Something annoys me about blog posts: their quality. The digital world allows us to write and share content without the costs of physical production or distribution. This lack of limitations leads to an unbelievable amount of blogs, articles, photos, etc. There are more articles published on Medium in a day than I could read in a lifetime, and while the quantitive amount of digital worlds is no fundamental problem, their quality (in my eyes) is.
“the secret of good writing is to strip every sentence to its cleanest components.”
But online, there is no reward for limiting myself to a few words. On the contrary, to draw attention to my website, it is advantageous to write as many posts as possible, and because Google is more important than any human reader, I write with search engine optimisation in mind.
I often find posts online that neither contain any helpful information nor tell a story. They are generic articles on a topic that has already been covered a million times, and at their top, they have a captivating title. Their goal is to draw traffic, and the fastest way to do so is to write more posts and use the right keywords.
Things that slow down the output, like thorough research or high-quality writing, get ignored, and once a post is published, there is no incentive to improve it. Why edit an article when I could write something new?
In my opinion, the flood of content and the focus on SEO/views put the quality at risk. I find it hard to find well-researched, reflective articles that help me and inspire me to think and are not just a grave of words.
Two weeks ago, I published an article about a subscription-free setup. Afterwards, I realised that my writing was relatively poor and that I had forgotten about an important part: subscriptions for entertainment. I could have taken this opportunity to write a new article like “You won’t believe how I managed to save $100 a month”. I would have an extra post on my blog, publish another story on Medium (another chance to go viral), and get more views. After all, my first article was already sent out and will not generate that much attention anymore.
Doing so would mean another unnecessary and low-quality article on my blog, and it would add to the clutter of the internet. In the future, when this blog is famous, and people will read through the existing articles, they will be confused about the different articles on the same topic and will have to spend unnecessary time reading through everything.
But I decided to edit my existing article instead; I improved some of my writing and added the missing part.
There are fantastic blogs out there publishing wonderful articles that are well researched and inspire me to re-consider my thinking - but there is also an abundance of mediocre articles that serve the sole purpose of being understood by google and generate traffic. My concern is that the ever-growing quantity of content reduces its quality.
It is (again) all about a mindful adoption; digital writing and the internet allow us to capture and publish our knowledge in an easy fashion and edit the already published parts, constantly improving them over time. We can create a single point of truth that continually improves, which should be better than any book ever published. By focusing on quantity, we don’t use the potential of digital knowledge sharing. On the contrary, the opaque number of articles makes it difficult for me to find good information. I prefer to reach for a physical book when I need reliable information.
Again, there is a huge potential that gets lost through a mindless adoption.
In the future, I will follow the approach of dynamic articles. I will improve my existing articles over time to make them better and better and provide you with the highest quality of information. And for anyone who likes this approach but is concerned about followers: I am convinced that high-quality, honest, and relatable content allows me to break out of the circle of mass content and connect with people who are genuinely interested in the topics I write about. 1.000 followers engaged followers are “worth” more than 100.000 follow-backs.