Some financial bloggers met yesterday and we discussed how a financial blogger can theoretically turn troll and earn Ad sense revenue by engaging with pissed off readers.
I am trying to distill the discussion into something more concise for the benefit of other financial bloggers. While most are not trolls by my standards, a bit of trolling can make the blog livelier and expand the audience to include people who tune in just to find out what you are going to say next.
So here are some ideas :
a) Be young and 'inexperienced'
Some bloggers who might be creating a persona may wish to consider youth and inexperience as fairly effective flame-bait on the internet. I realised that some bloggers who sound reasonable get flamed for being young and inexperienced but it builds traffic for them anyway. I think this is a good strategy as it taps into the insecurity of Gen-X who is facing their 40s and job losses.
I think Jeraldine Phneah managed to strike gold lately with this strategy. Love her or hate her, I bet she has respectable traffic.
b) Be Female
I was talking to Budget Babe about the flame mails she gets from male fans and realises that she gets a large share of brick-bats simple because of her gender. I think her analysis of the economy is not better or worse than any one of us because no one has a firm grip on the future anyway.
Looking my demographics, financial blogger readership is typically 75% male and I can sort of imagine the effect Budget Babe has on the insecure 20-something male who has yet gotten any sexual access. The affront is very fundamental to a young male's sexual identity because Budget Babe is exactly what she is - a smart, self-assured female who can look after herself financially.
Anyway, I think she should just say what she thinks is a good investment and let the markets be the judge.
c) Eschew Frugality
If you are neither young nor female, one guaranteed approach to turn the entire financial blogosphere against you, get angry readers to scold you everyday but read all your articles is to publicly eschew frugality completely.
Robert Kiyosaki started this maneuver and wrote a best-seller by elevating this into an art-form. To Kiyosaki, saving money is so middle class - this is a very attractive message to the masses. There will always be a majority who wants to know how to make it rich without being frugal and openly eschewing frugality gives a blogger magical powers and it makes wealth creation effortless.
The psychological power of eschewing frugality comes from 'sprezzatura' or studied carelessness which is documented heavily in Robert Greene's 48 Laws of Power.
[ If you think about it, Singapore university students are masters of this technique, pretending to drink and party while studying hard for the exams to shift the curve. ]
One way of reading a financial blogger or new entrant in Me and My Money when someone eschews frugality is to investigate the person's source of wealth :
a) Did the person come from a rich family ?
b) Did the person marry into money ?
c) Did the person have credentials which gave them above average earning power.
d) Common in Singapore : Person employed leverage on property markets in Singapore during the era of massive immigration.
The investigation can lead to interesting insights if done in the right spirit.
But unless you are really special, it helps your case to remain frugal regardless of circumstances.