Gees, we bloggers have gotten lazy.
When I first started blogging, over 10 years before the word “blogging” was even invented, all coding was manual. I had to type in every HTML tag and link from scratch in Windows Notepad. Later, I used a semi-WYSIWYG HTML coding program which eventually became a better WYSIWYG HTML program, but it was still a lot of manual effort with little return.
Yahoo! was pretty much the only search engine game in town, though there were hundreds of search engine wannabes and directories. All submissions were manually done, and to some extent, approval for those submissions was also done manually by the search engines and directories personnel. It took months to even be considered, let alone listed.
There were few web pages on the web, and very little, and often inaccurate, information. To find anything online, I had to dig through several search engines. What I needed was often on page 4 instead of on page 1, since page ranking was not available for sifting the more appropriate results to the top of the list.
Search results were based upon Boolean word combinations, adding or removing a word from your search terms increased or decreased the possibilities. The hardest part was coming up with the right combination(s) of words to get any kind of good result.
In 1996, I remember the thrill of encountering an access speed of 4800 baud. That was race car Internet access for me. We were on the road traveling, connecting to the Internet with Compuserve access numbers through an acoustic coupler strapped to a pay phone receiver at the amazing speed of 300-1200 baud. We went through a lot of quarters to keep the connection open. Occasionally, people would allow us to hook up via their phone connections, and we’d dance around with joy of watching email arrive faster than one character at a time.
Stories for my site didn’t come from the web. There was no “echo chamber” for me to echo. My stories came from my life, my experiences, my lessons, and basically from my head. There were few sites worth linking to, and almost no one around to inspire my writing online. I had to go out looking for stories – away from my computer and office on the road.
Today, CMS and blogging programs like WordPress allow us to blog without ever interacting with code. Search engines are pinged whenever a post is published, so site submissions are really unnecessary. Search engines come to call after an invisible invitation is issued, no effort from me. Information is everywhere, accessible within a few keystrokes. Internet access through WIFI, cable, DSL, cell phone, and satellite is almost everywhere.
Look, ma! No wires! No pay phones!
Search engines now have patented algorithms to guess at what I’m really searching for better than I know myself. The sites at the top of the list usually have the information I need, without turning a page, so my hunting time is definitely reduced.
Through feeds, news and updates come to me, I don’t have to go to them to find out what is going on anywhere and everywhere around the web and the world.
More importantly, I don’t have to leave my computer to find stories to write about.
What was that?
That’s right. I don’t have to leave my computer or my comfortable chair to find stories to write about.
This is where I think bloggers are falling down lazy.
Blogging is Easy for Lazy Bloggers
We have all the hard work done for us now. Blogging is easy. The hardest, and sometimes most boring, part of the work is done for us automatically. The only thing we really have to work on is finding content for our blogs. And we don’t even have to leave our chairs to find it.
With all the resources and information on the computer screen in front of us, then why is everyone blogging about the same 10 subjects? Whole weeks go by when I see the same 10 subjects talked about on 1000 different blogs?
I find a lot of people blogging about topics destined to bring in big crowds of traffic, but they really are only offering the tips they’ve picked off other blogger’s articles rather than honestly contributing to the conversation based upon expertise. They just want the traffic, and not the real work it takes to build an audience based upon your skills and talents.
Sometimes, I think the web has become an old fashioned dial radio. Just twist the knob at the top of the hour and hear the same news with different voices as you cycle through the channels.
What are you doing to not be a lazy blogger?
Are you taking advantage of the billions of bits of information and stories out there just begging to be told? Or are you simply rebroadcasting the same old news, just like everyone else?
When was the last time you set a blogging assignment for yourself to go out and find a story. You don’t have to leave your computer and step outside, though it might be a great change, but you do need to set a goal, work out a plan and strategy, research the material, and write the story.
Don’t just sit on your comfortable feeds ready to jump on a story that everyone will be echoing through the blogosphere in their race to be the first with the news. Create your own story that others will jump on and rebroadcast for you.
So, tell the truth. Are you a lazy blogger? Have you got anything new to say?
Lorelle VanFossen blogs about blogging and WordPress on Lorelle on WordPress, and is a long time support volunteer for WordPress. Lorelle travels too much and reports about life on the road in Taking Your Camera on the Road and covers family history and genealogy on Lorelle’s Family History, and writes for too many blogs, ezines, and magazines.
The author of Lorelle on WordPress and the fast-selling book, Blogging Tips: What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging, as well as several other blogs, Lorelle VanFossen has been blogging for over 15 years, covering blogging, WordPress, travel, nature and travel photography, web design, web theory and development extensively as web technologies developed.