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Are Fewer People Creating New Content?

Posted by on Jun 27, 2016

Before I get into today’s topic, I’d like to break a blogging taboo (I’m always doing that) to highlight the fact that last Friday was the 15th anniversary of my being self employed. If you know me (which you would if you’re a regular visitor), you know that I wrote about it. I titled it 15 Years Of Self Employment; 3 Things You Need To Know, and not only did I give some information on that but I also created a video that went live on the same day that’s embedded on the same post. Want to know how I decided to go into business for myself and why I do all the things I do? Check it out, comment, share and give me a bit of love on it. I don’t ask often but hey, how many people make it 15 years working on their own? šŸ™‚

Granville fetch yer cloth
Creative Commons License Shawn Spencer-Smith via Compfight

You know what? In actually, writing that post seems to make me kind of an anomaly, just like my writing this post today. Why?

Two weeks ago I wrote a post titled People Aren’t Helping Us Help Them On Social Media. Part of my lament was how few people whose posts I end up sharing on social media was actually created by them. A comment on the post above seemed to say it best: “Iā€™m not sure that there are that many people who actually create something new.

I had to think about that one before responding and I realized he was absolutely right. I know of at least 5 or 7 people who stopped blogging this year. I also know lots of people who haven’t written a blog post in at least six months, and some people who say they’re ready to start blogging again but haven’t gotten around to doing it.

People aren’t creating their own posts; that’s a shame. You know what else is a shame? People aren’t reading what they’re sharing either, at least according to this article from the NY Daily News, based on a survey by Columbia University and the French National Institute (Inria; frankly these two organizations don’t seem to fit together with one in NYC & the other in Bordeaux, France) which states that 60% of people share without ever visiting the link they’re sharing.

I believe that because I see lots of people sharing my content from at least this blog and the traffic figures don’t seem to support it. Twitter shows on Google Analytics as my biggest referrer, yet the figure only shows 25 visitors from there in the last 30 days; way more people are sharing my links than that in my Twitter stream.

If people aren’t creating and they’re not reading what they’re sharing, it begs the question as to what content is going to look like in the near future. I mean, if few people are reading content, what the point in creating it? What’s going on here?

First, let me point out that the sharing without reading isn’t a new thing. Back in 2014 The Verge had an article titled You’re not going to read this but you’ll probably share it anyway where a writer named Adrianne Jeffries stated that Chartbeat and Upworthy studies showed that people weren’t spending enough time on sites to actually read much of the content that was eventually being shared.

Second, the big thing these days isn’t just video but live video. Although I’m fighting it, and will probably continue fighting it (other than those really short clips I put up on Instagram like this). Periscope, Blab, Snapchat, Facebook Live… nope, not interested. Yet many people are, especially millennials, and it’s a quick and easy way for people to create things that for the most part disappear within so many hours.

Note-taking: Linear
Matt Cornock via Compfight

Third, some people have decided they don’t need to write in their own space and have gone for a bigger audience by writing for sites like Huffington Post and Medium, even LinkedIn. Frankly, I’m too possessive to put all my new content anywhere besides a site of my own (unless I’m being paid for it) but it’s hard to begrudge those folks because what I see being shared more often these days are articles on sites like this. Heck, because I see few new articles from people I’m connected with I’m sharing a lot of that content these days also, although it’s not my first choice, and of course I’m reading it all before sharing it.

This tells us that maybe the lack of content isn’t the problem as much as the way it’s delivered and then, strangely enough, potentially disappears. For instance, a video on Facebook Live might not disappear, but unless you’re following a certain person you’re probably never going to be able to access that video again. YouTube, my video site of choice, will always not only have my videos, but I’ve set up playlists so people can search for whatever interests them. Longevity has its place as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr once said.

I’m someone who makes sure to create at least 2 new articles every week; then again I have multiple blogs and two video channels. In the last 7 days I created 3 articles and 3 videos, and I promote each one on Twitter at least 5 times and on other sites at least once, so I can’t be accused of not creating anything. I do know that everyone isn’t going to create as much content at I do, but has it really become such a chore that it’s not worth the effort anymore?

