The Blambush

I’m introducing a new concept for the age: Blambush.

A blambush is an ambush in the blogosphere. Let me elaborate.

I never realized that people were so desperate to be noticed. When they have nothing to say, they have to create pseudo-news. Why else go to one of a kijillion mindless sites?

So what some of them do is this: They write to someone who is far ahead of them on the success track and with a far higher public profile and brand, and challenge them about something. Then they take the ensuing email and print it on their blog as if to say, “See, I’m debating with this guy, so I’m at his level, and look how I’m getting the best of him!” (This last “advantage” is achieved by only selectively publishing the exchanges!)

I walked out of a speech once, to an ovation, having already told the group I had a very tight window to catch my plane and I had to rush off. I had encouraged questions during my talk. On the way out, some guy who makes his living helping people to create blogs, told me he didn’t agree with my stand on blogs and wanted to discuss it. I told him that I had no time, my car was waiting at the curb. He seemed oddly contented with that answer.

Of course he was, because Google Alerts informed me two days after that my name was mentioned on his blog and, guess what, he wrote that I “refused” to debate him! Ah, it’s great to have that old Edward R. Murrow ethic on the Internet! (This guy would probably have to Google “Murrow” to understand that reference.)

Let me tell you when I’ve found blogs are most worthwhile:
1. They offer intellectual capital not found elsewhere.
2. They are written well, apply the language intelligently, and communicate effectively.
3. They are formatted coherently (I can’t tell who is writing most blogs, how to contact them, or what the blazes they are talking about—I especially love the long, mixed, James Joyce kind of block text).
4. They are diverse, and not harping about a single agenda.
5. The author is credible. That is, they are knowledgeable, have done what they espouse, and walk the talk. (A great many consulting blogs are written by people who are not at all successful in consulting, and merely attempt to sell things to other consultants.)

In the meanwhile, I still try to gracefully answer all email within the day, even if some of the writers are blambushers. After all, they need some excitement in their lives.

© Alan Weiss 2008. All rights reserved.

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3 Responses to The Blambush

  1. Josh Klein says:

    My big pet peeve is #5 (a credible author), especially in my space. The digital marketing genre is dominated by consultants and bloggers who espouse this strategy or that with no point of reference.

    Before I believe a talking head, I need a glimpse of the body.

    If you cannot point to a success (preferably many successes), why should I listen? For people with a job description of “be convincing and convey value”, I’d think establishing credibility would be an intuitive first step.

  2. Establishing credibility and trust are GREAT jobs for blogs.

    A blog author can establish credibility through his/her posts however credibility is NOT something that can be established in a single article or a single post.

    A blog allow you to directly observe the depth and breadth of knowledge the author has on the subject… and it’s tough to fake that over the course of a hundred or two posts!

  3. What dazzles me is that the person who blambushed you obviously found it more fulfilling to generate some more visitors on his site by stabbing at you than to try and engage in a conversation with you. Talk about priorities…

    The points about what makes a blog worthwhile are spot on. Being a junior in my field _and_ blogging, I try to only talk about things that I would be comfortable to present in front of a real audience – you know, the kind of audience that raises their hands, asks questions and puts you to the test.

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