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No, Reading And Creativity Are Obsolete

Posted by on Sep 7, 2009
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A couple of days ago, Sonia Simone of Copyblogger wrote an interesting post called Is Writing Obsolete?. She answered “no” in her own way; I want to answer the question in another way.

You see it in my title here; no, reading and creativity are obsolete, or are moving in that direction. It’s getting to the point these days where it seems there’s no original thought almost anywhere, and people aren’t reading as much as they’re copying and trying to find ways to put it in their own words, but failing. It’s also harder to keep someone’s attention in an MTV world where reality TV becomes the norm because it’s harder for people to stick with true, episodic programs where we get to know who the characters are week to week and year to year.

If you don’t believe me, let’s look at movies. How many original movies came out this year? Not all that many; at least not the big name movies. Most have been sequels or remakes of past movies. Many are based on books, but aren’t anywhere near the book. I’m not commenting on whether they’re entertaining or not; I’m commenting on whether they’re original or creative.

On the radio this afternoon, I heard a remake of “Mickey,” the song Toni Basil turned into a dance classic in the 80′s. The only thing different than the original song was the singer and the bass line wasn’t as prominent. Can you say “dull?” Then I heard some other songs and realized they were taken from the past also. How many rappers are stealing from rap songs of the past nowadays? Sure, the original rappers sampled other people’s music, but they at least created something out of it that was original.

When I wrote my post on Blog Day a couple of weeks ago, I highlighted some folks who actually create some new stuff (though I did pick on Sire for writing something new about Blogger that I actually wrote on last year). However, all these folks write original content, even if it’s on a topic that others have covered.

I love reading original content; then again, I love reading. I can’t tell you how many times it seems like people have commented on something I’ve written and shown that they didn’t read the entire thing. Even on short posts, people miss what I’ve written. Is it a quest to try to read as many blogs as possible just to put a comment on it, or is it possible that, sometimes, if there’s too many words, they just can’t be processed by many people’s minds?

Grizzly of How to Make Money Online for Beginners wrote a post asking people to Write Something I can Send Traffic To, saying he loves sending traffic to other places, but can’t find enough to warrant the justification, though he highlights some people in the post. I’m thinking that’s going to be a goal as I near my 500th post on this blog for my next 100 posts. I want to share some love, and, who knows, maybe I’ll get some love back.

100 readers

Or maybe I’m already getting some. On the 4th of September, one day after my 50th birthday, I woke to seeing myself as finally hitting 100 readers through my RSS feed. It fluctuates all the time, so it might not be 100 when you see this. But 100 readers is a nice touch; I like being in triple digits, even as my Technorati ranking seems to be tanking these days. No matter; I’m happy for those of you who visit, whether you read every word I write or not.

Please, though, if you’re going to keep writing your blogs, be creative, and maybe I’ll spotlight you one of these days.


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22 Comments »

Shirley @ Solo Business Marketing:

It certainly is a shame that very little of what we read and watch are original.

I truly believe that everything available online and beyond does not have to be a remake of something else.

Unfortunately, the Internet has helped to foster a giant copy-and-paste world with a few snippets of originality. I’m pleased to be part of the latter and even happier when I find information I believe is just as fresh.

Belated birthday wishes, Mitch. My birthday arrives next month, and on that day I promise to be very original in thought and deed (except for basic daily habits).
.-= Shirley @ Solo Business Marketing´s last blog ..Time to Create a Systematic Marketing Plan =-.

Mitch Reply:

Thanks Shirley. You know, I’m happy you read this post. I find that, when I get kind of deep, most people avoid commenting on the post, and for that matter, most people seem to pass it by. That’s interesting, but hey, we don’t let “difficult” stop us from doing things, right? “We don’t do these things because they are easy, but because they are hard.” John Kennedy :-)

September 7th, 2009 | 11:20 AM
John Dilbeck:

Good afternoon, Mitch.

(First, belated Happy Birthday! I hope this is the start of your best year ever, full of love, happiness, health, and prosperity!)

I agree that much of our popular culture lacks creativity and agree with the examples you gave.

I also agree that more and more people believe it is okay to copy other people’s work and to cheat their way to better grades and jobs.

