While blogging in crisis job #1 is listening

Every blogger can bloviate and tell you what he or she sees happening. But I’m noticing a trend among bloggers. Very few listen. I read hundreds of bloggers on a regular basis, along with many thousands who are brought into my view via TechMeme and my hundreds of Google Reader friends.

How many actually are actively seeking out the opinions of others and trying to bring those to their readers. I can tell you how many: almost none.

How many have a Google Reader Shared Items feed like the one I have done for years? A few. Louis Gray is amongst the ones I read often and regularly, but despite a few exceptions here and there very few of the “top bloggers” do that.

How many aggregate thousands of people’s tweets, blogs, photos, videos together and go through and tell you which ones are best like I’ve done every day on FriendFeed since I joined in February? A few do, hello Louis Gray again, but not enough of the top bloggers.

So, if we’re really in an economic crisis (we are, despite the stock market going up 600 points so far today) how can bloggers really be knowledgeable if they don’t read other people’s blogs and prove that over and over and over again by using these tools to demonstrate what they are reading?

Why do I think that’s so important? Well, for balance, for one thing. You saw some people thought I was too negative last week. But if you had looked at EVERYTHING I was putting into this system and reading and writing and doing videos on you would have seen a much more balanced and nuanced view of the world.

I assume my audience is smart and wants to see the world through many viewpoints. I hope you are reading these feeds because there are some damn cool things going through the system and these are my ways of highlighting them and making us all smarter in this time.

Also note that I overlink to people who disagree with me. Why do I do that? Because in these times it’s too easy to buy into your own press releases and start believing you have all the answers. In these times it’s even MORE important to consider the other side, whether we’re talking about the economy or politics.

But maybe I’m alone in that view, it sure seems not many bloggers are willing to show you what inputs they are reading and what’s informing their judgment.

99 thoughts on “While blogging in crisis job #1 is listening

  1. I like how you said “Very few listen”. reminds me of a proverb, “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.”

  2. I like how you said “Very few listen”. reminds me of a proverb, “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.”

  3. A post I wrote called ‘Blogging Beyond The Ego’ is a response to this–the link is above. Scoble, thanks for advocating conversation and two-way engagement (which naturally denotes listening) over purely self-promotional tactics.

  4. A post I wrote called ‘Blogging Beyond The Ego’ is a response to this–the link is above. Scoble, thanks for advocating conversation and two-way engagement (which naturally denotes listening) over purely self-promotional tactics.

  5. Mate, I think that you take yourself way too seriously.

    This trend or pattern you keep noticing, doesn’t happen in the blogosphere, it happens in the blogs YOU read. You said you read 1000 blogs daily? There are more than a million of them out there.

    From a different perspective, perhaps this worrying state of affairs has more to do with the fact that you only deal with tech bloggers with some really poor social skills or those from the elitist crowd. And btw, after reading this blog post of yours I assume you belong to both of these categories.

    Benedictions

  6. Mate, I think that you take yourself way too seriously.

    This trend or pattern you keep noticing, doesn’t happen in the blogosphere, it happens in the blogs YOU read. You said you read 1000 blogs daily? There are more than a million of them out there.

    From a different perspective, perhaps this worrying state of affairs has more to do with the fact that you only deal with tech bloggers with some really poor social skills or those from the elitist crowd. And btw, after reading this blog post of yours I assume you belong to both of these categories.

    Benedictions

  7. “How many actually are actively seeking out the opinions of others and trying to bring those to their readers. I can tell you how many: almost none.”

    How is this so.. Perhaps a lot of these blogs are personal blogs that are not intending to develop much of a following, but for a pro blogger, this cannot be done. Your blog is your product, and you will have no success in trying to market your product. You need to market to the consumers, and this can only be done by understanding their wants and needs.

  8. “How many actually are actively seeking out the opinions of others and trying to bring those to their readers. I can tell you how many: almost none.”

    How is this so.. Perhaps a lot of these blogs are personal blogs that are not intending to develop much of a following, but for a pro blogger, this cannot be done. Your blog is your product, and you will have no success in trying to market your product. You need to market to the consumers, and this can only be done by understanding their wants and needs.

  9. ironic post really… Scoble I personally DON’T read you because you say too much! I don’t follow you on Twitter either because it’s overload… I happened to come across this via someone else’s blog so I suppose that makes your case ;-)

  10. ironic post really… Scoble I personally DON’T read you because you say too much! I don’t follow you on Twitter either because it’s overload… I happened to come across this via someone else’s blog so I suppose that makes your case ;-)

  11. There are only so many hours in the day to read – you also have to account in a social life, newspapers, television, family, recreation, downtime….

    Surely the fact that a blogger has a comments option means they are listening? It may not be the style you prefer, but who in reality can always link to hundreds or thousands of blogs?

    If someone links to one blog, maybe it’s because they only like that person and what they have to say. I think you’re being a bit harsh on the community that gave you a voice to speak with in the first place, Robert.

  12. There are only so many hours in the day to read – you also have to account in a social life, newspapers, television, family, recreation, downtime….

