5 Web Voices I Listen To. Who Are Yours?


From Kim Krause-Berg’s post asking where are the skilled, generous SEOs to Amber Naslund’s post on Finding Your Greener Grass, I’ve been left to think a lot lately about how I learn. Or, more appropriately, who it is I’m learning from and who the voices are that I seek out.

Essentially, who do I listen to on the Web?

Amber’s post hit me especially hard when she talked about how, as humans, we outgrow things. We outgrow blogs, services and people depending on our current needs and where we are in our own development. She wrote that for every five people who decide Chris Brogan has jumped the shark (dumbest saying ever, btw), ten more people discover him for the first time and hold on for dear life. Just as our audience changes and evolves over time, we change and evolve as an audience.

Today, I was hoping to hear who you’re listening to today. Who are the voices that inspire you, that make you think, and who are helping you to grow your business (or yourself) in a new direction? The further off the beaten path the better. I know I could do a better job finding new people, so I’m hoping you’ll help me.

To get things started, here are the voices currently teaching and helping me.

Justin Kownacki

I have a feeling I was well behind the rest of the Internet finding Justin’s blog, but Justin is probably THE voice I’m most listening to right now. I’d swear most days he’s right there inside my head, saying what I wish I could say if I could only find the words. I read and value Justin for his ability to break down issues and beat people over the head with their own denial and insecurities. He’s also really great at creating Twitter-friendly sound bites, which, as you may know, I’m a pretty big fan of.

A taste of Justin: Are You Waiting Until You’re Popular Before You Start Being Relevant?

Tamar Weinberg

Okay, so you don’t need me to be telling you that if you’re interested in social media you should be checking out Tamar’s blog.   However, my relationship with Tamar’s blog reminds me a lot about Amber’s comment regarding Chris Brogan. I used to read Tamar’s blog religiously…and then I stopped for awhile…and then I came back only to find it more useful to me than ever. For me, her blog is a good example (and reminder) that sometimes you need to go away from something before you can come back and appreciate its true value again.  Now that I’m in a different place in my career and development, I’m back and loving it more than ever!

A taste of Tamar: An Open Letter To Facebook

Jonathan Morrow

Jonathan is the co-founder of Partnering Profits but he’s also part of the gang over at Copyblogger, and the author of some of my favorite posts from the site. He’s smart about this whole ‘writing’ thing and sometimes having his words in my head helps me release the filter I can often put on my own.  He reminds me it’s okay to find ways to put myself into whatever it is I’m publishing.  The post I linked to down below is one stellar example of that and should probably be read with some tissues. Just sayin.

A taste of Jonathan: On Dying, Mothers, and Fighting for your Ideas

Gwen Bell

Simply put, Gwen reminds me to breathe. Her blog may be classified as being about social media, but it’s really about being human and life and about stopping long enough to see what’s in front of you. And then maybe learning to do that on the Web. I don’t know how she gets all that in while talking about proper social media etiquette and living in motion, but she does. In a blogosphere that feels more and more cramped and like people are living in the same room, Gwen takes everyone outside to sit on her lawn and chat. There’s just a whole lot more air out there.

A taste of Gwen: How Good is Your (Digital) Tale?

Matt Logelin

Matt’s blog has nothing to do with social media or marketing. It’s about love and loss and finding the courage to live a different life than perhaps you always planned. If you don’t know the backstory behind Matt, Madeline and Liz, educate yourself when you have twenty minutes of uninterrupted time. Because it’s heartbreaking and breathtaking and everything else you sometimes need to shake you out of being ordinary.  Matt reminds me that everything we do and say matters and how important it is not to hold back.

A taste of Matt: two years ago today.

Those are just five of the voices on the Web that I’m inspired by and learn from (seven if you include Kim and Amber). But I want to know who inspires you, both to get an idea of what’s important to you today and also to help me add to the list of voices that I read on a daily basis. I know you have some good stuff so I’m hoping you’ll share.

Who are you currently listening to and who are your teachers?

[Somewhat related: Ross Hudgens recently wrote about 8 important voices in tech, that you may find valuable. He mentions me, but don’t hold that against him. There are seven other people on his list who actually deserve to be there.]

Your Comments

  • Ed

    Thanks for sharing Lisa, great list! I listen to:

    @MissRogue – Tara Hunt’s book “The Whuffie Factor” changed the way I approached Social Media, and even though it was focused on Business, I re-framed it for my colleagues in Higher Education and Student Life, and what a difference it has made!

