On Mentioning Your Friends In Blog Posts (AKA Web 2.0 Name Dropping)

One of the things that struck me, as I was catching up on a weekends worth of blog posts this morning, was the fact that, in six separate posts, someone prefaced a link to some other piece by saying it was written by their “friend”. This is something that seems frequently done in the blogosphere, yet it is something that grates on me. For the simple reason that I do not feel it necessary to inform readers that you are “friends” with someone else who writes something worth reading.

Why? Because, and it could just be me,, but I tend to find (with all due respect to people who do this) that saying you’re friends with a prominent writer comes across as a rather gratuitous form of self-flattery, and that this is not only rather unnecessary, but also demeaning.

After all, if you need to tell everyone that you’re friends with someone, what does that say about your friendship? If you are truly friends with someone, is it really necessary for you to hammer the point home with all the subtlety of an anvil falling off a cliff Loony Tunes style? More importantly, what does it say about you that you feel the need to back yourself up by this appeal to personal relationships? Are you really so insecure that you need to flaunt your personal relationships??? Do we really need to know you’re friends with all these important people??? It really is the web 2.0 version of “oooh, look at moi

Allow me to use an analogy. When it comes to politics, there is no quicker way for me to stop talking to you than for you to inform me how important you are, or how many connections you have (and please don’t get me started on the ‘networking’ culture here in DC). Why? It is simple. Baroness Thatcher once had the great line that power is like being a lady, if you have to tell someone, you aren’t. And this very much holds true. There is no quicker way in politics to tell if someone is full of s**t than if they start name dropping, or informing you of how powerful/important they are. The more names dropped, the less important the individual invariably is (and if someone has to pull out their phone, and show you have they have the number of a former Party State Director stored in there, in order to demonstrate how important they are (as someone did to me recently) then you defiantly know that they are not to be taken seriously!).

Seriously though, if you are engaged in writing a blog, then the blog should stand on its own merits. Your writing should be appreciated in and of itself, and you shouldn’t need to feel ‘special’ simply because you know XYZ important persons. I know it’s tempting to claim connections, and in many cases (for instance, Dr. Palmers), it is certainly justified, but is it necessary?

From my perspective at least, I do not read your blog because I know you are friends with the high & mighty. I read it because I want to know what you think. And if you are so insecure in yourself that you feel the need to tell me just how you have cool friends, well, then that kinda makes me wonder about you as a person.

Just be honest, just write what you think, and strip away the pretenses. It really is that simple…isn’t it?

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4 Responses to “On Mentioning Your Friends In Blog Posts (AKA Web 2.0 Name Dropping)”

  1. The Waterman Says:

    In general, I couldn’t agree more.

    I’d only put one caveat on that – when the name dropping is inverse (I guess that’s the best way to put it). When a blogger (either of some renown or not) is mentioning/promoting a blog (usually new) that is in fact run by a friend of said blogger.

    In that sort of case it seems the friend appellation is actually a worthwhile means of signalling. If the blogger is any good, then it says something about the one being linked to that the link is being made. But the mention of friend says even a bit more, both about the person as a blogger and the person as a person.

    Just throwing that out there, even though it isn’t entirely germane to your point.

  2. Tim Andrews Says:

    @Kevin – fair point, I certainly agree with that.

  3. TerjeP (say tay-a) Says:

    A few have escaped the rule but in general on facebook friends are people I’ve met in real life. Lest we debase the term too much.

  4. anonomis Says:

    i hate your blog is sooooo borring see you leter alegater opps common was not here sooorrryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

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