Over the past couple of months I’ve been really distracted by a growing number of blogs that have become overrun with press releases or sponsored content. The reason this bothers me is that I feel like this sort of behavior goes generally unnoticed by most readers. There’s really no particular genre of blogs that are more at fault than others either, the gamut ranges from design to illustration to fashion to architecture. I don’t plan on pointing the finger at anyone in particular, though I’m sure many people will feel I’m attacking them. I blame this epidemic on two things: Lazy bloggers and press releases.
As someone with a decent sized audience, I can say I get a lot of press releases in my inbox every morning. Do I post about these press releases every now and then? Of course I do, because every now and then something interesting pops up, but most of the time it’s some young artist from (insert city here) who’s looking to get a break. But there’s this plethora of lazy bloggers out there who take these press releases that pour into their inbox, cut and paste everything verbatim, then try to masquerade them as real content. What’s worse is when someone is shilling for a thing or place, trying to make it seem like they happened to show up at the right place and time, when they’ve been handed a chunk of change to write about.
To this I ask, what’s the fucking point? Why would anyone with a popular blog waste their time, day in, day out, posting about the same damn press release that every other blog in their field received as well? Do you enjoy what you do or do you view what you do as a way to pay the bills?
Maybe I’m naive, maybe I’m too optimistic, but I try to think of good blogs as something akin to the New York Times, a constant source of new ideas and information. Would the NY Times take a bunch of pre-chewed content and baby mother barf it into the mouths of their readers? Never, because they have integrity. Maybe this is me on my high horse, but I personally hold myself to a higher standard, and I don’t even do that much. Since starting this site over four years ago I have written by a particular forumla: One paragraph describing the topic, a second paragraph describing why I think it’s worth a damn. That’s it. It’s not rocket science, but it’s me trying. In fact, in my four years, I’ve written nearly 3,200 posts about topics that I think people should look at and trying to explain why you should give a damn.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, stop pretending to be a writer and BE a writer. Stop filling the internet with more recycled crap and start posting something of worth. There are so many people out there who want to read an interesting story, or come across something inspiring to make their day or share with their co-workers over lunch. So why are you wasting our time?
Like I said at the beginning, I’m not trying to be negative with this post, so I’m going to point out the people who should be recognized for making blogging something awesome. My mornings usually consists of Kottke, Daring Fireball, You Might Find Yourself and Design*Sponge. I also love Aquarium Drunkard, Brand New, Subtraction, Yewknee, But Does It Float, designworklife, It’s Nice That and today and tomorrow. I would consider all of these to be fantastic, shining examples of what blogs should be. Please do me a favor and bookmark these blogs, tell your friends about them and visit them often. Support the people who are actually trying to create amazing things and not the dumps of press releases.