    @DeanElmore – Kenn Elmore is the Dean of Students at Boston University and is the epitome of how Higher Education needs to start using Social Media more to connect with it’s students. He does some very cool things at BU and on his blog http://bu.edu/dos

    @TomKrieglstein / @KPrentiss – Tom and Kevin are founders of SwiftKick, a very hip company that has been on the cutting edge of Social Media and Higher Ed. We met over Twitter last fall, and Tom along with @DebraSanborn created #SAchat, a weekly Twitter chat for all Higher Ed Student Affairs professionals.

    This is a quick list, and your blog post has now inspired me to write one of my own :-) Thanks!


    • Lisa Barone

      Wow, thanks. I’m familiar with @missrogue but I’d love to check out @deanelmore to see the intersection of higher ed and social media. Thanks for dropping these!

  • Kenny

    I honestly don’t listen to a lot of people online. While there is some great stuff online, I choose to educate myself offline mostly with books, and by having conversations with friends that aren’t immersed in the internet to get their opinions of what is going on online, to gain a different perspective.

  • DanielthePoet

    Thanks for making me cry at work.

  • Ross Hudgens

    Thanks for the link! My biggest fear, even using the internet 50+ hours a week, is that I’m missing so much. I know there are really, really good blogs out there I just have no clue about because somehow my mind map is just inside their reach.

    I think posts like these are great for filling in the gaps. I knew about Tamar but none of the other people on your list – I look forward to learning from them moving forward.

    • Lisa Barone

      I have the same fear that I’m missing good stuff, esp by people who choose to stay less on the radar. That’s why I’m hoping some people will share what they’re reading and who they trust .

      Glad I helped introduce you to some new folks!

  • Hugo from Zeta

    Thanks for the hot tips on some of these folks (that I didn’t even know existed). That’s what makes social media (Twitter in this case) so grand.

    I’m only going to list the first three that pop into my head because I have a bunch of deadlines to hit today:
    @aaronwall – Much more than an SEO blogger or even a marketing blogger. He talks about things relating to the big picture in terms of business and just the human condition in general.

    @webby2001 – he’s able to eloquently write about some of the misgivings and shortcomings relating to social media monitoring, and that means a lot to me.

    @danzarrella – I love the scientific method and I love learning about what works on social channels, and he combines the two.

  • Michelle Robbins

    I’ve been regularly reading Justin Kownacki for a while now, and really appreciate his ability to so often hit a point so concisely on the head.

    I also do regularly read your posts – I don’t always agree with your conclusions but you are such a talented writer, I’m always interested in what you have to say and how you present a given topic.

    Time doesn’t allow me to read everything we publish at Search Engine Land, but whenever Danny Sullivan or Vanessa Fox do a deep dive on a topic, I make sure to catch it – because they each consistently do comprehensive analysis of current topics, trends, or changes in search so I’m able to get the full story, as well as additional resources from the info they provide. In the same vein, not daily, but again on deeper dives, Aaron Wall.

    Outside of the search/social world – I regularly read/listen to anything Michael Shermer writes/speaks about (via Reason, Sketptic, Scientific American) as well as a variety of authors at the CATO.

  • Will Scott

    I listen to a lot of people online, but what I really wanted to talk about is “Jumping the Shark”.

    See, I too thought it was a dumb phrase until I looked it up. As it turns out, Fonzie “jumped the shark” on water-skis while wearing a leather jacket.

    It was symbolic of the decline of the television classic Happy Days for a number of reasons:

    1. Jaws had just come out (1970s, not 1950s where Happy Days was supposed to take place)
    2. He was on water-skis (not a particularly 50s reference)
    3. He was wearing a leather jacket (do I need to say more?)

    In re: to whom do I listen? My top of mind list on Twitter top 4 right this minute:
    – @mblumenthal
    – @gsterling
    – @LisaBarone (no I’m not just sucking up)
    – @Matt_Siltala

  • Rob Weinstein

    Since I don’t work directly in the SEO space, my Top 5 is perhaps a bit off from the rest of the thread, but …. In the spirit of “measure what matters,” I listen to Avinash Kaushik. I also find inspiration in the TedTalks speeches. When I need to laugh a little, Cake Wrecks has a wonderful voice. In the same spirit of not taking life too seriously, your suggestion of Twitter search on hate my job was hysterical. Lastly, though it might’ve violated the reflective property of postings for you to have listed yourself as a wonderful voice to listen to, I truly enjoy your musings.

  • Kristi

    Thank you! I knew about Tamar but had not actually subscribed to her blog, just read her articles when I saw them on Twitter or Facebook shared likes. Her last Facebook one was great. I subscribed to them all.

    I like the reference on who you are listening to WHEN. I am constantly moving around my focus depending on what’s going on. I recently started a job so I’m trying to move my focus on what i need, atm.

