You need to be wrong to be a blogger!

Never wrong On thing I can’t stand is a smug, condescending git who thinks he (or she) knows everything.

Unfortunately the internet is chock full of these assholes, who believe that their opinion is all that counts and will argue that to the death that the moon is actually the buttocks of the late, great John Candy, hanging from a coat hangar attached to the ISS, rather than face the possibility of being wrong.

While some people are simply born with this level on inbred self importance and delusional capacity to recreate reality at a whim in order to fuel their own ego,  (and I suppose they can’t be blamed for that, but I do wish we could put them down at birth) some of us join the ranks of those vomiting self righteous  and “infallible” verbal diarrhoea simply because we write for an audience other than ourselves.

I originally started blogging for myself but quickly turned to technology blogging as I got a sense of satisfaction from the idea that sharing my knowledge may help others.

Yet the more I’ve emailed back and forth with readers, trouble shot their issues, came up with solutions to problems and answered beginner level questions in the comments, the more I started to believe my own bullshit.

The more you blog, the more people read you and the more you slip into this thought process that people come to my site because “I know what I’m talking about.”, which inevitably leads to:

“How dare you say I’m wrong. You know nothing, I’ve been on the internet forever, been fixing computers since before your moms pimp went sweet on her and bought her an Atari 2600 for Christmas – I’m Paul O’Flaherty damn it! How dare you question me?”

Yep, we become full of our own crap and believe our own bullshit.

Even for those of us who don’t go to the extreme mentioned above, for those of us who manage to entertain the idea that we may be wrong after we’ve toiled diligently over our posts to create highly accurate articles full of impenetrable logic and unquestionable facts, it’s very, very important to be wrong.

If you are never wrong, in what you post then there is little reason for anybody to read your post. If you’re always 100% correct then the title should be enough for them. Why would they bother reading 500 words when 10 will do?

Not only that, but posts which are packed with airtight logic leave the reader with little if anything to think about. If your argument is perfect then why would they leave a comment? Writing the “perfect” post to present your situation discourages comments. If you’ve done your job then there is nothing left to say.

Most importantly, if you are never wrong, then your readers will never trust you. I wouldn’t trust anybody who doesn’t admit that they got it wrong and I believe most people have an innate predisposition to disliking people who are always right.

We just don’t like to think other people are better than us.

So here’s my two little titbits of advice for today:

  • Don’t make your posts perfect. Leave room for your readers to think, question and fill in the blanks.
  • Don’t be afraid to be wrong and most importantly don’t be afraid to admit it (and be gracious when you are).

After all, nobody likes a smart arse!

7 thoughts on “You need to be wrong to be a blogger!”

  1. So Paul, Are you wrong or right in this article? To me you seem to have a valid point yet I cannot find anything wrong with the post. Did like the Atari 2600 reference though.

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  2. I've known people who are never wrong. I was married to one for two years a long time ago. Drove me nuts. This guy was also a compulsive liar who could and did spin reality to fit his ideas, but sickness aside, it was still annoying. I think another reason it is important to be wrong sometimes, to not "know everything" is that if you are never wrong, if you're always perfect, you have zero room to grow and learn new things. After all, why improve on perfection? I know an enormous amount of information about plagues, viruses (the human kind, not the computer kind), and other infectious diseases. It's a subject that has always fascinated me. But if I came into the mindset that I now know everything, I'd stop reading and would miss out on a ton of new research, or very small facts that I missed in other books. Like Marburg is very similar to Ebola, but is not in fact a strain of Ebola. Continuing to educate oneself is important. Growing as a person is important. Admitting when you're wrong is crucial to the learning and growing experience, and as you said, to garnering more trust among your readers. Sorry for the novel-length comment! I openly admit that brevity is not my strong suit.

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  3. But, if you can't be wrong, offer up a non-mainstream, dissenting opinion on your topic. That'll spark the conversation and people will be more than happy to tell you that you are indeed, wrong.

    Dave

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