Sometimes, when I can't think of something to blog about, I google around for lists of blog ideas. I came across one just now, link here, and I was slightly taken aback at advice entry #6:
Pick a fight: many bloggers attempt to generate traffic by loudly criticising another (popular) blogger in the hope that they’ll respond and generate traffic from their readers. This sort of tactic is often referred to as ‘link-baiting’ – in other words, if the criticised blogger responds (takes the bait) it generally means links to your blog. If you are to criticise another blogger, then, it is worth considering if it will be seen as ‘link-bait’ or a constructive and valuable debate. Done well, a genuine argument between two bloggers can generate insight and bring factions to compromise. You can also pick a fight with a company or brand, and mount a campaign to instigate change.
Seriously, what the hell? Why is this a thing? The title of this post was "Starting a blog? 12 ideas for blog posts" -- this is this person's idea of how to get started blogging.
I mean, I admit I'm not hugely successful in the field, but it seems to me sort of self-evidently wrong to advise people to deliberately increase the level of drama on the internet for attention.
For the record, I'm pretty sure this isn't hypocritical for two reasons: One, I think there's a fundamental difference between observing and raising issues you already care about, and deliberately picking fights with bloggers because they're popular; and two, because I'm fairly confident the bloggers at OJB aren't going to respond.
The author of the post did respond in comments below, and linked this post from the original post. I honestly didn't expect him to notice my post at all, but he's taken my criticism and updated entry six. It now reads:
Pick a fight: there are two ways you can pick a fight on your blog – one good, and one bad. The bad variant is called linkbaiting (although the term covers a broader range of practices), and is done by bloggers seeking traffic or attention, typically by loudly criticising a popular blogger in the hope that they’ll respond, sending links and readers in your direction. The result tends to be lots of noise, and not much insight. The good variant, by contrast, starts with two things: constructive criticism, and a desire to gain insights rather than attention. If you are to criticise another blogger, then, it is worth considering if it will be seen as ‘bait’ or a constructive and valuable debate. Done well, a genuine argument between two bloggers can generate insight and bring factions to compromise. You can also pick a fight with a company or brand, and mount a campaign to instigate change.
I'm still not totally sure I'm comfortable with the phrasing 'pick a fight,' but it now definitely reads like it's suggesting using your own strongly held opinions as a springboard for writing your own content, rather than seeking out popular blogs to target for attention.
I'd like to add that this feature of the blogosphere -- the ability for people to resolve disagreements in content and style in real time, as reflected in both my and Paul's edits to our posts, is one of my favorite things about blogging, and one of the major advantages it has over traditional print media.