Why the Goal of Blogging is NOT a Bunch of “Yes Puppets”

by Marcus Sheridan

You're so awesome!Let me ask you a serious question about blogging for a second:

Would you rather have a following that constantly agrees with your every word or would you prefer a following that questions the things you say?

Truth be told, although most people would “ideally” answer this question in the latter, the majority of bloggers—deep down—would prefer a slap on the shoulder after each article and a, “Yes, I love that! I agree! You’re so dang smart!”

I think there is a little bit of that in all of us, especially when we first commence communicating our thoughts and feelings online to a world who has no clue as to who we are. Seriously, who doesn’t want a little praise and head-nodding here and there? I know I did.

Finding Comfort in Our Own Skin

But I also think the more mature a blogger gets in this business, and the more comfortable they become with their own skin, the less they seek the need for constant agreement.

I’m not saying here that experience leads to intentional confrontation or disagreeable writing, but it often does lead to a greater sense of purpose, mission, and sense of self.

And for many, “purpose” is the antithesis of creating a following full of “yes puppets” ,“ditto-heads”, and blind followers.

To give an example of what I’m talking about, this past week I sent out an article to my newsletter subscribers entitled “Let’s Stop Calling Social Media a Tool…Seriously.”

The core premise behind the article was a simple one—Social media should be viewed as a culture, NOT a tool.

And as you read this statement, you likely agree, disagree, or feel a little of both. In fact, after sending out this email I got about 100 emails arguing, for and against, the premise I had made.

One of the reader responses came from my good friend Troy Claus, who stated:

Why I love your stuff is because you make me have heated debates with myself lol. I will read what you write,  agree with you, then build a case why I disagree, only to build a counter case against that…so well done :)

As you might imagine, this email brought me a huge smile. The idea that one of my readers was debating back and forth, with himself, defines everything I strive for when I write and communicate these days.

Again, it’s not that I’m looking for a debate, but rather that I’m striving to challenge myself, my readers, and my own beliefs as I attempt to share my thoughts with the world.

It’s also why I appreciate writers like Mitch Joel, John Falchetto, Danny Brown, Jason Falls, Margie Clayman and others. These folks force me to take a stand—with myself—and help me cognitively go places I haven’t gone before.

The bottom line is this: When I write, I want to move people. And when I read, I want to be moved.

At least, that’s where I am today as I write these words. :-)

Your Turn:

So tell me, and give me the hard truth if you would: What do you want your audience to feel when they read your stuff? Would you prefer very little disagreement, or are you OK with having many of your readers feel contrary to your thoughts? Jump in everyone, I’d love to know your take on this.

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{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

Sean Davis May 26, 2012 at

This is something I’ve spoken about before. I cannot stand “yes puppets.” I don’t think it does them any good to blindly accept and I don’t think it does the thought leader any good to receive such useless feedback.

A few month ago, I wrote an article in response to Derek Halpern’s “No Search Form” article on Social Triggers. Derek is a really smart guy… we all know this. I didn’t necessarily agree with him on this issue, though. Since, I’ve learned a lot more and I can definitely see his point. But in my article, I spoke on the number of people who simply said the typical “Great post Derek! This is so true!”

I thought to myself that on something so widely accepted, how can so many people agree so quickly without questioning? Derek made his way to my article (which was awesome to me) and your name even came up, Marcus. Here’s the article: http://www.sdavismedia.com/no-search-form/

I just couldn’t believe how many people were so quick to follow. And it wasn’t just that article, it was something I had seen around the blogosphere. I’m lucky enough to get to talk to Derek frequently now and I learn a lot from him. But because of the way I think, unless he gives every single detail of why he came up with a certain conclusion, I’m going to have questions.

At first, I thought I was being a prick. But now I’m glad that I’ve been so difficult… because then I get the real lesson that his articles are intended to give.

Anyway, it’s all about quality feedback. Comments are for simply agreeing. Comments are for conversation… quality dialogue. People don’t have to agree. People don’t have to disagree. But people should always keep it real. Everyone wins that way.

Great subject.

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Sean Davis May 26, 2012 at

Comments aren’t* for simply agreeing.

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Marcus Sheridan May 27, 2012 at

Sean, I do remember that article you wrote in response to Derek’s “search post”, and I gained quite a bit of respect for you for standing out like that and saying, “hey, wait a minute….”—that’s something that most folks simply wont’ do, especially with “the big boys” of the blogosphere.

