July 4, 2009

Popularity Contest: The “best” Money Blogs

The delicate balance between modesty and conceit is popularity.
--- Max Beerbohm

Anyone who is popular is bound to be disliked.
--- Yogi Berra

The Globe and Mail has been running a contest to pick what they call the best of the money blogs. Selected prominent financial experts (including Canadian Capitalist) picked their favourites. That's great. We save time when people we trust make recommendations for us.

Consensus is difficult to reach. We can't even agree on tea (black or green?) or the way to prepare it (boil the milk and teabag with the water or add them later?).
There are few cases in which mere popularity should be considered a proper test of merit. --- Edgar Allan Poe
What is “best”? Best is subjective. Best is meaning less (meaningless?) since we are so diverse and have access to so much. We’re fickle too. I really like Thicken My Wallet but haven’t read in weeks because I’m not notified of new posts via Twitter. With so many pulls on our attention, we easily forget.

Asking For Votes
Focus on the user and all else will follow
Some Twitter users ask followers to retweet their posts. As if we’re too dumb to realize we can do that. Some non-nominees feel they should have been included in the contest. Some nominees are asking their readers to vote for them. Just like politicians. Surveys of trust, ethics and honesty repeatedly put politicians near the bottom. Why emulate them?

There’s a subtler way: tell readers there’s a great list of blogs for them to sample. This puts your audience's interests in the forefront. When they view the list, they’ll see the option to vote. Without pressure.

Yes, you can ask directly for what you want. That’s not the only way or the best way. Readers are volunteers. They willing volunteer their scarce attention. They’d willingly volunteer their votes. Without being asked directly.

Best In The World
If you want to be the best, why not be the best in the world? You can. Seth Godin describes the why and how in The Dip, which I re-read this week and continue to highly recommend.

Back to the contest. Congratulations to the winners and nominees!
Podcast Episode 26 (3:36)

direct download | Internet Archive page

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