Home Featured Wrapping It Up: 9 Lessons Learned From the Black Blogosphere in 2011

Wrapping It Up: 9 Lessons Learned From the Black Blogosphere in 2011


2011 has been a helluva year. It had its ups and downs, but we’re all still here another day. There’s a lot to be thankful for even if you had a rough one. Pause.

With the end of the year officially looming, I wanted to talk about some of the lessons I’ve learned as a Blogger in 2011. I’ve picked up more intel about women than I’d ever considered possible. It’s also been interesting to see how things develop behind the scenes when it comes to  networks, cliques, and the writing hustle in general.  With that said, here are nine lessons learned by the man behind the blog(s).

Women Are Tired of Men Telling Them What to Do.

After the onslaught of articles, videos, and special reports shining a deathray spotlight onto the plight of the Black woman’s singleness, it’s safe to say Black women have had enough. In 2010, your site wouldn’t be up to par if you didn’t write something accusatory or “controversial” to get the dialogue going. 2011 has proven to be the year that women have spoke up in comment sections, on Facebook, and on Twitter about the finger-pointing and fault-finding. It’s gotten so bad that the mention of single and ‘what women should” are enough to cause a well-written post to flop, or backfire on the author before the reader even sees the good points within.

Wording is everything.

Title is King. Quality Content Is a Close Second. 

With the amount of information out there via social media, our attention spans have gotten shorter, our time more valuable, and our eyes more discerning. If you’re a writer and your title isn’t on point, you’ve set your post up for failure. As a reader, you know exactly what I’m talking about. You see 5 links fly by on Twitter or Facebook and none of them move you, so you let them pass unless you’re a fan of the writer.

See Also:  Excuse Me Miss, What's Your Name? I Forgot. Twice.

They could’ve been the greatest articles in history, but it didn’t matter because the title was lame sauce (put you in bad temperament or didn’t peak curiosity).  If the post title is dope and the content is well-written, both the reader and the writer win. Many of us (bloggers) are still struggling to find that elusive balance.

The smallest details make the biggest difference.

Relationship Blogging is the Fastest Way for a Man to Get His Name Out.

I’ve said it before: If a man wants to quickly get his name out there and drive traffic to his site, he’ll dabble in relationship blogging. For whatever reason, women don’t like reading what other women have to say about relationships, so men get a leg up (pause).  I know you’re probably thinking of an exception, but think about the total number of successful relationship blogs out there. One gender has a much higher pass rate. No misogyny, no foolery, no shenanigans. Just truth. Maybe you can help change this trend.

Support your people.

The Original e-Celeb

You Don’t Have to Be a Great Writer to Get Great Opportunities.

This goes across niches. One of the things I’ve painfully watched happen is the rise of the e-celeb. I know a lot of folks crafty with the pen/keyboard that have advanced degrees in writing, but can’t find sustainable gigs because they don’t have a heavy following online. If you know how to be funny, how to unabashedly “tell it like it is,”  or be controversial, you’ve catapulted yourself ahead of the well-learned competition. You’re also more like to be forgiven for grammatical transgressions and egregious misspellings. 

Real jib jab though. Honesty is always important, because without it you don’t earn the reader’s trust. But it saddens me to see truly talented writers struggle because they don’t have a gimmick. My best advice for those trying to make it is to interact and be interesting or useful.

See Also:  Can Women Be Bad in Bed?

You don’t have to go out of control campaigning, but there’s always something you can do to better yourself without changing the core of who you are.

Some People Really Need Therapy and Counseling.

One of my goals with writing has always been to help people. But sometimes I get questions and situations that go way beyond any insight or perspective I could provide. If you’re consistently trying to solve something internal via blogs and their authors, you need to talk to someone away from the internet too.

I wish more of us directed people to the help they need rather than back to our sites.

The tweets are watchin'

The e-luminati and the Glass Ceiling Are Real.

I learned in 2011 that there are more cliques, secret meetings of secret societies about top secret things, and e-lunch tables than I’d ever have thought possible. Blogging used to be something for fun and hobby, but now it’s a serious industry (for some of us). If you’ve decided to turn your hobby into your passion, it’s difficult to break into certain niches, or get your name out without getting cosigned by the leaders of the Free World “in-crowd.” I guess this is the same as any other highly competitive industry, but I didn’t really learn this until 2011.

