If you haven’t heard of Susan Boyle, you will. She’s been deemed the latest YouTube / internet musical sensation. Her debut on “Britain’s Got Talent” has received over 16 million hits on YouTube in less than a week.

Susan’s story has been discussed on CNN, Fox News, CBS Early Show, The Today Show, Anderson Cooper 360, Bill O’Reilly, Twitter and FaceBook just to name a few. For those of you who haven’t seen the video, it is a “must see”.

Although YouTube disabled the embedding of the video, I am able to share it here, courtesy of Daily Motion, .

NOTE: This is the 7+ minute video of Susan’s performance. To capture the full power of the message, I urge you to watch it from beginning to end. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

If you have a problem watching the video here, click on this link

Today’s Lesson

If you watched the video of Susan Boyle, you see how things aren’t as they appear. Let’s face it, we often have preconceived notions based on our first impression.

Blogging is no different. As bloggers we learn we have a matter of seconds to entice our visitors to read our work and/or to subscribe. In the blink of an eye, if visitors to our site don’t like what they see, they’re gone.

But, what about a blogger who is new. A blogger who is making their debut? Are we, as fellow bloggers, giving them a chance?

When Susan Boyle told Simon Cowell (of American Idol fame) she would like to be as popular as singing sensation Elaine Paige, the audience laughed, rolled their eyes and snickered.

What about new bloggers who dream to be the next Darren Rowse, Dooce, or Steve Pavlina? Are we rolling our eyes at them? Snickering or laughing behind their backs?

The Susan Boyle story and video pulls at my heart strings in such a way, I can’t stop watching her performance.

It drives the message home that first impressions are often deceiving.

It reminds me how we should never underestimate the potential of a new blogger either.

They too, have a dream and need a chance.

Today’s Assignment

Have you ever rejected a blog, only to find out later the author was a diamond in the rough and is now on their way to stardom?

When you started blogging, did you worry the first impression you were making wasn’t good enough?

How did watching the video of Susan Boyle affect you?

Care to share?

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Look Who's Talking
  1. TumblemooseNo Gravatar says:

    Oh. My. God.

    I am in love. The spirit, the countenance, the sheer inspiration.

    How could you watch that and not have a tear in your eye?

    Everyone has something to offer. Judge by appearances only, judge too quickly and too harshly and you will be the one who suffers.

    I am still stunned.


    Tumblemoose´s last blog post..Blogging Without A Blog

  2. What it strikes me is how quick we judge, and what’s more. Remember the initial reaction from the public? Is that a way to deal with anybody? Why do we need reasons to love when Love is the Reason?

    Miguel de Luis´s last blog post..How to cook and eat a toad – Dealing with Tough Jobs (1 of 2)

  3. Barbara,

    Thank you so much for this video. I hadn’t watch it before and it was a real treat. I’m guilty judging on first impressions, of course, and this is a good wake-up call.

    Daphne @ Joyful Days´s last blog post..Attaining Spiritual Peace

  4. Mike GoadNo Gravatar says:

    I saw her on the ABC evening news earlier in the week, I think it was. Then I watched her again last evening. Even with forewarning it was a stunner. It was a stunner the second time. I just watched it again and she still rocks!

    I don’t watch American Idol or any other reality shows so all I ever see is the ones that really make a big splash. Another one that was a huge surprise was 2007’s Paul Potts, who went on to win. Here’s a video of his debut on Britain’s Got Talent Paul Potts.

    I’ve not really seen many blogs that really took off. Vered of Mom Grind, though is one that comes to mind.

    I’ve never really obsessed about my impression on my blogs being good. I know that there is plenty of work that I could do, but I’m just going to be me and if people want to read, fine. If not, fine, though they might be missing something as I continue to evolve. Oh, well. 😉

    I’m thinking of branching out to some themes similar to my Eyes of the Great Depression.

    Mike Goad´s last blog post..Eyes of the Great Depression 025

  5. J.D. MeierNo Gravatar says:

    I love the shock factor.

    One thing I’ve noticed about diamonds in the rough is there’s a consistent pattern of confidence. It’s how your inner confidence leads to competence and gets you over the humps.

    I get surprised sometimes when I run into old friends and they’ve stuck with something and they’ve changed their game. There’s a lot to be said for persistence and focus.

