tennis, anyone?There’s a great post over at Blog for Profit today called Blog Comments Are Not Roadkill, about blog comments and some of the discussions around them.

Written by Grant Griffiths, it’s a great counter to the numerous posts on why blogs don’t need comments.

The reason I love this post is because, reading it, it’s clear Grant has balls. Big balls.

He doesn’t care about reputations, or whether a viewpoint is by a blogger usually revered by the masses and who can (in many eyes) do no wrong.

Instead, he goes after people like Michael Gray and Seth Godin – not in a link-bait way, but with countered reasons why their views may not be the right ones (or even contradict themselves).

And it’s something that too many bloggers don’t do for one simple reason.

Social Media Has Made Us Soft

While social media is a fantastic medium for working smarter for businesses, it’s also softened us a little. There’s almost a kumbaya feeling of not being able to speak your mind, because when you call a “name” out in social media, or disagree with them, you’re labeled a hater. Never mind the fact you have a valid opinion – you must be a hater because your opinion isn’t the same as The Chosen One(s).

This leads to blog posts being praised to the rooftops, despite being rehashed content from two months previously (sometimes even less – I’m looking at you, certain A-lister). Comments rain in – “Great post!”, “So true and only you could say that!” and so on.

Now, I’m the first to really praise a blog and share it on my networks when there’s great content, as well as comment and show my appreciation. Yet more and more I’m feeling less inclined to comment, because I land on a post with the same safe viewpoint, or circle jerk comments. And this is a shame, because blogs (and their community of commenters) can really offer fresh takes on tired subjects. Instead, we see the warm fuzziness of adoration – and there’s no real need for that.

Grow Balls – Grow You

We’re all individuals. We all have opinions – sometimes right, sometimes wrong. We all have unique personalities and thought processes. This is what makes us such an interesting animal. So why are we softening this up?

If something isn’t right and you feel it isn’t, say so. If you land on a post of the biggest blogger on the planet and it’s dire, tell him or her. Show why it’s crap, and challenge them to live up to their reputation.

And if you’re the blogger yourself, don’t go with the flow just because it’s easier than swimming against it. Instead, be like Grant, or Mark W. Schaefer or Bill Sledzik and have the balls to speak out. Show your readers respect and why they put their faith in you in the first place.

After all, it’s the very least they deserve, no?

Creative Commons License photo credit: Robert in Toronto

Sign up for free weekly content

Subscribe to my newsletter and get a weekly email with the latest blog post, recommended reading, quick tips and more. I respect your privacy and will never spam you.

(Be sure to check your Inbox to confirm subscription - thanks!)

Enjoy this post? Share your thoughts below:

45 Comments on "Why I Love Bloggers with Balls"


Angel Collins
3 years 3 months ago

I agree with you. If you think something is not right, you really should speak it up. Although I think this is also one of the reasons why people in social networks get into a war. Nice post!. XD

Adam Singer
4 years 11 months ago

x2 on the post title. Although since when has social media made us soft? pleeease :)

4 years 11 months ago

I need to hang in your corner of the world more… 😉

Elli St.George Godfrey
4 years 11 months ago

Danny,

Okay, I can’t comment because I enjoy your blog so much!

Sure, some of it is based on fear that “you (A lister, followers) won’t like me” if I disagree with you. But what if I do write a gutsy post? There must be some purpose to it. Recently I’ve written a couple of posts that sparked conversations that included agreement and disagreement. But I didn’t set out to write them to be controversial per se. Be provocative,sure. There has be to a reason behind the post. Otherwise it is just hot air.

Elli

Elli’s most recent post is http://www.abilitysuccessgrowth.com/business-le
adership/just-one-of-those-awkward-momen
ts-of-new-ceos

4 years 11 months ago

Great point Elli – if you’re just writing to be provocative and nothing else, eventually it’ll be seen as exactly that and ignored. Have a great point and have the gumption to see that through? That’s the stuff I want to read.

