if your blog is crap, they’ll just leave after the comment and not return. I guess I’m saying in the end, your blog has to stand on its own two feet. But if disagreeing isn’t stepping out of your normal style and you can do so constructively, have… Read more »
    Artists_Discuss
    5 years 6 months ago

    @markwschaefer Mark I love you. I hear you all the time on Mitch’s podcast. You’ve got such a crisp voice. And yes, it’s fun hearing you disagree with him. Tell Mitch I said hi.

    Truth be told, I’ve reformed a bit as of writing that post. Reformed to nonconformity.

    Artists_Discuss
    5 years 6 months ago

    @markwschaefer Mark I love you. I hear you all the time on Mitch’s podcast. You’ve got such a crisp voice. And yes, it’s fun hearing you disagree with him. Tell Mitch I said hi.

    Truth be told, I’ve reformed a bit as of writing that post. Reformed to nonconformity.

    johnfalchetto
    5 years 6 months ago

    @Artists_Discuss Well Mark wrote one about Chris Brogan’s ‘ethical lapses’, taking up how Chris handles sponsors, clients and affiliates.

    johnfalchetto
    5 years 6 months ago

    @Artists_Discuss Well Mark wrote one about Chris Brogan’s ‘ethical lapses’, taking up how Chris handles sponsors, clients and affiliates.

    jamiemorgancda
    jamiemorgancda
    5 years 6 months ago
    I think the point you are trying to get across is a valid one, but I also think that there are cases where a person should post a blog disagreeing with someone. What if the information they talked about is just flat out wrong and the post you write explains to your audience why and backs it up with facts? Or, maybe it is to start a debate that could be informative to your readers. I never advocate attacking someone personally or just mentioning a big name blogger to get attention, but I don’t think that disagreeing and being brave… Read more »
    jamiemorgancda
    jamiemorgancda
    5 years 6 months ago
    I think the point you are trying to get across is a valid one, but I also think that there are cases where a person should post a blog disagreeing with someone. What if the information they talked about is just flat out wrong and the post you write explains to your audience why and backs it up with facts? Or, maybe it is to start a debate that could be informative to your readers. I never advocate attacking someone personally or just mentioning a big name blogger to get attention, but I don’t think that disagreeing and being brave… Read more »
    lesmckeown
    lesmckeown
    5 years 6 months ago

    Hi Martyn!

    I have zero interest in the actual topic (I ignore anything that tells me I’m ‘doing something wrong’ on social media) – but I am intrigued to understand your logic: How is it wrong for Ms Dietrich to write a blog post diagreeing with Mr Brogan, but it is OK for you to write a blog post disagreeing with Ms Dietrich?

    Just wonderin’.

    lesmckeown
    lesmckeown
    5 years 6 months ago

    Hi Martyn!

    I have zero interest in the actual topic (I ignore anything that tells me I’m ‘doing something wrong’ on social media) – but I am intrigued to understand your logic: How is it wrong for Ms Dietrich to write a blog post diagreeing with Mr Brogan, but it is OK for you to write a blog post disagreeing with Ms Dietrich?

    Just wonderin’.

    MaureenB2B
    MaureenB2B
    5 years 6 months ago

    @lesmckeown Amen. Bravo to both @ginidietrich and Martyn for making this politely public. But I’m with you, Les. This feels a lot Sarah Palin protesting the politicization of the Tucson shooter and then saying she thinks (I paraphrase) that the shooter was “apolitical or left-leaning.”

    MaureenB2B
    MaureenB2B
    5 years 6 months ago

    @lesmckeown Amen. Bravo to both @ginidietrich and Martyn for making this politely public. But I’m with you, Les. This feels a lot Sarah Palin protesting the politicization of the Tucson shooter and then saying she thinks (I paraphrase) that the shooter was “apolitical or left-leaning.”