Personally, I’ve done the same thing a few times and when done the right way, without any “jerkiness” involved, it typically leads to some tremendous conversation, just like you said.

Thanks so much for dropping by bud,

Marcus

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Jordan J. Caron May 29, 2012 at

Sean,

You and Marcus are very right, they are too many people who follow blindly follow someone’s advice or agree with them simply because one person is successful. This can affect both parties. It can bloat the ego of the writer and hurt those who take the advice without thinking about it more.

Kudos to you and Jeanne for saying “Wait a minute”. It takes courage to stand up against the writer and his puppets for questioning the premise of the post.
The biggest problem comes when people lose their sense of individualism and become zombies who obey every order someone more successful than them shouts out. They first need to take a step back a look at their audience. Derek writes for the bloggers who then write about many different things. What works on the bloggers to improve Derek’s conversions may not work on your blog on personal development or Marcus blog here. Why? Because your audiences and topics are different.

Really though I think the issue has more to do with why people comment in the first place. Many do it for their own self promotion and the back link.

Marcus has talked about the value of blog comments
http://www.thesaleslion.com/blog-comments-not-business-model-validation/ already. I really do believe that there is too much emphasis on social proof and numbers. I bought into this thought last week by joining a blog commenting tribe. Those comments are not going generate more sales for me though. Too many bloggers are playing the social proof card whether its tweets, comments, followers or subscribers. The only numbers that matter are sales.

What I do find interesting out of all this is my own experience. I am a yes puppet and a fan boy. That’s because I enjoy reading Marcus, Mitch, Jay Baer, Brian Solis, Scott Stratten and others. It only makes sense to me to follow these fine minds because I believe in what they believe in. Do I agree with everything they say? I suppose so but not all the time.

In the end if you have an audience of yes puppets, it can be great. But it’s nice to have people who disagree or challenge your thoughts. I enjoy conversations with people when both parties don’t see eye to eye. You have to see the world through that person’s eye and more often than not, you’ll see something beyond the rose coloured glasses and learn something.

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Sean Davis May 29, 2012 at

What’s up, Jordan? Thanks for the response, man.

You called yourself a yes puppet and I definitely disagree. I think there’s a difference between someone who genuinely agrees and someone who does it just because they have nothing to stand on in the first place.

I talk to you frequently and know that you’re a thinker. I seriously doubt you would put all thought to the side and be a yes puppet! I do, however, believe you would pay close attention to who you follow in the first place. I don’t think you would follow anyone who didn’t put great time and effort into their information. So, it’s safe to say that the majority of what they say, you will agree with.

Some people just take information from anyone, though… as long as they have a big name. And it’s those people who either find themselves disagreeing with everyone or being yes puppets. It’s because they don’t filter the kind of content they consume in the first place.

That’s definitely not you, man!

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Jordan J. Caron May 29, 2012 at

That is correct, I do think and I do stand for something which is why I follow who I follow.

I often find myself in a position like Troy who wrote to Marcus, where I am torn by what to believe or think. Perhaps that’s the benefit of my analytical mind!

Thanks for the reply Sean!

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Marcus Sheridan May 30, 2012 at

Dang Jordan. That was one heck of a comment brother.

I’ll just leave it at that but thanks for taking the time to be so incredibly thoughtful.

Marcus

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Jordan J. Caron June 2, 2012 at

This is my passion Marcus, you bring it out of me even more!

Thanks for doing what you do.

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John @ Married (with Debt) May 26, 2012 at

This is a very interesting question: do you want a lot of your readers to disagree, or do you want fewer readers but more who agree?

I’ve always thought it’s best to be one of two things: loved or hated. I guess that’s the Howard Stern model. I think I would take the extra readership, even if it meant more people didn’t agree.

I do take the time, when appropriate, to point out that not everyone will agree with something I say. I’m not afraid to let those people know I’m not for them and that they should probably go somewhere else if they don’t like it.

I think it would get tiring to have trolls who seem to only weigh in because they have decided they don’t like you, and won’t like anything you say. I guess that’s different than having an occasional contrary comment.

Recently I had someone leave a comment saying that some advice I gave wasn’t useful because they weren’t in the situation I was referencing. Rather than not leave a comment, that person decided to let me know how they felt. I was a bit miffed and let them know, and they did admit they misread something I said.

