Blogging community, listen up! We need to change.
I know I already ragged on you last week for being mean to others because of their lifestyle choices — be rich, don’t be rich, make stupid decisions, make uber-frugal decisions — I really couldn’t give 2 rat tails because I don’t care — it’s not my money or my life.
But I’m going to give it to everyone AGAIN.
This is not in regards to being frugal, or spendthrift, or any kind of crap like that and I’m not trying to purposefully be mean (okay, maybe a little..), but I am desperate to read quality writing on a regular basis.
This post is about the QUALITY of the work that you put out in the blogosphere, which in general, has been sorely lacking.
We need to do something because I can’t stand going through my Google Reader, marking about 95% of these posts as “read” when I barely skimmed them.
Before you start on me, yes, I can just stop reading your blog (in fact, I probably already have, which is why I am not commenting any longer on something that doesn’t ask or provoke me into making a comment).
I AM NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANY MORE.
SOMEONE needs to say something.
I am all for being nicey-nice to each other, but this lack of originality in the blogosphere is going too far.
I’m pretty sure there are plenty of people out there who are ALSO sick of this, but don’t have blogs to write about it, and/or are way too polite/nice/sweet to do so.
I’m neither of the above, so here goes.
I’m going to civilly tell you why I’m not feeling it, as nicely as I can (for someone like myself), and you can just go ahead and blast me in the comments if you want, but my opinion STILL STANDS.
YOUR PERSONALITY DOESN’T COME THROUGH
A stale, boring, listed post, or a long, no-breaks-in-between-single-paragraph about…. your cat.
Or whatever it is you’re writing about. Maybe what you spent that day (which by the way, I find extremely boring as well unless you have pictures, or a great story to go with how you got away with $250 of groceries for only $0.50).
You don’t have to use ALL CAPS LIKE I DO, or say mean things to each other to get a rise out of everyone, but you definitely, HAVE to put your personality in your blogging.
I can’t even tell about 75% of the PF blogs apart, all of the writing is so bland and one-note.
If I don’t know your name or pseudonym, it’s probably because it sounds like everyone else’s.
Frankly, if I haven’t met you in-person, and/or your writing is so similar to everyone else’s, I have placed you in my “junk drawer” pile of PF bloggers.
It’s when they write pieces so generic and boring, that I couldn’t name who the writer is because there is no personality to speak of.
I don’t even care if you all you write about is your cat. I mean, I read picture blogs on TEETH.
Even a TOOTH is more interesting than what I’m reading these days.
The subject is not the problem – the writing, and the lack of personality shining through, is.
YOU KEEP WRITING ABOUT THE SAME STUFF AD NAUSEUM
Case in point: Valentine’s day. (Or insert any other damn holiday in there).
Know what I saw in my reader?
Lots and lots of posts about Valentine’s day.
Not unpredictable, but the majority of them were UNINSPIRED, unoriginal and/or not interesting.
- How to save money for a cheap and frugal but fun date
- 10 ways to surprise your loved one without buying anything
- Why I hate valentine’s day
- Why I love valentine’s day
Sound familiar? Or maybe not at all, because they’re so generic?
I basically clicked “Mark all as read” in my “General Money” folder in Google Reader that day, and went on to look at some style blogs instead.
(I have a separate folder for blogs that spit out good posts about 90% of the time.
I won’t be posting that list, but if I don’t link to you once in about 2 years, or leave a single comment on your blog, that should be a clue.)
Then I started thinking about buying clothes, but that was when I had to just log off altogether and eat some pie.
YOU ARE SELLING OUT
Sponsored links almost every other post.
I admit to doing this when I was young, green and naive, thinking that $30 was a great deal of money to write a post on water coolers, and I am not faulting you for wanting to make money.
But EVERY OTHER POST? Please.
Can we increase the standards for ourselves and our quality of work being put out on the blog?
LINKING TO OTHER BLOGS BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO
Another thing I’m starting to notice as a trend — links to other PF blogs who write just as blandly as most of the other PF blogs who are out there.
You aren’t linking to them because you thought their 5th post on how you can hack your own frugal Kitty Litter was interesting, and inspired.
You’re linking because you bloody HAVE TO. Don’t you?
Peer pressure is a biatch, and you feel the need to say “Hi what’s up?” with a link to the people you’ve met at the PF blogger conference because they were just SO NICE.
Lots of people are nice. I think about 99% of humans at any given time, are considered nice.
But that doesn’t mean they can write anything worth linking to.
(Most of them live in Canada, I’m just a Canadian aberration of “niceness” because I’m writing these kinds of posts telling everyone off.
I’d most likely even say it to these people face-to-face.. but ALAS…. if only I could tell them apart from the writings of the other Jane/Joe Schmoe Bloggers.)
Maybe you’re part of a network of other linkers, or you’re part of a festival, or a carnival of links (hey I’ve done those in the past), but if 75% of your posts are JUST about linking to other blogs that are JUST as boring… guess whose blog is about to get tossed into Unsubscribe From Feed, Google-Reader oblivion?
The highest compliment to other bloggers, should be that you loved their work so much, you WANTED to share their work with others and link to them without any ulterior motive of them linking back to YOU in the near future.
This compliment has turned into a disgusting, incestuous community butt-rub of sorts (as Stefan on Top Chef might say), where you’ve just ended up screwing your reader into clicking on a post that was absolutely NOT interesting in the least.
I don’t write interesting posts all the time. You know it. I know it. We all know it.
But I think of it as one of the highest compliments to be linked-to by some random blogger whom I’ve never interacted with (to my recollection or knowledge), and to see my post on their blog, even if they only have 3 readers, is of the greatest sense of acknowledgement to me.
That’s when I know I’ve written something interesting that other people liked.