    Artists_Discuss
    5 years 6 months ago

    @johnfalchetto Mark isn’t one of them. I think you need to take a look at this chart again, John. http://adage.com/power150/

    Artists_Discuss
    5 years 6 months ago

    @johnfalchetto Mark isn’t one of them. I think you need to take a look at this chart again, John. http://adage.com/power150/

    ginidietrich
    ginidietrich
    5 years 6 months ago

    @MaureenB2B @lesmckeown In his defense, he does end it with, “I will never, ever write another disagreement post again.”

    ginidietrich
    ginidietrich
    5 years 6 months ago

    @MaureenB2B @lesmckeown In his defense, he does end it with, “I will never, ever write another disagreement post again.”

    ginidietrich
    ginidietrich
    5 years 6 months ago

    @Katjaib Do red socks really make you a better writer? What about in the summertime? Still works?

    ginidietrich
    ginidietrich
    5 years 6 months ago

    @Katjaib Do red socks really make you a better writer? What about in the summertime? Still works?

    HowieSPM
    HowieSPM
    5 years 6 months ago

    @ginidietrich @MaureenB2B @lesmckeown I am going to say that @Artists_Discuss is brash and not intimidated by anyone and I give him so much credit for it. I broke his rule today with my own blog post. And it turned out really well LOL. But yes Les you were correct in your observance! But see it earned him a guest post and he is mixing it up with people and did you know he is an Artist? And a pretty good one! http://martynchamberlin.com/

    HowieSPM
    HowieSPM
    5 years 6 months ago

    @ginidietrich @MaureenB2B @lesmckeown I am going to say that @Artists_Discuss is brash and not intimidated by anyone and I give him so much credit for it. I broke his rule today with my own blog post. And it turned out really well LOL. But yes Les you were correct in your observance! But see it earned him a guest post and he is mixing it up with people and did you know he is an Artist? And a pretty good one! http://martynchamberlin.com/

    Artists_Discuss
    5 years 6 months ago

    @ginidietrich @MaureenB2B @lesmckeown What, I can’t write another disagreement post again? I disagree with that! I’ve just gotten good ‘n started. 🙂

    Gini, it takes a special kind of person to be as nice as you’ve been to me. I’m embarrassed.

    Artists_Discuss
    5 years 6 months ago

    @ginidietrich @MaureenB2B @lesmckeown What, I can’t write another disagreement post again? I disagree with that! I’ve just gotten good ‘n started. 🙂

    Gini, it takes a special kind of person to be as nice as you’ve been to me. I’m embarrassed.

    HowieSPM
    HowieSPM
    5 years 6 months ago

    @markwschaefer well I must say I love Jaffe and Joel but they agree way too much! I agree with the tactfulness and respect even when you disagree. I can get pretty aggro when people are out of their minds and have no support for their side. But if you bring ammo and state a case well enough nothing wrong with a draw.

    I actually find your responses to my occasional disagreements with you on your blog humorous. You ask for more! LOL

    HowieSPM
    HowieSPM
    5 years 6 months ago

    @markwschaefer well I must say I love Jaffe and Joel but they agree way too much! I agree with the tactfulness and respect even when you disagree. I can get pretty aggro when people are out of their minds and have no support for their side. But if you bring ammo and state a case well enough nothing wrong with a draw.

    I actually find your responses to my occasional disagreements with you on your blog humorous. You ask for more! LOL

    HowieSPM
    HowieSPM
    5 years 6 months ago

    @Artists_Discuss @johnfalchetto Don’t equate ‘most read’ with best. Mashable gets read a lot yet their reporting is horrendous, very subjective, and sometimes makes the National Enquirer seem factual. I read 3 of the Top 50 and 1 occasionally. And some on that list I disagree with almost always LOL To each their own.

    HowieSPM
    HowieSPM
    5 years 6 months ago

    @Artists_Discuss @johnfalchetto Don’t equate ‘most read’ with best. Mashable gets read a lot yet their reporting is horrendous, very subjective, and sometimes makes the National Enquirer seem factual. I read 3 of the Top 50 and 1 occasionally. And some on that list I disagree with almost always LOL To each their own.

    MaureenB2B
    MaureenB2B
    5 years 6 months ago

    @Artists_Discuss @ginidietrich @lesmckeown Martyn – your embarrassed graciousness becomes you. I’m quite certain that Gini and Les join me in having done some cringe-worthy things early on in our careers. It just wasn’t posted to a global communications system back then. I’m not sure that, when I screwed up early on, I took it as well as you’re doing.