I put this out to the masses (that’s y’all) as a question that I’d really like answered. By the way, if you’ve made it all the way to the end of this article and forgot to check out my 15th anniversary post, I’ll wait while you check that out. Just a reminder from your friendly neighborhood Spi… I mean, blogger & social media critic. šŸ˜‰

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I’m not probably a good gauge of anything in this regard as I don’t pay all that much attention. Activity on my own blog seems to have reached a point of stasis to a certain extent, but I’ve not been overly active in creating new growth either. I have noticed less activity on many of the blogs I have tended to follow over the years and many have become inactive so from that standpoint I sense that not much new is being created, but that might only be in my immediate blogging community.

I’ve kind of wondered about this from the standpoint of Blogging from A to Z. Each year sign-ups are about the same where I would have expected growth as the event gained more of a reputation. There is a high attrition rate that I don’t know if it is the result of bloggers quitting or what. But again, I don’t research any of this so I have no real answers. I only have a sense of a slowdown somewhere.

Maybe I should reach out to find new bloggers to add to my old diminishing community, but sometimes I get a bit tired as well. I’ll be interested to see what other responders say about this.

Arlee Bird
Arlee Bird recently posted…How Good Were “the Good Old Days”?My Profile

June 27th, 2016 | 6:53 PM

Arlee, the only reason I probably noticed is because of my wish to share content and help highlight other bloggers and people I’m connected to and not really being able to do it properly because few of them are creating content these days. Years ago I was connected to over 250 people who were blogging regularly; that numbers dwindled drastically.

I also believe that has a hand in limiting the growth of this blog also. Fewer creators might share, but those folks probably aren’t creating or reading either. It still amazes me that I had a post earlier this year that almost hit 100 comments because I haven’t gotten anywhere close since then. Oh well…

June 27th, 2016 | 11:30 PM
Rasheed Hooda:

I know I have been creating a whole lot less than I used to or I’d like to, but that’s just me.

Maybe I feel I nothing new to say or maybe I’m just getting tired of my own perfectionism. Or is it that I am being a victim of my own perfectionism? Heck I don’t know.

June 27th, 2016 | 8:13 PM

Rasheed, if it’s perfectionism then you’re never going to win that game. šŸ™‚ I did notice that you’ve sent out few updates of your trip or created any new videos lately; maybe you’re either tired of it or it’s not really something you want to do. Something to think about…

June 27th, 2016 | 11:31 PM

Hi Mitch,

I love this topic. I have almost completely stopped reading blogs because in my experience they tend to read more like a daily journal rather than having an opinion or something to say about a topic. That’s why I enjoy your blog so much. You actively engage your readers in a conversation.

But I fear the reason that people have blogs in the first place might be misplaced. It seems that everyone is obsessed with growing readership which in turn dictates the content they create.

I feel the internet and blogosphere (I’m not sure if that’s a word) would be better served if everyone just created the content they wanted to create. One of the best articles I had ever read on the internet was posted by a guy who trained and then ran a marathon. It was a single article that received just a handful of readers. But I feel the article reached the right readers, the people who really wanted to read about his experience.

I believe there is such a thing as “the quality of the reader.” I would rather have 5 readers who really enjoyed my work as opposed to 100 readers who couldn’t care less.


One last thing. If you or your readers would like a free copy of my book, they can download it from Amazon starting tomorrow. It’ll be available for free download between these dates June 29, 2016 to July 3rd, 2016.

Book title: Own Less & Live More: a sailing adventure that takes you from the cubicle to Key West

I hope you enjoy it. šŸ™‚

June 28th, 2016 | 9:35 AM

Overall I don’t have a problem with people trying to increase readership; heck, I think we all would love to have more readers and comments on our blogs. I’m just not willing to do a lot of the things that others recommend to get there. I’ve got my own style and presence and I can live with the consequences one way or the other. I write what I want to write about, how I want to write it, and hope that I connect with enough of the right people who feel they get some kind of benefit from what I have to say.

If not… well, I’m still gonna put it out there, then go & get either cookies or cake. šŸ™‚

June 28th, 2016 | 8:18 PM

Hi Mitch

I do notice on IM blogs that similar material seems to get represented across many of them as popular topics come and go. I guess I’ve been as guilty of that as the next blogger to some extent. Mind you, I think properly researched round-ups are still worth doing.

For myself I’ve now started to post much less often, and only when I feel I’ve got something new and useful to add. This is far more enjoyable for me, takes the pressure off, and seems to get a more appreciative response.

