Posted on March 31, 2008
Filed Under Critical Thinking |
I logged into Bloglines today for the first time in weeks. 1000+ posts. That is how many I missed among the 63 feeds that I now read, or, did read. At one time, just a few years ago, I read overt 300 RSS feeds almost daily. What happened? Why have I stopped? To understand that, you need to know why I started.
In 2002, blogs were cool. These easy online publishing tools had given the “little guy” a voice. And those voices were refreshing. At the time, I was an avid reader, usually finishing off about 250 pages (roughly one nonfiction book) each week, but I cut back on my book reading to spend more time with these media mavericks called bloggers.
Like most human expression though, as it became cool, everyone wanted to do it, and most people were lousy at it. At birth, the blogosphere was the very antithesis of the shoddy amateurism with which the mainstream media portrayed it. Now that blogs have grown up, we see that the mainstream media was right. Blogs suck. Not all of them, just most of them.
You see, those of you who don’t produce media don’t realize that the very structure of modern media necessitates the constant production of crap. I don’t mean bad writing. The writing is very good. I don’t mean uninteresting content, on the contrary, it can be very interesting. What I mean is that the thinking behind most of what is written on blogs is lousy, or more likely non-existent.
The web today is driven by novelty and recency. In order for content companies to survive, they must produce fresh content at an incredible pace. The result, is articles that are more designed to get you clicking than to get you thinking. When you are forced to write a lot, the quality will inevitably go down.
So, over the past two years or so, my blog reading has declined. As the average intellectual quality of blog content decreased, and the average person began reading blogs, I decided to find a new source of inspiration, so I turned back to books.
When you read what everyone else reads, you will think like everyone else thinks. The best way to be original and creative is to have a different set of inputs. Cut your feed reader. Pick the 10 blogs that you like the most, and don’t waste your time with the rest. All you have to lose is those “me too” thinking patterns that social media promotes.