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? 🙂
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: “I’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.
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. 😉