I’m not afraid of debate; in fact I encourage it. I guess I ultimately would like a bigger audience in exchange for readers who don’t agree. But I’m not trying to have broad appeal.

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Marcus Sheridan May 27, 2012 at

John, great to see you bud and always enjoy reading your thoughts.

Yeah, I’m not a fan of trolls. In fact, I have about zero troll patience to be honest, and nuke them quick.

But at the same time, if someone legitimately disagrees and is obviously well-informed, then I love a good conversation, as both parties always seem to learn a bit from it.

Keep doing your thing my friend. :-)

Marcus

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Charlotte May 28, 2012 at

To be truly effective when approaching business blogging from the angle of teaching (as Marcus has done and suggests) we must remain approachable. No teacher is looked to as a resource or mentor unless they are approachable by those who need their help.

We don’t have to write as though to ‘go looking for a debate’ – that can cause our entire article to be written from a defensive voice. Instead, writing from our passion may invite debate, but it won’t invoke hostility toward our words, it will more likely engage and then provoke thought and possibly converstation.

I am reminded of those instructors who NEVER made feel threatened as a student. If they asked if there were any questions, I felt they were inviting me to learn something. Because they were approachable and willing to establish a rapport with their students, I could truly learn from them. Those I found to be unapproachable were those who (by their words, tone or body language) appeared ready to put me down for not just accepting what they were saying or responded as though I were challenging them in some way. I couldn’t develop a relationship with them – and without relationship nothing is learned.

I want people to read what I write and benefit somehow. I try to to enagage, keep it interesting enough and challenging enough, without really caring whether or not everyone reading agrees, because that isn’t really my goal. My goal is to capture their attention, hold it long enough to give them something to think about and perhaps make a difference for them.

When we can put into words why we believe what we believe – express our passions and convictions and then back it up with real life examples, data, etc. – there should be no debate that we have something to blog about!

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John @ Married (with Debt) May 28, 2012 at

Great points here Charlotte. There is a fine line in encouraging debate without coming off like you are looking for a fight. I think it is important to take sides, which is something Marcus does a lot here. He’s not afraid to say it how he sees it, because ultimately we are talking about OPINIONS rather than facts. If you trust the person giving the opinion and find them to be approachable, you can take what you truly need from it.

On one of his other posts, Marcus mentions spirituality, and a commenter recently went after him saying that as an atheist, should he find somewhere else to get advice? Marcus did the right thing by replying that if they were going to be offended by something like that, then YES, they should find somewhere else to get their information. The commenter was trying to bully him into apologizing or retracting, and he didn’t take the bait. Well played in my opinion.

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Charlotte May 28, 2012 at

I could not agree more, John@Married (with Debt), Marcus continues to be one who wisely conducts himself in a way that makes him approachable. I have learned much from him and appreciate his spirit.

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Marcus Sheridan May 30, 2012 at

You’re incredibly kind to say that Charlotte, thank you! :)

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Marcus Sheridan May 30, 2012 at

Yeah, that was quite the sweet fellow, wasn’t he John ;-)

Thanks bud,

Marcus

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Cheryl Pickett May 26, 2012 at

To really answer this question, I think a blogger has to know what his/her goals are. People letting you know that you are on target/helpful etc. helps the blogger continue to offer what the audience wants and needs. On the flip side, disagreement and debate tends to get conversations going. People meet people, people make connections and a community grows, like here, which is a different goal/outcome. But as you’ve also said, if you are blogging as part of a small biz marketing plan, the ultimate goal is to move a prospect along in the sales process. So from that point of view, comments may not matter a whole lot compared to other possible actions.

So my answer to your question-it depends :-)

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Marcus Sheridan May 27, 2012 at

Hey Cheryl! (BTW, I meant to thank you for that super kind voice message you left me the other day. That was GREAT news!!!)

Yes, goals are huge. And our stuff needs to align with such goals. But I do think it’s important that, at least from a business perspective, there are a lot of positives that can occur by taking controversial stands in your industry and being one of the few voices that is willing to put their thoughts out there for all to see.

Again, thanks so very much for stopping by Cheryl :-)

Marcus

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Rebecca Livermore May 26, 2012 at

I think we all like a good pat on the back, but I will admit that I grow a lot more from the people who disagree with me or present things from a different perspective than I do compared to those who simply tell me how great I am.

Even if the disagreement or argument doesn’t hold water, it still makes me stop and think and evaluate what I wrote.

