Blog Just For Two People

Matt on the value of blogging:

There is no predictable connection to the effort and thought you put into something and the response it receives, and every experienced blogger has a story of something they spend a few minutes on and toss out casually going viral, a one-hit wonder that makes your stats in future months and years puny in comparison.

This has happened to me a few times, and it always seems strange. The prolonged impact of distorted stats makes it even worse.

The suggested fix? Write for just two people:

.. when I get caught up in that the randomness of what becomes popular or generates commentary and what doesn’t it invariably leads me to write less. So blog just for two people.

Scott Berkun left a comment on Matt’s post that put the situation this way:

Is it better to be popular or good?

After giving it some thought I don’t like this question as much as I had hoped. There are some things and people that are popular that I would still consider good.

I’d adjust the question by adding just one more word: Is your intent to be popular or good?

Hopefully the best of us at least start out wanting more to be good than popular.

This site has my name all over it, hopefully it is clear that the things here start as something for me. If they are helpful or enjoyable to anyone else, then that is a bonus. A wonderful bonus of course :-)

3 Comments

  1. I had never thought blogging as writing an open letter and this is a beautiful analogy.

  2. Another way of thinking about this is how one of the first questions bloggers ask is “How do I get more traffic”. That’s purely about popularity and often they’re looking for plugins and technologies that will magically do this for them.

    it’s rare to hear bloggers ask “how can I improve my writing?” or “How I can pick more important and interesting topics?”

    The former is about popularity, the later is about quality.

    I agree with you it’s possible to seek both (there are 4 quadrants: popular and good, popular and not good, not popular and good, and not popular and not good) – but many bloggers and creatives of all kind get lost in popularity since it’s far easier to measure.

  3. many bloggers and creatives of all kind get lost in popularity since it’s far easier to measure

    You are spot on with the ease of measurement being a major issue. What we measure is something that we either already consider important, or will consider important in the future.

    Which leaves the obvious question on the table. How do measure how well you write? At least in school you had a teacher who would grade it for you.

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