    Great humility lesson for us all: it’s not the falling down that defines you, it’s the getting back up and trying again, eh?

    Glad to know you.

    MaureenB2B
    MaureenB2B
    5 years 6 months ago

    @Artists_Discuss @ginidietrich @lesmckeown Martyn – your embarrassed graciousness becomes you. I’m quite certain that Gini and Les join me in having done some cringe-worthy things early on in our careers. It just wasn’t posted to a global communications system back then. I’m not sure that, when I screwed up early on, I took it as well as you’re doing.

    Great humility lesson for us all: it’s not the falling down that defines you, it’s the getting back up and trying again, eh?

    Glad to know you.

    Katjaib
    5 years 6 months ago

    @ginidietrich In the summer, it’s Red Sox. 🙂

    Katjaib
    5 years 6 months ago

    @ginidietrich In the summer, it’s Red Sox. 🙂

    johnfalchetto
    5 years 6 months ago

    @Artists_Discuss Martyn I don’t care about the chart and what the top AdAge guys do. What they do or don’t do doesn’t mean you can’t do it.

    johnfalchetto
    5 years 6 months ago

    @Artists_Discuss Martyn I don’t care about the chart and what the top AdAge guys do. What they do or don’t do doesn’t mean you can’t do it.

    RandomShelly
    5 years 6 months ago

    @Katjaib @ginidietrich LOL on the empty stomach – and I’m running out to get some Red Socks, as for the Red Sox… hmmm

    RandomShelly
    5 years 6 months ago

    @Katjaib @ginidietrich LOL on the empty stomach – and I’m running out to get some Red Socks, as for the Red Sox… hmmm

    Artists_Discuss
    5 years 6 months ago
    @johnfalchetto @HowieSPM I think we just have slightly different goals. Danny Brown helped me see this better last week through an email exchange. If Copyblogger were to dedicate a post disagreeing with someone, a lot of people would unsubscribe because Copyblogger has a different audience. I believe Brian would agree. On the other hand, if Gini (or Danny or John) write a disagreement post, they actually gain subscribers. So if you want to be like Seth or Brian, you can’t do this. If you want to be Mitch, you can do this. Just depends on what sort of critter you… Read more »
    Artists_Discuss
    5 years 6 months ago
    @johnfalchetto @HowieSPM I think we just have slightly different goals. Danny Brown helped me see this better last week through an email exchange. If Copyblogger were to dedicate a post disagreeing with someone, a lot of people would unsubscribe because Copyblogger has a different audience. I believe Brian would agree. On the other hand, if Gini (or Danny or John) write a disagreement post, they actually gain subscribers. So if you want to be like Seth or Brian, you can’t do this. If you want to be Mitch, you can do this. Just depends on what sort of critter you… Read more »
    HowieSPM
    HowieSPM
    5 years 6 months ago

    @Artists_Discuss @johnfalchetto Well said Martyn!

    HowieSPM
    HowieSPM
    5 years 6 months ago

    @Artists_Discuss @johnfalchetto Well said Martyn!

    ginidietrich (Gini Dietrich)
    5 years 6 months ago

    Our guest blogger @artists_discuss tell you why disagreeing through a blog post is wrong http://bit.ly/grfkbe

    artists_discuss (Martyn Chamberlin)

    RT @ginidietrich: Our guest blogger @artists_discuss tell you why disagreeing through a blog post is wrong http://bit.ly/grfkbe

    kmueller62 (Ken Mueller)
    5 years 6 months ago

    RT @ginidietrich: Our guest blogger @artists_discuss tell you why disagreeing through a blog post is wrong http://bit.ly/grfkbe

    RichBurghgraef
    RichBurghgraef
    5 years 6 months ago
    I think the big thing here is what, exactly is being disagreed with; is it the person or the idea? Professional disagreement of an idea or opinion is good debate and quite frankly, in those sitations I always learn something even if I do continue to disagree. I’m a Taurus (or at least I think I am, still not sure what’s going on with the Zodiac) so I tend to be a bit stubborn in my opinion. I also try very hard not to open my mouth unless I feel somewhat strongly about what is gong to come out of… Read more »
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