That doesn’t make it right.

Yet, I don’t really agree with the premise.

I don’t believe originality, reading, and creativity are becoming obsolete. Not at all.

Are they being drowned out by a flood of copiers, plagiarists, me-too-ers, and mindless babble? To a large part, I think they are.

That just means that we have to look a little more and dig a little deeper to find the original thinkers, creative people, and those others in the minority who choose to live life their way.

It’s much harder to be creative and write your own content, whether it be a blog, book, song, or movie script. It takes longer and you have to work out all the problems along the way.

You may not even get rewarded (externally) for doing it.

But, the real reward comes from knowing that a few people appreciate what you have to say and recommend you to others. You may make less money and receive less praise from the madding crowd, but you will attract other people to you that you can appreciate in return.

It’s why I love reading your blog. You always have something to say that I know comes from YOU and not something stolen from who knows where.

Act on your dream!

JD

Mitch Reply:

Thanks for your comment, John,

When I go on a rant, I certainly don’t speak in absolutes. But it seems so often that I’m seeing the same thing over and over. How many posts do you see that talk about how to get more subscribers or visitors, and they say the same thing someone else already said? Or ways to make money through affiliate marketing? Man, I’m looking for someone to write something new or different on that one also.

Get ready for a period of reflection; it’s my turn, I figure.

John Dilbeck Reply:

Good morning, Mitch.

I think many people are at a loss for what to say, and when they read something that sounds useful, they give it their own spin and post it. Sometimes they don’t even do much of a spin.

A good rant can be a great thing. It clears out the mental cobwebs and psychic blockages.

I appreciate periods of reflection, especially when they’re followed by new ideas and an increased desire to accomplish your dreams.

In the examples you give, however, there are only so many ways to increase subscribers and visitors. Many of the automated schemes may work for a bit, but the only way to continue to get more people reading what we write is to write the very best we can and to offer truly useful ideas and information for the people who invest their time in reading what we have to say.

Our readers can tell the difference.

I know that some people stop reading what I have to say because I don’t put it in a half-dozen easy-to-skim paragraphs and that’s perfectly okay with me. They’re not the people I want to write for.

And, how many ways are their to make money with affiliate marketing? That’s a topic I think about all the time. Sometimes I have something to say about it and many times I don’t.

When I start seeing the same old thing on all the blogs, tweets, and other things I read, I look for the leaders who wrote the original content and drop the others.

At least, that’s what I try to do. Some times I do a better job of it than other times.

Reflect away, Mitch.

Act on your dream!

JD

Mitch Reply:

You know John,

One thing I do on occasion is to go to one of those big time bloggers and read all their early stuff. I did that for Problogger, and it was fascinating stuff. One of the best things I got out of it, strangely enough, is seeing that it took him more than a year to start getting a lot of commenters, even though he was writing good stuff. It’s the one thing I look at that I learn from; no one starts out at the top.

As for the other stuff, I know that, at a point, there’s only so much that can be said about certain things, but wouldn’t you find it more fascinating hearing how someone tried to do something rather than seeing someone post what I call a throwaway post? In other words, instead of having someone who we know doesn’t have a lot of traffic writing a post on getting traffic, have them write on something else that either worked or didn’t work.

Then again, I guess that’s what I’m here for. lol

John Dilbeck Reply:

Good afternoon, Mitch.

I know what you mean about reading the early works of some of the top bloggers – and marketers, too. Just like the rest of us, they worked hard when they were getting little reward, but their good work and perseverance paid off, eventually.

I would, indeed, rather hear someone write about trying to do something – whether they failed or succeeded – rather than writing about something they know little about.

There is a huge group of people who say to “fake it until you make it,” and, while I can understand part of that philosophy, it mostly rings false to me.

You’re right. That’s why you’re here. I enjoy reading about how you tried something and then your evaluation of how well it worked for you over time.

Act on your dream!

JD

September 7th, 2009 | 4:43 PM

Hey Mitch, I’m sure I wished you a happy birthday somewhere along the way, but if I didn’t HAPPY belated BIRTHDAY!!

