1779724_10153070081626800_1863235899788969817_nJust a few days ago, I mentioned that I’m not a big fan of influence lists. Then a reader sent me a copy of an email where I’m listed as an influential blogger.

It starts out like this.

There are some extremely talented bloggers in the HCM space and we have noticed a few trends: Most have cats, Most have small kids, Most are female, Many have ADD, Most blogs mention their kids or their cats, Most drink a lot

Wow, someone call the lawyer. I wrote this lazy copy back in 2010. I might have a case.

All kidding aside, what makes a talented blogger is one that connects to their audience and one that has a personality. You don’t remember them because they said great things about ORACLE. You remember their cat sitting on their computer or their kids doing something crazy.

I think you have to be funny to put all kidding aside.

Still, these bloggers are very talented. It’s a complicated space with over 40,000 vendors (yep, that’s how many of you get this newsletter) that cover everything from staffing, to leadership, to 401K plans. Although its [sic] hard to be funny writing about 401K plans.

Thank you for bestowing your blessing upon the blogger community despite the fact that you seem to think so little of it. And it’s not that hard to be funny when you write about 401K plans. You just need to know the difference between its and it’s.

What makes these people authentic is that they truly care about the space. Many are recovering HR professionals. They help each other, they contribute to each other’s posts, they collaborate wherever possible, and they meet in bars.

Johnny One-Note is on to something. Bloggers are kind-hearted fools who like to drink.

I like bloggers who make me laugh. Some of my favourites are (in no particular order)

Laurie Ruettimann (Most sarcastic by far, also has the most cats); William Tincup (Swears the most); Jessica Miller-Merrell (PR agency); Meghan M. Biro (Co-host of Tchat); Sue Messinger (Good solid data, ex-CEO of SHRM); China Gorman (Love her Tuesday numbers column); Libby Sartain (Favourite HR Person); Tim Sackett (Good data mostly recruiting); Stacy Donovan Zapar (Consultant); Maren Hogan (PR / Agency)

No particular order? Bullshit. And I like how the people who can do something for the website have nice things written about them. The rest of the people on the list? Well, they can go to hell.

We started investigating into [sic] the impact of Twitter on the HCM space. Some of these bloggers have massive followings (William Tincup @267K is by far the most) and Meghan M. Biro has tweeted 165K times. Those are insane numbers. Do they sleep? Or ever have a meaningful conversation on the phone?

Did you start investing the impact of the twitters while wearing your Encyclopedia Brown hat? Because that’s the only goddamn way to redeem that awful paragraph.

I wish the author would investigate whether or not these men and women run online communities and successful businesses. Do they use social automation tools to be effective entrepreneurs? Why don’t you investigate that and tell us how they do it?

Oh, that’s right. You would have to call and ask permission to use their names, first.


I reached out to the vendor to provide some feedback.

(Guess how that went over?)

Then I reached out to some people on this list who told me not to get my undies in a bunch. One of them quoted George Bernard Shaw.

I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.

So what can I do to stay above the fray but stop the stupidity of bad marketing practices in the HR space? Well, I don’t own yachts or online communities, but I will do whatever I can to steer advertising dollars away from this website.

(How will I do that? By being so darn influential, yo! More lists, please!)

I will also work hard to remind marketers that nothing good comes from trying to leverage the brands of hardworking solopreneurs and entrepreneurs without their input. You would sue someone who used your name inappropriately. If you want to use a blogger’s name, remember the immortal words of The Smiths.

Ask me, ask me, ask me.

The first rule of content marketing is to work collaboratively and with good intent. The second rule of content marketing is to hire a good copy editor. And the third rule is to stop mucking around with influence lists in the first place.

You get dirty, and the pig likes it a little too much.


  1. I was just commenting on this list phenomenon last week. Social influencer numbers are cool but what about success outside of the web? I completely agree and absolutely love this post. You are #1 on my bullshit list.

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