If You’re Bored With Blogging, You Shouldn’t Have Started A Blog
Dave Winer thinks people are “bored with blogging.” As a note, I’m a huge fan of Dave’s thoughts and have been reading his site, Scripting News, for as long as I can remember.
Dave also linked up a response on Twitter from Bill Rice sharing his thoughts: that the problem is audience development on blogging is difficult. This makes sense in a way. Without readership and feedback loop many people won’t continue doing something.
But I have another perspective here. It’s this: Anyone bored with blogging never should have started in the first place (we’ve kinda had this discussion before) and that no technology or platform improvements can fix this. I don’t think anyone who is truly interested in their category is ‘bored’ with writing about it or bored with the technology (I use WordPress and Blogger daily, have for years and love them). Truthfully, anyone who would have become bored with writing a blog would have also given up on being a community member of a web forum, given up on being a moderator / power user of Reddit, quit being an author or stopped writing music.
All of these things take time and dedication. Passion from people who are irrationally committed. They aren’t for people who dabble — they would become bored on any given platform (and thus the sea of change amongst the macro platforms in-vogue in a given year). Aside from geeks (people like me, Dave and Bill) it has never been about the technology anyway, it’s always been about ideas. And although the simplicity of sites like Facebook and Twitter with the instant feedback they provide create the right formula to hook people and keep them coming back, they’re not the long-term places for people with passion for an interest or industry.
They’re also for people perfectly fine with being digital sharecroppers. There is nothing wrong with this: the platforms get something — ad revenue and data, the users get something — a way to connect. But those who are owners instead of sharecroppers balance their use of these tools in a way that ultimately allows them to be platform agnostic and weather the storm of ever-changing user preference and technology trends. They also understand all the benefits that come from ownership. Besides, macro platforms increasing in popularity only increases the value of independent publishing.
People being bored with things that are meaty, difficult but ultimately valuable? Of course. That’s the way the world works. Anything meaningful to create requires hard work. Let’s not create any expectation otherwise, because ultimately then we end up with people becoming “bored” or who stop caring altogether. I said this before but I’ll say it once more for good measure: people and brands that start a digital initiative that requires ongoing effort such as a blog and then abandon it, should not have started in the first place. They don’t have the dedication to push through the dip and succeed here. Bill talks about audience development above: of course that’s hard. That’s never going to be easy: it wasn’t easy to start a print magazine years ago, it’s still not easy for build a brand like Business Insider or Gawker today. If it was so easy everyone would do it.
For individuals, I can give a personal example: myself. I’ve personally written well over 1,500 blog posts, (many of which are several thousand words in length) 5 albums of original music and countless mixes. Basically a ton of content I publish as the canonical version on my own domains. It gets re-shared plenty in social. Does that mean I should give everything to OPPs (other people’s platforms). No way. That’d be crazy — I monetize my content via AdSense (never be afraid to be compensated for your work) and my music is in free formats anyone can share. I also use other people’s platforms to share my writing and I use SoundCloud to publish my art. It’s actually and, not or: these things help me do what I’m already doing better.
But I’m a builder, not a sharecropper. You have to decide which you are. The benefits are beyond worth it and sustainable over time. The work is hard, beyond what a majority will put in. Which is exactly why it’s so valuable.
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