    Sometimes it just seems like the scales aren’t tipped right when I see incredible talent but they just don’t know the right person. I see the pattern so many times, it’s not just what you know, it’s who you know. I always enjoy when people find their big breaks and make the most of what they got.

    J.D. Meier´s last blog post..Living Your Process

  6. Hi Barbara – I loved this video when I viewed it earlier in the week, and it was a treat to watch it again. Susan is awesome, just awesome. And look at her dressed to the nines, with fab shoes. It reminded me there are countless gifted unknowns chirping away in church choirs, family kitchens, wherever, while the banal defines most of celebrity. As goes the world, so goes the blogosphere, which can appear just as bloated with the ridiculous, the untalented and the ugly – if you’re paying attention to the “famous.”

    The best thing about blogging is the inability to “see” the person except through what they express. Imagine if we could only have heard the audio of Susan Boyle. I like how blogging can have a disabling effect on impressions that rely too heavily on a superficial beauty. We don’t have to reveal our photo unless we want to. Because of this, we are free to discover the pearls among us, and they are plentiful. Thanks for treating us to Susan again. She’s awesome.

    Betsy Wuebker´s last blog post..HE IS RISEN

  7. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara.
    Remember Harmony from the blog Golden Zen? We had coffee today and she mentioned this video to me. I knew what to expect before I started watching it so I wasn’t as moved as I might have been. But I remember watching the 2007 Paul Potts video that Mike Goad mentioned. That one did bring tears to my eyes. The best part of this is watching the shift that happens in people’s attitudes and the expression on their faces.

    “When you started blogging, did you worry the first impression you were making wasn’t good enough?” No. I started worrying more after I began getting readers 🙂

    Davina´s last blog post..Happy Yet?

  8. I loved the performance of course so much so that I wish they’d kill the crowd noise to better hear the her voice. Like J.D> I’ve also noticed the powerful posture and confidence of those who are more than they first appear.

    There is an understated self-assurance that shines through in contrast to the outer appearance. I’m not sure we can connect with that on a new blog unless we take the time to grasp the confidence that comes through in the writing.

    Tom Volkar / Delightful Work´s last blog post..Stand Up For Individuality

  9. Barbara – caught this video the other day and was amazed. I’ve never seen Simon C. smile during a performance like that! Bless Susan Boyle, for her God given talent and her courage to display it.

    Kevin Sandridge´s last blog post..Florida, California, and Nevada Tally Half of the Nation’s Foreclosures

  10. RobinNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – I’ve found it interesting how my appreciation of blogs has changed as I have got to know the bloggers – these days I am quicker to “get it”, as I understand it all better.

    I find that whole mainstream “talent” world annoying – I wonder why she wants to engage in it! There are lots of very talented people who wouldn’t be interested in performing to an audience like that (how this applies to blogs, I’m not sure! hmm)

    Robin´s last blog post..Tomato Seeds And Delicious Fruit

  11. DotNo Gravatar says:

    I read about her in yesterday’s paper. I’m with Miguel — “Is that a way to deal with anybody?” I thought it was mainly Americans who judged people so harshly by appearance, but I guess I was wrong. How horrifying to hear that one judge say to her that it was a shock to hear her singing (after seeing her appearance, he meant). As someone who looks not all that different than she does (as most women our age do), I was quite angry at the presumption.

    As for worrying about my blog’s appearance, I have always wanted it to look nice, to please me. I know that won’t please everyone else, but it’s me and that’s what matters to me. I haven’t turned away from any blogs that later became successful, but I have turned away from blogs that were successful for reasons I didn’t support.

    Dot´s last blog post..Spring Has Sprung

  12. Writer DadNo Gravatar says:

    I was sent this on Easter and didn’t even open the email until hours after I got it. I watched it more out of obligation to the sender than anything, but WOW was I wrong. Truly, truly amazing. My wife was next to me crying while I was fighting the chills. Totally stunning, that.

    Writer Dad´s last blog post..Serial and Milk

  13. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    I have always found to Never Judge a Book by Its Cover! This holds true for Miss Boyle or a blog. I always try and give all blogs a chance whether it is new or been around for a while.

    Linda´s last blog post..Michigan – Working the Green

  14. Silly GirlNo Gravatar says:

    I saw the story about the her on Inside Edition. My grandmother alway said never judge a book by its cover. I am glad she had the guts and determination to go for it. True insipiration.