I agree with you that a lot of stuff isn’t as original as it could be, and some of the songs that people try to rejuvenate are actually pretty crummy.

In regards to movies however, technology has made it possible to give some old movies new life, and I think that is a good thing.

Like John though, I think that there is still a lot of original content out there, you just have to look a little harder.
.-= Sire´s last blog ..Why I Don’t Comment On Blogger Blogs =-.

Mitch Reply:

There’s some, but not in the niches we seem to like to read about most of the time. As you know, I follow a lot of blogs, and the people I see writing original stuff are the most entertaining. But I can’t learn anything when people are just regurgitating what’s already been written.

As you know, I’m writing these days for other people, and even though, when you research something, the basic stuff is what it is, I always try to put a different bit of flair into it so it at least comes across as original. And if I can simplify it, so much the better.

But I do rely on folks like you, John, and Marelisa to give my mind someting to think about every once in awhile.

Sire Reply:

Yeah, but it must be pretty hard when you have to decipher the Aussie thought process so as to get some usable information out of it. :D
.-= Sire´s last blog ..Blog Me This You Blogging Fools =-.

Mitch Reply:

Nah; only when you write one of those story posts with lots of Aussie slang does it get complicated. Otherwise, you’re fairly easy to understand. Well, I don’t always understand the poetry, which is surprising because I used to write poetry when I was much younger, but later got more into song lyrics, some of them pretty esoteric.

Sire Reply:

LoL, I may just have to slip in a few more of those posts, jut to keep you on your toes.

September 7th, 2009 | 7:50 PM

Happy belated birthday Mitch! Funny, in a lot of how-tos about blogging these days we are told to write things that are easy to skim, because people do not want to read every word. We’re in a time of trying to take in everything from every source, and yes, many of us want to visit and comment on as many blogs as possible. I read your whole post though – I promise!
.-= Christie´s last blog ..Gut feelings =-.

Mitch Reply:

I appreciate that, Christie. You know, some people feel they have to read a blog as soon as it’s posted, and because there are so many blogs that may have something daily, they feel rushed. For me, I get to them when I get to them, and it makes my comment no less relevant almost all the time. My blog reader will keep all the posts, so I know I’m not going to miss anything.

And thank you, and everyone else, for the birthday wishes.

September 7th, 2009 | 9:35 PM

Happy Birthday, Mitch. Long live original content along with reading, writing and ‘rithmetic. Great post.
.-= Iceman Baldy´s last blog ..The Apple Aproach to Constantly Capable Computing =-.

Mitch Reply:

Thanks Iceman; just trying to keep it real.

September 7th, 2009 | 11:11 PM

I love reading. I can’t tell you how many times it seems like people have commented on something I’ve written and shown that they didn’t read the entire thing.

Mitch Reply:

Exactly Larry. I know some of my posts are long, but I’ve been asked questions in comments where the answer is in the post, and people just skipped right past it. I know I’ve read entire posts and missed something myself, so I usually figure it’s something like that, but not all the time.

Still, compared to the post I was answering,… hmmm, I might have kind of made her point also. lol

September 8th, 2009 | 6:57 AM

Yo B’day boy! Yeah my content has been scraped several times.. I always use a plugin for that so I’ll get credit sometimes haha

My blog is always 100% original and the articles I have written for my niches are all copyscaped…

wish others would do the same!!!
.-= Jake´s last blog ..Dang It! I Almost Reached That Goal! =-.

Mitch Reply:

Hey Jake,

I’ve heard there was a plugin for that, but I don’t know what it is. And, does it work if someone only uses the first 100 words or so, then sends people your way?

September 8th, 2009 | 9:45 AM
Make money online free:

I’m fully satisfied with your thoughts Mitch. People are blindly trying to copy successful people they heard about without knowing if they are good enough to repeat that kind of success with the skill sets they have
.-= Make money online free´s last blog ..Make money online from ClickBank using Blogger free blogs =-.

Mitch Reply:

Thanks Anil. It’s always smart to copy some things from successful people, but not everything. If a person doesn’t have any of their own essence into something, then it’s probably not going to succeed for long.

September 15th, 2009 | 12:21 PM