Two blogs that prove there are no blogging rules

24 Sep

Marketing legend Seth Godin

Anyone who says there’s a rule book for good blogging is just plain wrong.

Two nuggets of pure gold from two pioneers of social media this week showed how utterly old-fashioned that idea is.

Both shared big and inspiring thoughts with their readers, yet there was a gaping chasm in their formats.

Step forward Seth Godin and Chris Brogan, whose postings this week – when juxtaposed side-by-side – show that even the most basic assumptions about blogging cannot be assumed.

First, take Brogan’s post from Tuesday.

In it, he addressed the issue of whether it’s ever right to schedule tweets so that they are published automatically at a pre-set time.

Interesting question in its own right – but the way Brogan tackled it is even more so.

He didn’t feel the need to enlighten us about his own opinion. He didn’t even introduce the arguments for and against. Instead, like a talk radio host, he went straight to his audience.

Chris Brogan, social media pioneer

Posing the question in less than 70 words, he let his readers have it out. There were over 100 contributions, some from venerable social media thinkers. They included the force of nature that is Scott Monty, head of social media at Ford Motor Company, and celebrated digital marketing speaker and educator Jason Falls. The many insights together were, arguably, far more interesting than anything Brogan alone could have said.

He does this all the time to great effect. This blog, for example, is three words long. That’s right, I said three words. Yet, to date, it has been retweeted 155 times.

Now compare Brogan’s style to that of Seth Godin in this post published literally a few seconds after Brogan’s ‘scheduled tweets’ blog.

Godin doesn’t even allow comments. Not one. His blog is a publishing platform, not a conversation. That said, his posts are shared through Twitter, Facebook and the rest – more like a haemorrhagic fever than a virus.

But is the blog even social media? It’s media but it’s not particularly social. He uses it to disseminate his zen-like wisdom; to broadcast.

Brogan constantly asks questions and actively seeks out engagement, not just on his blog – but on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin too.

But if Godin ever asks a question, it’s rhetorical. He’s not interested in the answer; he already knows it.

Godin scandalised fellow bloggers when he first began posting in 2002, eschewing the conversation.

“This is – gasp – broadcasting,” they yelled.

Godin responded that he thought comments were ‘terrific’ but said he simply didn’t have time to read or respond to them and that comments would diminish his writing because he would be writing with his regular comment posters in mind, not everyone.

Brogan, on the other hand, told a conference last year that blogs must “inspire some level of two-way”.

My view?

Godin gets away with it because he is so good.

People eventually came round, despite his comments ban. Beforehand, they were getting Godin’s big thoughts once a year if they were lucky – when he felt like writing a book. Now they were getting a piece of him every day. That’s good, then, isn’t it? Godin’s blog is good, no?

Brogan gets away with it too.

He can post blogs that don’t say much because he has so many thoughtful followers and he orchestrates them like a symphony conductor.

I wouldn’t get away with that.

But Godin and Brogan both write phenomenally popular blogs – they work. So who is to say what the rules really are?

What do you think?


2 Responses to “Two blogs that prove there are no blogging rules”

  1. Franki Taggart September 25, 2010 at 7:28 am #

    Do Gollum and Wodin also miss out words in the eighth paragraph? You imply that your readers are not thoughtful but you cannot accuse them of lacking attention to detail. Ha! *blows raspberry*

    • michaeltaggart September 25, 2010 at 7:47 am #

      Franki (sic),

      Can I suggest you spend 10 minutes at so that your comments on blogs contain your properly spelt name, a link to your Twitter profile and a picture?

      It will make you more accountable and therefore (hopefully) stop you poo pooing everything you read.

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