For my latest post on growing a responsive Facebook network, I made sure not to read anyone else’s articles and only wrote from my own thoughts, observations and experience. They may not all be right, but I don’t think that matters too much as long as I’m being authentic, giving value and trying to open up a discussion.

Thanks and all the best!
Matt recently posted…How to Build a Responsive Network on FacebookMy Profile

June 28th, 2016 | 10:08 AM

Hey Matt,

Doing it the way you did or doing research by seeing what others had to say both work pretty well. Where I often have a problem is that people will use language that sounds forced instead of natural, and copies words verbatim that someone else has used without giving any attribution. I called that out on a post earlier this year during kind of a rant; I hate that kind of stuff.

As you saw, I make sure to have at least one post a week on this blog & my business blog (unless I announce it ahead of time, like what I did with my business blog by skipping a post for this week). The other blogs… well, I know they could benefit from more content but I write so much across the board that I let those suffer a bit. Probably not the smartest move but I recognize my limitations, especially when I’m also in consulting mode. I also know that having a schedule on my two main blogs allows people to know when to expect something new from me. I know that’s important because I do the same for other people’s blogs.

June 28th, 2016 | 8:22 PM

Hi Mitch

Of course, a bit of research never did anyone any harm. And I think even content curation is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as you’re also expressing your own thoughts and draw your own conclusions.

Currently for myself I just like to write my own stuff on my blog when I’m inspired by my own experiences, which means I end up breaking the ‘rules of blogging’ by posting fairly inconsistently. Is it a price worth paying? I don’t know, but I feel I’m being authentically myself doing so.

I recently read an article by Sylviane Nuccio; “6 Reasons Why Procrastinating Triggers Productivity” which kind of gave me a psychological permission slip not to force myself to write. But almost immediately after doing so, I felt compelled to write a nice little article that I’m pleased with and really enjoyed doing so. Currently my most commented upon post (including your good self, thank you!)

I don’t know how you manage to keep up with all your blogs Mitch! You must be far more organized than I am.

Best wishes
Matt recently posted…How to Build a Responsive Network on FacebookMy Profile

June 29th, 2016 | 1:00 PM

Matt, I’m organized on a few things luckily. I get it done with at least two of my blogs weekly. I know I have to write for my accounting client twice a month. I know I have to do at least one video a week for one channel and one at least every 2 weeks for the other channel. The other 3 blogs… I write when I’m in the mood for those since those aren’t as much my core as my fun… although one of them actually makes money when I write more often. šŸ™‚

June 29th, 2016 | 10:24 PM

As a blogger, I sometimes run out of steam. Even with the best intentions and an editorial calendar, consistently creating and promoting content as a one-person operation is a bit much. While I earn a small income from my blogging efforts, it’s not a enough to hire a team.

Also, content creation has changed since I started blogging eight years ago. At that time, the focus was on written content and an image. Now, you have to write, have a “brand” image, create videos, promote your work and manage social sites.
Marcie recently posted…Preparing for Presentations with Marki Lemons [Video]My Profile

June 28th, 2016 | 12:28 PM
Rasheed Hooda:

Seth Godin does none of that, and he still uses type pad platform, just saying.

Yes, times have changed, I haven’t. That’s why I have a blog that gets 3-4 weekly Posts every 3 to 6 months, and Seth keeps on chugging daily not giving a s**t about anything.

June 28th, 2016 | 1:22 PM

First, we’re not all Seth Godin. lol Second, I refuse to read his online stuff because he doesn’t accept comments; I’m like that (though I did read one of his books years ago).

Meanwhile, let’s remember who you are and what you’re all about. You do you when you’re ready; that’s your universe. šŸ™‚

June 28th, 2016 | 8:27 PM

Hi Rasheed,

Seth Godin already has a platform, a brand and a fan base. I’m building mine. So, my content reflects who I am and what I do.
Marcie recently posted…Preparing for Presentations with Marki Lemons [Video]My Profile

June 28th, 2016 | 11:27 PM

Hey Marcie,

Interesting point about all the extras. I’d hate for people to think they have to do anything. For instance, I’m refusing to create podcasts and live streaming; just not interested. I was doing my videos live on Google Hangouts for a while because I had really slow internet upload speeds but now I’ve overcome that so that the only time I’m going live now is for interviews and if something comes up that I just need to get off my mind.

