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What Needs to Change About the Current State of Blogging
Posted on March 18th 2014
When it comes to blogging and content creation, calculation is something few writers opt for anymore. Social currency today is measured in relevance, timeliness, and strategic keyword placement in the title of an article. “13 Reasons Why Olaf from Frozen is My Spirit Animal” would be a good example of hitting all the right nails on the head here. It’s relevant as the Disney movie is still trending, fast to whip out, (probably) requires little to no extra outside research, and the title lends itself to easy, bulleted reading for a wide audience.
While this is fine and well to a certain extent, my question is: where did all the meaty online posts go? Is this current model the most sustainable in the long-term? I don’t think so. I think the bubble is slowly starting to pop on leaning on gif-listicles/quizzes/Instagram photos as the bulk of the blogging content format. I won’t deny that for SEO purposes and driving in site traffic it’s incredibly useful, but the outward appearance is surface-based. If writers want to leave a lasting mark behind, as opposed to more skeletons in the internet graveyard musing on which Kardashian sister they’re most like or 34 gifs to explain why we should all drink more wine, they’re going to have to scrape past the surface and dig deeper.
Get picky and stay hungry.
One of my favorite Thoreau quotes has long been, “Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still.” You should hunger for whatever it is that you’re blogging about and make it your mission to know all within that area you possibly can. When someone writes about a topic that matters to them or is on a subject they’re genuinely excited to see grow and shape over the years, the passion for it shows and draws in the reader. As far as my “picky” portion of this title goes, that’s more of a nod to remaining fastidious in your work. Before you publish anything, double check your research and get all numbers, names, and dates right. If you want to be considered an expert on any one area, the last thing you want is a million comments under the article pointing out how you cited the wrong vocal actor for an animated character.
Remind yourself that FOMO doesn’t exist.
FOMO, Fear of Missing Out, is an unfortunate reality. In a study by Harris Interactive and MyLife, about 56% of people online experience anxiety related to the idea that they’re missing out on something important online, whether it’s a #breakingnews tweet or a status update on Facebook. As a result, it’s easy to spend the better part of the day scrolling through the dashboards on Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook to ensure we haven’t missed anything major.
Don’t invite in the comparison of your life to someone else’s. The anxiety you have that someone else may be doing better than you is based off of a status they undoubtedly put some time and consideration into molding just right themselves – there’s a story behind every moment and sometimes the details are not as positive as they appear to be on the surface.
Cultivation needs to be on par with harvesting.
I like to think of this as attempting to rush-write on a topic that’s still too “green” before you’re ready. Avoid publishing articles that you’re still missing bits to, be it a quote or photo image credit. Rushing into something, despite the thrill of being one of the first to cover that specific event, will ultimately make you look unprofessional if you do it on a sloppy note.
You don’t need to blog about everything.
But we do, don’t we? Doesn’t everyone need a picture of every green shake we blend pre-marathon race prep and a status a day counting down the days to our weddings? Nah. There’s a school of thought that believes we do, and it goes hand-in-hand with FOMO, but having a Twitter account doesn’t mean a minute-by-minute progress report of our daily lives is necessary. Less has always been more and in the blogosphere especially, this can create anticipation for our next posts to come. Calculation too, you see, as you can carefully chart out your next move without feeling stressed to write a filler post.