    Surely the fact that a blogger has a comments option means they are listening? It may not be the style you prefer, but who in reality can always link to hundreds or thousands of blogs?

    If someone links to one blog, maybe it’s because they only like that person and what they have to say. I think you’re being a bit harsh on the community that gave you a voice to speak with in the first place, Robert.

  13. Incidentally, is there a way to reduce the duplication that occurs when you subscribe to Google Reader shared items via RSS?

    I’ve only got about 10 people subscribed, but along with the 200+ website subscriptions, it means the same story can occur 10+ times – useful for analysis, but not for scanning through the feed for important information.

  14. Incidentally, is there a way to reduce the duplication that occurs when you subscribe to Google Reader shared items via RSS?

    I’ve only got about 10 people subscribed, but along with the 200+ website subscriptions, it means the same story can occur 10+ times – useful for analysis, but not for scanning through the feed for important information.

  15. I always try to link to as many sides of a debate as I can, and I really enjoy when people come and challenge my perceptions – if anything, it helps me either make my own opinion more comprehensive, or proves me wrong – either way, I get a better picture of what I’m trying to write about or discuss.

    My Google shared items are:
    http://www.google.com/reader/shared/00013493085127312859
    And hopefully I’ll get round to putting them in a feed widget at some point on my blog…

    The only challenge is that blogging is not my primary occupation or role, so the time I get to spend sharing such items on Friendfeed, for example, is pretty limited – but as more technology comes along to make it easier to share across platforms, I’m always happy to do it…

  16. I always try to link to as many sides of a debate as I can, and I really enjoy when people come and challenge my perceptions – if anything, it helps me either make my own opinion more comprehensive, or proves me wrong – either way, I get a better picture of what I’m trying to write about or discuss.

    My Google shared items are:
    http://www.google.com/reader/shared/00013493085127312859
    And hopefully I’ll get round to putting them in a feed widget at some point on my blog…

    The only challenge is that blogging is not my primary occupation or role, so the time I get to spend sharing such items on Friendfeed, for example, is pretty limited – but as more technology comes along to make it easier to share across platforms, I’m always happy to do it…

  17. This reminds me of the joke in which a reporter asks passersby how many books they read a year. One person says: “Oh, I don’t read books, I write them.”

  18. This reminds me of the joke in which a reporter asks passersby how many books they read a year. One person says: “Oh, I don’t read books, I write them.”

  19. Robert, you’re exactly right with: “my audience is smart and wants to see the world through many viewpoints.”

    IMHO, the quality of the shared pieces of information is significant of the quality of published blog entries!

    Until recently, I had just time to share items. Now I want to go further to express opinions and discuss technologies. What the point being an expert if I don’t share my expertise? Listing sources is essential to readers to get an idea of the relevance of an article…

  20. Robert, you’re exactly right with: “my audience is smart and wants to see the world through many viewpoints.”

    IMHO, the quality of the shared pieces of information is significant of the quality of published blog entries!

    Until recently, I had just time to share items. Now I want to go further to express opinions and discuss technologies. What the point being an expert if I don’t share my expertise? Listing sources is essential to readers to get an idea of the relevance of an article…

  21. I would call Rob Hof a professional tech blogger because he blogs under his BusinessWeek hat and he’s a trained journalist with journalistic standards. But, then, I’d call Michael Arrington a professional blogger, too, because he makes his living off of his blog. He certainly doesn’t always act professionally, however.

    Robert, you were one of the first bloggers, and I suppose since you were doing it for Microsoft at first, that makes you a professional. But then again, you no longer get a salary for blogging and you don’t make your living primarily off your blog, so…

    Maybe it’s just me.

  22. I would call Rob Hof a professional tech blogger because he blogs under his BusinessWeek hat and he’s a trained journalist with journalistic standards. But, then, I’d call Michael Arrington a professional blogger, too, because he makes his living off of his blog. He certainly doesn’t always act professionally, however.

    Robert, you were one of the first bloggers, and I suppose since you were doing it for Microsoft at first, that makes you a professional. But then again, you no longer get a salary for blogging and you don’t make your living primarily off your blog, so…

    Maybe it’s just me.

  23. I no longer know what a “blogger” is. Web logs used to be like a diary of one’s life. Then some bloggers became more like journalists, going out and getting stories firsthand, instead of just pontificating on somebody else’s news.

    Today I hear about “professional bloggers” and “amateur bloggers” and I wonder where the heck the lines are. If I click on a link that takes me to an unfamilair blog, I have zero idea of the credibility of that person and what he or she is spouting.

    If you go to newspapers and magazines, at least they are a devil you know.

    “Blogging” has become this confused mish-mash, IMO. Maybe it’s time to start breaking it out into better sub-categories or something.

  24. I no longer know what a “blogger” is. Web logs used to be like a diary of one’s life. Then some bloggers became more like journalists, going out and getting stories firsthand, instead of just pontificating on somebody else’s news.

    Today I hear about “professional bloggers” and “amateur bloggers” and I wonder where the heck the lines are. If I click on a link that takes me to an unfamilair blog, I have zero idea of the credibility of that person and what he or she is spouting.

