My musings on different political topics relevant to America today.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Elusive Art of Blogging

I will write about Toronto later, however I still need to upload my photos and I would rather include some cool pics with any article I write about that later.

So this post is going to be about the art of selling blog posts.  After writing blog posts for awhile one starts to notice what "sells".  Intriguing pictures sell.  Provocative titles sell.  Extremist rhetoric sells.  Pop culture sells.  Gossip sells.  Therefore the writer becomes torn between simply writing what pours from his heart and mind and writing what will sell.  Sometimes the two align, but often they don't.  I have had a number of articles that did "well" (as in a couple dozen views), and one that did really well. Coincidentally, the one that did the best, "Country Boys", my first post, was both heated in its rhetoric and about pop culture (I suppose people search on google far more for country boys than for Syria...).  Meanwhile my recent article on Syria did bad, only 6 views.  In it I was balanced in my analysis though I definitely made it clear where I stood.  It was political, and moderate, therefore, no views (Also I did not include a picture, another grievous error).

In many ways the battle a writer fights between his soul and his ambition reflects a larger debate on the influence of individual action in society.  I believe that a single individual can only have a voice in so far as he is willing to conform that voice to a group.  I am not saying that an individual cannot have a unique viewpoint and still succeed in writing or politics, etc., its just that the way he sells his message will have to be crafted in a way that society will accept it.  His argument or his beliefs will have to build off of where society already is.  If his argument requires dragging society too far from its place of origin, it will inevitably fail from simply being too cumbersome and complicated, even if in the end its the logical conclusion.

Here is an example, amongst "millennials" (my generation) it would be easy to argue for the legalization of all drugs.  We have been conditioned culturally to believe that individual freedom is absolutely sacred, plus we have a very negative view of government.  Both of these views makes it an easy step for someone to argue that all drugs should be legalized.  Meanwhile, if someone was to argue that cigarettes should be made illegal, most everyone in my generation would disapprove.  They would agree that cigarettes are bad, but that it is the individual's choice, even if second hand smoke along with  their poor health affects far more people than just the solitary individual who engages in the act.  Tie this with the implicit belief that government is unable to enforce almost anything (the failure of prohibition is bound to come up eventually, even if few if anyone has ever read about why prohibition failed), and you have a cocktail for complete failure for the anti-cigarrette activists.

The first argument is far easier to make amongst the millenials because of our cultural presuppositions.  In order for the anti-cigarette activists to make any headway, they have to prove that cigarettes are not only bad to the individuals involved, but that it hurts society as a whole, and that banning cigarettes is enforceable.  Its a far more formidable task, doable for sure, but would require a long struggle to change people's presuppositions.  Either that or they would have to find a clever way to sidestep the whole argument or align their movement in an entirely different ideological discourse (say try to make it an issue of inequality).

Sorry I digressed so much, but I believe this is vital to understanding the writer's dilemma, or really the activists dilemma.  One wants to stay true to one's beliefs, but often one must mold one's beliefs to the current culture to have any impact.  If I want to have a say politically, I would have to stay extremist in rhetoric to grab people's attention.  I would have to be indignant constantly, but then of course stay vague about any solution.  After all once you offer solutions you are bound to upset several of your readers.  Therefore just constantly go into raging fits about the latest political fiasco then voila! You will get views.

However doing so will essentially eliminate my voice.  While people  are reading my stuff, I am really not accomplishing anything.  I am simply filling demand in the market for political divisive bile (I know I have ranted before, but to be fair I was motivated by my own strong opinion, not a desire to get views).  I want to maintain my voice while still engaging mass society.  How in the world I will do that I do not know, but the answer must be out there, somewhere (If you have any ideas, feel free to share).

No comments:

Post a Comment