LA Jones
4 years 11 months ago

Good post about blogging with balls. I’ve always considered myself to be just such a guy. But since I’m in the market for a new career opportunity, I’ve been pretty tame in the social media space. But I sought to change some of that with the launch of my own blog, “The PR Situation.” While the engagement is the same as over here (yet), I try to display the “set” that I have by being very honest & candid.
.-= LA Jones´s most recent blog post …Take My Junior Staffer…Please =-.

4 years 11 months ago

Here’s the thing though – sometimes it’s that brazen outlook that can help get you hired. Companies (the smart ones) don’t want drones – they want thinkers and challengers. Here’s to your candidness making them think. :)

Angela (
4 years 11 months ago

Well thank goodness I don’t have to be the first one brave enough to comment this time. 😉

I agree. It amazes me sometimes when someone will say to me privately something they disagreed with or didn’t like that happened with someone else. My inevitable response is “Did you discuss it with them?” or “Did you tell them how you felt?”

*insert backpedaling here* “Well oh, no, I mean, I couldn’t do THAT.”

Why not? If you feel strongly enough about it to seek someone out in IM or email and discuss a viewpoint, than isn’t that a strong enough impetus to write a post or two or leave a comment? I, for one, appreciate a comment with an alternate point of view if only for the reason that it presents my readers with more information.

I once had someone leave a very negative comment on a blog post. Her following is near cult-like and I reached out to her and explained something I thought she was missing on the topic. It eventually led to a guest post series on her blog where I presenting the one viewpoint side-by-side with her alternate pov and I thought it was BRILLIANT. There are plenty of people who will inevitably disagree with my thoughts in favor of hers.

But that doesn’t make what I had to say any less valid.

Toes of steel and set opinions. I think it is easier to be blown in the wind of popularity than to develop a thought of your own. But it’s infinitely more fun to create your OWN opinions about things. 😉

Nice to connect with you again – I’m slowly coming out of the postpartum fog and catching up. Great post…

Angela <
.-= Angela (@AngEngland)´s most recent blog post …10 Tips on Investing for Retirement =-.

4 years 11 months ago

Ha, I recall that post you’re on about! :)

That’s the great thing about comments, Ang – the feedback factor. We only improve by feedback, and if we can get that through comments then more power to those that offer that option.

Glad to have you back as well – missed your smiling face. Welcome back. :)

Jayme Soulati
5 years 8 hours ago

Starting off with the P.S. I wonder if because this includes “balls” few women are commenting?

My thought has much to do with the fear factor. I’ve seen commenters get lambasted for their opinion especially in a rich blogging community environment (which is what makes it rich).

This discussion does provide food for thought for we new bloggers, like Ali above. Schaeffer and I have gotten “into it” about a topic we’re both passionate for. What it does is lend healthy points of view that allow everyone to think more strategically — just like this does.

Thanks, Danny!
.-= Jayme Soulati´s most recent blog post …More Marketing Public Relations Sweet Spot =-.

4 years 11 months ago

Going with Ang’s comment, I know a whole bunch of Scottish women that would heartily disagree, Jayme… 😉

With regards the fear factor, this is where it comes down to the blogger to protect the community. Healthy disagreement is one thing; outright abuse and bullying is another.

I wrote about that very topic here:

http://dannybrown.me/2010/02/03/a-slight-intermission-on-blog-comments-respect/

The sad thing is, there are many so-called A-listers that are letting comment abuse happen and doing nothing about it. Then the same blogger goes on and talks about trust… Time for bloggers to stand up more.

Angela (
4 years 11 months ago

I am Italian….I think even the women are born with a set. *teasing grin*

I think it ultimately boils down to the surity of what you’re saying. Are you saying what you’ve heard said, or are you saying what you believe to be true? One is a sandy foundation, the other lends confidence and strength of conviction.

Like what you said about a healthy respect – When I know that my opinion on a matter is what works best for ME because I have thought it through for myself, then I am not threatened by someone who holds a differing opinion. :-)

Angela <
.-= Angela (@AngEngland)´s most recent blog post …10 Tips on Investing for Retirement =-.

Barney Austen
5 years 11 hours ago

Hello Danny. Food for thought and it also has generated some great conversation.

