Bloggers Who Fake It

mask.jpgI’m having a tough time feeling good about the blogger mentality lately.

I’ve stopped reading my feeds. Nothing grabs my attention. All the topics are the same (that’s nothing new). It’s all about how to do this or that in seven or ten steps. There are ways to improve your productivity, your business or yourself.

I’m tired of reading about crap that people don’t put into practice. I know too much about what goes on behind the blogging scene.

Bloggers don’t often practice what they preach.

They’re fast to jump on the bandwagon with the latest and greatest product, service or topic. They beat into the ground until it’s dead. The Internet is so saturated that it’s nearly worthless.

Bloggers are fast on the get-go, slow on the follow-through. They rarely answer emails in a timely manner, they often have poor customer service skills and they commonly blow deadlines.

But they call themselves professionals and clamor for more work.

These bloggers also seem to be under the illusion that blogging will make them money. They start to cry when work doesn’t come in quickly or when they land a job and it actually involves – gasp! – work.

Blogging doesn’t make money. Only hard work brings in the cash and puts food on tables.

So pay attention. Make sure not to spew advice when you don’t intent to follow your own advice. If you’re faking that you’re a professional, sooner or later someone is going to call you out on it.

Not too long ago, James brought me up short. I had been going through a slump, feeling sorry for myself (if you must know), and wallowing in my misery. I tend to do that.

James mentioned that I’m good at writing about time management and staying productive. Yet there I was, doing the exact opposite of what I preached.

That pissed me off. How dare he?

Know what, though? He was right. I felt like a fraud. He’d call my bluff. If I was going to talk the talk, I had to walk the walk.

So why doesn’t everyone else?

Post by Agent X

Agent X is the name many mysterious and intriguing people take on when they guest post at our site. Their mission is to slip in like a thief in the night, leave you with entertaining, valuable and useful content, and slip away again - without getting caught.

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  1. @ Harry: you took the words out of my mouth. I have been feeling exactly the same way of what you are saying here! I’m also sick of all the re-spun crap that is blogged about on every damn blog (or near) and have therefore moved on to read writers blogs ,more than anything else.

    At least they seem to walk the talk.

    And to answer your question. No, if I don’t have the knowledge on what I blog about, I won’t write about ti either.

    …and can we all pleeeeease stop blogging about social networking sites.

    Monika Mundell’s last blog post..My Journey To The Land Downunder

  2. Manictastic says:

    99% of blogs are crap. Most indeed write just the same as the others, other words, same message, same scam. I never bother with those sites. Finding good blogs is hard work, but there are gems out there. You have some great personal blogs, some hilarious humour blogs, some great writing blogs. The only thing is to find them, that’s the hard bit. Best way is to find one blog you love and see what other blogs are in this persons blogroll. That’s the easiest way.

    Manictastic’s last blog post..Deserted: Part 5

  3. You’re right — a lot of writing is vacuous and the majority of writers probably don’t follow their own advice. Part of it is probably due to following formulaic headlines that pander to the whims of the social bookmarking crowds.

    I think the biggest problem stems from the self-imposed pressure that many site-owners have of trying to post something every day. I didn’t post at all this week because, well, I didn’t have anything to say!

  4. @ Monika – Perception is everything. Truth is an entirely different matter. They may walk it, but that’s all you see happening.

    @ Manictastic – Cheers and welcome! I agree. Finding good blogs is tough work. I add and delete feeds on my reader at a crazy pace. Good tip about the blogroll, though, never thought of that.

    @ Nick – Hmm… I think the biggest pressure comes from trying to be THE one that people first read about XYZ (that someone has already done). People read it somewhere else then post fast to try and be that person who seems to have been first to say it.

    Posting every day is challenging. I’m thankful we’re two that post. The best solution is building up a bank, but that’s not always easily done when work calls.

    I’m so sick of social bookmarking. On the other hand, we *need* it. Stumble sends our traffic through the roof (and helps recuperate the 200 readers we lost in the move. WHERE’D YOU GUYS GO??)

  5. @ Nick: it doesn’t matter whether you only post once a week or seven times. What matters to me as a reader is that the posts are worthy of reading.

    @ James: yes correct and then they are gone *poof* like Aladin when he snapped his fingers.

    @ Manitastic: great idea with the blogroll exchange!

    Monika Mundell’s last blog post..Freelance Writing Blog Crawl – Round Two

  6. @Monika — completely agree. I was simply noting that the self-inflicted pressure to write daily often results in posts that aren’t worth reading. Fortunately, there are exceptions, like MwP!

    @James — I’ve never thought of it like that! You’ve opened my eyes to a whole new world of pain — now, as well as writing original content and following my own advice, I also have to be the first to say it. Yikes! 🙂

    Nick Cernis’s last blog post..Productivity is Dead! Long Live Living!

  7. Harry,

    This is right on the money, and everyone who has commented so far also “gets it”.

    Hard work, integrity, belief in what one is doing – these things are required to make just about everything a success.

    This is not easy. I am learning this as I go, as I venture forth into the blogging world myself. I mean, we are all influenced by each other but it takes *REALLY* hard work to put together something of your own. You have to work at it, and you have to believe it.

    There are some really popular blogs out there today that started off with a bang and ascended very quickly to where they are now. Unfortunately, some of them are starting to show through a bit – the ideas are becoming stagnant, recycled, a bit of a one trick pony.

    I’m certainly not saying this out of envy, it is actually because I have been inspired by these people and I want to see them continue to succeed. It would be a shame and a great loss to many people if the trend continues at some of these sites.

    On the other hand, I believe in the concept of plenty, and if some of the high-fliers fall by the wayside of originality, that is alright too. There is room for all types, recycled or not.

    I am happy that there are great people out here, like yourselves, writing original and very inspirational work.

    (And that’s why you are at the top in my feed reader.)

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..butterfly effect.

  8. * scuffles toes in the dirt, shoves his hands in his pockets, and blushes * Wow… you guys are so cool.

    @ Nick – Yes. How’s that pressure feel now? 😉

  9. Great post, Harry. You can’t achieve anything without hard work. Many of the new writers I work with believe that all it takes to write is wanting to do it, but they don’t all want to spend every day doing the actual writing. They don’t tend to stick around long.

    One of the reasons I am proud of Get Paid To Write Online is that I am building the blog based on my experience as a writer – walking the walk as you say. I think when people fake it, readers spot it and go elsewhere. One of the things I love about Men with Pens is that I never read the stuff you write anywhere else. (I’m reviewing this blog briefly on Monday, BTW).

    Sharon Hurley Hall’s last blog post..Writing Talk February 2008

  10. @ Sharon – Blogging is far harder than most people believe, and I think only certain people can pull it off well. Small blogs come and go daily, and people see quickly that it’s not all fun. It’s work to stand out. It takes a lot of thought and effort. A lot.

    Your blog is still growing, and in a good way. I don’t see you rehashing content. I’ve noticed a shift in the way you do things in the past couple of months. It seems like you’re working on figuring out where you fit in everything – and making your place. I think you’ll stick 🙂

    I’ll look forward to the review, too – very cool of you!

  11. @Everyone: You know, when I sat down to write this post I thought for sure I’d get a nasty backlash of people saying “No, that’s not true! Bloggers are great, how dare you say we fake it!”

    Brett was right, so far, everyone here *gets* it, which is way cool.

    I think Sharon nailed it in that we started out as writers, not bloggers. We used the blog to enhance what we already had. Like so many other things James and I do, it started as an experiment. One of those “what ifs” that turned out to be a success.

  12. In Alcoholics Anonymous, “fake it till you make it” is a big catch phrase. Maybe some bloggers think that way too?

    Amy Derby’s last blog post..Web Content Writer? Surely You Jest!

  13. As I get busier, James, it’s harder to fit everything in, but I am committed to keeping that blog going, if only because so many people have said they appreciate it. That said, 400 posts later, I sometimes need to stand back and think of what I can contribute that’s original. That’s part of the hard work of blogging, and part of the fun too. 🙂

  14. @ Harry: I had a similar experience. I happened to go to a site called WritingUp (now defunct) when I was first blogging. I discovered by accident that people enjoyed my posts about the writing life, so when the site went belly up, I moved all my best stuff to Get Paid To Write Online (after a brief interim stop at a Blogger site). I suppose it works because I have a passion for the subject, but I didn’t know what I was getting into when I wrote my first post.

  15. @Sharon: Some of the best things in life happen when you’re not expecting it.

  16. @ Amy – No, I think that “fake it till you make it” doesn’t apply to most bloggers, because… well, many are flaky. The business skills are lacking, the customer service isn’t there, they whine for work and when they get it, they fluff the job and lose clients.

