Dec 15, 2011

3 things you should never forget

These days I checked the net for bloglisting services to break loose from the shackles of blogs I usually read - and find some new ones.
It was scary.
Most of the high-ranking blogs seem to be platforms for advice. Everybody apparently insists on giving me hints how to improve my life in any conceivable aspect. Who needs that? Who believes that? Who wants to know? And who makes THEM the experts to tell ME "How to Negotiate in Three Easy Lessons"?
There is this humunguous number of 'how-to'-advices combined with the 'n steps to become...(a successful rocket-scientist/a top-rated womanizer/jobless)' workings that obviously catches on. If the advice is packed into catchy phrases, numbered, spiced up, then it will inevitably make your blog one of the more clicked ones out there.
Did anybody ask for this flood of advice? Don't I stand a chance to die dumb?
James Altucher will not like it when I say that his site is on the shortlist of those I return to whenever I want my Adrenalin-level to go up. And up it goes - again and again.
why?
Because *he wants it so*. Believe me, it is handycraft. Read (if you care to) the "33 unusual tips to being a better writer" . It is actually quite entertaining (and very good advice in parts!).
But what drives a person to increase the click-rate on his site - at any price. It must be a marketing-thing; something from the flesh and bones of those sales-persons who initially designed and (ab-)used the ill-labeled 'social media'. Only a few years ago it was imperative to collect as many followers or friends as possible within all of those networking-tools. You could actually buy followers by the thousands from companies skilled in that trade. And then you were told that those numbers show your impact - and impact meant importance, of course! Ten thousand followers make you a thought-leader. 50 followers only - you are a dweeb.
At the core it is about 'social branding'. People want to be known for something. They want to be experts on something. Which is ok. But it ends up as a fight for high ranking in google searches. And this is recognition substituted by SEO-skills. It is reminiscent of the misperception of the word 'respect' in the dark and iffy side-streets of american big cities. Those scary folks out there demand 'respect' and substitute it by 'fear'.
The seo-optimizing blog-scene hopes for recognition and substitutes it by page-rank.
This is a smoke-screen. Reality works the other way around: reputation, respect, skill, trust prove themselves again and again to be among the most valuable currency in human interaction, no matter by which medium. This currency buys you an audience, followers - even friends. There is no substitute for the real thing.

And the "3 things you should never forget"? Only you know.

4 comments:

James Altucher said...

I admit I like to be "liked". But every page visit, every follower, whatever you want to call it, is earned. I haven't paid for anything. Nor do I sell anything. No ads, no way to monetize my blog.

And despite the titles, I never actually give advice. Everything is just based on my own personal experience. I never go beyond what my own personal experience has taught me.

. said...

James, thank you for your very quick and very honest comment!
I return to your site regularly because I am impressed by the catchy style in combination with content.

With the advice - I don't know. I put you in that little piece after you announced your 'you-can-ask-me-anything'-session on twitter.

But I see your drive: you are a communicator. You love to interact. A very fundamental social drive - known to many of us :)

All the best,
Carsten.

S.R. said...

It's interesting: the "American Style" also in James Altucher's Blog (which is not meant as an offence) of selectig, quantifying and ranking everything, arguments or pieces of advice or necessary steps - it's a competitive "frame" applied to communication, Anglo-Saxon pragmatism, but simplifying and also showing off to a certain degree (like adverts do). See the overflooding number of top 10s and best 100s lists of TIME Magazine, you will be surprised...

It's The winners (like the top 10 xyzs) take it all, while the disadvantage of this sometimes harsh selection and definition can be seen in the failures of the ONE number oft the Gross Domestic Product (with environmental destruction being positively counted in, partially) and, even more topical, when you look at the missing distance of powerful users and institutional mechanisms towards the "indicators" of the three dominating rating agencies.

This is always a problem e.g. in quantitative social research, but when I talk of the American Style, this cultural difference or deficit refers even to everyday journalism and blogging, as it seems.

As James Altucher commented here, frankly saying he likes to be liked, I also think, more or less, everybody likes and needs social gratifications, which is a good, company-, society-, and "polis"-binding glue - as long as it is not needed too badly... as long as individual assertiveness is on top, and one judges by one's own mind and feeling.

The internet now introduced a larger arena, a larger audience potentially, for expressing yourself, for impressing others, and for communicating for mutual good in a broader way, like enabling more political communication (though I am not too satisfied with it e.g. on Facebook). You can become a semi journalist oder an essayist, trying to convince people of your ideas, incl. (also unwanted ;-) ) advice of course - and reputation is often *earned*, I think, too, because of the substance of a blog.

While marketing/search engine optimisation intervenes, blows up social reputation, which is the book judged by its cover - so, the information flood in general - we're amidst a revolution - demands a much further rise of *information brokers* to pre-select and guide through the very democracy, but also very wilderness of blogs etc.

I think those blogs all are a fantastic spielwiese for expressing oneself, for exploring writing and imagination and poltics, and - best - to communicate and discuss equal-levelled.

New roles have emerged thereby, but from time to time it may be good to remember how important it is to stay authentic. Perhaps to ask, do I try to express myself? Or do I much more try to *impress* someone?

James Altucher said...

The funny thing is, maybe on 1 out of 10 of my posts are "top 10" sort of posts. If even that much.

You seem much more focused on them (and much more wordy) than "Anglo-Saxons", whatever racial thing that means.