For me, commentary is a nice way of engaging with people who read my blog. However, many times, I don’t receive any comments (time for the violins :) ).

But this is ok, I am still able to write about things that interest me and I hope will interest or inform others which is a key part of helping me connect (IMHO) with my readers and customers.

And I know it’s boring – but this was an excellent post!

Cheers
Barney
.-= Barney Austen´s most recent blog post …The market – David and Goliath =-.

5 years 10 hours ago

There was a study recently (could even have been the State of the Blogosphere report by Technorati) that offered up percentage of lurkers versus actives (blog readers versus commenters).

Seemingly only 5% (and it may have been less – my memory’s a little hazy today) actually comment on blog posts; the majority of the readers simply read and then act.

So yeah, while you may not get comments, you’re helping others grow – never a bad thing.

And I’ll have to check out your blog myself – always great to have new reads :)

Ali Davies
5 years 15 hours ago

You know Danny, stuff like this is so valuable for us relatively new bloggers. I have only been blogging since January this year so still very much learning and finding my blogging voice. Your post has fired me up to rasie my game and bring my balls to my writing more (as a girl, I am of course speaking metaphorically!!).
.-= Ali Davies´s most recent blog post …The Curse of Work Life Balance =-.

5 years 10 hours ago

Some of the people with the biggest balls are girls, Ali 😉

Sometimes I find new bloggers have the balls that more established bloggers are missing. The simple fact that they are new means they’re experimenting to see what fits for them. And often that leads to some of the most open blogs around.

Cheers!

Loving the Bike
5 years 16 hours ago

I’m not sure if I’ve got balls, but I definitely am 100% myself at my blog site. I am not afraid to show what life is really like in my world and I think it has showed others that I’m completely genuine.
You are full of great material there chief…..keep the great posts coming.

Darryl
.-= Loving the Bike´s most recent blog post …Look Who’s Loving the Bike – May =-.

5 years 10 hours ago

Keyword – “genuine”. At the end of the day, that’s all we can ask for, Darryl – give me genuine over generic any day.

Bill Sledzik
5 years 17 hours ago

There’s a deja vu about all this. Just remembered why. http://bit.ly/bunUG1
.-= Bill Sledzik´s most recent blog post …PR pros and triggering events: anticipate, create =-.

5 years 17 hours ago

Great find, Bill. I’ve actually worked with Jenn before, and she’s definitely one of the more original voices on the scene. Cheers for reminding me.

Jenn Mattern
4 years 11 months ago

I’ll take that as a compliment. 😉

Quick note — I might not be quite as brash as I was at NakedPR before I retired it (well, maybe sometimes). But I’d like to think I can still out-cajones more than a few folks in the ‘sphere.

For the time being, I mostly write about social media at the new http://SocialImplications.com. You’re always welcome to stop by and chat (or pick a fight — but if you must, be sure to “bring it”). 😉
.-= Jenn Mattern´s most recent blog post …Deciphering Shady Social Media Stats =-.

4 years 11 months ago

Most definitely a compliment, Jenn – didn’t you get the memo that I’m cheap with compliments? 😉

And I’ll be sure to stop over your way to “bring it” or otherwise :)

Scott Hale
5 years 17 hours ago

Glad to see I’m not the only one that has grown tired of the “kumbaya” feeling. I don’t need to see argument for the sake of argument, but I do want to see the industry challenge itself based on logic and results.

I’m with you, Danny, if a blog post is the same safe viewpoint, I don’t care if it’s right – I’m not talking about it. I’d rather my favorite bloggers go out on a limb and get some negative feedback so the idea becomes shaped into something new.

I’ve heard Patton Oswalt (comedian) talk about a similar phenomenon in standup comedy – once people know your name, you can’t tell when your material sucks because people laugh and clap based on who you are, not what you say.

– Scott
@sjhalestorm
.-= Scott Hale´s most recent blog post …Facebook Can Have My Data =-.

5 years 17 hours ago

Stretching ourselves seems to be something we forget a lot, Scott.