The e-world is small, very small. Be careful how you treat people. Karma does laps ’round here.

There Is a Whole Other Side of the Internet People Don’t Know About.

After a few months of seeing the same names everywhere talking about the same subjects, I sought out on a journey to find the other side of the internet, and prove that the web is round.

I’m back to tell you there’s more out there. You need to click around on blogrolls and hashtags to find the other side, but it’s there. Great discussions, great writing, and refreshing topics from people you didn’t even know existed. If you seek, you shall find. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

See Also:  Slim's Search Criteria

The world is not in your neighborhood. Venture outside of it and you might find your dreams.

Momma, I made it!

There Will Always Be Trolls.

You know how Time Magazine put The Protester as the Person of the Year? If it were up to me, I’d nominate The Troll.

Your site hasn’t made it until you periodically have someone from the Troll Corps drop by and derail an otherwise positive discussion. 2011 had an uptick in trollism. Economics says I should blame the recession, but I’m still doing some calculations. I’ve banished more trolls in 2011 than I’ve banished since the summer of 2008. And this almanac indicates this may just be the beginning.

Some people just don’t have ish to do. Find something to do. Please.

We Have Great Readers!

It’s awesome to see how much SBM (the site) has grown this year in terms of staff (pause), Facebook fans, Twitter followers, subscribers, and members of the commenting community. None of what we’ve accomplished would be possible without your support — even if it’s reading just one post. I love what this site has turned into and look forward to a monumental 2012 with you along for the journey. Non-emoly stated.

Hard work pays off. You win some, you lose some. You should strive for the few who are committed, rather than the masses that are lukewarm. 

What great lessons have you learned in 2011? What do you have on the agenda for 2012? Share your thoughts in the comments. 

Cloaked, Hooded, and on my Fortune Cookie Ish,



  1. I find it absolutely fascinating how a hobby can turn into such a passion. I think that's the coolest thing in the world. I mean honestly, how often can we say that we live out our passion everyday? That's pretty awesome!
    I was looking back over the posts that you all wrote this year, and they were amazingly memorable. And right on time, for the most part.
    As good as 2011 was, I can't wait to see what 2012 brings. Bonne Annee tout le monde!
    My recent post Good Mourning

  2. "I’m back to tell you there’s more out there. You need to click around on blogrolls and hashtags to find the other side, but it’s there."

    Can't do that too often. I spend enough time being unproductive at work just reading this site.

  3. Some may say I'm shady / But you done let yourself go / You can call me crazy / But ask the scale that's on the floor
    Great song, check it out! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32SSmvtMeEk

    I just want to say…I love this blog, it's very entertaining. I'm a wonderfully talented, gorgeous and educated black woman who enjoys reading this blog, because I get great full belly laughs out of it. LOL. Keep up the good work. I've been reading for awhile and this is my first time leaving a message. I just wanted to give SBM, Slim Jackson, Streetz, and Mr. Spradley a big thumbs up…those are my favorite writers of the site. The others do a good job too. May 2012 bring SingleBlackMale great things. 🙂

  4. I hopped on the SBM bandwagon pretty late but i’ve been a fan since. I’ve wasted productive hours gotten to kno some great people. As for what i learned this year…

    1. Life after finishing school is pretty dull

    2. Wisdom teeth are the devil’s creations

    3. The dating market is heavily in my favor

    4. I’m kinda poppin in these e-streets, real life…not as much -__-

    5. Google+ is not as cool as it was made out to be

      1. I feel yall on the wisdom teeth….life is soooooooooo much better when you just have all of dem bastards taken out…lol (at least for me it is).
        I'm feeling Google Chrome right now. It's great at keeping those pesky pop-ups, ads, and viruses off my pc.
        I haven't tried Google+ and after hearing you guys reviews on it not sure if I want to….

    1. #2 for the win! I still need the right side (top & bottom) pulled.

