I have had a very vague vision when I first started this blog ‘Wolkify’. I wanted to start a blog for truly valuable thoughts of any kind.
For quite some time I had been annoyed with all the bullshit that we find ourselves exposed to every day. Especially online it seems like most of what people are interested in is plain stupid. It begins with cat pictures, continues with win/fail videos and includes all the major sites that usually post viral articles, from 9gag to Buzzfeed.
(Just for fun, I looked up Buzzfeed right now. The three major headlines are “35 Sweet Treats You Can Make With 5 Ingredients Or Less”, “So We Need To Talk About This Nasty Gal ~Dress~“ and „18 Apps That Will Help You Chill The F*ck Out“. You get my point.)
I was fed up with it, it annoyed me to death and it seemed to be impossible to escape this increasing dulling of the mind. Even though I eventually blocked all these stupidity-enhancing pages and the people spreading them on Facebook (you can read more about how I did that here), I still was wondering: isn’t there a website that spreads articles of high quality? Informative articles? Articles that don’t try to shock, amuse or outrage you, but only have the purpose to leave you a little smarter than you were before?
Besides newspapers (which are mostly focused on daily news) I had a hard time finding one. So I started one myself where I wanted to write about experiences, thoughts and resources that I found inspiring and worth talking about.
Of course I wanted to share these posts with as many people as possible, even more so because I thought that they could actually be of value for people, unlike the ‘mental fast food’ that pages like The Huffington Post and others provide.
I soon found out though that most people have no interest whatsoever in learning something, expanding their horizon or rethinking their beliefs. Most people want to be dulled, want to be entertained and want to be stimulated as much as possible. That’s it.
This became very obvious to me when I started advertising my posts on Facebook a little bit and could see how many people click on certain articles. Nobody wanted to read what they could learn from an autobiography by Richard Branson (Why would you be interested in business advice from a guy that created a multi-billion Dollar empire, right?). There was also almost nobody interested in an article about how habits run our lives (well, maybe it is too much to ask that people who spend hours every day on sites like 9 gag reflect on their bad habits).
One article however did do remarkably well: 5 habits that will help you become a more attractive man! Of course people clicked on the one post that had a headline that could easily be from Buzzfeed! I guess they were quite disappointed when they saw that the post was actually really detailed, cosiderate and long. It didn’t even have pictures…
Nonetheless I took this as a sign and started choosing headlines that were a lot more attention-grabbing (essentially using click-baiting). I also started paying more attention to writing articles that are more SEO friendly. I even started deliberately using certain key words in my posts, just to make them more “attractive” for Google.
So long story short, after just 6 months of blogging I was on the best way to gradually becoming like the blogs that I despised and wanted to be a contrast to!
And as much as I would like to say something different: There is no other option I have than to play the game just like everyone else.
If you want to reach people online, you have to play by the rules of the internet and give people something that grabs their attention. This is the only way to lure them in. The only thing I can (and will) do from there on is to continue writing the best, most informative and most interesting articles possible and hope to find people that are actually interested in that.
If you want to learn more about how fucked up the world of blogging and online media is: I just read a great book about it called “Trust me, I’m lying”, which I summarize here.