Sunday, April 11, 2010

Obnoxious bloggers—Don't let this be YOU!

I started my blog initially as yes, a HOBBY. After I got fired, I needed an outlet and way to stay in the game—to keep my skills sharp and let my voice be heard. Plus, what the hell else did I have going on? Nada. It gave me a sense of purpose and a routine to my day. I needed that. 

Now, almost nine months later, I'd be lying if I said I didn't want something more to come from my labor of love. (Any blogger who says otherwise is a damn LIAR.) I work hard at this and it's time consuming as hell. I'm not talking about blowing up Perez Hilton style, but some kind of recognition or small profit or something would be nice. I'd like to think that this blog could somehow help me land my next job. An.y.way.

Even so, I will not be a sell my soul for this blog. I will not be obnoxious (Even if I do update my status too frequently on Facebook—sorry guys!). I will NOT be that blogger. What exactly am I talking about? Well, the other day I found a blog I liked and commented on one of the posts and included a link to FnF. (Some people do actually consider that to be obnoxious, but whateves.) Soon after, I got an email from the blogger saying this:

"I'm following your blog - I'd be grateful if you wouldn't mind following back. Numbers, numbers, numbers! In my crazy little mind I think this may help me get an agent."

I was amazed at how this dude had like over 1,000 followers after blogging just a few months (I always get disheartened when I see someone else's blog doing so much better than mine), but now I know why. He is pimping his shit OUT. Numbers, numbers, numbers! An agent? Wow, that's ballsy. And it's actually kind of ballsy for me to write about this. If I see my followers decrease by one today, I will know why. 

Maybe I don't put myself out there enough, which could keep me from achieving anything with this blog. And that's fine—at least I'll know I kept it 100 the whole way through. Coincidentally, Perez got fired from the SAME magazine I did, and I heard he was a fucking snake. If being a cutting asshole who draws penises on people's faces is the only way to be successful these days, then I don't want any part of it.

What about you: Have you seen bloggers be totally and utterly obnoxious? Do you have any blogging pet peeves? 


  1. I agree with you!
    It's so silly to ASK somebody to follow you. People who follow you are supposed to be people who are genuinely interested in what you write about - not following you because you asked them to.

    By the way, whose blog if you don't mind me asking? Just curious about what they blog about.

  2. I feel you! When I started my blog, I secretly had my fingers crossed my blog would become a job and my tiresome job search would disappear. Nope. Didn't happen. My blog is still my #1 hobby- and I'm proud of it!

    Keep on promoting FnF as you are and just stay true to yourself. You're not overdoing it. Eventually, companies might invite you to be their blogger for events or ask if they can advertise on your page. You know you have something really awesome here!

    And while I'm at it, I'll pull an Ellen and leave you with this: - check it out!

  3. Oh Ellen, I totally feel you. I was once on this food blog, and the woman specifically stated she would remove any comments that promoted the commenters blog in anyway. umm-ew! needless to say, i'm not a follower of her very pretentious food blog. And don't stress about your blog, these things take time, and if you feel like putting yourself outthere to get more followers, go right ahead. and if it makes you feel better, i only have 13 followers on my blog, lol. But obviously, the key is to stay true to yourself. Nobody wants to be thought of as a snake like Perez Hilton. I don't even like his blog, D-Listed is sooo much funnier.

  4. Wow, I don't see anything wrong with asking someone to follow or comment on one's blog.

    How is it obnoxious to ask? To me it actually seems honest and kind of humble to ask directly for what you want, nicely.

    I like that he acknowledged directly what he wanted (which incidentally also opened himself up to a possible "no"). Humble and ballsy at the same time, I guess it's possible.

  5. I guess it's ok to casually suggest that "hey, I like your blog, you might like mine, check it out if you want!"...but asking for the sake of raising numbers is a little fake to me. I become a follower because the blog is interesting and I can relate to it, not to coerce the blogger to in turn follow me for the sake of numbers (which at the moment isn't much at all, two posts since I've just gotten into blogging for fun :] )