We need answers, we crowdsource instead of Googling. We need reviews, we check FourSquare instead of experimenting to see if our taste is different. Maybe technology and our growing “laziness” (for want of a better word) is where our balls have shrunk?

One of my favourite comedians used to be Billy Connolly – great when he first appeared back in the 70’s. Raw; real; didn’t care.

Then he got successful. Lost his edge, hung out with the British monarchy, checked in his originality and replaced it with profanity instead. Cheap laughs are fine, but they don’t make a belly ache.

Ike
5 years 18 hours ago

Add Jeremy Pepper to your list. He calls it as he sees it, and he calls out those who need it.

He’s also slowed down, and really only posts when he detects a prevailing wind so abhorrent and pungent that someone needs to clear the air.

If everyone else is saying it, why add to it?
.-= Ike´s most recent blog post …Is the ‘Good Ole Boy’ so dumb, or crazy like a fox? =-.

5 years 17 hours ago

Funnily enough, I was reading his March SxSWi post the other day, and thought he doesn’t blog nearly as often as he should. But then again, when you come out with some of the stuff he does, why change? Great call, Ike.

Darren Sproat
5 years 18 hours ago

Danny,
How I have missed blog posts like this. Let’s just keep it real and say it like it is… 😉
Great post man,
Darren
.-= Darren Sproat´s most recent blog post …Introducing… Your Life Brand =-.

5 years 17 hours ago

Cheers fella – I’m guilty of having been a bit quiet recently. Time to amend.

Ryan Stephens
5 years 18 hours ago

I love this Danny if for no other reason than it validates a conversation Tim Jahn, David Stehle, Carlos Miceli and others of us have been having for a few weeks now.

Carlos wrote a great post about it here, and I’ll steal his words, “In a world where feelings are a priority, mediocrity rules.”

I don’t mind, in fact I enjoy bloggers that might be labeled a little bit abrasive because I appreciate the fact that they’re unafraid to go against the grain. It’s not “hating,” it’s challenging in such a way that those of us who want to can think about issues more deeply, learn and grow from the ‘challengers’ insights.

I’m glad you have a pair!
.-= Ryan Stephens´s most recent blog post …My Response to Recent Gen Y Criticism =-.

5 years 17 hours ago

That’s a great post by Carlos, Ryan, thanks for sharing it here.

It’s kind of ironic that mediocre sounds so similar to media. A lot of free thought has been sucked dry by tycoon owners who need to answer to sponsors and advertisers.

Fine if you need to balance some books for the time being. But look at how many newspapers have died; or how many TV stations are suffering, or radio channels closed down.

We can get mediocre anywhere. On the bus; in school; in our jobs; with our partners. Why would we want to pay for it?

Something fresh and different, though? Where do I subscribe?

David Spinks
5 years 18 hours ago

In a business that is so networking focused, I fear that the “kumbaya” mentality will always exist at some level. Why?

People tend to make their decisions based on short-term goals, not long term.

Agreeing with everyone blindly will pay off greater in the short term. They’ll like you.

Standing by your beliefs and disagreeing when it’s necessary will pay off greater in the long-term…because eventually, they’ll respect you.

Being respected > Being liked.
.-= David Spinks´s most recent blog post …7 Ways a College Student Can Start Becoming a Professional Now =-.

5 years 17 hours ago

“Being respected > Being liked” – pretty much sums it up right there, mate.

It’s like high school. No-one likes a suck ass apart from the teacher, and the teachers are only there for a limited time anyway. At some point you have to start learning by yourself, and no amount of faux like is going to help there.

Norcross
5 years 18 hours ago

I simply don’t agree with Grant’s premise about comments. It’s not a simple yes or no answer. To take his statement

“Aren’t the comments one of the reason you started blogging in the first place?”

No, it wasn’t for me. I started blogging back in 1999 as a way to get some thoughts out of my head onto something, since I have problems with the physical act of writing (long story). Same goes for a lot of other people. It’s not always about a conversation, or community, or anything other web 2.0 kum-bah-ya bullshit. Some people just want to write. There’s nothing that says anyone is entitled to have their say on my personal slice of the web. If they feel strong enough, they are free to write a post of their own.