      I was in pain for days with the left side. I'm scurred… 🙁

  5. 2011 was my first year blooging so, in that sense, it's been a big year for me. I've learned a whole lot from guys like Streetz, Dr. J, Wis, SBM and the homey Slim. I was a fan of SBM before I was a writer so I gotta thank those who came before for bringing me on board. Also gotta shout-out Max. Max, more than anyone else, pushed me to start my own personal blog. I was on the fence about it and she pushed me over. Her site (www.max-logic.com for those of you under a rock) is still my favorite personal blog.

    As far as my goals for blogging in 2012, I just want to be great. For those of you that followed my personal blog http://www.thelowerfrequency.com – that's coming back. You'll start to see more and more of my work on sites like the Hufftington Post, Clutch and elsewhere and hopefully you'll see more and more long form creativity along the lines of Secrets Discovered in Memoriam.

    Here on SBM specifically, I'm planning to take this whole genre of "relationship blogging" to a level it's never seen before. The popular running theme seems to be that the genre is dying or dead. Part of it is because the topics have all been covered ad nauseum and part of it is because so many people are writing just to be controversial and get a reaction from readers. Not me. Not SBM. In 2012 we're going to be creative, thorough and deliberate in our approach. We're gonna keep our posts engaging and of the highest quality, and we're going do things you haven't seen before. Mark my words…. 2012 will be the best year you've ever seen in the history of singleblackmale.org.

    1. Reading Max's blog while I'm at work would get me fired, LOL. And since that's typically when I read blogs… *shrugs*

      Those pics?! Maybe I am a bit prudish. I can't even watch Sparticus. o.O

      Wish there was a way to just read the articles w/o the pics. Is there a max-logic_lite.com?

      1. just subscribe the blog via email. If you have gmail, just make sure you click the "never display images" link when the first email comes in.

        Should be fine.

  6. I just got into reading blogs this year…and SBM is def in my top 3. You guys help push me through the work day. You've made excellent points, forced me to face lingering "issues", and made me laugh. 'Preciate you guys for what you do.

    1. What did I learn in 2011?

      1. I can't control everything…and that's ok. Painful, but ok in the long run.
      2. Patience really is a virture. Waiting has been the best thing I've done this year.
      3. Being disorganized is a more serious issue than I ever believed it to be.

      Goals for 2012:

      1. Exercising what I learned in 2011
      2. Devoting at least 1hr of every kid-free day during my bi-weekly kid-free week to my career shift

  7. Just want to say keep up the good work blog-folks!

    What I've learned about the SBM crew this year:
    1. Dr. J digs dating outside his race and I support that 1000%..lol
    2. Most is the kinda husband Id like to be when that time comes.
    3. Slim is def not having anybody kill a good discussion. #SBMreferee
    4. SBM is scared straight about being married but he's gonna be alllllright
    5. WIM needs to gather all of his old relationship poems pictures and memorabilia and write a damn book. I'd by like 3 or 4 copies..lol
    6. Streets keeps me not caring bout these lame broadz out here in singleville. Good lookin out sir..lol

    Don't stop doing what you doing fellas!

    1. LOL!

      1. Dr. J is the Devil's Advocate…lives outside the box
      2. Most is a real life Antwon Fisher Story…dealt with a lot and overcame a lot to live a life full of everything a good guy deserves. Book worthy stuff that could help a lot of men out.
      3. Slim is also Slim Thug (call me for bail money…I understand…I gotchu, lol)
      4. SBM prob keeps his friends on their toes cause they never know what he's gonna say out his mouth in public
      5. WIM gonna be that grandfather with stories for days
      6. Streetz gotta stop biting those finger nails, lol…

      1. Wait you can see that from pictures?! LOL

        Blame my pops, got those damned bad habits from him! LOL… Im going to try for real this time!

        1. LOL!

          You actually mentioned it in a comment a while back.

          Think about the jewelry clasps you'll be able to help women with…or the great back scratcher you'll become! A hand model maybe?! I mean, you just never know, lol. 😉

  8. Sup Slim!

    Good list. I can tell you've learned a lot. And I agree that in behind-the-scenes world of blogging is what I've been thrust into this past year (and a little bit of the previous one). It's been an interesting ride. And YES, talk about a small world. Especially since most of the major players are within the same general area, geographically.

