Monday, July 25, 2005

Dead Business Blogs: the debate continues

I promised a comment poster that I would answer his objections to my "Business blogs are dead" post via a new, separate post.

Business blogs, and I mean mainly "business consultant blogs" and "marketing pundit blogs", are dying. Can't everybody smell the rotten stench emanating from them?

Business bloggers are burning out. Running out of things to say. Running out of butts to kiss. Running out of products to review. Running out of values to promote.

Running around to blog conferences and rallies, yet still having little to report. "The wine and shrimp were fantastic. Joe danced with an ugly hooker and a gay guy. Pete vomited on my laptop."

Once you've read my original post on the topic, you can then read this.

First, his comment (numbers added for reference purposes).

Posted comment to "Business blogs are dead".

(1) I am sure that this posting was deliberately provocative, but I cannot but help "rise to the bait", and challenge you on a couple of points.

(2) Firstly business blogs almost by their nature are likely to be "boring" to a large section of the community that is not interested in the often "specialist" subject matter.

(3) I would add that this is true of 99% of all Blogs whether business oriented or not.

(4) The inclusion of images is contextual, my own site being concerned with steel, would benefit little from the inclusion of images.

(5) Furthermore images are fine if they add anything to the discussion, but when used as window dressing, they are a waste of bandwidth.

(6) As for "setting an example" for the non-blogging business, I fail to see that as a role they should be expected to undertake, nor do I think they have any duty to be "connected to the core values of blogging", whatever that means.

Who sets these values anyway?

(7) Why would you think it inappropriate to use their blogs for commercial purposes? They are business blogs and concerned with business, surely commercial concerns are therefore entirely relevant if not even a primary function.

(8) It's also risky for a small business blog to be provocative or combative, alienating your customer or potential customer base is not commercially that clever.

(9) Many of your other points are highly relevant to blogging, but apply more to a specific section of the business blogging world, i.e. those who's blogs are about business blogging.

(10) There does seem to be within some of their postings masses of comment and trackback spam.

(11) Furthermore I agree with the cliquey nature of the "top tier" business spammers who constantly link to each other in a clear attempt to maintain the existing hierarchy.

(12) An interesting post, and I will certainly pop back to read more of your missives.

Now, my response.

(1) Almost all my posts are "provocative."

Welcome to Vaspers the Grate, not Vaspers the Oatmeal Cuddly Perfumed Warm-and-Fuzzy Tolerance Wimp.

(2) Business blogs are by nature boring?

You mean business people can't figure out how to make their industry exciting?

This is why we say a blog core value is Passion. This is why we've formulate core values for blogging.

If a business seems boring, all it needs is a talented, provocative writer like me to jazz it up, truthful but enthusiastic. Charles Tremendous Jones said that if you're not enthusiastic about something, you just need to learn more about it.

Every industry contains astonishing anecdotes, facts, history, characters, pioneers, processes, etc.

(3) 99% of all blogs are boring?

Sir, you exaggerate with hubris hyperbole. It's closer to 98% and you know it. Ha!

(4) Your steel industry blog doesn't need no stinking images?

Sir, I think the images we've all seen on television of molten steel being poured dangerously into those molds are exciting and colorfully brilliant.

Every industry has tremendously fascinating images that could be used. You need a guy or gal with an artistic eye. Hire my friend Carrie Snell to take photos at your foundry. She'll get the job done.

Images enhance text. Images keep blogs and books and magazines from being boring. Sir, your remedy for boredom is staring you right in the face.

(5) Images as window dressing?

Andy Warhol started his artistic promotional life (he was also a musician, I had some of his electronic music on Touch cassettes) as a window dresser for Saks Fifth Avenue, I think, or Lord & Taylors.

I met Andy Warhol at Rockefeller Center NYC around 1985, and gave him a music recording of my electronic band Camouflage Danse, at an INXS gold record award party. I flirted with actress Kelly McCullough (film "Witness") who was mad at her boyfriend.


I don't care about bandwidth. I don't have to pay for bandwidth. Don't worry about bandwidth. Internet2 is here. Put into your blog whatever it needs to successfully accomplish your goals. Direct mail campaigns use a lot of ink, paper, and postage. So what?

