Blogging Tip #1: Don't Post Angry

Ian Lurie

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I broke the cardinal rule of blogging Tuesday: Don’t post angry.

In my We’re All Idiots post, my tantrum poked at Robert Gorrell’s post about Viral Marketing and Word of Mouth.

In my haste, I was unclear: GrokDotCom, Seth Godin and co. are the folks who invented these terms. When they reference Word of Mouth Marketing, Viral Marketing, etc., they’re not using those phrases as a trendy marketing device. They’re using them as a teaching tool.

My blood boils, though, when I see folks who know very little about marketing prattling on, mixing in phrases like ‘Web 2.0’, ‘viral marketing’ and ‘attention metrics’ at random because they read them in Wired in an airport terminal.

So Robert, I definitely owe you a public apology.

Everyone else: Writing when steam’s coming out of your ears is just fine. But I suggest waiting 24 hours before you publish what you wrote.

I shall now go to bed without any supper.

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at

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  1. Yeah, just like sleeping on an angry letter, it’s a good idea to write out your thoughts and feelings now as you are feeling them, and then consciously coming back to the post the next day with a clearer mind.

  2. Ian,
    No worries… And I actually don’t think our points of view would be very far apart if we were speaking in-person.
    I’m not sure that any of us could take credit for inventing the term ‘word of mouth’ (although Seth likes his compound word ‘ideavirus’). As you say, the concept isn’t a new one. There are just more viral marketing tactics in the marketer’s toolbox these days. Likewise, there are more forums for customers to voice their opinions — both positive and negative. My post from yesterday on Spirit Airlines is one example:
    So, no, I don’t think we’re all idiots in this profession (and I realize that was more of a generalized smear than a personal slam). Still, you’re right; people do tend to get carried away.
    Our CEO, Jeffrey Eisenberg likes to say that marketers habitually overestimate their importance. “It’s an occupational hazard,” he says. I think that’s a good thing to keep in mind with terms like these. It doesn’t matter who invented it, but it does matter that it’s there. Such is word of mouth. If marketers could control it as much as they like to think they can, we could all forgo careful planning and optimization and just hand out magic wands to every CMO and consultancy. (Could you imagine how annoying marketers would be if THAT happened? 😉 )
    My favorite book to help ground a lot of this newer Web 2.0 hype is David Ogilvy’s Confessions of an Advertising Man. It’s an advertising book, sure, but it’s from the mind of a true, intuitive marketer. Anyway, I like to revisit stuff like that on those days that the hype starts to give me a headache. 🙂

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