    And making connections online is THEE major way to go. I've already made some that I never would've any other way. Social networking is not just for fun anymore… I mean, hey, you can combine the two! My goal is definitely to take more advantage of this platform. I'm gonna be way more proactive.

    There's been a good variety of 2012 goals/reflections in the blogosphere lately. I wrote about a few of my goals today at the eCrib as well. #notsoshamelessplug <– I still haven't really learned to steer away from doing this I guess. 😉

  9. great post.

    bloggers are like dj's. part of it is personal preference, the other part is playing to the crowd. you won't be able to please everyone in the room all the time – and that's ok. don't lose sight of your main goal. some might leave and never come back, others will ride it out with you until last call. you set the tone and the pace.

    i applaud the writers of SBM for not resting on their laurels and accolades and pushing themselves to hone their crafts. you write and inspire people and that is a feat to be proud of.

    i learned how to be a better person, friend, daughter, sister and girlfriend in 2011.
    i hope to improve on my journey of personal growth in the new year and beyond.

    My recent post prepping for a new year: resolving the resolution thing

  10. Well blogging itself is totally new to me and I started it as just a way to document the useful tidbits I learned while traveling. I have been pleasently surprised at the amount of attention its gotten over this first year. I am sure it's small compared to you guys but I barely thought I would get a reader a month so to see that everyday folks are checking out and reading the site is so exciting.

    I have only started reading you guys in the last year. And I must say you guys are entertaining and yet informative. Told me some things I didn't want to hear but probably needed to know. I look forward to what's to come and keep up the good work!

  11. Great post Slim, your personal development and improvements in writing are so apparent as a reader, congrats to you.

    I became an active participant in blogging in the past…um…I really don't know how many months…but it doesn't feel that long ago – then again, I'm old, everything seems like it just happened #SelectiveMemory – ANYWAY I learned:

    1) Much like your #6 – believe the hype: blogging is real people sharing real feelings and they get real involved and can be real awesome or real sketchy. The advantage is that real amazing relationships can come out of it and real dope discussions can be had. On the flip side, real feelings can get hurt, real egos can be crushed, and real BS can go down. You ain't really bloggin' if you believe that "it's just blogging".

    2) Lurkers are part of the community too. Sure, it's fun getting to know the personalities of the regular commenters and the convo is always better with more voices (I'm looking at you Lurker #3514123), but with the addition of the like/dislike button and going to DC and meeting all the folks that read regularly but for whatever reason can't comment, it reminds you – the loudest ones aren't the only ones contributing, and sharing the posts, and talking about them with their friends, and reading what you put out to the world. I haven't been able to be as active of a commenter lately and I miss it, but I'm still reading and I still get a lot out of SBM. So if I may be so bold, considering I'm often anything but silent, on behalf of the silent masses, let me say keep up the good work, we're reading even if we're not shouting from the rooftops.

    3) Most relationship problems can be attributed to a) a lack of honest communication, and b) not holding yourself and your partner accountable for the kind of people you want to be and the kind of relationship you want to have. It's really that simple. Of course, "simple" in no way translates to "easy". We're often our own villain/hero.

    Happy New Year SBM Family! Please be safe and all the best to ya'll in 2012!

  12. Hmm. Things I learned from blogging and reading and commenting. I never lurk. 1. Men spend an inordinate amount of time concealing their true selves. Also known as fronting and perpetrating.
    2. Story blogs and advice blogs are two different worlds. 3. Blogging can lead to taking oneself too seriously.

    Stay real in 2012!

  13. Much like Star, I haven't had much time to comment lately (and usually read posts after others have stopped commenting), and I can't tell you how much I've missed the interaction here. Thanks for all of the free entertainment, guys.

    Sidenote: The picture of the trolls made up for trying to ruin my morning with the Burger King.

  14. Second time posting here but I have one other blog where I'm faithful….nice crowd, nice moderator. What have I learned overall from blogging? That nuances and hangups are real and we all have them…somewhere at some point in some place. Not a bad thing, just indicative that evolving is something we'll do until we expire. That men are men no matter the blog, the same going for women. What I've learned over the last year aside from a blog? A lot, a lot about myself. New territory? Italians 🙂 Will I come back and visit Slim's blog? Lord willing….I'm here 2012.

