7 Annoying Blogging Personality Disorders

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A few months ago, I told you about the annoying social media personality disorders that will kill your ability to be successful on the social web.

But guess what? Bloggers are not immune from developing their own set of ugly personalities that will send readers packing.

So if you’ve been slaving away at your blog and wondering why no one is engaging with you or sharing your stuff, perhaps you’re overlooking the something so close to you that you’re likely to miss it altogether – your personality.

The Truth Hurts

Whether you like it or not, your readers are quietly judging your blog based on your personality. People have precious little time on their hands, and they want to spend it with people they know, like, and trust.

The same is true “in real life” and on other social media channels. Personality matters.

In the blogosphere, just like in real life, there are some common personality traits that are universally unappealing. And chances are, these bloggers are scaring away readers and they don’t even know it.

So who are these blogging misfits? Let me introduce you.

The Navel Gazer

Navel gazers are introspective folks who love to share their innermost thoughts and feelings. Their blogs read more like a diary than helpful information that people want to share.

Navel gazers are also notorious for over sharing – everything from way-too-personal details of their lives to every little hiccup in their business.

Now if your blog is purely meant to be your personal journal, that’s fine. However, if you want to build your business around your blog, this will just turn people off. People don’t want to hear about you. They want you to entertain them, solve their problems, and make their lives better.

The Spoilsport

Spoilsports just don’t know how to have a good time. They’re negative, cynical, and always have a contrarian view on issues.

The problem is, deep down at their core, spoilsports are just insecure. They tear others down to make themselves feel better. And all the while, they’re wondering why their blog isn’t as successful as those around them.

If you want to grow a blog community, be positive, kind, and congratulate others on their success. After all, what did our parents always say? If you can’t say something nice, don’t say it at all. Believe it or not, that same rule still applies.

The Ranter

Oh, how everyone loves a good rant. While it may feel good to get something off your chest, it does nothing to help your readers. Instead, it’s all about showcasing how smart you are or why everyone else is doing it wrong.

Before you give your opinion, make sure you’re doing it in a thoughtful way that benefits your readers. Otherwise, you’ll look like an idiot who just wants to blow off steam or stir the pot to get attention.

The Copycat

Unfortunately, the world is full of me-too bloggers who simply regurgitate everything else that’s on the web. While sometimes it’s entirely unintentional, others are far more blatant about it.

It’s easy to write about the same stuff everyone else does. It is much more difficult to come up with something utterly unique that will wow readers. But it is also far more rewarding.

Want to stand out? Look at traditional viewpoints about topics in your niche and turn them on their heads. Find a different way to explain something or use storytelling to get your point across. You have to write the posts that only YOU can write. People will love you for it.

The Plagiarist

If you want to really piss people off, become a plagiarist. Plagiarists are often SEO scammers who rip off content verbatim and pass it off as their own. This happened to me recently, and it feels just as awful as it sounds. While the readers of your blog might not know that you’re stealing content, the original authors do.

Sure, you might be able to game the system and get all sorts of back links and clicks for your ads, but this will catch up with you eventually. And after all, who wants to build a business off of someone else’s work?

The Sleazeball

Ever seen those TV ads with the people in the red Lamborghini in front of a poolside mansion? Yeah, there are folks just like this on the web.

Although they might not be as obvious, these people are the ones who will sell you get-rich-quick “systems” to help you get 100,000 hits on your website in one week or how to make $50,000 this month. Just like those TV ads, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

It is possible to use your blog to sell products on the web without being sleazy. In fact, there’s whole movement around ethical selling online.

The Know-It-All

Ever been at a party and got stuck talking to the guy who insisted he knew something about EVERYTHING? Yeah, me too. It sucks.

You get the same feeling when you read a blog run by a blowhard who can do no wrong, pretends to have the answer to everything, and believes he is better than his readers.

Sadly, this is one of the most common personality disorders in the blogosphere today. There’s a fine line between positioning yourself as an expert and coming off as better than everyone else.

So how do you separate yourself? Admit when you’re wrong, ‘fess up when you don’t have the answer, and engage with your readers. That goes a long way.

How do you stand out?