(6) We don't need to set an example for others? bloggers don't have to set an example of good blogging practices for non- or pre- bloggers?

Your blog, web site, business cards, office, automobile, receptionist, yellow page ad, everything is a reflection of your quality standards and business practices.

Who sets the core values of blogging?

I do, that's who. I'm a scholar of the blogocentric art and science.

And the pioneer bloggers who invented and continue to perfect the medium. When I first started blogging, I heard the Universal Blog Mantra: authenticity, transparency, passion. I added six more values.

The blogosphere is self-correcting and self-policing, like corporations are supposed to be.

It's good for bloggers to come to a consensus evaluation of what values should drive blogging. Blogs lend themselves to being candid, conversational, honest, sincere.

Look at industries that refuse to police themselves. Can you say "government intervention", "redtape", "congressional oversight", "federal regulation"?

(7) When I said "commercial purposes" I mean the stupid vending machine blogs, hyping merchandise, services, consultation, ebooks, etc. Blogs that are screaming "buy this" and "sign up for this". Ugly and repulsive. Your blog is nothing like them.

I offer many consulting services, web usability testing and analysis, web content writing, etc. but how often do you see me mention this? Never. Why? Because my blog and its contents are my advertising.

"A blog without ads is a powerful, persuasive ad for its author."

(8) Combative is risky?

Okay. I'll give you this one. You win.

But, for me, I have to be combative, since I'm attacked all the time, and I love debate.

Most books dealing with online marketing will tell you: some controversy, conflict, and contention is good for generating curiosity and reading pleasure.

Combativeness? It does depend on many considerations. You are correct to point this out. It's just that most business, marketing, and PR blogs are so wimpy and cliquey, kissing butt while the industry goes down the toilet.

(9) Right again. You win another point. My, you're going strong now.

(10) Right. Massive amounts of comment and trackback spam in a business blog equals a business that is negligent, stupid, or lazy. Not to be trusted. Idiots. It's easy to prevent and eliminate spam.

(11) Cliquey nature of top tier business bloggers?

Sir, this comment leads me to think you've been hanging around Paul Woodhouse, the Tinbasher, my blogocombat comrade. Say "clinking". Go ahead, say it. Aha. Now you're on the right path. "Clinking" = clique linking. One of my 30 or more neologisms invented for the bloatosphere.

(12) Thanks. You're a gentleman. I value your presence here and your future complaints and critiques.

You criticize my post ruthlessly, relentlessly, but you're smart enough to see that this blog is full of great ideas for business and personal blogs.

I never take concept debates personally, so feel free to flame on anytime you wish. I love it. Keeps us all, me, you, and other readers, on our toes.


[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

+ = -


Karen said...

I was laughing throughout this whole post. Steven, you are wickedly funny (when you want to be).

This is such a nice break from some of your more recent heavy posts, IMO.


steven edward streight said...

[Creepily adopts 1950s Hollywood movie actress 'voice']:

I wish I could post more wickedly (or moralistically) funny posts, really I do, but gosh, I have to defend myself with reciprocal barbs, don't I?

I used to debbie up the names of females in every sentence wendy I was an extreme ex Perry mental writer.

Nowadays, any attempt to be ruth less in a more irene manner is Ann histrionic waste of time.

I once said, "How can I Pat myself on the back, when my arms will not Sally forth?"

Howe true, howe true.

carrie said...


carrie said...

oh, and images really don't need to be contextual. everything doesn't have to make perfect sense! what fun is that?

steven edward streight said...

Business consultant bloggers are grimly serious about making money off the blog.

Business pundit blogs are the opposite of "fun".

Business and marketing guru blogs are hyping how a blog can "drive traffic" to an ecommerce web site.

Business and PR expert blogs are telling a tired story about how exciting blogging is, and they're quickly running out of steam.

Thus, they're dying.

Business blogger be "fun", "creative", or "interesting"?


Not in a million years.

Have you ever been to a business convention?


But the New Economy of Cluetrain Manifesto is built on neo-business, fun, humor, surrealism, surprise, candor, sincerity, frivolity, ecstasy...

...while still being professional and serious.