I think we all burn out at some point and that’s too bad. That’s why I look for those times when I’m feeling really creative and can write as much as possible because it’s easier to space things out so that I can get through the down times.

June 28th, 2016 | 8:25 PM

Hi Mitch,

I just came off your post of being self employed for the past 15 years. See…I read all the way to the end of this blog and did your CTA – I do still read blogs all the way.

When it comes to all this hoopla of people just sharing without even reading a post, I just don’t get it. Why share something you didn’t even read? Guess I’ll never understand why people do what they do.

I like to create my own content and if people don’t like it, well, they just don’t have to read it.

It is funny how those people just left blogging and some of them were amazing. But hey,who am I to judge? Another thing is that some are not even writing their own posts. How boring is that?

Then there are those re-posting things….Oh dear

Thanks for this post…as usual I love your view on things.

Donna Merrill recently posted…Rebranding Your BlogMy Profile

June 28th, 2016 | 8:32 PM

Thanks for all you do Donna, which includes commenting on my blogs. šŸ™‚

I don’t get a lot of it either but I guess it’s a case of different strokes for different folks. I look at everything I share before I share it because I do believe that my reputation is at stake. As much as some people will protest, if they’re sharing it they’re endorsing it.

I just wish more of the people I’m connected with on Twitter shared their own stuff along with other people’s stuff. It would make it so much easier for me to help promote them as well as myself, since I don’t want to look totally self centered. lol

June 28th, 2016 | 9:51 PM

Hi Mitch,

Congratulations on your 15th year of going into business for yourself…many cannot manage even the very first year so you deserve a huge pat on the back by all means šŸ™‚

15 years isn’t 15 days or months – congrats!

Back to the main issue…

Many ‘bloggers’ jumped into it without understanding the content and character of what made an awesome blog or what it demands…they have only discovered this now and they are responding by being reluctant to produce more content (since the ones already produced aren’t ensuring any serious returns).

Personally too, I have noticed that more bloggers have called it quits – after realizing that the game is tougher than imagined šŸ™‚

I sincerely believe that for sticking on as long as we have, we also deserve congratulations and a pat each on the back šŸ™‚

What do you think?

Be certain to make the day great!

Akaahan Terungwa

June 30th, 2016 | 3:47 PM

Thanks Terungwa; appreciated!

I personally think that every person who even thinking about blogging should follow my recommendation of trying to write 10 articles before embarking on the process. If you can’t write 10 articles then you’re never going to be a blogger. Sure, I want to see more blogs because I love writing and reading them, but if people are incapable of doing it then they shouldn’t even start. It would help a great deal in not having to deal with the loss of someone who’s a good blogger giving up before they’ve even given it a real shot.

June 30th, 2016 | 10:38 PM

15 years? A real milestone for you, Mitch. Congratulations

I’m still an avid content creator but recently I’ve been spending less time writing blog posts and more time on video content and social media content. That said, I still publish a couple of posts a week (I have two blogs).

Last year I started blog commenting. This activity brought me closer to the blogging community. What has shocked me is the regular carnage in the blogging community.

Of the 30 blogs I was watching and commenting on, today less than half are still in the game. Clearly, most bloggers are failing.

Not to worry. We press on, reglardless

Onwards and upwards!

Kim Willis recently posted…14 Marketing Mistakes That Most Businesses MakeMy Profile

July 1st, 2016 | 10:43 AM

Thanks for the congrats Kim. I think any kind of content creation is legitimate and I always go looking for things to share that I like. It would be way easy to just highlight all my stuff; I certainly have enough. However, I think social media should be as social as possible, and it’s too bad that I don’t see all that much of it.

As you said though, we press on regardless. lol

July 1st, 2016 | 10:20 PM
Hmanshu Sharma:

When i use Google for searching something, it shows me the web pages and when i look into them i laugh a little. The reason here is that for a single keyword thousands of people are just struggling and to rank their websites.
Gone are the days when publishers try to give value to the users and now everyone is just going around the keywords and content has lost its qualities.
I am happy that someone is still there who cares for content šŸ™‚

July 4th, 2016 | 5:02 AM

Thanks Hmanshu. I definitely care about helping people maximize their presence but they need to meet me halfway.

July 4th, 2016 | 10:32 PM
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