Now if I got nothing but negative comments, it would be a bit disheartening, but some are definitely helpful.

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Marcus Sheridan May 27, 2012 at

Yeah, I’d be lying if I said I preferred everyone on my case telling me how wrong I was Rebecca, but yeah, it’s certainly nice to hear feedback that doesn’t align with your thoughts, as it makes you stop and think. And I also think t says quite a bit about the blogger that’s willing to open up to such criticisms.

Thanks for stopping in :-)

Marcus

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DI May 26, 2012 at

There are just too many, ‘Nice blog’, ‘Keep blogging’, ‘Excellent post’, etc on personal blogs. But sometimes, they write that because they don’t know what to comment in a post. Sometimes they are genuinely busy and not able to leave a thoughtful comment. But most of the time, it comes from people who don’t want to read the post. So, agreeing and praising becomes an easy way out. I do wish that I had more disagreements on my site, as I write about a few controversial topics now and then. It makes the blog post and discussion just more lively.

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Marcus Sheridan May 27, 2012 at

I actually don’t fault short comments either Di. I really don’t expect folks to leave long diatribes if they don’t feel inspired to do so, and I certainly appreciate many of the simple comments of kindness as much as the longer ones.

But a mix is great, which is also why sometimes controversial stuff is necessary, and sometimes vanilla is the flavor of the day.

Thanks for stopping by,

Marcus

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phil May 26, 2012 at

there is quite a good supply internet bloggers/ “attackers” OUT THERE …JUST LOOK AT MY FACEBOOK PAGE CONVERSATIONS WITH THE WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAIN PARTY…KICKED OUT BECAUSE I DISAGREED WITH THEIR “METHODS” OF …sorry, improving the environment ie slowing down traffic with theirlame marches… the Mountain top removal of West Virginia’s mountains for coal…two sides to this story right???great issue for debate
in the blogosphere (did i create a word here) and relatively few backers for me because I think people are just critical by nature in any conversation involving any subject they consider their ‘DOMAIN”… so many experts…….hot topics… can make people spout of extremely stupid stuff…but you can’t help but love the sport of it…long sentences

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Marcus Sheridan May 27, 2012 at

That’s the thing Dad– people start this whole “domain domination” syndrome and the healthy debate and discourse often times gets chucked right out the window. What a shame.

Thanks,

Marcus

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Bery C.P. May 27, 2012 at

I think a blogger has to know what his/her goals are. People letting you know that you are on target/helpful etc. helps the blogger continue to offer what the audience wants and needs. On the flip side, disagreement and debate tends to get conversations going. People meet people, people make connections and a community grows, like here, which is a different goal/outcome. But as you’ve also said, if you are blogging as part of a small biz marketing plan, the ultimate goal is to move a prospect along in the sales process. I do wish that I had more disagreements on my site, as I write about a few controversial topics now and then. It makes the blog post and discussion just more lively.

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Marcus Sheridan May 27, 2012 at

Bery, so glad you stopped by and I appreciate this. It’s true, debate, done right, can do wonders for a community. So of my biggest periods of growth have stemmed from some of my most controversial blog posts.

Great stuff and thanks for stopping by,

Marcus

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Danny Brown May 27, 2012 at

Social media is not a tool; but there are plenty of tools in social media. ;)

I used to subscribe to some “name bloggers”, but then noticed a trend of how they’d only respond to those comments that praised them. Or if they did answer those that questioned, it was with snark. Meh.

The blogs I enjoy the most are the ones that aren’t afraid to question popular thought and theory and then open up the forum to all points of view.

Here’s to provoking thought every time.

Cheers, sir, hope you’re enjoying the long weekend with your family!

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Marcus Sheridan May 27, 2012 at

Hahaha, yes DB,there are certainly a few tools out there, well said ;-)

To thought provocation my friend,

Marcus

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Danny Brown May 27, 2012 at

Yessir. Just one reason your blog is on the “subscribe to these blogs” list – cheers!

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Troy Claus May 27, 2012 at

Thanks for sharing my comment :)

If we remember back to when we were in elementary school, the teacher would say “There’s no such thing as a dumb question” (which I’ve learned isn’t true lol). My point is this- We learned by challenging an answer, a position, a hypothesis…etc. We learned by expressing our thoughts and opinions and having others debate theirs.