    Of course, there are many excellent bloggers with high levels of customer service. We’re one (I couldn’t help myself), Nick Cernis is another, Sharon, Melissa Donovan, Monika… there are plenty. Most people who come visit this blog *know* that blogging is business or they come to learn about the business.

    These bloggers recognize the difference between faking it, and settling down to the job from ground zero with their shirt sleeves rolled up and prepared for hard work.

  17. @James – I agree with you. What I meant was I think a lot of bloggers go in thinking that if they fake it, they’ll eventually make it (e.g., make money online bloggers who have never made a dime but hope they will by blogging about how other people have done it). When they don’t make money, they wonder what they did wrong, even though to the rest of us it’s blatantly obvious.

  18. Sharon is spot on here, and I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here, focus and perseverance are required to be a good writer (let alone a *great* writer).

    But – anything worth doing usually isn’t easy… 🙂

    I’ll second James, too, the people he listed above are grade-A with “customer service” in my book – and that makes them stand out from the fakers.

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..butterfly effect.

  19. I think what Sharon said about having passion for the topic is important, too. I’ve learned this the hard way, by giving up on some of my blogs after losing the desire to talk about a topic any longer. It’s an important lesson that I’m happy I learned at my own expense, because now I am very careful about the clients I take on. I’d never give up on a client simply out of my own boredom, so I’d have stuck myself in some mind-numbing situations had I not learned on my own that while some blogs may be good ideas, they’re not the best idea for me to write eternally.

    Amy Derby’s last blog post..The Bold Move Gets The Gig

  20. @Amy: You’re right, that happened to us early on. While James seemed to be an endless fount of knowledge on the subject of business writing, I had a difficult time coming up with fresh material. That’s when we decided to branch out and get more personal.

    Now that we touch on so many subjects, it makes blogging a pleasure. But the best part is being able to write for all of you.

  21. I think the writer’s passion for the subject comes through really well with the more personal topics, and certainly in the dialog that follows in the comments.

    These types of blogs (such as MwP, and others – Monika & Nick, for instance) are cool because you just feel welcome and you can get to know the blogger, and them you.

    Maybe that’s what makes it real?

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..butterfly effect.

  22. @Harry – I think James is possibly just an endless fount period. I’ve seen his name in just about every blog I’ve ever visited.

    @Brett – I agree on the getting personal thing. My more personal blogs are more popular than my more instructional ones. Of course, a nice dominatrix photo once in a while could probably change that. *ducks and runs*

    Amy Derby’s last blog post..The Bold Move Gets The Gig

  23. Thank you for this post! I have struggled for a long time with my blog content – do I stick to business topics, give advice, do I write for clients, or for others? I don’t have a ton of subscribers but I recently decided to forget what everyone else was advising, saying, doing and just be myself. So, now I write what moves me and my blog has become a fun, creative outlet. I love getting comments and getting to know other bloggers. I’m not on a list of top bloggers and probably never will be but none of that matters because gosh darn it, I’m having a whole lot of fun!

    Long live authenticity!


  24. Hi Harry, love this picture!

    I don’t know if people are fake, they are just trying to be successful. So the mask picture is so apt eh? I think Nick stated it very succinctly up above.

    It is a fine balance between good writing, intrigue, and giving people what they want. It’s kind of like novel writing.

    This is one of my of favorite posts of yours. This and that “7 Weird Things About Me.” That was a lot of fun.

    Ellen Wilson’s last blog post..Time is Passing Me…Please Buy!

  25. @Amy: James is a comment whore, and proud of it. 😀 But there’s something to be said for those of us who don’t comment a lot, too.

    @Manictastic: Sorry, didn’t get a notification of your comment. I saw people talking about blogrolls and wondered where the hell that came from, lol.

    I do that too when I find blogs I like. I poke around to see what they’re reading and many times that leads me to another great blog.

  26. @Ellen: Thank you! I was just telling James on the phone earlier I thought this post would set our blog on fire, but apparently, I’m far too nice and couldn’t start a controversy even if I wanted to.

  27. @Karen: Welcome to MwP! Yeah, it’s all about having fun and doing what’s right for you. I’ll have to wander on over to your blog now and check it out.

  28. @Harry, thanks! Keep in mind I just got the revelation recently. LOL!


    Karen Swim’s last blog post..The Importance Of Managing Relationships In Sales

  29. Harry,

    (I thought the ranting and pessimism was James’ job.)

    I don’t think it’s persons who blog, per se, causing the glut of rewarmed groupthink, but persons who think blogging is a means to a “passive income,” or could be if they just found the right GoogleHook. (How tired I am of “passive income” garbage!)

    If you think it will eventually be passive, somehow, then you’re likely to start the passive stuff right away. After all, Darren doesn’t write every post, and he’s got a brand-new house from his instant fame! Totally lazy! I can do that, too!

    Wait, his fame wasn’t instant… and he works it like it’s three jobs… and he was a lot nearer to first

    It’s like thinking you’re almost a star if you’re near Broadway or Los Angeles, only we’re all near the internet. Every other blogger thinks they’ll be an instant celeb the minute they’re discovered.

    A blog is great way to get across your unique point of view. Lazy people who haven’t got one are going to get out and get a real job eventually. A lot of the more interesting blogs are from people who aren’t trying to make it their job, because they have a job. Not being desperate to rank high for stupid keywords helps with writing authentically. Having something to write about is quite handy.

    And lazy businesspeople who can’t give their customers an excellent Experience, online or otherwise… well, they should go read my blog.

    You know, I’ll be a lazy celebrity just as soon as I get discovered.



    P.S. The comments on this one are great!

    Kelly’s last blog post..Tip of the Week: If You Lived Through It Once, You’re Too Old to Do It Again

  30. Ooh, did you just change the RSS graphic or did I just notice it? Very nice, either way. Fresh.

    Kelly’s last blog post..Tip of the Week: If You Lived Through It Once, You’re Too Old to Do It Again

  31. @ Kelly – that graphic is very nice, isn’t it?

    I like it very much myself… 🙂

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..butterfly effect.

  32. @ Karen – Hey, welcome! I’ve seen you around and been to your blog once or twice… but BLOGGER? Girl, come away from the side of evil, please, please. It’ll do your business a world of wonder to get off Blogger and get a better look. You have a nice one going now (that’s a very pro pic of you, well done) and you have the writing skills to pull off a great business (which you already do well) … but Blogger isn’t the way to go. It’ll hurt your perception.

    Besides, I can’t go comment on Blogger blogs. Hoops to jump, captchas, no subscription to comments… Why not WordPress?

    @ Kelly – I have particular talent at setting blogs on fire. We’re due for a good controversy, don’t you think *flicks Bic lighter thoughtfully*

    I agree with everything you said. Where do I send the cheque?

  33. @ Brett – Hey, when I saw yours, I was like… “Dude. I’m starting to like what you’re doing for other people’s sites more than what we did with our own.”

    Then Harry goes, “I know! Isn’t it great? That turned out so nicely… Oh, refresh your screen and tell me what you think of ours!”

    Now if he’ll just correct the red, I’d be so much happier 😉

  34. @Kelly: I’m an optimist with experience.

    You’re right, it is the lazy people looking for a quick fix that this post is aimed at. There is no money in blogging – it’s all the work behind it that makes it successful.

    Yes! Thanks for noticing the new RSS – I know you have a thing for schnazzy buttons 😉

    @James: *grabs the lighter and pockets it* If you do set this blog on fire, you damned well better make sure you’re going to be in town the day it posts!

    I, on the other hand, will plan to be as far away as possible.

  35. @ Kelly – you rock. I have no idea who you are, but I like you already.

    @ James – my blogs are on Blogger. (I know, they suck, I’ve gotten the lecture before.) Just wanted to mention, anyone can comment on blogger now with just their name/url (at least it works on my blogs). The tracking conversations only works if you have a blogger account, which I agree is stupid. I’m hoping they’ll change that too someday.

    Amy Derby’s last blog post..The Bold Move Gets The Gig

  36. See? Now that’s what I *LOVE* about my own little MwP blogging community. People come here because we’re involved and active, they feel at home and welcome, newcomers are always embraced and instantly one of the gang, and everyone interacts with everyone else.

    I haven’t found that ANYWHERE on the ‘net. There are shadows of it at other blogs, but nothing like this. And Amy, you just made me feel friggin’ awesome about the atmosphere we have here.

    Where do I send *your* cheque? (Maybe it’ll help get you off Blogger!)

    But seriously – WHY are you still on Blogger?

  37. James,

    I love it when you light it up.


