The Worst Thing About Blogs

is that they never let reality get in the way of a good post.

-Here’s Guy Kawasaki falling prey to a textbook case of the selection bias and using a non-representative sample.

-Here’s one of the writers at Wikinomics bragging about Starbucks’ successful social media strategy a few days after they reported earnings were down by 97% PERCENT and its shares lost two thirds of their value almost instantly.

-Here’s Hugh MacLeod (who this aside is wonderful) self-referencing the “blue monster” for the 400th time, apparently unaware that Microsoft isn’t just culturally irrelevant but actively not “changing the world.”

-Here’s Steve Rubel misunderstanding incentives that some crappy new Mahalo program creates. (Hint: Rewards for searching translate into more worthless searches by people trying to get prizes)

-Here’s Michael Arrington (who is the worst) not noticing an incredibly obvious flaw in a textbook rental startup, letting an outlier skew the results by adding TMZ’s revenue to an acquisition it wasn’t a part of, and finally, projecting a yearly revenue estimate based off 3 weeks of data from an unofficial source in the middle of a financial crisis less than a month after the product launched.

To be fair, it’s not really blogs fault so much as it’s a product of low-level thinking. Scientists and psychologists do their research in these fields for a reason – to help us think clearer and more accurately. Breathlessly chasing the first lead you find without constantly checking it against the world around you is a dangerous way and unproductive way to think.

If we can deduce anything from the blogs above, it also makes you 1) Sound like an idiot 2) Act like an asshole 3) Always get it wrong

Update: Wikinomics responds – Dealing with backlash in the blogosphere: a personal experience

Written by Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday is the bestselling author of Trust Me, I’m Lying, The Obstacle Is The Way, Ego Is The Enemy, and other books about marketing, culture, and the human condition. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared everywhere from the Columbia Journalism Review to Fast Company. His company, Brass Check, has advised companies such as Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as Grammy Award winning musicians and some of the biggest authors in the world. He lives in Austin, Texas.