    In the tech and search engine world, I have mainly had the ‘biggies’ on auto-pilot for the past four years so I could scan through them when I had time.
    SearchEngineLand.com, RustyBrick, Aaron Wall, Graywolf, SEOMoz, and a few others. I’m slowly growing out my list so I can scan and retain when I need it.

    Really appreciated this list though, thank you!

  • JB

    One person I listen too quite a bit online in regards to SEO is @russpage. He’s a friend and someone I turn to for questions and answers. He always seems to be “in the know.”

  • Christiba

    Lately I’ve had less blog-reading time, so I follow @havi for bits of fresh air.

  • DanielthePoet

    I don’t know that I have many voices I read consistently. I crack open my feed reader maybe once a month. Whatever I read, I read mostly because it dances across my field of vision on Twitter.

    But the blogging voices I get the most out of are probably:

    @mommypotamus – yes, she’s my wife. but she’s got a better community of readers than I do and she really just started three months ago. read her Mother’s Day post. It’s a good insight into the way she sees things.

    @lisabarone – it’s true. don’t blush. i read you more consistently than anyone other than my wife. keeping it real, i DO skip over some posts based on topic or my mood, but you’re entertaining. i REALLY wish you blogged more about life than marketing, though. that would be much more interesting to me.

    @thebloggess – what can i say? she says things i’d never repeat, and sometimes i walk away from a post feeling dirty, but she is brimming with the most hilarity on the interwebs, hands down.

    @johnpauljackson – John Paul is the definition of a Christian mystic (though he wouldn’t call himself that). he has these audio fireside chats you can purchase online that have been immeasurably valuable to me. i listen to one of them most nights as i drift off to sleep.

    @billjohnson00 – if there is ONE person in the world i want to hear from every week, it’s Bill. he’s one of my mentors and he doesn’t even know it. when i hear him speak (http://www.iBethel.tv), i hear what Christianity was SUPPOSED to sound like, instead of what people have twisted it into through selfish motives and the need for control.

    i realize that my list isn’t a marketer list, but these are the people that i pay the most attention to. i’m not a marketer at heart. i’m a communicator. i naturally gravitate towards the best communicators in areas of interest.

    people who make me laugh, cry, hope, or believe.

  • Amber Naslund

    Hey Lisa – First off, had to stop by and say THANKS for including me. It’s a mutual love fest, because I love reading your fresh, no-nonsense takes on things. Reminds me to keep my feet firmly planted.

    You already found Justin, and he’s one of my standbys.

    I’m also a HUGE fan of Julien Smith’s blog, http://inoveryourhead.net. Not specific to social per se, but Julien has a way of looking at the world that I cannot replicate or find anywhere else. If I had to keep one blog, his would be it.

    @tamadear is a friend, colleague, and mastermind of epic proportions. And while I expect she’ll be on a bit of leave after having a baby this weekend, she’s got rich perspective on humanity and how it collides with this hyperdigital world. http://www.tamsenmcmahon.com

    I love the work that @jonathanfields does because it’s part business, part social, part people, and all from a guy who’s really done a lot of everything. He’s uplifting and encouraging without being condescending and cheesy. http://jonathanfields.com

    And my list wouldn’t be complete without my friend and partner in crime @jaybaer. His blog is consistently just GOOD. Really good. http://convinceandconvert.com

    Always dozens more, but I’ll stop there for now. :)

    Thanks again for the shoutout. I think you pretty much rock.


  • EJ Ellis

    Hi Lisa,
    Your post intrigued me – thought I’d respond.

    My ears are always up for thoughts & ideas shared by these 5:

    –Amber Naslund @ambercadabra – bright, no-nonsense, grounded, lots of moxy. In a sea of social media/marketing “experts”, Amber offers a refreshing blend of actionable, easy-to-execute advice.

    –Christine Kane @Christine_Kane – she’s authentic. To read her blog is to appreciate a true artist’s soul. Check her out – she’s really growing her business!

    –Chris Brogan @ChrisBrogan – two reasons I listen to him: (1) he commands the attention of a monster-sized audience, (2) he seems humble & genuine.

    –Jillian Michaels @JillianMichaels – she’s a force of nature causing much needed change in American lifestyle of nutrition & exercise.

    –Pam Slim @PamSlim – always gives off positive vibes. Not a negative bone in her body. A blogging veteran affecting positive change in the work lives of many.

    I know you follow Amber & probably Chris. I encourage to check out the other 3 on Twitter too.

    That was a fun exercise–thanks!

  • Nathan Hangen

    Honestly, I don’t really have time to read blogs anymore because I’m too busy creating.

