So I was sitting in a Google Hangouts (best chat) and the subject of blogging came up among a group of well… Bloggers. The discussion went back and forth but something interesting (at least to me) came out of it. Has the landscape of online “media” changed or evolved to the point that people still care about blogs?
If you were to ask me earlier today I would say yes instantly. I had just given props to two of my favourite bloggers in Kristen and Simone. Those two have got writing chops that I couldn’t even steal, never mind come up with on my own. I’ve been reading their work for the last 4 years (maybe 5 in the latter’s case) and I don’t see that changing any time soon. Now taking those two out of the equation, I don’t think I can even name 5 other bloggers that I consistently read. Just ponder (EDIT: I had the word “pontificate” in that spot and then Google laughed at me for not having any idea what it actually means) on that one for a minute. There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Bloggers. My own RSS Feed has about 50 of them. I read 10% of that, if not LESS at any given time. I represent what people would classify as an active user. I consume A LOT of material. Why aren’t I reading all of these people’s work? For me it’s two fold.
The posts are shit!
Before people are all “awwwww fuck you Justin, your blog is shit.” Guess what? I know that. In fact I TELL PEOPLE that on a regular basis. The only material I write that I don’t think is shit, are ones just like this. Posts where I actually have a true motivator. I call a lot of things “shit.” I don’t mean it’s the worst or anything along those lines. I mean in comparison to the few people who BUST THEIR ASS to put out quality content. I’ve watched first hand when a guy has papers all around him with idea upon idea upon idea that he then puts together over days if not weeks. That post isn’t pushed until not only he likes it, but he knows it can stand up to the height of scrutiny. How many people can say they do that? I sure as hell can’t. A LOT OF PEOPLE CAN’T! Nobody seems to have standards so why are we all expecting people to read garbage? Bloggers take an event, throw a few words together, slap on a couple photos and call it a day. That’s honestly like… 95%? More? I’d actually bank on more. Less than 5% of Bloggers do more than THE BARE MINIMUM?! How gross is that? What’s even worse is this reality check. Let’s say 50 bloggers go to an event. Out of those 50, you can rest assured that only 10 of them are going to actually WRITE A POST (remember why they’re there). Out of those 10, MAYBE 1 of them will be worth a damn. ONE OUT OF FIFTY IS WORTH SHIT?! SERIOUSLY?! So if all the work is shit, what’s the Blogger’s worth? What are people consuming from them?
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Instagram has changed “the game.” Whether it’s for the better is still up for debate. As is the case with most social media, commercialization has bastardized intent. I NEEEEEED THE LIKES! VALIDATE ME! *BARF* The companies that could spend a few minutes looking up proper metrics to ensure they get actual ROI (LOL!) just jump to Instagram now. You’ve got Likes? Here; have some stuff. What’s the Like standard for an event invite or a free product nowadays? 5? 50? 500? Those “50 Bloggers” I mentioned earlier? What’s their value if they all post the same photo of a Local, Organic, Gluten and GMO free, Artisan Thingamabob? BZZZZ! You guessed it. NONE! Actually hold up, that’s not true. TWO Bloggers have value in that spot! Whoever was fast enough to be first and whoever was fortunate enough to be second. The rest? I skipped them. YOU skipped them too. Nobody remembers who came third. They barely remember who came second. So why am I bothering with the 3rd picture or the 33rd? I’m all tapped out for Likes. Double tapping is a bitch son. So now you’re in a spot where the Blogger isn’t doing the post they were brought on for AND their back up plan of whoring their Instagram out for the night is essentially worthless unless they were quick on the draw and (hopefully) competent enough to take a decent photo.
So on one hand you’ve got bad, and from all accounts, barely written blogs. On the other hand, you’ve got lazy Bloggers who think Instagram is their saviour. Neither of these assets are worth jack without actual quality work put into them. The proof is in the pudding. Bloggers want to talk about how they don’t look at their metrics? SUUUUUURE BOSS! If Uniques, Second Views, Click Throughs and all the other Bloggy Buzzwords were up for public perusal, A LOT of people would be punked out for being frauds. At that point you’re left with two options. Step up your game or face the reality of your current worth and walk away. One would hope for the difficult former, though the reality is the infinitely easier latter. As for those few non frauds? Shockingly (get ready for it) they’re already pushing quality work with consistent readership.
What a novel concept.