Monday, December 18, 2006

Millions of Sites and Nothing to Read

Question: How does one get read today, or even noticed, when there is so much content available? Tons of sites and blogs have launched, hoping to bring fame and fortune to the Web-entrepreneur or would-be pundit. Most of these are worthless; each new digital page is yet another fly in the soup of useless Web drivel.

I guess my Dad was lucky in his day. Dad's writing was most often peer-reviewed. Nothing got past the gatekeepers without a good "going over." Too bad the same can't be said of today's bloggers. Sadly, I'm no exception. On the Web, no one holds my hand and saves me from myself. Hardly anything but sweat equity prevents me from writing too much, saying the wrong thing, or saying it badly. I suspect I'm not alone.

A blogger is like an amateur photographer who takes hundreds of pictures each month with a cheap digital camera. No, he doesn't plan to print these photos out. Most of the shots are blurry and poorly-composed snippets of time anyway. But that won't stop him. He enjoys the daily click and whirrrrrrr, knowing he didn't spend a few days and dollars waiting to develop the results. It's the freedom that attracts him, not the promise of a great framed print.

The next time you search through Google or Technorati for something wonderful to read, keep that in mind. There are thousands of free articles and millions of blog entries. Most of them are not worth the digital paper they're posted on. They're just there, because it's the act of composing that attracts most bloggers, and not the paycheck.

In spite of our love for writing, there will always be poor composition. It's a long, hard road -- mastering style, focusing thought and gaining a loyal readership. I write because I love to share my opinion and knowledge, and I'm content to leave it at that.

Of course, if your writing is terrible, or worse, nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to sell goods and services, you'll fail, and fail miserably. Whether it's writing to build recognition as an authority or writing to fill a creative void, empty advice with the hope of selling something is worse than not writing at all. The real challenge is making your blog stand on its own, with actionable content...if you can do that, you've got something. It's likely the reader won't mind seeing a short tagline with a link to your other Web presence, if you give them something to think about.

Having said all that, I'll admit that I write because I truly enjoy the act of thinking and typing simultaneously. No, your approval or admiration is not required...and I'm not trying to be dismissive or arrogant here. Please don't misunderstand me. I'm just being transparent about what I expect out of this blog.

Yes, I'll keep writing long after you've left my site, never to return. If you happen to like something I've written, post a comment. I'll revel in it and feel like someone out there is appreciative. If you don't like it, well, check out Technorati. I'm sure you'll find a blog or two more to your liking and probably less self-serving.

1 comment:

Kate said...

I perfectly agree on your thougts .. Todays writers are more of the digital camera types .. Very few really write to express .. most of them write to Impress ..The sad thing is blogging has given rise to a expressions that were so subdued but at the same time .. it has made most of them believe that they can write a perfect blog ... when the reality is very few blogs really mean what they were originally meant to say