  15. I just saw her performance today and was completely blown away. Of course I did expect something incredible because of the writings about her but still, it was such a beautiful voice.

    Gitte Gorzelak´s last blog post..If the world is a stage and we are players, what is your next scene?

  16. Barbara,

    Susan is absolutely stunning! I loved watching the look on Simon Cowell’s face when she started singing. Priceless!

    I figured from all the news stuff that she’d be quite good but even so, I didn’t expect her to be THAT good. Not because of her appearance but because true talent is so hard to come by. I figured she’d be average or run of the mill like most singers today.

    Never judge a book by it’s cover is definitely one of those lessons the world has yet to fully grasp.


    BTW – Love the new blog look! I haven’t been by in a while so I’m catching up today. 😉

    Annie Anderson´s last blog post..In need of your thoughts

  17. NaturalNo Gravatar says:

    i can’t say that i have rejected a blog based on appearance, alone. i’ll give any blog a try. the simpler the better. i guess that’s like SB. she’s simple and was the best. i tear up every time i watch that video.

    in the beginning i think we all worry. i don’t worry anymore.

    i try to focus on content and not design. if a blogger writes well, the posts are interesting – then they can write on a napkin and hold it up to a web cam. i would read it. (as long as i can see it. 🙂

    Natural´s last blog post..My Two Left Feet

  18. CarolineNo Gravatar says:

    I saw her video for the first time this morning. The first thing that popped into my head was…it’s never too late to claim your dream. She is such a positive icon and someone we dearly need in this day and age. She teaches us to go after our dream, to be courageous and stand up to the bullies and fears. I am truly inspired.

    In regards to new blogs…I say go for it! It takes a bit of time to find your voice…but that’s the key. Your voice!!! Don’t be a copy cat. You can learn from others and try some things that other bloggers do successfully…but in the end, be you!

    Caroline´s last blog post..Favorite “Foto” Friday

  19. TracyNo Gravatar says:

    It’s taken me awhile to get into some blogs because I had to get to know the writer to really understand the blog. I’m glad I stuck with them.

    I loved Susan Boyle’s performance, it reminded me that just because you haven’t been discovered, it doesn’t mean you aren’t brilliant.

    Tracy´s last blog post..A List of 10 Randoms and a Blog Reader Appreciation Day Prize

  20. I love that you’re spreading this message. My mother sent me a link to the YouTube clip a few days ago. Up to 20 million views now.

    Great job tying this in to blogging. Would love to be the next Leo Babauta, or the next Barbara Swafford. Aloha!

    Sterling Okura´s last blog post..Tea and Zen

  21. PallabNo Gravatar says:

    She can really be a true idol and a source of inspiration to so many. What a wonderful woman.

  22. LisaNewtonNo Gravatar says:

    It’s funny, I’d seen this story on the news but hadn’t seen the entire video. I just watched it, then popped into my reader, and low and behold, your blog was the first one I hit…………….:)

    The video is amazing and the person, even more so. I think all of us, to a certain extent tend to judge a book by its cover. Oh, we say we don’t but it’s human nature to at least have a few notions of what might be up, based on appearances. Of course this isn’t a good thing, but to not accept it is unrealistic.

    I think it’s more important to look past first impressions. Listen, converse, get to know, and then, discover. That’s the only way we can really know someone.

    LisaNewton´s last blog post..City Center Rocks Los Angeles

  23. […] Without a Blog: “What Susan Boyle Can Teach Us About Blogging” — If you haven’t seen the Scottish phenomenon who brought the world to its feet […]

  24. Hey Barbara,
    Very inspiring video. I thought it was remarkable how she kept her poise even when there were a lot of doubters. It was almost as if she thought everyone was with her. I know she knew in the back of her mind that many listeners would be surprised when she started singing.

    Broderick Allen´s last blog post..Recommended Videos

  25. I like to think that I don’t judge hastily, but I’m sure I sometimes do. This was a powerful video and a powerful post. Thank you.

    Vered – MomGrind´s last blog post..Cabo San Lucas

  26. I watched the video (followed to it from Hunter’s). It moved me so strong! 47, unemployed, never had a chance – BOOM! Dream came true! 44 Million views on youtube.com!
    I had so much energy running through my body. Dreams come true!
    Back to more blogging. Hack Hack Hack, another post is hot off the press 😉

    Alik Levin | PracticeThis.com´s last blog post..150 Ways To Break Into Your Blog (Hacking For Dummies)

  27. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    I agree with Vered a powerful video, performance, and post…Thank you Barbara.
    I am thanking Tess the Bold for her video this week too…inspirational.