    You know lazy folks don’t stay here long enough to read this post. You let commenters use fancy talk like “succinctly.” You let James use his Quebecois spelling on “check.” Lazy people can’t hang around for that. You never offer me $18,352- for just a few hours’ work, or proven formulas, or anything. Just some oddly unsexy sexy photos once in a while. Where’s the ROI?

    Until later,


    Kelly’s last blog post..Spectacular Failure

  38. @Kelly: There’s a lot I let James get away with, sometimes it’s just easier than incurring the wrath of the Great White North.

    Hmmm…we have fancy words in our comments? I’ll have to put a stop to that. 😉

  39. James, I’m still on Blogger partially because I am too afraid of losing everything in a transfer, but also because I am very tech-challenged and don’t want to have to be running to someone every time I want some little thing tweaked. I have a LOT of blogs on Blogger, and although money isn’t really the issue, it would be very expensive to have all of them moved over and have someone on call 24-hrs to train this tech-challenged monkey. 🙂

    And you’re right. Your blog rocks. It’s more like a forum. And it’s addictive. This is why I stopped being a forum whore. (That and I’d frequently get banned for causing controversy.)

    Amy Derby’s last blog post..The Bold Move Gets The Gig

  40. (Holy Cow! This post is on fire today already, without the BIC, go out for 15 minutes to get Tomato & Goldfish soup – for the kids, honest 😉 – and look what happened!)

    @ James – Harry does have a real thing there – everyone who has seen that from my end has said “OH. MY. GOD. AWESOME.” No joke.

    (So there you go, Harry – you are awesome, dude.)

    @ Amy – your blogs may be on Blogger, but your content doesn’t suck – in fact, it rules. And Kelly’s blog rocks so hard, it made Motorhead cry.

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..butterfly effect.

  41. Wrath of the Great White North (noun): a pestilence brought down by the Almighty, consisting of Canadian bacon and strong Quebecois liquor.

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..butterfly effect.

  42. (mmm, off to eat the Goldfish soup)

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..butterfly effect.

  43. @Amy: Just ask Brett and Monika, we helped them out with theirs and they couldn’t be happier. Don’t fear Word Press, embrace it! When I customize themes I keep in mind that not everyone has the same skill level as myself, and with James’ help we make the whole process very user friendly.

    Once you try Word Press, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.

  44. Brett – I’ve never been told I rule before. Thanks! Now I want those little Goldfish crackers…..

    Amy Derby’s last blog post..The Bold Move Gets The Gig

  45. @ Kelly – Skills… check. Quality… check. Professional… check. Friendly… Check.

    Equals = Cheque.

    ‘Nuff said.

    @ Brett – Sundays usually CRAWWWL and I’m amazed myself. Tomato soup sucks, bro. Go with Lipton.

  46. @Harry – You mean you and James find time to create blogs in between all of this? I’m amazed… If you didn’t live in yucky hot Vegas, I’d sent you a Superman cape. I’ll have to email you and see if you can make anything “user-friendly” enough for me. I’m a whole new level of stupid.

    @James – Have you ever had the creamy tomato soup that’s made with milk instead of water? I actually like the creamy kind, although I never liked the other.

    @Brett – I’ve gotta ask, do the fish come in the soup? Are these noodle fish or cracker fish?

    Amy Derby’s last blog post..The Bold Move Gets The Gig

  47. @Amy: Sometimes I do feel like Superman – weaknesses to Kryptonite and all. (btw, Smallville is one of my favorite series).

    Definitely drop us a line and we’ll see if we can do something for you.

  48. Amy Lillard says:

    Hey Harry – quick kudos for the post. I agree with you and with what many of the commenters are driving at – we should be blogging because we’re writers, because we have a unique perspective on something, because we’re consumed with getting real thoughts out there and not with making money. The blogs that do this are the ones that I keep going back to, and have inspired me in my own blog. Great post. And as a side note – great friends you have that are willing to call you out. True friends are the ones willing to piss you off to make things better in the long run!

    Amy Lillard’s last blog post..Wintry Word Porn

  49. @ Amy L.: Oh yes, James and I piss each other off quite a bit, that’s why we’re best friends. If you can’t do that (or point and laugh when they do something totally stupid) it just isn’t a friendship.

  50. James,

    Never ’nuff ’round here. (Is it Sunday where you are?) 🙂


    Motorhead cried? (Is there an emoticon for puzzled?) I’ve always wished to make Dogstar cry, but Motorhead?

    (1 Thing You Didn’t Want to Know About Me)

    On the other hand, if Motorhead needs a little MCE, they can mail me the cheque. Y’know, send it through James so it’ll get that cool spelling.


    If WP doesn’t pay you guys they should. You are WP pushers at a near-criminal level.

    Until not much later…

    Kelly’s last blog post..Spectacular Failure

  51. @ Kelly – We’re equal opportunity pushers. If something comes along as good as or better than WP, we’ll be all over it. And yes, ’tis Sunday 5.30pm here. When is it where you are?

    (I always thought it was cool that people in Auz lived in the future… )

    @ Amy – Maybe that’s the problem right there. People see “blog” as “make money opportunity” and not as “publishing platform for writing”. They leap on, join up, slap up some Adsense, toss together a crappy ebook and think they’ll get rich. Worse, many, MANY bloggers who know better promote this “blogging for dollars” mentality. They really should be ashamed.

  52. @ Amy – well, I call it like I see it, and you definitely rule. I have a bunch of your posts open as tabs in Firefox right now (flashback to an admission here that I often have dozens of tabs open in Firefox… scary numbers sometimes – but only stuff that matters)

    Yes, the fish are in the soup, they are noodle fish, although somehow I think soggy cracker fish would be better.

    James is right, the soup sucks… 😉 get the Lipton, keep the Goldfish on the side, watch they don’t bite you.

    And my jaw is still dropping when I look at the work these guys did for me. I can hardly wait to unleash it on the world (kudos to Harry & James, will touch base with you later tonight).

    @ Kelly – not only did Motorhead cry, they made your blog their home page and canceled their MySpace account… 🙂 I don’t know if there’s an emoticon for puzzled, I’m just wondering how to put the little dots above the “o” in Motorhead on this thing.

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..butterfly effect.

  53. @Harry, what a great community of people! If I see one more “make money from your blog, climb to the top of search engine, make money from your ebook” blog I may scream! Worse, I have people coming to me wanting me to ghostwrite their crappy ebook, sales letter, etc so they can get “rich” tricking, er uh selling it to others. In a nod to Kelly’s blog post, this is a trend I’d love to bury!


    Karen Swim’s last blog post..Lying Authors and their Tales of Woe

  54. *taps James on the shoulder* Bro? It’s Saturday in the rest of the world. I know we have a time difference between Quebec and Vegas, but a whole day? Unless you managed to set your clock a *little* too far ahead…

  55. I’m right over the Delaware dateline, where it’s Saturday.

    Kelly’s last blog post..Spectacular Failure

  56. We’re Saturday?… I need to get out more. Really.

  57. (@ Harry – shhh, it’s the time dilation effect of the Quebec liquor, I use it all the time myself…)

    Then again, sometimes it feels like this part of the world is in the Twilight Zone (for those who don’t know, James & I are fairly close together geographically).

    If anyone remembers that quote from Star Wars, “If there’s a bright center to the universe, you’re on the planet that it’s farthest from.”

    Yeah, that’s where I live. 🙂

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..butterfly effect.

  58. I agree with the point you are making, but at the same time it really depends on the type of blogs. With productivity or business-y blogs, this definitely applies. Same for bloggers who just want to make money off their blog. But if you take a good look at the food blogging community (and I’m sure other blogging communities that are driven more by passion than by trying to make money, like MwP? 😀 ) you very rarely see something that ISN’T new. One exception is food blogging events where a bunch of food bloggers get together and all make the same recipe and blog about it, but even then you get a different take on the same recipe from each blogger!

    @ James – I hear ya about the social bookmarking sites… I’m not a big participant in them, but I got StumbledUpon yesterday and we got eight times as much traffic as we normally do! Now I just have to get another post up…

    I too LOVE the community you and Harry have here. I’m sure I’m not the only one who wishes she could have a community like this on her own blog!

    Allison’s last blog post..Taste and Create 5

  59. I hate to play the Devil’s Advocate here, but I have to disagree with some of the broad generalizations made. Which bloggers don’t practice what they preach? All many millions of them? I know that you’ve claimed you don’t practice what you preach, and I’m sure some bloggers don’t, but you have ultimate control about what sits in your feed reader.

