Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The New Internet Dilemma and Writing.

It's been boiling to the surface over the last few years, this new internet dilemma. The world wide web has been known as a place for both spiders and flies for well over a decade now, with problems ranging from copyright theft and infringement, piracy, and of course the no-holds-barred realm of the electronic red light district with any palette satisfied, yet left darkly desiring more, legal or otherwise -- to name just a few. But I've recently realized another problem, one that even I have participated in and will likely perpetuate for some time to come.

Do you ever stop and take a good look at the people around you? What do you see? What is your impression of what and how people learn in the post-educational environment of work forces and every day life? Newspapers, Radio, Television, and even libraries have long been major sources of information - some truth and some propaganda most assuredly.

One observation, felt personally by many writers and the industry that currently supports the majority of the professionals in the sector, is that print medias are waning in today's society. Less people take the newspaper, visit libraries, and/or buy books. Therefore, the ever-evolving writer, and publisher, must look to new electronic means of publication: the internet.

I was just thinking to myself the other day that I really need to write more Triond, Helium, and Hubpages articles. So far I think I've done the best with Triond's passive article income generation, as it doesn't require star ratings for writing and rating other articles nor does it necessitate massive promotion or social networking in-site. All that aside, I started thinking about the nature of the articles on these sites and how it all comes together. I blame Helium the most for this, since they make you rate articles in order to get paid your share of the advertising revenue, and thus exposed me to a lot of the content that gets posted that I wouldn't normally read.

Ladies and gentlemen, this may or may not come as a big surprise to you, but there is a large amount of utter crap that gets published on the internet and passed off as an information resource these days. Anyone can be an expert on anything, regardless of their actual expertise. This kind of bothers me. Not in a holier-than-thou kind of way, because I know I'm guilty of perpetuating it as well, but as a conceptual whole. It's one thing if you take what you read with a grain of salt, but it just seems like so many people take things at face value and that's just plain dangerous.

While rating some of those Helium articles, I just couldn't stop myself from feeling a great sense of loss. Now, theoretically these articles would be rated down by the masses, but in truth, I've started to wonder just how accurate the ratings system is. Either something is amiss on some of these articles (usually submitted by channel stewards) or people are really starting to get dumber. But it isn't just Helium. Everyone these days has to have a voice, and the internet is humming with conversation. Ppl tlk lk dis on da w3b nd smehw it ok. That just makes my brain hurt... I spend more time trying to decipher what the heck that says and by the time I put it together I really don't care about what you may or may not have meant by it. Can we blame cell phones and texting for that? Probably. But the thing is that many of those people don't shift gears when they sit in front of a keyboard. Nope, it the sme ol gme ya no?

The sad thing is that I start to wonder, if people are growing too lazy to check facts when they write or too lazy to write in actual words, what does that mean for the effort it takes to read? How long will it be before there is no more intellectual reading, only opinions expressed in quasi-syllables and grunts?

/rant off.

1 comment:

Jim Murdoch said...

I don't have much time for the kind of sites you mention. I do write the odd article for Qondio for the backlink and to get my mind off all things literary for a few minutes but I wholeheartedly agree with you. It's why I hate a site like Answers.com. Although the principle is fine – ask a question and wait for an 'expert' to answer it – in reality it doesn't work like that. When I first discovered it I did exactly that, asked my question, sat back and waited. It was a serious question, one I hadn't been able to find an answer to myself, but the 'answers' I got back were from (and I know I'm generalising here) a bunch of kids who weren't even trying to answer the question, they were just taking the mickey. I never asked a second question.

There are a lot of good ideas online – Entrecard was one (I see you've switched to CMF Ads) – but if there's a way to ruin something then people will. The fact is that the (and again I'm generalising here) the unwashed masses make up the bulk of people online and they just want to have fun. There are pockets of resistance – in a time of war there is always a Resistance – but you have to work to find them. Once you do you'll find yourself in a chain of sites kicking against the traces.

Time is valuable. You have less than many. So make the most of the time you have. There's no money involved but you still have to invest your time wisely. You're a writer, you want to be read, so how are you promoting your site? Considering the time you put into these other sites what are your returns like? I wrote a blog a while ago about what I do for every post I write. Doing this nets me 3000 – 4000 readers a month. It take an hour a week (a half-hour per post) and I think that is time well spent. I'm writing a post for Qondio just now which will probably take me an hour and I'll be lucky if I get a single visit out of that, just a backlink. Backlinks are important too. How much time do you spend making comments on other people's sites? You need to do more. The search engines like that, the more the better, likewise outbound links. You'll see my site has plenty of them. Why? Because it helps my readers but mainly because it helps my rankings and attracts new readers a small percentage of which become regular readers.

Lastly, you need to post regularly – even if it's only once a week – and consistently. What is your blog about? Decide what the parameters and stick to it. When I walk into Boots the Chemits I know what they sell – I don't expect pastries, white goods, computer accessories or the girl behind the counter to grumble about how sad her love life is. You get my drift?

Don't mean to lecture, just a few thoughts that came to mind and happened to spill out on the page. Hope they help.