    I could really identify with Susan Boyle because when I write on my Blog people read it and hear it…..I have a voice… I just have to so prove myself in person and that takes up so much time and effort – usually an effort away from the message or what is important.

    Young children and dogs always see me!

    Also some of my greatest singing performances were when I sang backstage as a voice over for an Oliver Twist who’s voice was changing or when the church choir loft was upstairs behind the parishioners….

    Thank you for sharing

    Patricia´s last blog post..Under Wear

  28. PalabuzzNo Gravatar says:

    When I first started blogging I don’t even care what others would say about my writings and grammars.

  29. Evelyn LimNo Gravatar says:

    I’ve watched it a few days ago and shared it with my FB group. I found it heart warming and inspirational at the same time. The message I shared was that many of us would have given up on our dreams by the time we turn 40 but not this woman! My kids love it too!

    Evelyn Lim´s last blog post..Lose Yourself To Find Yourself

  30. RobinNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – just dropping in here to say I have learned more about Susan now (how could I not – she’s everywhere!) – about her life and mother and so on. She is certainly going for it! – and what an awesome voice she has.

    Robin´s last blog post..Tomato Seeds And Delicious Fruit

  31. The judges on that show must see so many people claiming to have far more talent than they really do. When they’re let down over and over again, I can understand them having low expectations by default.

    But they judged her by her age and her looks, which shouldn’t be connected to her singing ability. Does looking a certain way automatically make you a good (or bad) singer?

    Still, at least they let her audition, despite what they thought. How many of us always give someone a chance despite our initial impression?

    Hunter Nuttall´s last blog post..5 Feel-Good YouTube Videos

  32. I actually just commented on another blog about this discussing how it’s a tiny bit disturbing how big of a deal people have made this out to be. Yes, she has a fabulous voice. But if she was your typical made-for-TV young, gorgeous vocal powerhouse would this still be so talked about? Hmmm. But I digress. 🙂 I am thrilled for her for sure. I enjoyed watching the video on YouTube when it first went up.

    Regarding your questions, I can’t think of any diamond in the roughs I rejected at first, but I definitely have worried about the first impressions of my blog before. I think it’s probably only normal.

    Christine | Communicate Value´s last blog post..Ashton Kutcher Hits 1 Million Twitter Followers; Early Adopters Groan

  33. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi George – I hear you. Every time I watch the video, I also get teary eyed.

    Hi Miguel – Very well put, “love is the reason”. 🙂

    Hi Daphne – You’re welcome. Yes, the video is a great wake up call.

    Hi Mike – Thank you for the link to the Paul Potts video. I watched that one as well, and it was another eye opener.

    I like how you said, “I’m just going to be me and if people want to read, fine…”. Being authentic is the key, isn’t it?

    Hi J.D. – Good point. It is also who we know. Susan and many others have talent, and like you said, persistence and focus can pay off.

    Hi Betsy – You’re welcome. I like how you worded that, “blogging can have a disabling effect on impressions that rely too heavily on a superficial beauty…”

    Hi Davina – Yes, I remember Harmony. I pray all is well in her world. **smiles** to your comment “I started worrying more after I began getting readers.” We do experience a shift when that happens, don’t we?

    Hi Tom – That’s a great observation. “I’ve also noticed the powerful posture and confidence of those who are more than they first appear.” There’s a lot to be said for that.

    Hi Kevin – Yes. Susan Boyle did shock Simon. That was a precious moment.

    Hi Robin – I agree. As we learn more about blogging, we do develop a better appreciation for what goes on behind the scenes as well as all of the hard work bloggers put into their work.

    Hi Dot – You’ve raised a good point. How many blogs do we turn away from that are successful for reasons we don’t support? You’ve got me thinking now. 🙂

    Hi Writer Dad – Yes, the video is totally stunning.

    Hi Linda – The “never judge a book by its cover” phrase certainly applies in Susan’s case as well as with blogs.

    Hi Silly Girl – Yes. She is a true inspiration of what we can do with our talent if we persevere.

    Hi Gitte – You’re right. Hearing everything written about her does raise our expectations, but that voice….