    Generalized anger about ‘bloggers’ is like generalized ranting against ‘Americans’. The demographic is too broad and varied and textured for any assertions made to hold water. Which niches are you talking about? Which blogs? Knitting bloggers? Politics bloggers? Gaming hardware bloggers? You’re certainly allowed to have your feelings about the blogs you read, but it’s unfair to tar everybody with the same brush. That’s all I’d argue.

    I’d also suggest that the best way to practice what you preach is to improve the quality of the blogosphere by introducing positive ideas and value-packed content, rather than criticizing your peers. While the core of this blog is helpful articles, this particular criticism doesn’t help anyone — it just allows you to be angry together. Is that really practicing what you preach?

    That being said, I like your advice articles a lot, and James Chartrand is a cool guy, but I disagree with the blogger-bashing articles. I don’t want to argue that the blogosphere is perfect, but that this is not the way to change it for the better.

    But feel free to disagree 🙂

    Skellie’s last blog post..Creating Sidebars That Work

  60. Harry:

    You most definitely appear to have read my mind! Lately, I’ve been paring down my RSS feeds because quite frankly, I am stick and tired of lists! I rarely sit through them because they don’t offer much of a story behind the writer’s life. All we know is something the author wrote that could have been written by anyone.

    Now, of course, there’s nothing much new under the sun but what is NEW is the stories directly out of the writer’s life. No one has experienced it but the author himself. Yes others may have had “similiar” experiences but what differentiates the personal story from others is what the writer went through and how it was dealt with. Everyone deals with situations in their own unique ways.

    My take is if a writer has a story and shares it THEN writes a list of how it was dealt with, even if it’s similiar to the mindless lists that we often see, it now has much more meat because the story was told beforehand. You know what I mean?

    I really enjoyed this article. It was timely because a subscriber sent me a short essay that was written by an unknown author but it reminded me of something that had happened to me and now I’m going to write my story because I experienced it myself. It’s about reaching out to others but what I’m about to write is not something I’m proud of. Yet I will share it because I experienced what happened (i.e. I had an opportunity to give money to someone but I didn’t and because of that, I’ve been haunted by it ever since).

    Stories make the writer more authentic. Not mindless lists! Without naming any blogs in particular, I’ve never been able to understand how those who post “How To” list attract a lot of subscribers. I’m willing to bet there’s not a lot of community involvement at those blogs because people tend to rush through them, not investing their emotions since there was no story to get connected to.

    My blog does not have many “thousands” of subscribers but that’s okay by me because I have a cozy relationship with my readers through the writing of my own stories that they connect with. To me, that’s more important than having a whole bunch of subscribers who are not connecting with you on a personal level.

    Ok, enough, I’ll stop! This article was EXCELLENT and I’m going to stumble it becuase it needs to be seen and read by other bloggers out there.

    Stephen Hopson’s last blog post..End of the Week Gratitude Theme #18 – Video Post #4

  61. I agree Harry. I’ve only been blogging for about 3 months or so and I just can’t get into the WHOLE social media thing like some do. I do a little. Like James said about Stumble – it brings traffic so it’s hard to completely ignore. I only visit about 4 blogs in all (Men with Pens the most 🙂 )

    When I first started blogging, one of the first inspirational sites I came across was Copyblogger. I learned about the magnetic headlines and I tried using them for a bit. But then as I searched around in blogoshere I’d see some sites that every headline was a magnetic headline.

    They seemed so cheap and like a “gimmick.” At that point I decided to just write how I feel and if by chance a magnetic headline comes out, so be it.

    As far as blogging content goes – I write about stuff I know, have learned, my readers need to know about, or see something in my everyday life and write about it. Some things, like my latest posts about persuasion, was stuff I learned years ago and it’s second nature to me . . . but to tell someone how I do it I need to show steps.

    If you notice I start to fall into the blogging fake posts just to get traffic, give me a good kick in the a**.

    John Hoff’s last blog post..The Art of Persuasion (Part 3 of 3): 7 Tips To Sharpening Your Persuasive Skills

  62. @ Skellie – How would you change it for the better? By saying nothing? By offering positive reinforcement in the “you can do it” style of inspiration? Sometimes people need a good, plain, straightforward wake-up call and there’s nothing wrong with calling out our peers.

    And peers they are, actually. You mention that it’s not clear which niche we’re talking about, but it’s stated in the second paragraph: ” It’s all about how to do this or that in seven or ten steps. There are ways to improve your productivity, your business or yourself.” No mention of knitters, gamers, hardware or politics there…

    We certainly aren’t about to name names of examples of poor bloggers – that isn’t the point, and while controversy is fine, that’s not a game I enjoy. Singling one person out of millions would be as stupid as sweeping all bloggers into one bag… and we haven’t done that, either.

    If you read the post again, you’ll see “bloggers often,” “some bloggers”, “many bloggers” but not “ALL bloggers.” We know better than to do that, because generalizations are refutable.

    Also, the criticism in the post is of poor customer services and business skills. The comment section took off with other pet peeves people have, but the core of the post was that business bloggers aren’t businesslike. That’s the message of this post: if you’re going to be a business blogger, be businesslike and back up what you’re preaching.

    As for ranting about Americans, I don’t do that either. They’d friggin’ come after me and skin me alive 🙂

    But Skellie – introducing positive ideas does get tedious at times. I know that positive reinforcement works, but negative reinforcement does, too, and using a bit of a blend from time to time makes things interesting. We do positive often, in fact, but because we chose negative for this post doesn’t mean that this isn’t helpful or doesn’t make people think.

    That’s what we try to achieve. Not a top ten how to be a better blogger today and get rich thingy, but a post that makes people go, “Hmmm…”

    As for angry together, I don’t think anyone here is or was. I don’t see any display of anger, just general agreement. What’s wrong with that?

  63. @ Brett – Then again, sometimes it feels like this part of the world is in the Twilight Zone It’s snowing so hard and so windy that I can’t see my neighbor’s house 20 feet across the road. In fact, I can’t see my car five feet from the house. And my lights are flickering… which means… this may be g’nite, folks, until the Big Juicy Storm of March 2008 passes…

    They’re calling for 30 inches of snow.

  64. @ Skellie – Hey, by the way, thanks for the compliments. I think you’re cool, too. A pacifist, but cool 😉

  65. @Skellie: Nope, you’re absolutely right and I understand what you’re saying. And forgive me if this response is a little disjointed, my room mate has decided to take a belt sander to his desk.

    I was concerned too that I made too many sweeping generalizations, however, I wasn’t about to name names either. I guess I’m more disappointed than angry. After reading so many blogs that preach customer service, meeting deadlines, and quality services, it was disheartening to see what goes on behind the scenes in some cases. These peers (in the business blogging world) were the same ones I looked up to when we first started blogging and maybe it’s my own fault for putting them on a pedestal.

    My intension wasn’t to commiserate, as always, our blog is open to any rebuttals and I’m glad you took us up on that. For a guy who’s motorcycle’s name is Lucifer, I welcome the Devil’s Advocate with open arms. 🙂

  66. @ Stephen – Hey! Thanks for showing up, cool to have you here. And something you wrote in your comment struck me, so this is for you: To a Homeless Man and His Dog, Merry Christmas

  67. @Stephen: We’re on the same exact frequency, my friend. If I do a list, there’s a reason and a story behind it. If I find a post that inspires me, it’s because there was something in my life I could relate to the topic and it was too damned long to put into a comment.

    I think it is the personal aspect that is lacking. These days I mostly skim the lists and sub-titles, they tell me all I need to know and don’t pull me in enough to be interested.

    If that day ever comes where I end up writing mindless drivel, I would hope someone would have the balls to tell me.

    Then again, that someone would probably be James.

  68. James,

    We can’t skin you, because it’s today here and it’s tomorrow there. We’ll never catch up. 😉

    Skellie, considering your Comfort Food post this week,

    We’ve now arrived at a point where aspirational marketing reigns supreme in the blogosphere. I can’t visit my feed reader without seeing at least one post that promises to solve all my problems, turn me into a master at something, make me wealthy, make me fit and otherwise put me on the path to success.

    I don’t quite get it. I think that Harry said something pretty similar, then moved on to the human-to-human interactions of bloggers who must remain nameless.


    I’m glad that Motorhead wised up. You’re right, their new home page is a real improvement. I’m sure that now they’re really on the right track.



    Kelly’s last blog post..Spectacular Failure

  69. Bypassing all the comments, I have to say I’ve fallen into certain writing/blogging traps on occasion — including the trap of thinking I need to write all the time. Luckily, for me, real life intrudes often enough to make me wake up. Kind of like the position I’m in right now (in the U.S. and my home is in the Philippines). I have limited computer time right now, which is a blessing in disguise.