Sometimes we came to an agreement and sometimes we agreed to disagree, but one thing’s for sure…we all had to think, and even if it was for a split second, tried to understand where the other person was coming from.

Thats why I love this blog (and the writers listed in your post) you/they aren’t afraid to express their thoughts and/or feeling on a subject. Well done Buddy.

Troy Claus

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Marcus Sheridan May 27, 2012 at

Troy, so glad you chimed in my friend. Love that you brought up the school analogy here. It’s actually sad that so few gain that perspective early on because proper debate is not encouraged nearly enough.

Again, thanks so much for the thoughtful email and inspiration ;-)

Marcus

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Gwen May 27, 2012 at

Yes, I want to create a world of followers that inhales every word I write with devoted admiration and fawning..

But in the process, I just annoy half the people that read my witty and thoughtful posts… I can’t imagine why… hahaha…

The world IS so much more fun…and lives are greatly changed when minds collide and discuss and wrestle with ideas. For sure.

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Marcus Sheridan May 27, 2012 at

Hahahaha, loving the sarcasm Gwen! :-)

May the minds keep colliding ;-)

Marcus

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Ryan Hanley May 27, 2012 at

Marcus,

As a new blogger at first I think you just simply want Comments… Those comments could anything… SPAM, “Great Post”, whatever… You just want Action. You want to know that someone is reading your material… Something to show that your Bounce Rate isn’t 100%.

Then you want people to think you’re cool… Maybe add a few of their own thoughts to Build on your amazing thoughts…

Then over time you want to know where your own thoughts are lacking… You push the envelop, the status-quo and see what the breaking is where people start to push back.

That’s growth. It’s The Maturation of a Social Presence (great blog title…).

If you’re not constantly growing as a Blogger (and more importantly as a person and professional) then really you’re moving backward.

I’m trying to do this in my own Industry and it’s been amazing the comments I get AGAINST my own point of view.

I love finding congruencies with other Thought-Leaders… That is one way to grow…

But listening and learning from people with an Opposite opinion (not haterz) but believers in a different direction. That is a completely different type of growth.

As always Thanks for great thoughts.

Ryan H.

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Marcus Sheridan May 27, 2012 at

Dude, if you don’t write that post, you’re nuts, because the title is dang awesome. Seriously.

LOVE the way you think Hanley.

Keep rocking and thanks for the thoughts you bring here every time man.

Marcus

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Nandita B May 27, 2012 at

Hi Marcus,

I like the agreement: disagreement ratio of my individual blog reader to be 49:51, forcing them to leave comments, to take the discussion to higher level, and making it an endless post.

I also like the below quote:

When I write, I want to move people. And when I read, I want to be moved.

Thanks.

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Laurie Hurley May 27, 2012 at

I want my readers to engage and be honest with me about what I write. I do not moderate my blog for that reason. As a social media coach, I teach my clients to welcome all kinds of opinions and to respond to them professionally and courteously. Free speech is what it is all about. If everyone always agreed, this would be a fairly boring world. Nice blog.

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Marcus Sheridan May 27, 2012 at

Yep, boring it would be Laurie, great point!

And I’m impressed with your desire to welcome all.Keep it up! :-)

Thanks for the comment,

Marcus

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Mitch Mitchell May 27, 2012 at

You know why this is an interesting post Marcus? Because on the 29th I have a post coming out that almost totally counters and disagrees with a post you wrote this past week. Almost totally, that is. :-)

You know where I stand many times when I comment. I don’t start out wanting to disagree with things you say, but there are times when something just hits me and I have to respond. In a way, that’s what keeps bringing me back because every once in awhile you inspire me to do things based on your words, whether it’s in agreement or disagreement, and that’s good stuff because if we don’t try to challenge people from time to time, what’s the point right?

Of course, I also probably need to comment more on those posts where I do agree with you so that there’s more balance. Hey, I guess this is one of those posts. :-)

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Sarah May 28, 2012 at

Blogger should know about blog goals. What audience wants to read from his/her blog. I agree with you. Blogging goals must be established before writing blogs. So that reader can communicate with you and be honest with you about what you write in your blog.

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Andrea T.H.W. May 28, 2012 at

Well, I’d like to have my audience to say “thanks, it helped me” or “it has been useful” and such but because I’m into the Health-Self Improvement field so that’s my goal.
The most interesting, and useful, discussions come out when there are intelligent people having different point of views and debating with each other. This can either reinforce your opinion or change it because it’s wrong. Either case it’s good. If everyone agrees or disagrees either your opinion is wrong or it’s not much fun. Life it’s interesting because there are challenges otherwise it would be pretty boring like being a chain-worker.