  6. I read your blog and I actually enjoy it most of the time. Except when you're being conceited.

    You openly admit something that you started as a hobby has now morphed in to something you are actively doing in the hopes that it will lead to something more substantial.You might not be aware but a lot of the time as a read I can tell that there's a sense of desperation in your writing because you are looking for something to come from this...regardless of what it may be. AND that's fine. But why dump on this other blogger just because they had the nerve to ask you politely for something which they hope will help them achieve the same ends that you are trying to achieve. Is your "cause" more worthy because you do it in a different way to him? No. You both have the same end in sight you're just going for it in different ways. Plus you plug your blog a hell of a lot. Which is great. You comment on other peoples blog and leave you address in the hopes that you'll pick up some new readers. You made sweet bags and you had your own sticker made so that you could randomly stick them places in the hopes that someone would log on and look you up. You plug your sisters writing and your friends sight. My point is that what you do is no different to what he's done. You just go about it in a different way. Plus, all they did was ask you to do something on the basis that you enjoyed their blog. Numbers are important to blogger. Readers just don't realise it. For example I read your blog every day almost. And there are probably others who do that also. But I don't follow your blog, consequently even though I'm a reader your follower count doesn't demonstrate that. I'm sure they were trying to suggest was that if indeed you were a genuine reader and you do indeed enjoy their blog if you could follow because numbers are important.

    I'm actually really disappointed that people can be so rude about others just because they perceive something to be obnoxious when in actuality their behaviour is no different. You seem like a really nice girl, and your blog is an enjoyable easy read but damn you can be bitchy as fuck. Sorry this is really harsh and considering this is my first comment on your blog despite me being a regular reader but I guess it just got to me how mean this post really is.

  7. I think there are distinct differences in the way you promote your blog, Ellen, and the way your post's subject did. Leaving links to your blog simply invites people to try it out...come look, read, decide for yourself if you'd like to follow. A lot of bloggers check out their new followers' blogs and become followers themselves, however to ASK for it for the sake of *numbers*...well that is just compromising his own integrity as a writer.

    When I blog, I want to know that my followers are enjoying what they read. Sure, I, like you, would like to see an eventual return, but only if I know it's because it's quality writing, and not because I asked for followers.

    I gotta say, Ellen, I'm with you on this one. - haha...PLUG!

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  9. Sorry, I totally agree with Jessica on this is disappointing how hypocritical this post is and you should be more supportive of other bloggers considering you are in a similar position as some of them are. I really hope you learn and grow from this.

  10. Wow, lots to discuss here, but I'm going *try* to keep it brief. I think the biggest difference between me and the type of blogger I referenced is that I want to build a following based on people who truly enjoy my blog. It's not just about the numbers and manipulating them in a way that gives the appearance of success/traffic. Passing out bags of candy or making stickers is promoting, and I think it's something all bloggers should do. But shooting someone an email like that? I don't know, it just turned me off. But, you guys are certainly entitled to your opinion, and that is mine.

  11. I hear you. I almost didn't reply to your giveaway post because I thought, I hope she doesn't think I just read this blog and comment for giveaways!

    Anything I do that is too self-promotey (made that word up) makes me squirm. So you're not alone!

  12. Reading some of these comments & pooh poohs, it seems as though women's hang ups about "purity" are somehow bound up in the conundrum that is "Women and self-promotion". It's no wonder that most of the richest people in North America are still male.

    Why do so many women feel guilty doing it? Why do women tear down anyone who attempts to toot her own horn or be forthright about what she needs to reach her goals? I'd love to know.

  13. I totally understand what you mean. (Although, I haven't been updating my blog as frequently. Life has been unusually busy.) I actually like when people comment and leave their url. that is part of the blogging culture. That is how we discover new blogs. I think that is how I found yours! (So glad I did, btw.)

    There are some people that get lots of followers, by simply e-mailing people to follow them. And I get why. It's kind of annoying. But it's just not me. I will promote my blog. Get involved in the blog community.But I won't ask people to follow me. People should follow you because they genuinely want to.

  14. Ellen! I'm now officially following you. NUMBERS, NUMBERS, NUMBERS, girl! :)

    And by all these comments it seems like your numbers are pretty good!

    Lovely seeing you Friday night... your happy hour turned into a LONG night of drinking and an even longer Saturday afternoon.

  15. Hmmm, not to play devil's advocate, but he only asked you to follow him -- which really isn't much different from promoting a blog with a sticker or business card. Any time you ask someone to read your blog (not YOU-you, but anyone who has a blog) you're hoping they'll ultimately decide to follow it and drive the numbers up. This guy just asked directly.

