Is This The World’s Worst List of the Top Human Resources Blogs?

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I have a love/hate relationship with all those “best of” or “top” something lists.

OK, maybe love/hate is a little strong. Perhaps it’s more like “sorta like/sorta don’t.”

I sorta like it when TLNT (or even me personally) get named to somebody’s “Best of” list (like those that John Sumser does with some rigorous analysis on HR Examiner), and I “sorta don’t” like it when I get passed over and find myself saying, “how did they make that list?”

I try to take a pretty broad view when it comes to “top” whatever lists because they tend to be pretty arbitrary, and sometimes, are little more than just somebody’s off the top of their head opinion, devoid of any real content or insight.

That’s why I’m surprised that this “list” of top HR blogs got me so worked up.

Probably the single worst list of HR blogs anywhere

It’s titled The Top 50 Human Resources Blogs to Watch in 2012, and it is put together by a guy named Evan Carmichael, a Canadian entrepreneur who seems to specialize in churning out a lot of these kind of lists, although it’s unclear if he knows anything at all about HR, talent management, or any of the other subjects he does “top” lists about.

My guess is he doesn’t because this the single worst list of HR anything that I have ever seen.

How terrible is this “list” of the top 50 HR blogs? Let me count the ways:

  1. It’s a list put together by someone who not only seems to know nothing about HR, but also, very little about what makes for an interesting and insightful blog.
  2. It lists a number of blogs that are either dead, abandoned, or seem to be in a state of suspended animation — leading one to believe that you don’t actually need to be actively and currently blogging to make Mr. Carmichael’s list.
  3. It seems to be missing most of the blogs that people in HR and talent management actively read, follow, and talk about.

To that last point, there some good HR blogs here, at least in my view. For example, Laurie Ruettimann‘s sharp and witty The Cynical Girl blog is listed (she also writes occasionally for TLNT), but so is her now retired Punk Rock HR. How is a blog that even Mr. Carmichael admits was “retired in 2010” make a list of  the Top 50 HR blogs to watch THIS year?

He also lists blogs that seem to be dead or abandoned. For instance, Welcome to HR (No. 20 on this list) hasn’t posted anything new since 1/5/2012. The Inflexion Advisers blog (No. 24) last published on 1/11/2012. HRfunda (No. 39) hasn’t done anything since August 2011, and HR WhY (No. 45) not since July 2011.

Where are all the really good HR blogs?

There’s probably more, but you get my point — it’s hard to be a blog to watch in 2012 when for the most part, don’t even seem to be doing anything worth watching.

Worse than that is how The Top 50 Human Resources Blogs to Watch in 2012 misses so many blogs that people read and talk about, and that would have given this list a much needed dose of credibility. As “best of” or “top” lists go, it’s lazy, poorly researched, and seems to have virtually no original insight or expertise.

To wit:

There’s no HR Capitalist by Kris Dunn. No Charlie Judy and his HR Fishbowl.

No China Gorman, or Sharlyn Lauby, the HR Bartender.

No Lance Haun and Life Between the Brackets, or Trish McFarlane and HR Ringleader.

No Fistful of Talent or Compensation Cafe.

There’s nothing from HR Examiner and John Sumser, or anything from Jason Lauritsen or any of his blogs — Talent Anarchy (with Joe Gerstandt), Bulletproof Talent (with Cy Wakefield), or his own

And where the hell is Tim Sackett? or Mike VanDervort? or Steve Boese? Or, any one of a bunch of smart, insightful and current HR-related blogs that people actually read, share, and talk about?

I could go on and on about this all day, but you get the point.

A few good blogs does not a Top 50 list make

Yes, there are a few smart HR blogs listed on The Top 50 Human Resources Blogs to Watch in 2012, but like the old saying goes, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Just because there are a few good HR blogs on this list does not make it a good list. To the contrary; the inclusion of a few good HR blogs here simply masks the shallow thinking and lack of insight that leads to such a thin and generally clueless list in the first place.

I don’t know Evan Carmichael from Adam. He touts himself as an entrepreneur, and maybe he’s a good one. I simply don’t know.

What he’s not, however, is someone you want to listen to when it comes to insight and intelligence about the best HR blogs, because from what I can see, he doesn’t know jack about that.

And for the record, TLNT rarely makes any lists like this because we’re a hybrid — we blog some, we write some news, we aggregate and feature stuff from other blogs, we publish original content from other HR and talent management thinkers. It’s hard for us to make any “best of” lists because we’re different things to different people and not so easily categorized. So it is as well for SHRM, or HR Executive, or HR Morning, or sister website ERE, or many others.

So, it’s caveat emptor when it comes to The Top 50 Human Resources Blogs to Watch in 2012. If you decide to “watch,” I wouldn’t recommend watching too closely.

And one more thing: I wanted to ask Evan Carmichael about how he came up with his list, but I couldn’t find his email address on his website (if it’s there, it’s well hidden) and he did not respond to a request to follow him on Twitter so I could contact him that way.

This may just be me, but I always wonder about people who tout themselves and produce “top” lists like this, then shut themselves off from any feedback or comment. You can make of that what you will.

  • Dustin Leszcynski

    Thank you for pointing this out. The top 100 HR people to follow on Twitter is even worse.

  • ManagementConsultant


    I think you will probably find that the real point of the list is not to identify the top 50 HR blogs. The point is almost certainly to drive internet traffic and links to the ‘curator’ of the list, in a disreputable attempt to eventually improve their SEO rankings in the search engines.

    It’s a well-worn tactic used by many spammy internet marketers. I don’t know if Mr Carmichael uses it in this way, although I am aware of other ‘lists’ he has put together that have the same ‘effect’.

  • Hrminion

    As a blogger on that list I completely agree! It made no sense to me how and why it came about

  • Bret Pavone

    I would like to see more blogs that take an employee focus. My personal favorites are and I find good articles that help me think about new angles and often with a good sense of humor and interviews.

  • Ben

    Well…I am thankful I did not make the list then…

  • Carol Schultz

    Great comments John.  I always wonder this about many other “top” anything lists.  My local paper once interviewed a “career expert” with no experience who had bought a career coaching franchise and went through a month long training.  Really???

  • Trish McFarlane

    Thanks for the mention John.  I guess the best measure of blogs is our traffic and the ones you mention all have strong followings. It will be interesting if you ever hear from Evan Carmichael.  List or no list, if you (and your team) continue to put out good information and opinion, the right readers in the HR, recruiting and talent community will find the blogs.  🙂

  • Michael VanDervort

    Thanks for mentioning my blog John

  • lruettimann

    Evan Carmichael doesn’t exist.

  • Tracy Tran

    You got catfished!

  • TalentTalks

    I remember reading that list and having the same reaction. The list posted here is far more accurate – if by “top” readers expect POVs of experienced industry insiders, articulate writers and though-provoking content. ~Kelly B @TalentTalks

  • hrfishbowl

    Appreciate the nod, John. lists. lists. lists. there’s only one kind of list i really need…and it has wine on it.