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Monday, March 10, 2008

10 Easy Ways to Piss Off A Blogger (from SXSW)

Istock_000005012363xsmall_2 At SXSW yesterday, I ran a "core conversation" called 10 Easy Ways to Piss Off a Blogger.  This year at SXSW, these aptly titled "conversations" were a type of speaking slot where there was a round table and the challenge of engaging people in a discussion about a particular topic.  Mine was one close to my heart ... the best way to piss off a blogger.  I had created a Facebook event page before the session to try and build the buzz and going into yesterday I had almost 50 people signed up.  So I figured we'd get about 20 to 25.  After the session, I spoke to one of the participants who said he counted about 70 - so we had a really tough challenge of having a conversation with 70 people.

Learning from some of the feedback that came from a panel on Social Media Metrics that I had participated in a day earlier, my main aim was to make sure everyone walked out of the session with what I had promised them ... the 10 easy ways.  The format of the session was a bit different too - as there was no presentation or powerpoint, and I didn't walk in with the 10 ways.  Instead our aim was to collaborate, discuss and walk out with the ten.  I think we managed to make it to more than ten.  A few folks kindly offered to take some live notes and have posted about the ten, but without further ado ... here are the 10 Easy Ways to Piss Off a Blogger, as defined by a group of super smart and engaged folks who all made it to be part of this conversation:

  1. Invite bloggers to participate in something and don't give them a chance to talk about themselves. This was what I opened the session with, followed by letting people around the group introduce their name and their blogs.  A list of people who chose to share their names and blogs is at the end of this post.
  2. Pretend to be a "long time reader" when you actually just visited the blog once and read a few posts.
  3. Use a blogger's content or identity without giving proper attribution
  4. Send irrelevant information that exhibits no understanding of what they care about or fail to personalize it
  5. Add them to a PR list and don't let them get off of it
  6. Make it hard for them to link to something by hiding your content behind usernames/passwords, giving them uncertain directions or requiring them to take multiple steps
  7. Ask for favors as part of your first outreach to them without building a relationship or earning the right to ask them to help you
  8. Fail to identify yourself or falsely represent yourself as something or someone you are not.  This includes failing to mention something about your or your employer that is relevant.
  9. Set an unreasonable expectation for a blogger and expect things in an unreasonable amount of time ... ie - sending informaiton and expecting them to post within a few hours.  Quick poll of our session showed that for the vast majority of bloggers, it's not their day job.
  10. Get the journalism relationship right.  Some bloggers consider themselves journalists and others don't.  It was clear from the participants that this is a tricky subject, as some people also noted after the session. 

I think we actually ended up with more than ten, but these were the main ones.  I'm looking forward to hopefully hearing more thoughts from some of the participants as the SXSW haze settles and they get a chance to get back to their computers.  It's a crazy show ... lookout for a post here tomorrow on what I think has been the most interesting cultural and technological story of the show: the dominant use of Twitter.

Finally, special thanks to Aaron from Longstation and Steve Harbula (Director of Marketing for the Denver Broncoes) who were both kind enough to take live notes and post them almost right away after our session.


Partial List of Participating Bloggers (from a list passed around - we missed many bloggers, so please add your name and thoughts in a comment if you were there and I'll update the post):

Also, thanks to Maura Welch, Sanjay Sabrani, Tracy Locke, Liz Link, Shannon McKarney, Gladys Kong, and many other participants who didn't add their names to the list for sharing their perspective as people who interact with bloggers and want to do it better.  We may have focused on ways to piss off bloggers, but clearly there is some great interest and emerging guidelines on how to end up with happier bloggers.  For reference, the guidelines from our 360 Digital Influence team that I mentioned to several of you at the session can be found here:



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» How to Miss the Boat with Bloggers as Allies from Realtime Community | Unified Communications
Here's a post that caught my eye earlier today. For those of you who've never seen writing from Rohit Bhargave, he's one of those folks who really understands the intersection between blogging and traditional media marketing. He leads the interactive m... [Read More]

» Building blogger connections from Blogger Relations
Rohit Bhargava's recap of his 10 Easy Ways to Piss Off a Blogger session is one of the interesting posts out following South by Southwest Interactive. It's all excellent advice; I particularly want to point out one of the ten [Read More]


Good stuff Rohit. Have been following your SXSW tweets and wish I was there ;-)

Hi Rohit - I've run into all 10 of the things you mention. However, I'd like to add that it's pretty easy to piss bloggers off, as well...

A good top ten list. Jeremiah Owyang called this out in a tweet a moment ago. Seems like what I was taught on how to treat editors back in the old paper days; or even earlier, in pre-school, on how to treat your neighbor. Could it be that bloggers are human?

Either way, I think the list is good, thanks for running the session and posting this for those of us working back at home.

Disclosure: I am not a "long term reader" and just came in on a @jowyang tweet. :)

I'd love to hear more about the "journalism" comment. For bloggers that don't consider themselves journalists, if you treat them like journalists by accident, how can you piss them off? For example, don't ask them to abide by an embargo, etc. Good points you all came up with.

Good points Rohit, thanks for summarizing the panel. When it comes down to it, don't you think many of these are no more than basic human social skills, mutual respect, etc.?

It amazes me now some people, who may be perfectly nice in face-to-face interactions (even nicer than me! (-:), lose their social skills when they go online.

Thanks for the great info Rohit. It's very helpful for those of us that were unable to attend SXSW!

Great list. It is interesting though that many of these things are similar to a list of ways to piss off a journalist, piss of a client, piss of....anyone. Common sense and good communication & relationship building skills still go a long way.

Enjoyed following the action from SXSW over Twitter, thanks for letting us in.


Great post. Managing the blogger relationships gets more tricky when you need to depend upon your PR team who maybe less familiar with the blogosphere. Added to that is the fact that we're bloggers ourselves. Things are expected of us as a result.

At my talk, I made a point to finish early (by not showing a reel at the end) so that I had time to answer lots of questions. And in answering those questions I tried to be as succinct as possible so that I could answer more questions in the time allotted.

Fantastic list and I espescially like #7 and #8.

Great post. I wasn't at SXSW but I've been hearing quite a lot of buzz about it since people have returned. I was just at SES NY and got to sit in on a few panels on social media that they had there. They didn't provide the interaction that is sounds like you had at this conference. We had some time for Q&A's at the end, but that's never enough. I wrote a few posts on the event on my blog especially the one today on Social Media Marketing. I welcome your comments on this as post. BTW - I did subscribed to your blog today and I hope to keep in touch.

You actually had a meeeting to discuss this?

Sigh, you know it was probably a funny idea at the time, but when you were all sat around in a room thinking "I wonder how to ppiss off a blogger best" didn't the giggle wear off?
You all felt rather silly didn't you?

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Thanks for sharing long-time bloggers' points of view. As a new blogger, I certainly want to do all I can to do it right, with courtesy and professional aplomb. It was a nice touch to include all the panels' blogs. I have to some fun surfing homework to do! :-)

Vicki Flaugher
fellow Austin TX SXSW fan










Here's a good one -- spamming the comments section! That's sure to piss off any blogger.

Seriously, though, what a clever list. I've been hijacked on many PR lists myself.

What do you mean?

I used to be of the same opinion, but then I saw this presentation video by Dick Hardt:

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Thanks for sharing long-time bloggers' points of view. As a new blogger, I certainly want to do all I can to do it right, with courtesy and professional aplomb. It was a nice touch to include all the panels' blogs. I have to some fun surfing homework to do! :-)Smt Electronic Manufacturing|Electronics Contract Manufacturing| Electronic Contract Manufacturing Services| Subcontract Pcb Assembly

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