    I read Outspoken when I have time, and a few others, but that’s about it.

    I feel like a lot of the blogosphere is redundant, and I learn much more from my own experimentation than anything. Granted, there are always diamonds in the rough, but on the whole…it’s kind of nice to turn the reader off.

  • Joshua Black | The Underdog Millionaire

    Check out The World’s Strongest Librian. The blog’s owner, Josh Hanagarne has Tourette’s syndrome and is one the most sincere and powerful people you will ever meet. Between book reviews he puts out powerful videos about personal growth and a million other topics. He’s an actual librarian by day.

    -Joshua Black
    The Underdog Millionaire

  • Michelle

    Enjoyed this post very much, thank you. I have one link to offer. This is a blog that I read regularly and find it to be very helpful. http://www.workshifting.com – Work Shifting. It deals with the challenges of being a ‘work shifter’ – someone who does not work from in a traditional office setting but instead is working from home and on the road. The hours vary as well and I think for alot of us who are working today, we are finding that the traditional office setting is no longer the ‘model’ by which we are adhering to in our professional lives. The insights that this blog provide to me someone who is a ‘workshifter’ have really helped me – especially when it is all getting to be a bit too many ‘balls in the air’ to juggle. Hope you find it helpful too!

  • JB

    I should add one to the list, @smallbiztrends. If you’re into learning about marketing for small businesses or other miscellaneous small business related items, Anita Campbell is a must follow. It’s actually how I learned about @lisabarone (goes without saying she’s a must follow! How else would I have known to read this post).

  • Gwen Bell

    Thanks to @caligater (one voice I love! Enjoy her take on social entrepreneurship + frequent squeeeing) for pointing me to this post. And thanks for your kind words, Lisa. You know the feeling of respect is mutual – I respect you for inviting me to my edge with this work we’re both doing.

    5 voices – the ones I listen to daily to think+grow:

    @elephantjournal for mindfulness, a wide variety of voices and perspectives

    @fastcompany edgy, techy, insightful, well-researched as a rule

    @caro whip-smart, finger on the pulse, writes for CNET on all things social web

    @rands thought-provoking, pithy, web dev, insight-driven

    @faintstarlite/sheposts women on the web – in particular, blogging women. It’s a fast-moving space and she does a terrific job curating

    Runner-ups: @jeffrey writes like it’s nobody’s business and knows the tech scene inside/out, @breakingnews when things go wrong in the world + @themindfulist for mindful updates throughout my work day

  • Heather Villa

    Thank you so much for introducing me to some people whom I would have otherwise never come to read. Especially Matt Logelin. Some people are so strong and have such an amazing way of touching people by just sharing their story and their thoughts. What an amazing man.

    Here are 5 people I follow and read on an (almost) daily basis.
    @BSwafford http://www.bloggingwithoutablog.com

    @jonathanfields http://www.jonathanfields.com

    @GrittyVA http://www.grittyva.com


    @tamar http://www.techipedia.com

  • Maciej

    I think everyone out there needs to look up to someone and become inspired. Inspiration comes from those around you surround yourself with motivation at all times.

  • Jacob Stoops

    This is actually a funny coincidence. Kim’s article really inspired me to think about the different SEO’s that I admire in the industry. I wrote an article very similar to this, just with different people: http://www.agent-seo.com/seo/seos-who-inspire-me-and-who-have-taught-me-what-i-know/

    I actually mentioned the girls here at Outspoken Media as some of the people I respect most – along with several others.

  • Adam Audette

    Thanks Lisa, loved this post. Some great reading in here.

  • Jack

    I want to share few tips on web voices. I hope these tips will help you.
    1- Sing and say things in a tenor voice, or as low as your voice will allow; a lot of guys have alto voices like Ozzy Osbourne. But possibly say things deeper.
    2- Also throat lozenges help to deepen your voice: Practice with a tape recorder, in front of your mirror, with your fingers, find and isolate your Adam’s apple. At first it might seem forced, but gradually, and the more you do it, it will get better, and your voice will become deeper and deeper when you speak.
    3- Try cat’s claw, asparagus, kava kava. Massage, hypnotism, and magnet therapy might also help in deepening your vice and giving you the deep and sexy voice you have always wanted to have.

  • Bahiehk

    Awesome post!!

    My top 5 are:

    @gwen bell she gives great tips + has a generous spirit

    @DanielleLaPorte spirituality + business

    @MarkHeartofBiz great business tips for entrepreneurs, the guy is also a sufi master

    @AndreaScher for overall goodness + her Mondo Beyondo concept

    @kmaezenmiller addicitive. zen. simple. mother.

    hope you’ll enjoy’em to! ;)