In his article, “The End Of Hand Crafted Content”, Michael Arrington of TechCrunch touched a subject I’ve been thinking a lot about lately as a blogger and content creator. The discussion couldn’t be more relevant for the fashion world, just few weeks before the NY fashion week chatter begins in the blogosphere. Expect news, republished news, stolen news, opinions on republished and stolen news, even more opinions and then yesterday’s news republished again just in case our readers didn’t catch the original ones.
Let me simplify the fashion weeks publishing cycle to make the point: Style.com usually posts the collections’ photos first and then the blogosphere republishes them with few opinionated sentences attached. Sometimes there is a report from the actual show, but mostly you can’t tell if the blogger was there or actually needed to be there to write the piece.
As for the general fashion news – WWD usually gets exclusives on most of them, and then the blogosphere chews it for the next few days. As an example you could take the recent news about Julia Roberts signing as the new Lancome face. Google indexed about 4,864 (!!) blog posts since WWD broke the news on December 4th. A typical blog post included a nice picture of the actress, one sentence describing the news and another paragraph quoted from the source or the press release. Don’t forget an SEO-friendly smart title to top the story – and voilà, in under 5 minutes you created a new piece of content, your blog looks alive again, and you even feel like a reporter, helping the news spread…
…Or adding to the clutter.
With all my love to the digital words, recently I wish people would still write like they would on paper, before the days typing machine was invented. There is something about the easiness of creating content online that removes any filtering, critical look or even a thought process at all. We get caught up in the race of posting more, being first to publish the news on our own site, getting more traffic, more readers, more comments, more everything. After all we are now part of the news machine, and no one can stop us.
Imagine you were billed by the kilobytes to post content. Would you pay to publish this?
Imagine this could be the last thing you published before you died. Would you still post it?
When you republish a piece of news 50 other sites already published – what goal are you achieving? Do you seriously believe your readers don’t read any other sources and rely on you to provide them all the information? Or perhaps you tried it once and enjoyed some Google love, which left you wanting more… I don’t blame you, in the world where your influence is measured by your traffic, it’s getting hard to resist posting a hot piece of content the public is desperately searching for.
Mike Arrington compares it to fast food, I compare it to fast fashion. Why would you waste effort creating your own design and perfecting the cut, if you could just copy someone else’s work for much cheaper? Fast fashion already rules the market these days, so as fast content online. The question is whether you are contributing to it or choose not to. Are you part of the fast content chain or do you prefer to have your own quality shop and continue to create master pieces, no matter how little foot traffic your shop gets? What if you saw your blog or content you put out there as a reflection of your true self? Would you still want to post the same things everyone else is posting?
Would you like to add to the clutter or actually bring some value to this world? What if instead of requesting disclosures FTC requested to disclose your reasons for posting each piece. What would be yours?
Traffic, money, SEO, self-importance, bragging, attention, jealousy, judgment, boredom…
Passion for the subject, love for beautiful things, desire to help, educate, share knowledge, encourage others, craving for honest discussion with people, opening up your heart, saying simply what you feel and finding your own voice…
Today you are given the ability to express your thoughts to the world, so why don’t you tell it what you really think, instead of having a small talk quoting what other people say?
I hope we can all find our depth, even if getting through the clutter is becoming harder…