    If you go to newspapers and magazines, at least they are a devil you know.

    “Blogging” has become this confused mish-mash, IMO. Maybe it’s time to start breaking it out into better sub-categories or something.

  25. Listening is a very important part of the discussion. Otherwise, you are just broadcasting.

    As for this Louis Gray guy, why not give links to his link blog, FriendFeed discussion page, or blog, as he would you in these examples? :-)

  26. Listening is a very important part of the discussion. Otherwise, you are just broadcasting.

    As for this Louis Gray guy, why not give links to his link blog, FriendFeed discussion page, or blog, as he would you in these examples? :-)

  27. Scoble, it’s because they are guilty of the echo syndrome. They repeat what they read and don’t really formulate an expressed opinion. They’re not blogging to express themselves, they’re blogging perhaps because they have to, or they have an ulterior motive. I’m so tired of the me-too blogging phenomenon.

  28. Scoble, it’s because they are guilty of the echo syndrome. They repeat what they read and don’t really formulate an expressed opinion. They’re not blogging to express themselves, they’re blogging perhaps because they have to, or they have an ulterior motive. I’m so tired of the me-too blogging phenomenon.

  29. Hi Robert,

    I follow your posts daily, with great appreciation. And it is out of appreciation that I criticize this post, where I have to agree with SMS – It reads egotistical and as a sermon.

    The web evolves to what the majority is doing… independently of whether or not we agree with it. And that is what makes it great!

  30. Hi Robert,

    I follow your posts daily, with great appreciation. And it is out of appreciation that I criticize this post, where I have to agree with SMS – It reads egotistical and as a sermon.

    The web evolves to what the majority is doing… independently of whether or not we agree with it. And that is what makes it great!

  31. Hi Robert and everyone… I think it’s important to share your point of view from news, resources and other things on the web throught your shared featured google reader, your favorites on delicious, youtube, flickr…. You draw an entire universe that can help other users on the net. In this way I’m using sweetcron to push a lifestream and share with others my digital life (Impulsos Digitales)

  32. Hi Robert and everyone… I think it’s important to share your point of view from news, resources and other things on the web throught your shared featured google reader, your favorites on delicious, youtube, flickr…. You draw an entire universe that can help other users on the net. In this way I’m using sweetcron to push a lifestream and share with others my digital life (Impulsos Digitales)

  33. Robert writes: “Several well known bloggers told me recently they are unsubscribing from people they don’t agree with.”

    That’s interesting. But you didn’t mention it in your post! Your post came across as “If you don’t have this or this, you’re not listening” instead of what may be the more interesting point: “Why are big bloggers unsubscribing from those they don’t agree with?”

    A more interesting post might have been to talk to those bloggers and find out more — even if they wished to remain anonymous.

    Also, @David K: Don’t give up on blogging just because of something someone else says about it. There is always room for another thoughtful writer in this world.

    -Erica

  34. Robert writes: “Several well known bloggers told me recently they are unsubscribing from people they don’t agree with.”

    That’s interesting. But you didn’t mention it in your post! Your post came across as “If you don’t have this or this, you’re not listening” instead of what may be the more interesting point: “Why are big bloggers unsubscribing from those they don’t agree with?”

    A more interesting post might have been to talk to those bloggers and find out more — even if they wished to remain anonymous.

    Also, @David K: Don’t give up on blogging just because of something someone else says about it. There is always room for another thoughtful writer in this world.

    -Erica

  35. The ability to listen to other views and actively seeking other views are are not exclusive to either blogs or traditional media and shouldn’t just be considered in times of crisis.

    I work with bloggers each day who actively reach out to me for a point of view and perspective. And, there are others who don’t. The same can be said for traditional media. I think those who do look for other views can see that reflected in their following. People are smart and can usually decide what is opinion and what is fact.

    Do I want bloggers to be factual, yes, and I haven’t worked with any who aren’t willing to correct factual errors. Do I expect them to be balanced, not really. Their point of view and tone are likely why they have a following. Do I expect them to listen to opposing points of view, maybe – as much as I expect my bus driver to maintain proper credentials and regularly take part in safety training. Do I hope that their point of view and tone are the result of having considered all the facts and opinions collectively on the topic and are not the creation of living in a vacuum? Absolutely.

  36. The ability to listen to other views and actively seeking other views are are not exclusive to either blogs or traditional media and shouldn’t just be considered in times of crisis.

    I work with bloggers each day who actively reach out to me for a point of view and perspective. And, there are others who don’t. The same can be said for traditional media. I think those who do look for other views can see that reflected in their following. People are smart and can usually decide what is opinion and what is fact.

    Do I want bloggers to be factual, yes, and I haven’t worked with any who aren’t willing to correct factual errors. Do I expect them to be balanced, not really. Their point of view and tone are likely why they have a following. Do I expect them to listen to opposing points of view, maybe – as much as I expect my bus driver to maintain proper credentials and regularly take part in safety training. Do I hope that their point of view and tone are the result of having considered all the facts and opinions collectively on the topic and are not the creation of living in a vacuum? Absolutely.

Comments are closed.