  15. Things I've learned in 2011:

    1.) The clique thing is equally true in the music industry. The world is small, and a lot of people look for the stamp of approval of the in-crowd. Real/good music is just one part of it.

    2.) My enjoyment of turning my hobby into a passion (becoming a true solo vocal artist) relies on the cultivation of the world OUTSIDE of music. It's so tempting to try to do your music, support others music, DATE other musicians, spend ALL YOUR TIME with the group, trying to create with them every moment. But you also see the darker side of things that way, and you get caught up in what you'd readily see as BS if you had more perspective. Get a life OUTSIDE what you do and it will enrich your time doing what you love.

    3.) Step away from the blogs!! I know this is an odd place to state this lesson, but it's true. Blogs are awesome. Great topics, great discussion, great debates. But sometimes, you just need to step away and LIVE LIFE! Maybe you DON'T need to see what you latest blogger has to say about EVERY LITTLE THING your date did the first time you met him to see if your possible relationship is doomed to fail or destined for the stars. Maybe you DON'T need to learn more about men in GENERAL, but about the men you're dealing with in PARTICULAR. And maybe you don't even need to know about THEM. Maybe you just need to live you life, focus on what's in YOUR OWN head, and check in with the blogs every once in a while for fun, rather than for CRUCIAL LIFE ADVICE. That is a huge lesson I learned because different blogs were contradicting each other. Even the SAME blogs were contradicting themselves, and it just left one confused woman, afraid to make a mistake with every possible action. You've got to let go sometimes.

    4.) In order to make a change, you have to REALLY make it. I had some casual…"friends" that I was dealing with, not because I wanted to, but because I was lonely, it seemed like there was no one better (and by better, I mean looking for a meaningful relationship in all of NYC), and it's the thing to do now, for a young woman in the city. All my friends are doing it, blah blah blah. I was dealing with them, all while silently pleading with God that he deliver me from this ridiculousness and drop the dream guy I REALLY wanted in my lap. But that never happened. Because I was using all my energy dealing with those "friends". I got rid of them, ALL OF THEM, COLD TURKEY. And I really wasn't optimistic about finding someone nice afterwards, even though I knew getting rid of them was the best thing for me. I'm not big on breaking out the champagne too early, or jinxing things, or being public about my relationships, or committing too soon, but so far, it seems like I might actually have found someone nice. The nice guy that I was starting to doubt existed. Time will tell, but even this beginning part is so F'ing refreshing I don't know what to do with myself. 🙂

    1. Kat I watched your youtube Christmas song with you singing in the red dress at the piano….You sound Amazing…..if singing is your dream keep doing it and don't give up.
      I wish you the very best.

  16. Jay-Z – Slim Jackson
    Nas – Streetz
    Jadakiss – WIM
    Bun B – SBM
    Drake – Mr. Spradley
    Kanye West – Dr. J

    [outro music… Headlines….]

    I know that for me and 2011, it took me a long time to get this point, i'm just going to be me. And people will have to deal with that, or not. Maybe i'm just different, but i'm 100% real.

    And my apologies for each time I bothered my co-writers on gchat with a conversation about something serious and then stopped to say, "yo but did you see that hood amateurs video?" or "I think I done broke down what happened with the FAMU tape." And shout out to all my friends who read and don't comment but I know you reading… I see you. Let's keep it trill and ladies keep it beautiful.

    I'm going to go snort some Rihanna and go to happy hour. Smoke something.

  17. Things I've learned in 2011 from the blogosphere?
    1. From relationship blogs, I learned that I should stop referring to my life as boring or ruined and appreciate it's predictability because of who and what I've been gifted so early in life. I'm still learning this actually.
    2. I recently started reading theshapeofamother.com and that's really opened my eyes to what's realistic for women's bodies.
    3. It's okay to be a separate person and have my own opinions.
    4. I'm really behind on the music scene (and almost every other scene).

