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Positive Blogging

Instablogs has been copping a fair bit of criticism in the past few days since its launch a week back. One of their latest posts – Why This Unfair Treatment? – takes a look at a blogger’s argument that they are spam, their latest post explains their Plagiarism episode and a post a few days back looks at the best of the criticism of their network.

I’d like to give the Instablogs team a little more unsolicited advice and feedback (if they’ll allow me to).

My impression of their main blog at this point is that they are getting sucked into the trap of having to respond to every criticism that is being leveled at them. This is something that I see many bloggers do – they get critiqued and feel the need to justify, defend, argue and explain every negative mention of their work.

While I know this temptation on a personal level (I used to get sucked into it too) I would advise all bloggers to be careful of this as it can really bring down the tone of your blog. This is what I sense is happening over at Instablogs. At the time of writing this post virtually every post (except for one that I can see) on the main blog of Instablogs has some mention of some negative aspect of the launch.

I would agree that their launch could have gone better (they definitely have needed to address some things on their main blog) but I would suggest that there is only so much negativity that people will put up with on a blog. There comes a time when a blogger (or blog network) needs to move past the criticism.

After about 36 hours of the b5media launch – as directors we decided we’d given enough air to some of the criticism leveled at us and that we were going to move on to a more positive outlook. We heard the criticism, responded to it, adapted a few things in response to the best critiques and then drew a line in the sand and decided to move forward with some positive stories and hard work in getting things going for the network.

One of the problems of getting into a defense mentality is that you get distracted from the task at hand, another is that you find yourself getting into a negative frame of mind (which brings down your work and ends up being quite depressing) and thirdly every time you buy into a debate about your blogging it seems to bring out more critics and attack.

My advice to Instablogs (and all bloggers) is to take on board the critiques but to move on. Give yourself a few days without defending yourself and concentrate on building a quality network – this is the best defense you’ll ever find to what others are saying about you.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  • I agree with what you’re saying (though I find it hard to ignore criticism when it’s directed at me ;-). I’ve been following the whole Instablogs thing and the tone seems to have gone from excited to frustrated to angry to downright whiny. It’s the whining (“Why this unfair treatment?”) that gets to me the most. I hope they rise above it all because I think their network has potential.

  • This is pretty good advice for publishers, too: if you put out a book that gets bad reviews, “fighting back” only makes things worse. Step back a bit, try to separate the useful criticism from the BS, and thank your reviewers for their feedback. Otherwise, you look petty and people who might have been neutral on the topic start feeling compelled to take a stand.

    Great post, Darren! :)

  • Sometimes the best defense (showing critics that they are wrong) is to have a good offense (great content which rises about the pettiness of critical comments).

  • maruthi

    Isn’t it true in other professions too, and life in general? There will always be criticism, both positive and negative on everything we do. After all, without feedback it is not possible to improve. Probably, as Martin says, the best thing to do would be to read every feedback, say thanks to every feedback, make a list of things (leaving out those that dont make sense) that can be improved and just start working on the list.

  • Excellent post! I’ve live with this for quite some time and really, sometimes you really need to turn a deaf ear of those “bs” that people says and concentrate on your own stuff, you’ll be successful one day :)

  • What you say is very true. Part of the problem was that Instablogs didn’t fully address the issue in their first attempt. This led to further criticism, which they then responded to, etc. I think continuing in this dialogue makes one weary and defensive.

    I think the advice that corporate types give is to address the issue fully and directly quickly and in one shot, then let the issue die. Eventually, if you correct the problems and produce good work, the mistakes are forgotten.