  70. @ James – pray for snow only brother, lest this be the aftershock of 1998… (shudder)

    What keeps me coming back, to the blogs I return to, is the human element. The lists can be good, the “this is how to fix problem X” posts can be fun, as long as they follow a story that goes something like, “today when I was on the way to work I fell in a mud puddle up to my neck and some guy named Leroy kicked me in the head and ran away laughing”.

    (As tempting as it might be, Brett’s next post will not be “13 Ways to Avoid Falling in Mud Puddles and Getting Kicked in the head by Leroy”, just in case you wondered.)

    My angle on this is when you see the same formulaic solutions to variations on a theme repeated over months or years. Hey, if you want to do that, go nuts. But I find it sad if a GREAT writer succumbs to that.

    Oh well. To each his own I guess, everyone has a different reason for doing this.

    James – I loved that post about the homeless man and his dog. Very moving. It made me think, for a long time.

    @ Kelly – I agree, Motorhead’s new page is a definite improvement – and ironically, I could see them putting out an album called “Spectacular Failure”, much like your last blog post.

    Although it would likely be called “Spectacular Failure at Hammersmith” or something… 🙂

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..butterfly effect.

  71. @RT: It’s good to hear from you! How’s your wife doing? In your case it’s perfectly understandable. Real life always takes a priority over our virtual one. I think as long as a blogger says to his/her readers what kind of posting frequency to expect, it’s not a problem, you’re not making any promises you won’t be able to deliver. By the same token, if you’ve bitten off more than you can chew, there’s no shame in admitting that either and adjusting accordingly.

  72. @ RT Cunningham – real life can sometimes be a great thing. A few weeks back, email and internet were down at work. It coincided with the Blackberry network failure.

    It was beautiful. People actually went outside, and talked face-to-face with one another. I think I got more work done in two days than I did in the last two years… 😉

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..butterfly effect.

  73. @ Brett – That should be 13.2 Ways to Avoid Falling in Mud Puddles and Getting Kicked in the head by Leroy… But I agree with you. I prefer blogs and posts that have a good balance of information, insight and human element. Too much of any of those, and my interest goes blaaaahhh. I think any type of blog can benefit from blending the proper elements to create an entertaining or interesting post that also informs.

    You know, thinking of your ‘net crash, I’ve been wandering around the house while the lights flicker and the snowstorm pounds the house wondering what it’ll feel like to lose power. Back when the ice storm happened (was that really 10 years ago?), I was without heat or electricity for over 2 weeks. It was surreal. And bloody cold. Yay for buddies with Quebec woodstove inserts!

  74. @ James – I didn’t want to steal your thunder! So you know Leroy too, eh?

    Yeah, it does seem like yesterday doesn’t it.

    (Story mode on)

    I wasn’t living here at the time, I was in Hamilton so we just got snow. But I have a funny memory from it, the snow warning was severe and I didn’t have a snow shovel (had just moved into my first rental house). I went to Canadian Tire to buy a shovel.

    Of course, it was 8 lines of people with snow shovels. I saw one guy over near the tool aisle, examining THE LAST SHOVEL closely. I wandered over that way anyway, and then he put it down.

    I asked, “are you going to buy that shovel?”, and he said, “no, it is scratched up”.

    Umm, okay, it’s a shovel. Score one shovel for Brett!

    (Story mode off)

    But yeah, you guys got it really bad that year.

    Sometimes I feel I’m too connected at home. My router and modem are plugged into a beefy UPS with nothing else on them. So if the power goes out, I can still surf (laptops). If it happens in the daytime I don’t even notice… 🙂 thank goodness for self-control and scheduling!

    (Brett’s next post: 13.2 Ways to Con People out of Snow Shovels)

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..butterfly effect.

  75. @Harry & Brett:

    The wife is doing well. The dual-tonsillectomy went off without a hitch. She’s recovering. At 46, she moans more than a 6-year old. 🙂

    She’s taking only ibuprofen now, and complains of “itching” not pain. I’ll probably do some kind of update post on Monday. I’m fortunate to have computer time today (the in-laws are out).

  76. I don’t fake it. I really don’t know much and I love to talk anyway so I do. Some things can be pretty obvious so I talk about that too. Let’s face it, I just love to blog. And I blog for money although it isn’t the big rake in that people tell you it is. It is a few extra bucks a month, though. Thanks for this post. I have to say that I was whining myself recently. I give up. 🙂

    Jaz’s last blog post..Credit Crunch Hurting Everyone

  77. Hmm, I don’t know. I’m still new at the whole blogging thing but to be honest I don’t really consider myself a ‘blogger’ in my own mind. I don’t have many people that visit my blog each day and I mostly write my content to be helpful not only for those that stop by but for myself as well. Sure, I’ve got some adsense on my pages but it isn’t with an aspiration that I’ll get rich. It’s more for fun, and I figure that if some day in the far distant future if I ever do get that first hundred dollar check I’d use it to move my blog off the blogger backbone and have my domain name hosted. Sort of let the blog progress on it’s own. If that never happens I’m content with the way it is now.
    I try to provide interesting content, and I hope I do a decent job at it.
    What I appreciate most about this post of yours is that you were able to be honest about how you were feeling and your regular readers were right in-line with your thought process. That is a great sign of providing truly valuable content that people can relate to.

    Brady’s last blog post..Attempting the Impossible

  78. This is my kind of post. Attention-grabbing headline, eye-catching picture, and meaningful, honest content.

    I loved this quote:

    “So pay attention. Make sure not to spew advice when you don’t intent to follow your own advice. If you’re faking that you’re a professional, sooner or later someone is going to call you out on it.”

    Even those who are more professional need to remember that it’s easy to preach the most wonderful platitudes and helpful advice, but often too easy not to practice it.

    Also, this quote could be a tagline for someone’s blog:

    “Blogging doesn’t make money. Only hard work brings in the cash and puts food on tables.”

    Great wake-up call to remember to be legitimate and focus on what truly works.

    Jesse Hines’s last blog post..Choose Your Words Carefully: Your Reputation Depends On It

  79. @Jaz & Brady: Welcome to MwP! I’ll have to go over and take a look at your blogs too.

    @Jaz: Don’t give up, it gets better 🙂

    @Brady: I don’t consider myself a blogger either. I’m just enjoying the ride, you know?

    Being honest isn’t always easy, but the readers do appreciate it. I’ve always tried to be the type of guy who didn’t wear a whole lot of masks. I am what I am (to borrow from Popeye). The experiences are real, though some of the names may have been changed to protect the innocent.

    @Jesse: boy, have the comments been coming fast and furious on this topic today. I’m in the middle of one when I get about three other notifications there are new ones waiting!

    Thanks, I did want this to be a wake up call for everyone else as much as it was for me. And it’s like that in any profession. I mean, would you want to go to a personal trainer who preached healthy habits, while he was 300 lbs overweight, ate fast food as a steady diet, and smoked like a Quebec chimney on a winter’s night in March?

    Probably not, and neither would I.

  80. @Jaz: Cool site! Black and white is pretty sharp, I just did a monochrome theme for Monika, too. Very slick. You two should get together for virtual martinis in the penthouse.

    @Brady: Good stuff there – and we’re practically neighbors! Although you’re a little further north, but we are in the same timezone.

  81. Harrison,

    This rocks, dude. Callin’ it like it is, as usual, and I dig it.

    I recently (actually about 20 minutes before reading this post, such is the coincidence) performed a Feedectomy at my RSS hub. I got rid of a great number of feeds, many of which were the bigger names in the blogosphere.

    I’m happy to say you and James made the cut with ease, and this post is a shining example of why. Another reason is that you respond to my emails within minutes usually. Plus I nearly had to shoot you both for bugging me incessantly for my PayPal address so you could give me money. I mean, you guys actually run an honest company and pay your peeps. What the hell’s up with that?

    I wouldn’t worry too much about your hypocriticalness or follow-through, Harry. You’re top notch, man.

  82. @ Charlie – You would be absolutely freakin’ surprised how many poor companies there are out there. I’m often amazed. We look like superheros just from doing business the right way. I’m glad to say, you do as well 🙂

  83. @ James: this is the future talking to you. 🙂 you have 10..9..8..7..6..5..4….hours to reply until you are on par with the future.

    Sometimes living in the future doesn’t help much as i just spent the last 10 minutes catching up on all the comments. ;-(

    @ R.T.: glad to hear Josie does well and all went to plan. 😉

    @ Brett: I’d like some of that goldfish soup please. Sounds yummy. And a flat white, come to think of it.

