More Real Reasons Why No One’s Reading Your Blog
Writing on the matter of why bloggers, even good bloggers, go unread I have tended to emphasize two facts overlooked by the hawkers of generic and generally useless self-helpish advice:
1. The extremely high ratio of producers to content to consumers of content here, which is likely getting higher all the time with people turning to other media as both creators and consumers; and
2. The way the search engines, social media and other key means for exploring the Internet (due to many factors, not least the pay-to-play of ad-buying) overwhelmingly channel users to a small number of top-listed search hits generally belonging to long-established, massively-resourced, mainstream platforms, at the expense of everything else. This most certainly includes the newcomer, and even the oldcomer, who toils on their own blog, unaffiliated with any bigger operation, and with nothing but their actual words to offer the world. And all this, again, is likely getting worse rather than better.
These two facts by themselves constitute a grave disadvantage for any blogger, nearly guaranteeing that no matter how brilliant, diligent, deserving of a wide readership a particular blogger may be they will not find it. Still, that is not to deny that, even within the very slim chance of finding a readership this leaves the Internet does have its biases in favor of some kinds of content over others, and it seems to me worth discussing four that get far too little attention.
1. The Internet audience, by which I mean people who spend a lot of time on the Internet following things and getting caught up in dialogues with strangers on it (rather than spending time with friends or reading books) has a very, very short attention span.
When people blog, Tweet, vlog or anything else they are most likely to get attention discussing things of immediate concern — which people may get very worked up over right now — and then completely forget about by tomorrow.
2. The Internet audience is lowbrow.
Those things to which it directs that limited span of attention are usually quite stupid — for instance, one celebrity slapping another celebrity at a major awards show.
3. The Internet audience is intensely emotional.
People may not care about those lowbrow things they are always talking about for long (in a year will anyone remember the 2022 Oscars any better than they remembered John Wayne’s far more consequential confrontation with Sacheen Littlefeather before the recent silly incident made it topical?), but they care about them very intensely while they do so, and they love the intensity, theirs and other people’s. They love reaction, not cogitation. They love screaming and watching others scream — not thinking.
4. The Internet audience, as you might guess from 1, 2 and 3, does not like complexity.
Thus it does not like being required to, for example, follow a chain of reasoning or cope with data.
The result is that someone who shoots their mouth off about exactly the subjects that have the stupid “atwitter” for the present five seconds or so is much more likely than someone whose thinking runs a little deeper, whose brow is just a little higher, who attempts to discuss things calmly and intelligently to command an audience on the Web. Which I guess is par for the course everywhere else.
It doesn’t please me to say this, for many reasons. But it does seem necessary to be frank about the reality, for whatever that may be worth to anyone out there.
Originally published at https://raritania.blogspot.com.