    It'd be a different story if he tried to blackmail you to follow him -- like if he said, "If you follow me, I'll follow you." But it sounds like he was probably just trying to relate to you, since you're both writers who have blogs, both keep an eye on the numbers, and both hope to parlay it into a career eventually. KWIM? But there are so many legitimately obnoxious bloggers out there, I think it's easy to have your guard up any time a blogger contacts you.

  16. Hrm, maybe I took the "numbers, numbers, numbers"/agent thing the wrong way? I guess to me, it came across as a "I scratched your back, now you scratch mine" type of thing. It just didn't seem genuine, but like you said, Kara, maybe I did just have my guard up a bit...

  17. I'm terrible at any sort of promoting-my friends are trying to force me to make a Facebook page for my blog and I can't even do it. but I wish I was better at it! That's the only way you are going to get lots of followers. I actually learned in a fashion writing class that I'm taking with well known bloggers and people say TO ask for followers just the way that person did to you. It still makes me feel funny though and I can't do it!

  18. If I had received that email I would have assumed that the only reason he followed my blog was so that he would gain a follower for his blog in return, rather than following my blog purely because he liked it without expecting anything back. But just as meaning is lost in translation between languages, meaning is just as easily lost/misconstrued via written communication.

    Anyways, regardless of all that I think the method by which you achieve a goal (ANY goal, be it blog-related or otherwise) is as important as the achievement itself. Wouldn't you rather lose 10 lbs through healthy eating and exercise rather than getting a plastic surgeon to remove chunks of lard from your thighs? And wouldn't landing a job through some (subtle) self-promotion in an interview rather than sleeping with the man/lady interviewing you feel so much more...rewarding! I feel I digress (especially on the last point there, I think that might only happen in films but whatever...) but I'm sure you get my drift!

  19. Oh, I completely agree. The people who are like "follow me, I'm following you!" I'm like I'll follow you if you can write and make me laugh, otherwise forget it!

  20. Personally, I would be more concerned with hits and click throughs than I would be about your followers. So many people list you on Google Reader without actually following you and others do it anonymously so those numbers don't tell the whole story. Plus, how many of those followers actually bother to read the site? Perez didn't get as big as he is through listed followers but because people clicked through and hit his page on a daily basis. Also, he was providing something no one else was- he was a complete and utter dick, he outed people on the regular and he had contacts that got him some information before others could.

    The thing that pisses me off most about some bloggers, and especially Perez, is that he doesn't bother to do his own research. Half of his posts these days are just rewritten popwrap, what would tyler durden do, etc posts with his snarky commentary (which from what i hear is not even him anymore- when would he actually have time with all the branching out?).

    I can see both sides of the coin on this one, I probably would have felt similarly to you had someone emailed me like that.

    And to Jessica, don't act like you can't be bitchy yourself about other people, places and things. We are women, it's what we do- doesn't always make it right but it also doesn't give us the right to berate someone else when they have their bitchy moments. Ellen is just a little more open and honest about it- which I would prefer to back stabbing, behind the back cattiness!

    And for my desperate plug:

    Love you Ellen! And your blog :)

  21. I'm with you on this one Ellen. People should follow you because they like the blog, not just because they want you to follow theirs!

  22. whoa! i can definitely see where you are coming from thinking this guy wasn't genuine-that he just wanted his numbers up, and that would get under my skin too for sure. although maybe it was totally innocent and it just gets lost in translation without knowing the person, etc. it would be nice to think of you gaining a big "following" based on people actually loving your blog, not because you asked them to increase your numbers. i usually appreciate when people who comment on your blog leave a link to theirs-otherwise i would never find them!

    either way, i love that this has started a discussion on your blog. i just wish people could do it without actually insulting you....i at least always take people more seriously when they can make a valid point without stooping to insults.

  23. Here's your chance: visit (no, this is not spam). Alicia Keys is looking for a full-time blogger to travel the world with her and blog. Don't let it pass you up, considering you have experience in high-level media. Let me know how it goes!

  24. Wow. I thought asking to be followed for the sake of numbers was a little crass. I guess I was wrong; shows what I know.

    It makes me think of the chapter in "Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman" when Richard Feynman learns from a bartender in a dive just off Route 66 that the way to get laid is to simply ask a woman if they'll sleep with him.