    Monika Mundell’s last blog post..Freelance Writing Blog Crawl – Round Two

  84. @ Monika, I think there’s another can left, I’ll whip it up once I dig it out from under all this snow (sorry James!) But the flat white, I can do that right away, the machine is still warm 😉

    Given the choice, I’d rather be in the future if it meant I was over there without the snow…

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..butterfly effect.

  85. Michael Martine, Blog Consultant says:

    Wow, what a response to this post! I’ve been beat up and left for dead by the flu, but I shall rally myself to comment on this issue. First of all, bravo, Harry! This point of view is sorely needed, as you can tell by the great responses to this post.

    I think the whole problogging / metablogging / affilate sales / internet marketing thing is really polluting the pond in many ways. Many bloggers in these areas are guilty of presenting everything as formulaic in exchange for chump change earnings.

    I think we’re just now starting to realize the blogging as its own thing isn’t what some folks have made it out to be. Blogging is no substitute for having a business. I consider myself a business person and an entrepreneur just as much as I consider myself a blogger (and if blogging were not my business, I might not identify myself as a blogger at all). My blogging chops are pretty good, but without business planning and customer service on the business side, I would be going nowhere.

    If somebody already mentioned this, I apologize (I confess I’m too lazy to read every single comment), but none of this crappy magic bullet formulaic writing would be happening if people didn’t hungrily eat it up. People love this dreck (so far) and so there is no shortage of it. Most blogs are crap, true. Most of anything is crap. Most people are followers, rather than leaders. Followers like to follow formulas.

    I’ve been doing my best to write (and film) the best content I can that helps me meet my business objectives while avoiding clichés. For a while, I was dong “Cosmo” headlines with the best of them. But it was previous posts by you guys that woke me up to what a dead end that is. I can say that my content has improved because of this and I’ve noticed the effects.

    Michael Martine, Blog Consultant’s last blog post..Guest Post on Liz Strauss? Successful Blog

  86. I think I’m one of those who usually walks the talk, since I blog (do the talking) only after I’ve already taken the walk so to speak. But even I, at the moment, am sitting back and waiting instead of putting the pressure on a few late-paying clients. I hereby promise not to become on of the fakers!

    IrreverentFreelancer’s last blog post..This One Goes Out to the Bloggers I Love

  87. @Michael: Man, you just knocked me off my chair. I thought I was amazed before with the response this post has generated, but your comment totally floored me.

    You’re one of those bloggers James and I have always looked up to, and you’ve never disappointed us either. To hear from you that this wake up call was sorely needed in the community makes me feel like I made an impact.

    Thank you for rallying the energy to respond, the effort is deeply appreciated.

    @Irreverent: As it is written, so shall it be done!

  88. Michael Martine, Blog Consultant says:

    @ Harry – You’re welcome and thank you for the kind words. This might be the only useful thing I can lay claim to all day.

  89. “Nothing grabs my attention. All the topics are the same (that’s nothing new).”

    Harry, thank you. I am so tired of reading the same advice, the same crap, over and over. You know what else I’m noticing? A lot of it is wrong, or bad advice. Even the stuff coming from some of the A-listers. It’s just all regurgitated and meaningless.

    I just know some kick ass writers are going to burst the bubble, and come riding in on pink unicorns waving light sabers and save us all from the sloppy mess of inferior content that the Internet has become.

    Melissa Donovan’s last blog post..When Freedom Rang – A Story of Startup Failure

  90. (@ Melissa – I can see Harry & James waving light sabers, but on pink unicorns? 🙂 )

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..butterfly effect.

  91. Hi Harry,

    Way back on March 8th (about 50 comments ago), Brett made the point that the dialogue that takes place in the comments go a huge way towards making a blog enjoyable.

    I have to agree, because I’ve enjoyed reading the posts here but even more the comments and insights that followed.

    I’ve never exchanged a word with either you or James, but through reading what you have to say in response to people who comment, it’s easy to feel as though I know you already.

    I think “comment-dialogue” must be a huge part creating a quality blog.

    I’ve only just started my own blog, so I’ll be here regularly checking things out.

    Jane 🙂

    Jane’s last blog post..Play Dough

  92. Michael Martine, Blog Consultant says:

    I just know some kick ass writers are going to burst the bubble, and come riding in on pink unicorns waving light sabers and save us all from the sloppy mess of inferior content that the Internet has become.

    That made my day!

    @ James – The signal-to-noise ratio at Chow’s blog is unbearable. It’s a big joke, though, and everyone’s in on it: He makes money online by telling us how he makes money online. I certainly don’t need him, but if you’re a naive YAMMB (yet another make money blogger) then he’s like a beacon in the dark. He doesn’t need Google, which I find interesting.

  93. A-listers that are popular and I don’t understand why: John Chow.

    I mean, really. Why do people read him? Why does he have a bizillion subscribers? The guy blogs about friggin’ hamburgers and where he’s shopping, for god’s sake! Would our subscriber rate hit through the roof if I brought a video cam with me while browsing through the brocolli and picking up a pack of socks?

    With no pink unicorn. I’ll take a white and gold pegasus, though.

  94. The veggie & sock shopping might work, but I think if you blogged about the virtues of poutine that would seal the deal.

    Yeah, a white and gold pegasus would be cool.

    If I have to choose a ride, I’ll take the Pursuit Special from Mad Max:

    Sawed-off double barreled shotgun instead of a light saber, of course… 😉

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..butterfly effect.

  95. @Melissa: Pink unicorns? My god, woman! No, no, no. I’ll stick to the VTX, thank you. Much more manly. And way more intimidating. 😉

    @Jane: I *knew* we had lurkers out there! Thank you for the kind words and we’re glad to have you here. The comments are the best part, we’ve got some good people.

    @Michael: Yeah, when I attended the Blog Expo back in November, John Chow was all the buzz. As soon as I got home, I had to find out what made him so special. Since this was the early days of our blogging experience, I expected something really special on his blog. I’ll tell you, I was baffled. He didn’t stay in my feed for very long after that.

  96. @ Harry – definitely stick to the VTX. It might be hard to find a light saber to match the unicorn.

    @ Jane – I started out as a reader too (wouldn’t know it by my comment count 😉 ) and I’m so glad I decided to say “hi” – it made all the difference for me. Glad that you stopped in to say “hi” too.

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..butterfly effect.

  97. Albert ( says:

    Nice rant. But what is this nonsense about “only hard work brings in the cash and puts food on tables.”?

    Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickle and Dimed (check it out on Amazon) can explain to you why hard work doesn’t bring in cash.

    Smart work sometimes does the trick. But by and large life is a lottery.

    Albert (’s last blog post..How to get out of a crap mood

  98. @ Albert – I strongly disagree. People cannot simply exist and a windfall of cash lands in their lap to thank them for breathing. There is nothing achieved without effort or action.

    If you feel that hard work doesn’t bring in cash, please take a seat on the sofa and start waiting – do you think a cheque will arrive soon?

    I do know that smart work is better than hard work – but even smart work involves work. And in these days of complete, utter laziness, lifting a finger is really hard work 😉

  99. If life is a lottery, then I’m going to work damned hard on my “winning number prediction machine”, and I’ll sell it… 🙂

    And while I’m doing that, I’ll make sure to have fun and enjoy myself.

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..butterfly effect.

  100. Here in Vegas, the house always wins and lotteries are a pipe dream. If Fate’s dealing the cards, I’d rather walk away from the table while I still have a few dollars left in my pocket.

  101. @Brett, No silly. I’m on the pink unicorn. Harry and James are riding a tricked out batmobile and brandishing gargantuan samuari sword-shaped pens. It’s the rise of the internet superheroes. And here you come on the Pursuit Special from Mad Max waving a sawed off shotgun and trying to take over the Web with your winning number prediction machine…

    @James, You like pegasus or batmobile better? White batmobile with gold wings maybe?

    @Harry, I don’t even know what a VTX is but I’m guessing some kind of motorcycle…

    I’m feeling a very creative blog post coming on…. Forget the A-listers. What the Web needs is superbloggers (to the rescue).

    Melissa Donovan’s last blog post..When Freedom Rang – A Story of Startup Failure

  102. @ Melissa,

    (blush) I guess I needed my coffee more than I thought… 🙂

    BTW your latest post was incredible – and James, your comment seemed right out of the ranks of my company. I see these atomic powered zombies every day. Unhappy. Complaining. Without hope.

    And doing nothing about it.

    Like Steve Jobs said, one of the best things that happened to him was being fired from Apple.

    I’d better go write the rest of this on Melissa’s blog…

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..butterfly effect.

