Sunday, August 3, 2008

Why Don't Very Well Thought Out Posts Usually Generate Much Traffic?

For some of us, to our great lament, many of the smartest people aren’t blogging. There are a lot of good reasons for that, too. I’m not saying that all bloggers are idiots or that there are no smart bloggers. The problem, I believe, as many have pointed out is that in the quest for chasing traffic the insightful and thought provoking pieces do not get as much traffic as something that is specifically designed to get your attention.

As a result of this it seems we miss out on a lot of thoughtful blogging. My biggest complaint with many blogs and bloggers is the lack of looking at the big picture. It’s easier to take a stance on Apple re-upping with AT&T on the iPhone through 2010 or even one on Apple’s hobby, Apple TV. But what is missing in almost any blog post about these topics is the big picture view.

For a big company like Apple, it’s juggling many balls in the air at the same time. While it has to prioritize somewhat which balls it wants to make sure don’t come crashing to the ground, it has to keep its eye on all the balls and try to keep them all in the air…at the same time.

It seems like quite often, bloggers will only zoom in and focus on only one ball at a time. It makes sense to me on one level. It’s not only easier for the writer to do this, it’s easier for the reader too. So we wind up with a lot of prose that isn’t very well thought out, or prose that’s only thought out in one particular dimension.

I’d like to believe though, that there is value in very well thought out posts, even if they have walls of text. I agree in the short-term that isn’t going to produce a huge amount of traffic, but I’d like to think that if someone had the stamina, and motivation to stick with it for a good little while that it would produce results.

I don’t have that kind of stamina or motivation myself, so I’m part of the problem instead of being part of the solution, which kind of sucks. I console myself that even if I had the stamina and motivation I’m probably not smart or insightful enough to make a run at it anyway.

Then again, I may just be completely freaked out because this weekend, I read not just one, but two posts by Steve Gillmor which I not only understood, but also agreed with.


Mark Dykeman - Broadcasting Brain said...

I think that discretionary time is a key factor here, both for creating, reading, analyzing, and responding to blog posts. Some people may devote large blocks of time to reading blogs (or writing posts, for that matter) but I think that a lot of people "snack" on media and consume lots of little bits when they have the time to do so.

I enjoy longer pieces, but I have to admit that it can be hard to find the time to read, understand and respond.

Had to chuckle about your Steve Gillmor comment, I've had a similar experience with his posts. :)

Ken Stewart said...
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Ken Stewart said...

Robert, thank you. Maybe I don't have the superior, macro-view, but I like to understand that I'm not just writing an inflammatory opinion piece about the latest gadget. I have really gotten very tired of those types of pieces - and like Mark said, I don't have that much discretionary time.

To your point, I think you are correct that many smart people are not writing. I have begun wondering if the people in this world that make a difference - I mean a real difference - are out doing and not writing?

People like Randy Pausch make me take a step back. What was important in his life? To me, he connected with people. He put his message out there and people could take it or leave it. It wasn't negative or inflammatory, it was good, solid advice.

Sobering questions like that help me keep things in perspective and not worry with the minutiae. Someone once told

mattb4rd said...

It would please me greatly to be able to "quit my day job" and blog full time. I love research and I love to write, but both require, as you know and as the other commenters have stated, a lot of discretionary time.