That headline is what we social media experts and uberbloggers call link bait. It is slightly more sophisticated than saying something like Kim Kardashian Sex Tape, Naked pictures of Brad Pitt or Better Than Viagra. It has one purpose and that is to get you the reader to click on it. It is kind of a weak way to go and I try not to use it too often. I prefer to be far more blatant and write something like “5 reasons you won’t read this.”
I suppose that I should be pleased that Akismet isn’t a person because those samples of link bait are guaranteed to generate quite a bit of spam. If Akky were a person he would be less than pleased to see me make extra work for him.
During the past week I have read a half dozen posts that have made me shake my head for a variety of reasons. Join me for a moment on a brief tour of the inside of my head. Mind the dust, when I turned 40 they replaced brain with a colander and it has gotten kind of messy inside there.
I am not a fan of these YouTube videos starring Hitler. I generally don’t see much value in using a genocidal maniac as the comic foil for videos and or posts. It is even worse when they are poorly written. Granted I probably have less tolerance for laughing at the man who is responsible for wiping out part of my family. I suspect that more than a few people share this in common. One person tried to explain his use of Hitler as being similar to the exploits in Jackass. There is a huge difference between showing videos of your friends farting on another and using a genocidal murderer who is responsible for the deaths of tens of millions.
And we move on.
More than a few posts discussed the proper way to comment on blogs. It took restraint on my part not to point out that telling people to innovate and be creative 25 times is not innovative, creative or particularly interesting. Sometimes less is more. That might sound funny coming from a man who has a problem with brevity but it is true.
But what bothers me more than that poorly written, ill constructed and definitely not innovative post is the general cynicism and selfish streak that seems to be taking hold in the blogosphere. I keep reading posts where people write about how much they dislike one line comments. They keep talking about how they hate reading “great post” and how they often delete those because they don’t want to be used by other bloggers as a tool for building page rank, SEO and link juice.
I take a different approach. While I prefer longer comments that demonstrate that someone read my post I don’t get upset with things like “Great post” provided that they aren’t used for free advertising. In fact if someone writes a thoughtful comment that links to some sort of commercial service I will usually leave it up.
My goal is to build a community and to create conversation. My blog is like a backyard barbecue. I want to facilitate conversation not stifle it. I don’t wander around my backyard shushing people for talking.
One last thought to share. RSS, Twitter and Facebook have really had a negative impact on blogging in two areas.
1) Fewer people come to the actual blog to read the posts. They lose some of the flavor of the blog and it is far less likely that they will click through the archives.
2) We really do share fewer links than we used to. It has been said here and many other places but it bears repeating. There is a lot of value in sharing links in blog posts. Social media is about engagement and interaction. Interact with others. Share information that you think is worthwhile and valuable and do it without trying to figure out if you will be compensated for it.
And most importantly, be nice. Good things will come from it.
Editor’s Note: This post first ran here but this is a situation where the more things change, the more they stay the same and since I was jammed for time I decided to run it again. Sadly it is still applicable.