    Hi Annie – Thank you. I agree, with all the press we know she’s going to be good, but she definitely has raised the bar.

    Hi Natural – I agree. In the early days of blogging many of us do question our talent.

    Hi Caroline – That’s true. The video does inspire us to follow our dream, no matter what our age.

    Hi Tracy – I like that. “…just because you haven’t been discovered, it doesn’t mean you aren’t brilliant.” That is so true.

    Hi Sterling – Haha! Sterling, you are certainly good for the ego. Re: views of the video, every time I check it, it keeps skyrocketing. WOW!

    Hi Pallab – Yes, Susan Boyle is a wonderful woman and a true inspiration.

    Hi Lisa – You’re right. It only natural for us to judge based on first impressions. Like you said, although it’s not right, we can learn from it by being aware.

    Hi Broderick – Yes, she certainly kept her poise. She’s a special lady.

    Hi Vered – You’re welcome. I agree. The video is very powerful.

    Hi Alik – Definitely. Dreams do come true.

    Hi Patricia – You’re welcome. Ah ha. So you’re a singer, too. Might we see a video on your blog, as well?

    Hi Palabuzz – Now worrying what others think is a great trait to have.

    Hi Evelyn – Dreams come true at any age, don’t they?

    Hi Robin – Thank you. Like you, I’ve researched her and her life. She is a remarkable woman, isn’t she?

    Hi Hunter – Good point. “How many of us always give someone a chance despite our initial impression?”

    Hi Christine – You’re right. Many of us do worry about the first impression our blog makes.

  34. PrueNo Gravatar says:


    I love this video and she seems like such a kind person. I think it really does go to show that as they say you truly cannot judge a book by its cover. I love how shocked the entire audience seemed to be when she began her song. Her performance was so moving it gave me shivers when I watched it!

    Prue´s last blog post..Pinecone Research Canada is Growing – Invites available!

  35. […] 4. What Susan Boyle Can Teach Us […]

  36. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara .. that’s great .. I’ll be back to take a better look at your non-blog!! & learn some lessons ..

    I just wanted to say .. that Susan said she’d like to sing with Elaine Page .. she’s got her wish .. they’ll be working together!!

    I too don’t watch these kind of things .. but I love the way new technology allows us to see these gems later on .. just great

    Thanks – it’ll be so interesting to see what you’re doing .. as I’m just starting out and have so much to learn ..

    Hilary Melton-Butcher
    Positive Letters

    Hilary´s last blog post..Happy Birthday: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

  37. The world is made up of so many clicks. There’s the Zen crowd, the writers, the fashionistas, the sports fans, the music lovers and on and on. I get quite blog-struck by all the clicks. It’s great to be a cross-over. A person with many interests. Susan must’ve known she didn’t fit the image but she went ahead anyway. She believed in her talent. Fabulous!

  38. […] the story of Susan Boyle has people suddenly waxing introspective about first impressions and pretending they don’t judge […]

  39. JeannetteNo Gravatar says:

    Interesting that you wrote this… and I know I’m coming to it late (that’s one of my pet peeves of blogging, that it seems like you have to catch the discussion the day of the post). Anyway I just read a comment from a new blogger somewhere suggesting that if a visitor goes to a blog and sees there are hardly any comments, the visitor will think “oh, not that good”. I disagree, because I know that lots of people come, read and enjoy without leaving comments…. I don’t think we should judge blogs by their number of comments, new blogs or old ones!

    Thanks again for a thought-provoking post.

    Jeannette´s last blog post..Free Agent: The dream comes true

  40. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Prue – Her performance is awesome, isn’t it? I agree, it does prove, we can’t tell a book by it’s covers.

    Hi Hilary – You’re welcome. I’m so happy you stopped by. As you can see I’m trying to catch up on comments, but didn’t want you to think yours had gone unnoticed.

    Yes. It is wonderful that we have the ability to watch videos like this one of Susan Boyle even though we didn’t see the show. It’s like seeing the “best of”.

    Hi Paisley – Isn’t that the truth? Susan had enough self confidence to give it a try. I would love to see win the competition. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

    Hi Jeannette – You’re welcome. I hear what you say about “catching the conversation, but like you, I often find and old post and comment on that instead. I agree. Comment counts have nothing to do with how good or bad a blog is. Like you said, many people read without commenting. Plus, many new blogs often done get a lot of comments in the beginning.