With all due respect to chain-workers. Imho.

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Carol L. Myers May 28, 2012 at

Good thing you post such useful information like this… It could help us. I think we need to be more familiar with it…

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Janice May 28, 2012 at

I like to think and blogging is one of the things that I use that helps me provoke thought in myself and hopefully in others. I don’t know that I want to provoke people to rant in opposition to me, but I do like being challenged to think about things. I’ll admit to liking a few compliments now and then too. :)

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Deb Prewitt May 28, 2012 at

My blog posts are rarely that controversial that I need to wonder about people agreeing or disagreeing with me. What I really want is people to just be honest. Tell me the truth about what you think and believe and feel. Don’t say what you think I want to hear.

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margie clayman (@margieclayman) May 28, 2012 at

Oh Marcus – including me with those folks on YOUR site – way to make my day!

I actually very seldom find myself engaged in heated debates on my site, and sometimes that worries me. Do people who disagree just pass on that particular post? Do people not know me well enough yet to know that they can disagree with me and if they do so respectfully, I will respond with equal respect? Then again, it’s entertaining to think that I’m just plain right all of the time. I like that story…:)

It’s interesting, now that I think about it – in many cases I myself tend to comment on posts that resonate with me in the positive versus posts that don’t really hit me square in the head. Maybe you have to feel kind of combative to take a stance against a post you disagree with. Talk about making me think. Hmmmmmmmm.

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Marcus Sheridan May 30, 2012 at

Hey Margie, great to hear from you, as always.

I think one reason you might find that you don’t have a lot of heated debate is because you’re so very likeable, which can make people shy. Seriously, I think this is often the case. But I do think your stuff is excellent, and love the way you write. So thanks for what you do!!

Marcus

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Sharon Brown May 28, 2012 at

I like to deal with agreeable people — most definitely. We all really do love that pat on the back and “Good job!”

However, I also enjoy hearing a diverse range of opinions. I’m totally okay with those who want to disagree . . . as long as they do it RESPECTFULLY. I’m not too keen on the know-it-alls who think they are God and that I’m completely stupid.

So I think I would say that a lot of this depends upon how a person approaches it. If they are respectful about it, then they may have information that I can learn from. (And I’ll listen when they are polite versus being rude.) And to me, that’s a win-win kind of situation where everyone shares and learns from each other :)

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Marcus Sheridan May 30, 2012 at

You said the magic word here Sharon– RESPECT.

That’s all that’s really need for amazing debate and conversation.

Well said,

Marcus

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Claire May 29, 2012 at

I don’t know that I want to provoke people to rant in opposition to me, but I do like being challenged to think about things. Thanks that you’ve shared.

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Marcus Sheridan May 30, 2012 at

Well certainly the goal isn’t an opposing rant Claire, just good, healthy debate and conversation.

Thanks for your thoughts!

Marcus

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Jeff Irving May 29, 2012 at

I don’t write for a pat on the back. I write because I have something to say, that I believe in, and I want to share this with people who aren’t familiar with my topic, so that they can learn and make smart decisions. That’s got to be a run-on sentence. Does anyone want to debate it? :)

Do I like when someone disagrees with me or points out that I’ve made a mistake? Not really, but that’s just an emotional reaction. I should appreciate all healthy debate. How can I learn and grow if I only get agreement with my thoughts and opinions?

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Marcus Sheridan May 30, 2012 at

Yep, that’s exactly it Jeff. Without disagreement and healthy debate, none of us grow. And heck, I’ve changed my thoughts and opinions many, many times on all this social media stuff over the last few years and I’m sure that will only continue as I listen and study out the thoughts of others.

Thanks for stopping by Jeff!

Marcus

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Laura Click May 29, 2012 at

Really interesting question, Marcus. I think we’d like to say, “I’d rather have intellectually stimulating conversation and discourse than people who just agree with us all the time.” I want that. You want that. The sad thing is there are plenty of tools and trolls out there. So many people don’t know how to disagree without being disagreeable. It makes it hard for folks to want to take a stand.