Or hated SO MUCH, they needed to send people with e-pitchforks after me.
This butt-rubbing linking that’s happening? Not the same thing.
YOU AREN’T WORKING HARD IN THE RIGHT AREAS
Seriously, copying a list word for word or a post idea is not work.
Copying a list, and then adding your own spin on it, with pictures, an experiment, something cool to interest your readers, is work.
I can safely say that most bloggers do work. Work hard? Meh, that’s up for debate.
But work, they do.
Everyone “works”. Even animals work. But whether or not that effort transforms into something readable and engaging, is another story.
It’s like those people we all know at work. They work. I mean, they go to the office, come home, and get paid bi-weekly right?
But are they productive? Probably not.
Know what the difference is? Originality.
EVERY JOE AND JANE SCHMO HAS STARTED A BLOG AND THINKS THEY CAN BECOME RICH DOING “NOTHING” (quotation marks, intended)
We’ve all heard the rumours/stories of people selling their blogs, making money, and some of them making it into the millions.
Those are the EXCEPTIONS. Not the rule.
As a result of this blogging gold rush, this produces a lot of low-quality, bullshit blogs that mention the word ‘money’, probably end up joining a link-fest network and start cheering over $5 a month from “doing nothing”.
First: most blogs, after 5-6 years of work, MAY sell for $10,000 – $50,000.
Don’t quote me on this total amount (it’s something like a multiple of 25X your monthly earnings), but it is actually not worth your time if you want to try and get rich off this blogging thing.
Second: Blogging is so far from “doing nothing”, I can’t even begin to tell you how silly that is.
Most bloggers do any or all of the following:
- working a lot to write posts
- spend your time thinking about them
- thinking about what’s coming up
- paying to attend conferences
- etc etc etc…
..and it sucks up about 15-20 hours of your week, if you’re trying to do a decent job at it.
At the end of it all, what do you earn?
For me, it’s about $30 in Google Adsense dollars per month if I get about 1000 pageviews a day.
What’s that? A buck a day?
Wow. I earned a buck a day.
That’s $7 a week, for 15-20 hours.
I’m currently on par with most Third World country earnings, in that case.
Third: Know what 15 – 20 hours a week at minimum wage in Ontario, Canada ($10.75 per hour) gets you in a month?
$153.75 – $215 a week or $645 – $860 a month.
You mean I can do the SAME AMOUNT of work but just put on clothes, go outside, interact with live human beings instead of internet personas, and make about 21X – 28X more money than what I do blogging?
Maybe not if you live in the U.S. where their minimum wage is so backwards, it’s practically slave labour at $7.25 an hour, but this is why Canada was the country I chose to live in.
I think about 50% of PF bloggers out there would be better off working at a minimum wage job, rather than trying to make this PF blogging hobby into a career.
You may be working hard, and I applaud your drive to work, blog, make money and build another income stream…. but maybe, JUST MAYBE you’d be better off picking up another part-time job.
Don’t repeat the above to me either, I KNOW ALL OF THE ABOVE ALREADY.
I have already done the math that I would make more money flipping burgers than I would blogging.
I do it, because I find it fun and therapeutic.
I don’t do it for the money, because if I did, I should really go out there and get a job folding sweaters at the Gap.
The main thing that keeps me blogging is that people actually find my rantings and ravings spot on at times.
I write these posts, because as a READER I’d find them interesting enough to give a second glance to, and to READ them.
You will notice I tend to stay away from canned, boring, spam-mystery-meat-like posts such as “10 ways to have fun without spending money”.
I not only work hard, I actually try to be original.
So maybe not all of my posts are golden gooses, but I’d like to think that each post I write gives someone SOMETHING to think about, get mad or angry about, or just love enough to write a comment to tell me so.
I can’t say the same thing for the majority of PF bloggers out there.
I can see the work that DOES NOT go into writing those canned posts, because what I see is a lot of linking back and forth to canned crap that just generates more crap like some PF-writing disease.
CAN WE PLEASE START TRYING TO BE ORIGINAL?
(Look I even said “Please“, this is as close as I can come to being “Canadian”.)
I CANNOT be the only person who is thinking this.
I just simply cannot be the ONLY ONE.
I may be the most vocal about it, but I SIMPLY CANNOT be the only one.
I don’t even care that you don’t know the difference between these words:
- affect, effect
- heal, heel
- their, they’re, there
I can forgive lots of typos and horrible spelling because I DO IT TOO. I write things in haste, and I can sympathize, but as long as you have:
- A personality
- Interesting thoughts/ideas (even if I don’t agree with them)
- None of this bullshit link-to-each-other-all-the-goddamn-time every post
- … then you’re an interesting blogger to me.
You don’t even need pictures or anything beyond the above. I like visuals, but I’m not hung up on them. I’m more interested in thoughts, the words and the style of writing.
So have at me.
Go nuts in the comments, tell me off, get all huffy and angry that I am AGAIN bashing the PF blogging community, but I am 100% .. .nay, 100000000000000%* … BEGGING YOU TO INCREASE THE QUALITY OF YOUR POSTS.
*Anything above 100% is not mathematically possible, but who cares?
As a PF community, when did we become so picky about BASIC MATH?
I mean, we’re in North America, and we couldn’t care less about going $100K into debt for student loans but only earning $20K gross upon graduation in some white-collar job even though a blue-collar construction worker out of high school could make $35/hour ($70K a year), and an option of $55/hour in overtime ($110K a year).
True story & numbers, by the way. I read a whole article about how kids from Ireland are moving to Canada to make big bucks in construction in the Metro Toronto News the other day, sometime last week (Feb 2013).
As a reader, as a fellow blogger, as someone who desperately wants to read INTERESTING, personal and lively posts, please think before you turn into a blogger for the money, or hit Publish.