Ten things you should do to [insert goal here]

I subscribe to a lot of blogs. Too many to read, actually. I usually just scroll down the list in Google Reader, looking at the titles to see if they look worth my time. A few I will actually take the time to skim. Fewer still will I actually read. And very few do I ever read all the way through. (However, I know you all will read this blog all the way through, because you not like those other people…)

I subscribe to some blogs merely for pleasure or to make me think about things. Many I  subscribe to for a specific purpose. Some of the blogs are geared toward getting hired, some are focused on business development, others on personal development, and others dedicated to philosophy or theology. I also subscribe to a number of blogs who claim to be able to improve my photography skills, or to make me a better writer/blogger.

Why I hate many of them, but keep reading them anyway

I have found that many of them simply want something from me. It’s like having a friend who’s been sucked in to a multi-level marketing scheme. Suddenly, you aren’t just a friend, you’re a prospect. The same thinking goes for many blogs. Whether you like it or not, if you stop to read the blog, you’re a prospect, and some kind of response from you is expected. How do I know? Because some of the blogs I read about being better bloggers tell me I should be doing this, too.

Another thing bloggers want us to do is to keep coming back. The trick is to give away just enough potentially valuable information to overcome people’s frustration. But, in order to to find any valuable information, you have to read through the day’s list of five, seven or even ten things you must do to improve what you’re doing.

Often, there’s nothing there of any substance.

5 reasons why you’re not succeeding

The worst offenders are the blogs who post negative lists, telling you why you are failing at whatever you are doing—and presumably, why you need to keep coming back to their blog.

The fallacy behind all of these lists—whether positive or negative—is the thinking that if you could follow the list to the letter, you would have results. A secondary fallacy is making the assumption they want you to make, which is that the goal they claim you should have is indeed the goal you should have.

Again, this is all a trick so you’ll keep coming back.

Finding freedom

I am “all about” freedom. You just have to read the front of my book to see that. (notice how I slipped that little plug in there with a link to Amazon?) To find freedom in the world of how-to blogs, you have to realize things like

  • There is no one right way to write a resume, and following this list or that list will not get you hired.
  • There are no five steps to financial freedom.
  • There are very, very few real secrets to anything.

Now, to be really free, you should be able to read somone’s list of things you should do, and pick out one or two that may be helpful while tossing the rest. You must be able to unsubscribe to a blog which you find is little more than a scam. You must know deep down in your heart that if there are really 5 steps to financial freedom, Joe Schmoe wouldn’t care about wasting time writing a blog.

Good blog

There are good blogs, and some really great blogs.   Typically they present ideas or information, allow for discussion, and give the reader freedom to respond or not respond. They cite personal experience, both good and bad. They occasionally challenge their readers. They allow the reader to fail, without feeling bad. They treat their audience with respect, as equals. They dare to break the “8 rules of good blogging.” (FYI, I’m breaking some right now!)

Where the rubber meets the road

Now, if you really want to get control of your blog subscriptions, here are 10 things you all should be doing…

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5 Responses to Ten things you should do to [insert goal here]

  1. Fred says:

    I’d read all your posts all the way through if the pay were better.

  2. I read it all the way through, too.

  3. Fred says:

    I read this post all the way through. What do I get?

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