  18. Just started getting into blogs in the second half this year. Would’ve been sooner, but I spent the first 6 months of the year in Bootcamp for the Marine Corp. But every since I came back I been reading into blogs. My favorites being VSB and this one. I usually lurk but recently (read: 2-4 days ago) started posting. Which yall the best in 2012. I still be here reading, commenting, and trying to perfect my newest invention, the sandpaper thong. Look for it in XXX shops near you….

  19. In 2011 I have learned the following:
    1. To have More Patience……patience is one of those things you can never have enough of.
    2. To prioritize my priorities…..lol In Other Words to seriously work on my time management skills.
    (and take a break and "step away from the blogs" and internet as Katt said)
    3. I have learned to try to find the good in everyone and respect and appreciate those things and not always focus on people's flaws and short-comings.
    4. I've learned a lot from the SBM blog about men's thoughts on women, dating and relationships. Too much to put here. Thanks for the insight and knowledge you so generously and honestly pass on to the ladies SBM.
    Much appreciated……*smile*
    In 2012 I will:
    Do all I can to be more and make it better than 2011.
    I don't do New Years Resolutions anymore because they are things that should be practiced in everyday life.
    I heard this on Michael Baisden's show years ago and it stuck with me. "You Should Be The Change You Want To See."
    Ever since I heard that I've always strived to do just that. So far so good……*smile*

    Happy New Year Everyone & God Bless.

  20. This was a really good end of the year post! I didn't think many people considered the "title" thing as important. But that's 100% true. Some sites use sensationalized titles to drive traffic to a post that's full of ish and completely off-base (ESPN is notorious for this – Public Enemy #1 Chris Broussard). Others use creative titles where going in it gets you fired up and ready to load verbal ammo after the 1st paragraph. And then there's others where the title is so bland and forced that you don't find out how good the post and content really was until weeks or months later. The "choosing a right title" struggle is very real.

    In terms of what I learned about blogging, it's better to blog about what you know vs. what's popular. It's popular to write about relationships because it's universal. I would guess it's hard to start a relationship blog this late in the game when your opinion and content has probably been regurgitated on major blogs and in comment sections for 2+ years. I put a little bit of everything on my blog, but my sports posts get way more page views than the others. So for 2012, I'm going to focus on doing more sports-related analysis and content.

    SB: I also noticed that the most popular blogs (gossip/celeb news aside) are ran by men. That's an interesting paradigm by itself
    My recent post Dear _______, Thanks For Nothing! Fantasy Football Woes

  21. I started getting into the black blogosphere not too long ago, I was more of a lurker for a while on only a few blogs. But I've expanded and there's seriously SO MUCH. I had no idea there were this many bloggers….like at all. And you guys all fuckin know each other. I feel like I discovered a whole new world (Aladdin). (YMCMB)
    But yeah, it's cool to watch from the outside :S

    For 2012, I'm leaving cautiousness to the wind. 2011 was a great year, I feel good about it. I think a lot of things changed for the better, accomplished things and whatnot, but the circumstances didn't change as much as my attitude and outlook about them did. I'll continue feeding my soul, chasing paper, making mistakes and laughing about them, and just being happy about me. And fuck the other shit. 2012 is going to be MAJOR though. I couldn't make it minor even if i wanted to.
    My recent post I'm not playin white explorer meets African jungle hoe with you

  22. So I've been playing Skyrim all week, and just saw this post. Feel free to judge me lol.

    2011 was a great year blogging wise for me. I made moves with streetztalk.net, put out an E-Book, and did great things here. I did fall off with my site here and there, and might have been burned out writing at times, but its the ebb and flow of life.

    I learned that this staff has some insanely talented individuals. What we create and maintain here is nothing short of awesome. We push each other like you wouldn't believe to be the best, and that will continue in 2012.

    You'll see my post this week on how I feel about resolutions and making things happen. Blgo wise for 2012 I have some key milestones to hit:

    1) Finally end up with a streetztalk design that I like
    2) Bringing back the health and fitness content full steam , while practicing what i preach
    3) Bring new features to SBM and bringing us to an all new spotlight.
    4) To be better than my 2011 self

    Enjoy the new year!


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