One thing that I like to do occasionally, when I have a little time, is to go to the “Freshly Pressed” section of the WordPress site and check out some of the posts there. Oftentimes, there are a few interesting reads and I find that it’s also good for getting an idea of what others are doing and seeing how they go about putting their blogs together.
One of the posts that I came across earlier in the week was titled “Dear Fellow Bloggers” and concerned itself with the integrity of the “likes” that can be given out by readers to the blogs that they, well, like.
In no uncertain terms, the writer called out those people who clicked the like button on her page without bothering to read what was written. The epithet that she bestowed upon them was “like whore”
And why (let alone how) would someone like a blog without reading it?
Well, that requires a little explanation about how things work on the WordPress site. Because the site also interconnects those writers who are a part of it, there is the possibility to browse the other blogs, for example, by searching a specific subject, tag or category. WordPress also compiles a variety of blogs and presents them on the (from what I gather) coveted “Freshly Pressed” page. Therefore, there are lots of opportunities to interact with other writers, or at the very least, to get a chance to see what they are doing.
All of the bloggers here have an avatar that links them to their respective pages, so when someone clicks on the “like” button or comments on a post, it leaves a link so that the writer of the post can check out who that person is and their blog, if they so desire.
However, like anything, there are ways of exploiting, or abusing, the system.
One of the tips that WordPress offers for increasing readership is to comment on other blogs, which generally is good advice. Most blogs invite an exchange of opinions and ideas and encourage interaction. Read one and show your respect by commenting, and more often than not, this respect will be returned by a visit to yours.
The thing is, unfortunately, many people are simply satisfied to see “likes” on their site and will, like Pavlov’s dog, instinctively react and go and look at the “liker”‘s page. Consequently then, in order to take advantage of this, you’re going to have people who simply “mass like” countless blogs to get pageviews.
So, in so many words, it’s basically a method of spamming. And we all know how we feel about spammers, right?
However, it brings up the bigger issue of how we look for approval and recognition for the things that we do on the internet. When we put so much value into when people “like” our status updates on Facebook or have followers on Twitter, it says a lot about who we are and what we do on socially connected sites.
This kind of validation is no different in the blogosphere and could be argued that it’s worse. Because writing, by definition an art form, begs an audience, we want as many people reading our words as possible. This “mass liking” phenomenon is nothing more than a form of marketing that is used to attract viewers in an ever competitive environment. That it works by taking advantage of people’s need to be accepted and validated is what I find a little sad.
We all want an audience, but at what price?
For me, this also brought up the question of why I even bothered to start writing a blog at all.
Honestly, I had been thinking about whether I should start one for a long time before I registered here at WordPress a couple of months ago. I fully understood that because I wasn’t an authority or expert in anything, that it would come off as a narcissistic vanity project. I also realized that any readership that I would have would be more or less limited to people who I knew like friends, family and students and possibly the occasional person who chanced by.
Every person has a different motivation for why they do it. For me personally, it was for two reasons. Firstly, I wanted to get the thoughts that I had in my head on “paper”. That blogging gave me the opportunity for instant feedback was a bonus. I have no preconceptions about the quality of my writing, or if it is in the least bit interesting to others. I enjoy the creative process and realize that the more that I write and the more critically objective that I am with what I produce, that the quality will most likely improve.
The other reason that started this is that because I love music, I wanted to share with people what I thought might be interesting to check out. Regardless of the other subjects that I might write about, that will always be my main motivation for having this blog.
And yes, I hope you “like” it.
So on that note, today’s share is 2006′s Harmony In Ultraviolet by fellow Canadian Tim Hecker.
Marissa Brown’s review on Allmusic sums it best when she writes:
“It’s the music of a gray urban skyline, of the kind of loneliness that comes from being around too many other people, of rusted fences and cold empty windows and distance, music that swells and crescendos, sets itself up for the denouement but never arrives at the climax; it’s endlessly patient yet eager to move on.” In a way, an apt soundtrack or sonic representation of society on the interwebs.
And while it’s true that this music is sometimes as distant and cold as an industrial landscape, there is a pure meditative and quiet beauty that lies within it that makes spending time with this album worthwhile.
Definitely best played on headphones.
enjoy! – the j-bola virus