So how do you avoid developing one of these blogging personality disorders? Here are a few tips that might help:

  • Be YOU. There is only one you in this universe, so write about things in a way that only you can. Use your perspective, experiences, and talent, and show the world what you have to offer.
  • Find a fresh approach. Look for new ways to tackle your subject matter. Be creative, and don’t be afraid to use photos, videos, illustrations, and even comic strips to get your point across in a totally different way.
  • Be helpful. People are always looking for ways to make their lives easier and better. So help them! Use your expertise to solve your readers’ problems.
  • Be generous. Give people credit for their ideas and generously link to others. It’s okay to share other people’s content (in fact, it’s encouraged!), just be sure to give proper credit and link to the original article.
  • Engage. Amazing relationships can form online when you really engage with your readers. Leave posts unfinished, and ask your community to weigh in or ask for their opinion or feedback about an issue. People love to share their thoughts and ideas, so let them! The conversations and relationships that come out of it can be pure gold.

What are you doing to avoid scaring away readers? Are there other blogging misfits we should add to the list?

About Laura

Laura Click is founder and chief innovator at Blue Kite Marketing, a marketing and social media consulting group that’s passionate about helping small businesses reach new heights. You can learn more about Laura by connecting with her on Twitter and checking out her blog.

36 thoughts on “7 Annoying Blogging Personality Disorders

  1. Miss Kim

    Haha that navel gazer sounds totally like me! I’ve been meaning to evolve, but sometimes I think that aspect is what draws my readers to read my posts.

  2. Vaagdevi Ravishankar

    I think it is perfectly alright. Your writing reflects your personality. And I strongly believe that you should not fake enthusiasm when you want to rant or be cynical. If all of us begin to write the same way, there is no difference in personality. So go ahead, keep writing and let your work reflect who you are. :D

  3. Vaagdevi Ravishankar

    @lauraclick Good one, but a blog has to have a personality and invariably it takes the personality of the person who writes it. And we do have ranters and know-it-alls amidst us. If all the blog posts are none of these and everybody follows the same kind of prescription that you have given, then we may not have variety.

    Incidentally, your own first point says “Be YOU”. If the writer is a ranter, his blog posts will be rantings, can’t really help it. I think it’s alright. I agree that articles should not be plagiarized and that they should be engaging. But it is the “personality advice” that bothers me.

    Not saying that a ranter blog is especially interesting – but that, if that is the writer’s personality, so be it. Let that blog rant, he doesn’t have to fake enthusiasm. Otherwise we’ll have every blog post by every writer offering enthusiastic (faking it maybe), fresh, generous, engaging pieces of advice – all.the.time. And the writer won’t even mean a single word.

    And the next time you won’t have examples for “how not to write” ;)
    Just my thoughts.


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  5. Mitch Mitchell

    The one that’s difficult to figure out, from the blogger perspective, is being a “know-it-all”. When we face reality, no one wants to visit a blog where the writer knows nothing. The post above is kind of a “know-it-all” post, and it’s not bad. So, I hate using that specific terminology when it comes to blogging, although I have used it in other contexts, such as someone who acts like they know it all but really doesn’t, and doesn’t know how to recognize when they’re wrong.

    I will agree with the part about seeming to be better than everyone else, but often I place that in the hands of those ranters who just hate everything and want you to know why. That’s hard to deal with and will probably drive me away pretty quickly, unless I’m in the mood for a debate, which is rare. :-)

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  7. lauraclick

    @LisaEirene You’re right – it’s easy to be attracted by the shine and glean of a blog. But, after you spend some time with it, you start to see it’s flaws.

  8. LisaEirene

    Awesome. I totally agree with this. When I first started reading blogs I wanted to read them ALL…after some time I started to recognize things I didn’t like about the blogger or the website and stopped reading. A lot of those reasons you listed here.

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  10. lauraclick

    @kirsten.stroud Glad you liked it, Kirsten! It’s just too bad you’ve found blogs that fit these descriptions…I know there are a lot of them out there. But, that just means it gives more opportunities for the good ones to truly shine!

  11. lauraclick

    @MillJah Good one! I talked about that one in my social media personality post from a few months back. I called it the corporate spokesperson, but the premise is the same. Jargon, corporate lingo and stale content just won’t fly. Great addition!

  12. kirsten.stroud

    Absolutely brillant post. I recently become annoyed/obsessed or even annoyingly obsessed by a couple if blogs that fit perfectly two of your descriptions. Looking forward to reading more.

  13. MillJah

    The Boring Consultant blogger. *yawn* If by the second paragraph I’ve had to read too many technical terms and abbreviations, that makes me feel like I’m suddenly thrown in my re-occurring nightmare about being back to a particularly boring school day that never ends… well, self-explanatory. No matter how ‘pro’ one might want to sound like, a bit of wit and humor never hurts. Nobody likes a dry lecture. Well, I don’t.

  14. lauraclick

    @EmmaofCEM Ah yes. Certainly, that’s another one. Though, I’m not sure of a good name for it….I’ll have to think on that one!