  103. @Melissa: I’ll have to send you a picture of the VTX later on 😉

  104. Harry, Yes, please do!

    Melissa Donovan’s last blog post..When Freedom Rang – A Story of Startup Failure

  105. @Melissa: Here you go: Lucifer

  106. @ Harry,

    That is a cool ride, and I love the name.

    The second horseman of the Apocalypse – War – rides a red horse, and wields a greatsword… 🙂

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..butterfly effect.

  107. @Brett: Hmmm…I have the (steel) horse, got a Claymore hanging in the hallway…looks like I’m good to go.

  108. Michael Martine, Blog Consultant says:

    The Four Horsemen of the Blogalypse: Transparency, Authenticity, Sincerity, and Passion.

  109. Michael Martine, Blog Consultant says:

    I don’t know if I’m the Christ or the Anti-Christ… I’m just here to help.

  110. Michael Martine, Blog Consultant says:

    @ James – Do you have any idea how utterly terrifying those ideas are to most business people? 🙂

  111. Well Harry, I think you should ride Lucifer and see if James can keep up with you on Pegasus.

    @James, “SOME would claim my name is spreading through the blogosphere like a disease…” I think you mean me! I did say that. And for the record, I’m down with Mischief, Mayhem, Mild Chaos and Muttered French Curses… merde!

    @Michael, “I don’t know if I’m the Christ or the Anti-Christ… I’m just here to help.”
    Like James, I laughed out loud when I read that. So thanks! You get to be Humor!

    Melissa Donovan’s last blog post..When Freedom Rang – A Story of Startup Failure

  112. It’s a good thing you boys don’t let things go too far off-topic….

    My email inbox has stretch marks.

    Kelly’s last blog post..Spectacular Failure

  113. @ Harry – that’s kind of what I was thinking. And James wanted the white horse, the first horseman rides a white horse… 😉

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..butterfly effect.

  114. James isn’t Death though, he might have a pale horse, but the job description just doesn’t fit.

  115. That’s okay, I suppose he could pretend at Halloween!

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..butterfly effect.

  116. I think it’s funny that last month James was trying to get 100 comments on his Copyblogger guest post and now you guys have almost 150 comments right here at your own blog. It makes me want to cackle a wicked laugh, for reasons I’m not entirely sure about.

    Melissa Donovan’s last blog post..When Freedom Rang – A Story of Startup Failure

  117. I refuse to be pestilence, even though SOME would claim my name is spreading through the blogosphere like a disease…

    Can I be Justice? I’d make a cool Justice. On a black horse. Or a chestnut. Never could stand a grey. Can I have a sword, too?

  118. @James: There was only War, Pestilence, Famine and Death. No Justice. Maybe we should make up our own version of the Four Horsemen?

  119. @ James – Pestilence is sometimes called Strife.

    But I like Michael’s quartet much, much better. It fits you and Harry very much.

    (Thanks Michael! 🙂 )

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..butterfly effect.

  120. Aw, but Michael! That’s so BORING! What happened to Mischief, Mayhem, Mild Chaos and Muttered French Curses?

  121. (I was also thinking of the Piers Anthony series about Time, Fate, Death, War… very good series. Didn’t he have a Justice? There really should be a Justice, you know. Or I could do Mischief… I’d be good at that…)

  122. @ Michael – you have a hidden talent for stand-up, that is the funniest thing I’ve heard all day. And frighteningly true, as well… 😉

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..butterfly effect.

  123. Michael… those ideas are my playground. Life is to be embraced in all its forms and lived to the fullest, because I won’t get a second chance to enjoy myself if I screw up this one.

  124. I can’t walk away from the computer for literally 5 seconds! In the time it took me to wander down the hall from the laptop to the desktop, there’s like half a dozen more comments. Sheesh…

    I like Michael’s Blogalypse too.

  125. I like the Muttered French Curses myself. Can I have that one?

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..butterfly effect.

  126. We had too much Aussie coffee… 🙂

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..butterfly effect.

  127. Only if you learn how to say them PROPERLY. With the accent and all.

  128. I’ll do my best – I took 13 years of Français so I might be able to do it. I could try a few here but don’t want to drive up the rating of the site… 😉

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..butterfly effect.

  129. That’s part of the fun, isn’t it.

    Hestie de câlisse de tabarnac! It’s after 11!

    (How was that for a Muttered French Curse? 🙂 Trust me, the accent was there too…)

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..butterfly effect.

  130. Ben sacrement! You guys are out of control. Go to bed, all of you. 🙂

  131. @ Brett – Thanks for expanding my French! Or at least my Canadian French… Really, I’m shocked at your language! 😀

    Allison’s last blog post..Taste and Create 5

  132. @ Allison – it’s my alter ego, Darth Sushi, I can’t help it! 🙂

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..butterfly effect.

  133. @ Brett – Oh my! I’m still searching for that Alaskan Blackfish…

    Allison’s last blog post..Taste and Create 5

  134. @ Allison – when I find one, I’ll capture it and hold it for you to keep it fresh… if I find two, maybe you can set up a farm for them! 🙂

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..butterfly effect.

  135. @ Brett – Haha it’s a deal!

    Allison’s last blog post..Taste and Create 5

  136. @Melissa: Damn, you’re right…Actually, I think James may have found a commenting apprentice in Brett.

  137. @ Harry – I was going to say it, but my fingers were too sore from typing comments 😉

    (adjusts the bandages on his fingers)

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..butterfly effect.

  138. @ Brett – Sacrement… check out the cursing. Dude, are you my long lost brother?

    @ Kelly – Why are you not on RSS feed yet?

  139. @ Melissa – That is very, very, very cool. Thank you for pointing it out *beams*

  140. @ James – I started to think that myself when we were talking about farmhouses… yeah, it’s something I picked up in my youth, I spent faaaar too much time over the border in Chapeau (at Fred’s, for anyone who knows where that is), I figured you’d get a kick out of that, accents and all… 🙂

    Brett Legree’s last blog post..butterfly effect.

  141. Can’t stand RSS.

    Kelly’s last blog post..How to Stick Out Like an Aging Seattle Grunge Band

  142. Sorry, I don’t mean to bring the party down, but I do have a comment. In answer to the original question, “Why don’t people walk the walk as well as talk the talk,” I’d say it’s pretty much common sense: for the most part, humans are lazy and narcissistic. I’m not trying to be offensive here, but come on. The internet makes is so easy for us to be anonymous that image is all that matters anymore. If no one is holding you accountable for your actions (or content) then why put in the effort to care about the worthless pap you smear in other people’s faces as long as it gets you press? We live in an age of aggressive advertising and content always seems to run about a lap and a half behind everything else.

    Another problem with low quality blogs is that many people don’t honestly think about their audience. They add content to their blogs like they’re writing in their diaries (leaving out the all the good stuff, of course) and who besides your mother wants to read your diary? People want to be entertained and/or informed- what good is hearing about YOUR traumatic fear of clowns going to do for US? Unless you’ve discovered a way to vaporize clowns on sight or something equally as helpful… I could be washing my hair, maybe even cleaning the litter box. Don’t waste my time; it’s a betrayal.

    I’m new to this whole blogging scene, but from what I’ve seen pickings are pretty darn slim. I think integrity is the word we’re looking for in a good blog, though personality certainly doesn’t hurt.

    I hope things continue to go well for you guys; passion and intelligence are in far too short of supply these days.

  143. @ Chris – Well, the question was somewhat rhetorical. At both Harry’s and my age, we pretty much know why people don’t walk the walk they talk.

    I don’t think it’s completely Internet related. We work with a multitude of people on the Internet, and only bloggers (or certain people in the group) have this attitude. They want fast fame, fast money, and nothing else matters. Many get caught up in the “fun” of blogging and forget the business aspect of it. Common manners, too.

    Pickings are slim these days, but there’s a wealth of cheap out there, if you’re into that. I’m glad you feel that we’re not in that group of cheap fakers, and we appreciate your kind words and well-wishing.

    Trust me, we ain’t goin’ anywhere 😉

  144. Chris,

    I agree with you on the anonymity thing, although sometimes the lazy ugly side of people shows up in real life too. Just yesterday I had a doozy… nevermind, too off-topic!

    Anyway, my interest is piqued by the clowns problem and I think I have a solution: “Make Money Online By Conquering Your Fear of Clowns.” Now I know What’s In It For Me!

    Lots of blogs ARE basically online diaries. I don’t think that’s such a problem. Low readership or clowns in the commentary are the author’s choice, after all. Even lazy narcissism is okay in that context. When blogs which claim to be business-focused can’t tell me WIIFM, then I gotta go.