A few weeks ago, I took on a challenging topic on my blog. While I didn’t get a heated debate on my blog, I certainly got it on Twitter. And, I was really surprised how people responded…so-called “A-Listers” and even some people who know me personally. I’m all for a good debate. I love that. But, what’s troubling is when people become hurtful, mean or just completely dismissive of your idea. I’m afraid that’s why people go the “yes-puppet” route.

I also think that, as Margie mentioned, plenty of folks are unwilling to disagree in the comments. I noticed that with the blog post I mentioned. Those who did comment were thoughtful, even if they disagreed. The more challenging comments came on Twitter. I think, in general, people don’t know how to disagree without being disagreeable. Or, they just don’t want to take the time to mount a defense. I don’t think it’s always the blogger’s fault or unwillingness to have a debate. But, who knows, I could be wrong.

Thanks for making me think, Marcus. Count this as mission accomplished! :)

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Marcus Sheridan May 30, 2012 at

Laura, I’m glad you mentioned your example. Yes, one of the major problems is as a society, most can’t debate without losing their cool, becoming very disagreeable, and certainly not saying things with a smile– if you know what I mean.

Frankly, I don’t get it. Lots of passion, but a dearth of growth and understanding.

Bummer indeed.

Good seeing you lady.

Marcus

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Jack@TheJackB May 29, 2012 at

There are a lot of people who say that they want to have conversations on their blogs but many simply don’t. I have found that if you start to suggest an alternative POV they tune you out, delete your comments or act as if there is something wrong with your suggesting their position might not be right.

Sometimes it is because they only have one trick and when you take that away there is nothing left.

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Marcus Sheridan May 30, 2012 at

Ahhh yes Jack, the old one-trick problem. Yep. I can certainly see that being an issue, and it’s out there. Most simply don’t want to admit they may have a chink in their armor.

Thanks for stopping by!

Marcus

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Laura May 29, 2012 at

to actually realize this , it takes a lot of time for some people but those who are truly intellectual get these easily …

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Melonie Dodaro May 30, 2012 at

Thanks for the insights that you have shared here. At the end of the day, it’s about being
authentic and true to oneself that really matters. Not all people who read my blog would totally agree with me, and they may be able to raise some points that I may not agree with as well. But it is in this process that new ideas may be born.

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Charlotte May 30, 2012 at

Well said, Melonie. Well said!

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Marcus Sheridan May 30, 2012 at

“But it is still in this process that new ideas may be born.”—-LOVE that Melonie!

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Philos June 2, 2012 at

if a reader disagrees with some of the stuff I publish on the blog for the benefit of my blog readers and my mission as a blogger then I am all for it. I have a ‘God help me not to mislead a soul’ written somewhere in one of my notebooks and I remember to think about that every time I write.

Being a human being, mistakes may creep in in our epic sh*t. That is normal to some extent and so is getting comments and emails disagreeing with the posts I publish. Of course I don’t like disagreements that are just meant for the sake of ‘getting that blogger to reply to my comment or check out my site or throw a link my way’.

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Marcus Sheridan June 4, 2012 at

Love your take on this Philos, and I can really tell you take your words seriously. Well done sir.

Marcus

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Elena Anne June 3, 2012 at

Thanks for the insight into blogging. You referred to social media as a culture and not a tool. Could define that culture more in depth? Is it a culture that continues to evolve as more and more bloggers enter the blogging arena? I would be interested to hear anyone’s thoughts.

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Marcus Sheridan June 4, 2012 at

Hi Elena, and thanks for asking. When I say “culture”, I’m referring to the way a company, and its employees, identify themselves and understand why they use the “tools” they use.

In other words, if someone says “We do Facebook because that’s where everyone is….” versus “We do Facebook because we are a company of teachers, communicators, and we want out customers to have answers…” —There is just a huge difference between the two. Make sense?

Thanks so much for dropping by Elena!

Marcus

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Christine Balch June 7, 2012 at

There are numerous things that a blogger must need to do to get success in blogging. Blogging is really not an easy task. Indeed, it is necessary to create good content to get a lot of followers. In fact, selecting right and interesting topic is a must in order to get the attention of the readers. There are lot of endeavors that a blogger must need to undergo in order to gain success.

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Vanessa Moore July 13, 2012 at

In order to be successful in blogging they must have these following traits. They must have passion, dedication and consistency in writing blogs. Then, it is very important to create high quality content. Bearing these attitudes will help bloggers to be successful in blogging.

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