5 years 17 hours ago

Agreed, Andrew – most questions/viewpoints aren’t a closed book (the best ones usually aren’t).

For bloggers looking for views on their posts, comments are perfect. For those (like your earlier days) for whom it’s more a journal, comments aren’t needed.

The “conversation… bullshit” is there for those that want it (like here at this minute, for example). And the great thing is that for people that don’t want to write long form (as you mention yourself) but still want to speak, comments offer that.

Personally I feel blogs are made stronger by comments because they can take the post in a whole new direction. Others are against it and just want their point of view left as is.

Neither is clear-cut right or wrong – just as neither post about it (or any other topic) is necessarily right or wrong.

At least offering the option to disagree allows further discussion. Your choice whether you want that or not, obviously, but talk to yourself long enough and you can often lose track of a bigger picture.

Norcross
5 years 17 hours ago

That’s the main point I wanted to make: allowing discussion. It’s not what everyone is after. I don’t look down on folks who close comments, since they’re still putting out their ideas in a public forum. And they aren’t preventing discussion, rather, just not having it on their yard. If I see a post that I feel strongly about, I may be prompted to write my own. And a discussion can happen there.

5 years 17 hours ago

It can and does, for sure. But wouldn’t it be great to have the “main discussion” at the point of origin, as opposed to fractured all over? If not just for the simple fact that some points wouldn’t be missed because of lack of trackbacks, or Google findability?

Norcross
5 years 15 hours ago

Good for you and me, maybe. But we’re ignoring the goals and desires of the person actually writing the post. I can’t just walk up to you in public and force you to have a conversation with me, why is it any different online? What am I, as a reader, entitled to?

5 years 10 hours ago

But we’re not ignoring any goals, if you think about it. The person writing the post defines the interaction, if any – there’s no forced issue at all. You don’t “force” a comment – that’s fully opt-in.

As a reader, you’re entitled to whatever the blogger encourages or offers – you then decide whether to take that up or not.

This post isn’t really about comments and rights or wrongs of having them/not having them. It’s about having the courage of your convictions to define your view and not just bow down to the popular viewpoint.

Although having an option for comments has offered up this great conversation we’re having now – so yes, I’m all for them 😉

Norcross
5 years 18 hours ago

That being said, I do have comments turned on for my blog. But I rarely (if ever) link to it.
.-= Norcross´s most recent blog post …So Yeah, I Deleted Facebook =-.

Bill Sledzik
5 years 18 hours ago

Hey, Danny. Thanks for the shoutout. I’ve never thought of myself as a blogger “with balls,” just one who speaks candidly. My posts aren’t the gospel, just my opinion. But if it stirs up discussion and debate, I like to think I’m advancing the body of knowledge.

There is one more thing that emboldens me: I have nothing to lose. I don’t blog to market my business or to secure my spot on the rubber-chicken circuit of social media. It makes a big difference when you don’t have to worry about who might blackball you from the club.
.-= Bill Sledzik´s most recent blog post …PR pros and triggering events: anticipate, create =-.

5 years 18 hours ago

Hey there Bill,

Funny thing is, we’re getting to the stage where candid is becoming less prevalent that it’s almost a ballsy approach to be uncompromising when it’s needed. Something you do so well, blackballing be damned.

PR Cog
5 years 18 hours ago

Huzzah!

Of course I’d end up going and praising this post, but whatcha gonna do when the man’s right.

Fantastic post sir — glad to see back on all cylinders and not holding back.

P

Ari Herzog
4 years 11 months ago

Has Danny ever been one to hold back?
.-= Ari Herzog´s most recent blog post …To Everyone Who Thinks I Am So Darned Busy =-.

5 years 18 hours ago

You’re so original, Cogster… 😉

Terrace Crawford
5 years 18 hours ago

Good post. I like reading bloggers who go against the tide too.

-Terrace Crawford
http://www.terracecrawford.com
http://www.twitter.com/terracecrawford