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Content Marketers: Beware of Bloggery
Posted on March 30th 2013
As the business world goes cuckoo for content marketing, I think it’s high time to expose a growing problem found in one of its mainstay elements: namely, blogging snobbery, or bloggery, if you will.
In many ways, bloggery is the business extension of academic snobbery. To me, bloggery is nothing more than a kind of intellectually elitist snobbery that comes from a longtime study of other people’s ideas. Like academic snobbery, bloggery tends to breed a way of thinking that is long on criticism and short on original insight.
Lest you think I am a blowhard on the subject, let me assure you, I do know something of academic snobbery. I spent considerable time in college at two elite British Universities, Oxford and St. Andrews, two institutions teaming with entrenched intellectual/academic snobbery (I still love ‘em both!). Having identified my bona fides on the subject (a necessity in the world of bloggery), I feel like I can say that bloggery is alive and well on the net - and from what I’m seeing, it’s likely to get worse before it gets better.
The Roots of Bloggery
In part, bloggery is a natural consequence of the massive, nigh on hysterical, adoption of content marketing the world over by businesses great and small. It may also have something to do with the recent infusion of journalism into the content marketing mix. I know plenty of snobby journalists, which I’ve always considered ironic, because when I was in grad school we sort of looked down upon journalists, viewing them as “intellectual tradespersons.” Journalism was a field you could try your hand at if you failed as an academic.
This of course is not my current view; journalists don’t hate me, I was young and naïve.
Or perhaps the uptick in bloggery is reactionary in nature- a lashing out from the internet academy of early adapter-bloggers (early adaptors of anything tend to be the most zealous) to what they see as a surfeit of sub-par content of dubious origin. I can most sympathize with this group - there is a lot of crap blog content floating around the internet that is begging to be denounced, if not deleted.
However, the ends rarely justify the means. As such, do even the most woeful acts of blogging malfeasance deserve even the mildest dose of bloggery? I cannot say. I will leave such heady questions to those far more qualified than I to judge.
For the curious mind, here is a quick (and by no means exhaustive) list of what I consider to be some characteristic examples of internet bloggery. Feel free to use these as loose guidelines when trying to identify any incidence of bloggery in your own writing or in that of others.
On the main, the “How To” blog can be very useful, helping small businesses and newbie content marketers hone their blogger skills. However, because of its demonstrative nature, this type of content can be rife with bloggery. Constructive criticism is fine as long as it does not appear too imperious. Language such as “try to avoid” or “consider instead” is usually not suggestive of bloggery.
However, beware of the subtle whiles of the snob-in-blogger’s clothing, who may try to lure you in with gentle language when in fact his or her primary intention is to engage in shameless bloggery. Nasty ones, these.
This not-so-subtle form of bloggery relies on invective and insult to deliver its message, which is usually focused on trashing other bloggers for “doing it wrong.” Appealing to the lowest common denominator, this is bloggery at its worst.
The Name Dropper
A personal favorite. Riddled with shout outs to industry luminaries, this blog is meant to show the world its author is cool and connected. Name dropper blogs are often used to promote or recap an event or product such as a tradeshow or a new book. Either way, the name dropper is usually rife with unabashed bloggery.
The Word Dropper
Similar to the name dropper; instead of peppering the reader with names, this blog overwhelms the reader with industry-specific jargon. Meant to establish the writer as a thought leader or industry expert, the word-dropper post often does little more than expose the author’s inherent bloggery. A shame, really.
The Uber-Obscure Topic
Ever read an industry-relevant blog that just makes no sense? You know you should understand it, and recognize that it might be useful information, but as hard as you try, you just can’t puzzle out what the author is talking about? It’s important to remember that the uber-obscure topic post may be innocent - merely an example of over-zealous blogging fueled by a passion for one’s craft; or nefarious - clear evidence of bloggery.
Doubtless there are many other examples of bloggery in action. If any come to mind, please share yours in the comments section below. By staying vigilant and standing together, we can root out bloggery once and for all. Who’s with me?