  15. lauraclick

    @Lewis LaLanne aka Nerd #2 Oh, I LOVE redheadwriting ! You’re right – Erika is a fantastic example. She’s bold, she’s ballsy and I’m sure she pisses some people off. She’s certainly not for everyone. But, I would argue she doesn’t fall into any of the categories here. Ok, she does rant, but I would argue she still does a darn good job of making a point.

    But you’re right – it’s a delicate balancing act. Not everyone can pull that off like she does. She’s found her voice, but she’s done it in a way that still adds value to her readers. Without that, I doubt she’d have as much of a following.

    Thanks for weighing in!

  16. lauraclick

    @knikkolette Yikes! That’s too bad. It’s sad to hear that there are folks out there who insist on this approach. I’m glad you don’t work for that person anymore!

    Thanks for the comment and the kind words. :)

  17. lauraclick

    @Soulati | PR Oh yes, the narcissist. There are LOTS of those on the web. They love to talk about themselves – both in the post and in the comments. Not good. Great addition, Jayme!

  18. Lewis LaLanne aka Nerd #2

    Hey Laura,

    I love the point you make about there being a fine line between positioning yourself as an expert and coming off as being snooty to everyone else.

    One of my favorite blogs to read is redheadwriting.com. Her site drips with her personality so it’s original from that standpoint and this woman is a ninja in her profession but she never lords it over you. She’s far from afraid to tell you about how she completely embarrassed herself at the grocery store that day and will do so in a raw tone of voice, which I personally favor, that comes around full circle to teach you some kind of hearfelt lesson so that you can avoid making the same mistake.

    Thank you for sharing your 5 points here on this easy-to-drop-the-ball-on topic! I needed this reminder!

  19. knikkolette

    Great post Laura! I used to work for a person who was always wanting us to use the “Sleazeball” approach and was always annoyed that we wouldn’t give in. Standards need to be set and kept. Keep up the great work!

  20. Soulati | PR

    What a great list and spot on! I think the category missing for me is the “Egoist — or Egotist” and that’s the person who always uses the “I” word (or is that narcissist?). At any rate, you can tell who is as comments are continually about I did this and that even though they have an opportunity not to as a commenter.

  21. EmmaofCEM

    @lauraclick Hmm, I guess I’d also add the non-updater, though I’m certainly guilty of this on my personal blog. Would that be characterized as the serial non-committal? :)

  22. lauraclick

    @msrasberryinc You’re right – some of these personality types can indeed find an audience. However, I would argue that these personalities aren’t the best approach – especially if you’re trying to build a business around your blog. I think it all depends on what you’re trying to accomplish with your blog.

  23. lauraclick

    @msrasberryinc You’re right – some of these personality types can indeed find an audience. However, I would argue that these personalities aren’t the best approach – especially if you’re trying to build a business around your blog. I think it all depends on what you’re trying to accomplish with your blog.

  24. lauraclick

    @EmmaofCEM Interesting question. Admittedly, this wasn’t a scientific approach. I just looked at the most common turnoffs I’ve seen across the blogosphere. I read a LOT of blogs and this details what I’ve seen. I’m sure there are other “disorders” we could add to the list. Any suggestions?

  25. lauraclick

    @EmmaofCEM Interesting question. Admittedly, this wasn’t a scientific approach. I just looked at the most common turnoffs I’ve seen across the blogosphere. I read a LOT of blogs and this details what I’ve seen. I’m sure there are other “disorders” we could add to the list. Any suggestions?

  26. msrasberryinc

    I’ve definitely seen each of these types of bloggers and you’re right about them being annoying. Like most things though, there is an audience for each of these types. There are people who will want to read TMI posts or rants, etc. and most people won’t know when content has been copied or plagiarized. Most of these types will be able to find an audience. One person’s annoyance is another person’s “must read.” Your ‘How Do You Stand Out’ tips are helpful. Great post.

  27. EmmaofCEM

    Just out of curiosity, how did you go about measuring and breaking down these personality types? (Or, as I like to call them, blogger-line personality disorders. Har har, I’m hilarious.) What categorization and standards did you use?

  28. lauraclick

    @leslieajoy Hi Leslie. Before you freak out, just remember that there are ways to do those things without scaring off your readers. You just have to focus on them when you write and think about what you want them to take away. It all comes back to the goals of your blog.

  29. leslieajoy

    Oh crap. About 85% of my posts involve some combination of ranting, introspection and cynicism.There goes all my writing material.

  30. Stanford

    Guys let me know if Livefyre is giving you problems with comments. Just mention me on twitter @pushingsocial

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