    BTW, you have a nice start to your own site there. I hope the novel goes well, and Harry and James may be able to give a tip or two on that front, here at MWP… if they don’t get too sleepy and self-involved.



    Kelly’s last blog post..How to Stick Out Like a Toupee on a Bowling Ball

  145. Enjoyed this article after getting a teaser on the Remarkablogger 🙂 – I find the same thing I have a real estate blog and it seems like a group – almost blogging paparazzi running from one hot new topic to the next and then all seem to be posting the same thing. It’s had to find “originality” – I do agree when done right readers do lurk and hang out until comfortable taking the relationship to the next level.

  146. Although what you are saying is valid for a certain type of blog, I don’t think that it is representative of blogging as a whole, which is how you are pitching the piece. No everyone is blogging for money. Some people do it for fun. Many people are using the blogging forum as an outlet for their creativity. So many interests are covered in so many different ways. For me it is 100% hobby. That means I really can do my own thing. Having readers, making money, all of these things may be nice to have, but removing your dependency on them from the mix, allows blogging to be more of an experimental art form, or, at the very least, expression of creativity. That’s the way I like it.

    sam’s last blog post..Nods & Winks to New-Found Links

  147. And that’s how it should be, Sam, but many, many blogs – not just business blogs – run out of creative ideas or unique voice and start to become redundant. I’m glad you choose to maintain uniqueness and enjoy blogging for what it is.

  148. Thank you – that said – after almost 4 years I have lost my ‘blogging mojo’ for the past 2 months. I have decided not to worry. When the time is right and the inspiration returns I’ll get back to it. If I lose 1000 readers in the meantime, so be it. I think giving them nothing instead of ‘forced crap’ will be better for me, the blog and any readers in the long term.

    Cheers for the reply!


    sam’s last blog post..Nods & Winks to New-Found Links

  149. @ Sam, sometimes a lost of “mojo” is a signal to change direction. I think the key to all writing is continue to be free and not simply do what is expected but do what you feel in that moment. The beauty of the written word or any creative art form is that it captures a moment in time and then we move on. I hope you get your mojo back soon. 😉


  150. @Karen: Well said 🙂

    @Sam: We never really lose our mojo, it just goes into hibernation for a little while to recharge. Follow Karen’s advice and you’ll wake it up again.

  151. Welp, I think this makes me comment number 160.

    Just wanted to jump on the bandwagon and go for the ride. Everyone else looked like they were having so much fun. Didn’t want to miss anything exciting.

    Jaden @ Screenwriting for Hollywood’s last blog post..The Sunday Picture Post – 3

  152. Thanks so much – you are all right – my mojo is just in hibernation and to be honest I absolutely know I am not ready to wake it up yet. I realised I needed to spring clean my life. I have been working on it, dusting the cobwebs, sacks and scaks of rubbish, etc. When I have finished that (and done my taxes), I will be free to create once again. I’m in no hurry. The break is carthartic.

    sam’s last blog post..Nods & Winks to New-Found Links

  153. @ James and Harry i agree, gotta move from Blogger, and will find time to do so with your help of course this Spring!

    @Sam, I look forward to your return, you’re talented and funny! I like funny. 🙂

    @ Everyone this is one of the best darn blog communities in cyberspace!

  154. Suzanne James says:

    I came here from
    I wasn’t sure at first whether Sharon was building up this site for a reason, but it lives up to the hype. Good blog.

    Suzanne James’s last blog post..Happy Earth Day

  155. Unfortunately, but it’s true!

  156. Shouldn’t the title of this post be, “Bloggers Who Fake It”?
    It appears bloggers do indeed fake “it” in more ways than listed in your post. Sigh. Whatever happened to referring to people as who; when did people become “that” objects? Not sure why this has started to annoy me so, but once I began to notice the that-which-who confusion, everywhere from TV, sales copy, news posts, blogs–everywhere–it has become hard to ignore.

    Is grammar dead?

  157. @Kaz: *points at James* Blame the editor.

  158. hehe same thing here. I am kind of sick when it comes to bloggers who write abt positivity but are the most negative people. And especially those that tell other’s how to earn money but haven’t seen a cheque in their life ..

    Thx for bringing this up, been in my mind for a while now..

    Wakas Mirs last blog post..Nioxin System – Scalp treatment

  159. I’m sure there’s not an original witty remark I could make that isn’t somewhere in those 176 comments, so I’ll just say thanks for this post and saying what so many people need to hear. I used to feel stupid for putting hours into a single post, just because I want to make it worth reading, but not any more.


    fracass last blog post..Oddball News Stories From Around the ‘Net

  160. A bit late to the party here, but this post definitely hit a chord with me.

    I think a lot of bloggers forget to answer that age-old business question – what needs doing?

    The world does need more people who are able to provide inspiring accounts of how they personally actually did put these things into practice, but it doesn’t need simple copycat information.

    Even in other fields this applies. My own blog only really took off when I re-focused it to fulfilling the need of providing community legal education rather than simply writing random opinions.

  161. Blogging has gone beyond just fun .. its a source of info! Bloggers must unite!

  162. Blogging is always a source of info .. nothing more

  163. A similar theme to this showed up on Copyblogger today…

    The effect poor writing vs. quality writing can have on your readership.

    When people read or listen to your voice and their gut dings “Giving to me” rather than “Taking from me”, I believe that’s what wins fans.


    Anyone who doesn’t provide value, i.e. wastes time, blabs only about themselves, is going to be ignored. Maybe even disdained.

    For me, what great writing has in common is offering value. Value of course, is relative to the target audience. Who cares if anyone but your ideal prospect doesn’t like you?

    I’ve heard it said that the more personal you think something is, the more universal it is. Comedians get laughter out of recognition all the time knowing this.

    Revealing flaws or personal stories serves as a spice for your content. Experiences people can relate to transforms a ‘data dump’ into a ‘bonding event’.

    When your personality shines through, when value is present and mixed with fearlessness… it can be one hell of potent mix.

    Keep keeping it real and valuable, Harry and James!
    .-= Note Taking Nerd #2´s last blog ..Ryan Deiss And Perry Belcher’s 43 Proven, Brain-Dead-Simple Tweaks You Can Make To Your Site, So You Can Make More Money =-.

  164. Yes, I may agree that most bloggers if not all are getting selfish nowadays. What they want is to have the readers focus on their thing and get stagnant to it. But I thought of the two kinds of the coin. Perhaps bloggers are getting practical nowadays and that they just want to earn something from their blogs. It’s worthwhile I guess that we earn something from the things we spend time and effort to – creating and developing blogs.

    Thanks for the post by the way. It’s really great!

  165. There are a lot of fake bloggers out there, you know when you read the first couple of sentences of their posts. Your blogs cool, you keep it real, so, I wouldn’t even worry about being fake. We all have bad days, weeks, months, it just a part life.
    .-= Internet Business Coach´s last blog ..4 Steps To Make More Money Online in 2010 =-.

  166. A lot of people don’t practise what they preach but that doesn’t make the message any less valid. It’s funny though that when I start writing, it does make me wake up and think I should be taking my own advice and I start living my own article – vain I know haha.

  167. I am relative new to all of this blogging stuff. ( 4 months in the trenches) It seems that some have burned out from having to come up with new and exciting topics. I was watching a how to video on youtube, by someone who had no clue about that business. So yeah there are many ” hacks” out there.

    With that said I think it will make it easier for someone with a fresh idea to shine amongst the dusty menusha of the same ole same. I have over 300 channels on my TV but I only watch say 12 -15 on a regular basis. So the same is going happen with blogging on the best of the best will survive.

    I do agree with you on most bloggers are not professional, some of these folks if they had to work in a metric driven environment, they would not make it. Nothing replace hard work, not even genius.
    .-= Glendon Cameron´s last blog ..Becky Comes to Auction- I am going to take a chance! =-.


  1. says:

    Bloggers That Fake It…

    Are you a bandwagon blogger? This post says: I’m tired of reading about crap that people don’t put into practice.’ In other words, if you’re going to blog about it, it had better be real. Harry of Men with Pens tears a strip of bloggers that fake…

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  13. How bloggers fake it « Photoneil on Wordpress says:

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  15. » Blog Archive » Journalism 101: Blog to the beat pt. 1 says:

    […] morning as I was making my blog-feed rounds, I happened upon “Bloggers That Fake It” from Men With Pens. The post, written back in March, resonated with me. I have found lots of […]

  16. […] Some people I once looked up to are making foolhardy decisions. I still like these people, but I don’t agree with their actions or words – or the effects they might have on other people and their […]

  17. Practice what you preach: Get into shape! « Dr. Dany Morin says:

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