    There must be more to it than that.

    Anyway, I like your blog. I'm happy to follow it. No charge.

  25. Wow, I didn't realize what a touchy subject this could be. I was also wondering if "followers" even really matters to avertisers? I would think traffic was much more important.If I got that email I would not have even thought about it. If I thought it was a lame request I would have just deleted it and moved on to the next email. I don't think him asking is a big deal. You don't get anything unless you ask. Is your boss going to ever ask you into his office and say "hey, good work. I'm going to give you an 8% raise!" No, you go in there and ask for it. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

  26. Wow, thanks for the heads up, GAB! Looove Alicia Keys.

    Ola, I hear you. And I'm not against self-promotion at all. I do it ALL the time. I guess what I was referring to here is HOW you do it.

    And thanks for the kind words, Berryfine, much appreciated :) And Lee!

    George, I was just using this one dude as an example to make a point about a bigger and very prevalent issue in the blogging world. (But um, yeah, I didn't know it would get this kind of dialogue going). Asking isn't a big deal, it happens often and that's fine. It's all about how you got about it. And I think this is a bit different than asking a boss for a promotion. You can approach your boss with XYZ as to why you deserve it. Either you're working hard, producing results, etc or you're not. Blogging is more's not as black and white. A blog may be funny, smart, etc., but that doesn't mean everyone is going to LIKE it. The approach I referenced is just not my personal style. And lord knows I can be pretty darn "squeaky!"

    OK, I'm feeling dizzy. Not sure if I'm making sense or any valid points at the moment! Wow, and it's only Monday...

  27. Awesome discussion. I totally agree; how you do something is often as important as the outcome. Being able to say you suceeded or failed with integrity means much more than just some "followers" statistic. As a few people have said, the number of page views, visitors, loyalty etc. are what really count. And whoever pointed out that criticism can be great as long as it does stoop to insults hit the nail on the head!

    Keep it up!

  28. Great post Ellen! You've clearly touched a nerve with your readers and that's awesome! I'm generally the kind of person who believes you have to go out and get what you want, rather than waiting on it to be handed to you so I can't fault this guy for asking. In the very least he was straightforward with you. I can see your point though, it's kinda like cheating.

    I follow your blog because it's entertaining and funny! Keep it up and it will pay off eventually! On another note given how much attention and heat this post drew maybe you should start intentionally writing more stuff that will piss people off. It reminds me of Howard Stern's movie when they are going over his listener numbers...."People who like Howard listen for 1 hour a day because they want to hear what he'll say next. People who hate Howard listen for 3 hours a day because they want to hear what he'll say next." His 5 year deal with Sirius/XM was for half a billion dollars. Something to think about!

  29. i definitly agree 100%. as a journalism grad student i use my blog as a way to express myself constantly in a way that i want too instead of always doing what the school wants me too. i just like to TALK..MAYBE TOO MUCH LOL but obnoxious bloggers are welll...obnoxious.

    if you would like to check out my blog (not for the numbers lol) its

    ..a modern girl website. & you are linked on one of my must read websites. ;)

  30. Good point about Howard Stern, Michael. Hrm, now I'm rethinking the post I was going to put up tonight, but what the heck. This is all trial and error. And trust me, I am a firm believer in going out and getting what you want. I wouldn't have survived NYC and the industry I work in and the circumstances I've been faced with if I didn't believe that 100 percent. However, again, it's all about how you go about it. Different strokes for different folks!

    Thanks, Courtney, I will definitely check it out :)

  31. Ellen~

    I follow because I enjoy reading your posts. Do I wish I had your following, yes but would I EVER ask Probably why mine is pityful and small but that's ok.

  32. Erm...having stumbled onto this exchange of opinions - and not wishing to prolong it or anything - isn't the point of following a blog to do it because you like it? And just because someone likes YOUR blog doesn't automatically mean you like THEIR blog or writing style, right? Like, does Stephen King automatically have to like the writing of every one of his billions of fans? Of course not. Some of them suck. He doesn't hafta tell 'em that, but he doesn't have to go buy their books either.

    Following is something you do if you like a blog. You follow your heart, the cliche goes, meaning what you feel you like. Follow your hearts, my friends. Like my miniscule seven followers have. :-)

  33. Thanks, B!

    And, yup, I'm totally with you, Scott!