This past weekend, Danny Brown, Geoff Livingston, and I had an email conversation about the sameness of the blogosphere. Mark Schaefer has long called it the social media chamber: Something I’ve always been overly sensitive to not becoming.
Tools such as Storify quickly aggregates content, without having to create it. And paper.li pulls tweets into a newspaper-like format for you to share with your followers. Things are becoming more and more automated and not only are we repeating everything everyone says, we’re losing our creativity.
Danny says it best in “The Mind-Numbing Banality of Sameness” earlier this week:
Bloggers were viewed as quirks of nature, and/or frustrated writers. Yet some of the best writing around was being published, since the attention span didn’t have to be geared towards 140-characters or compete with a thousand social networks. Because of this longer attention span, the quality over quantity issue was never in doubt.
The attention span didn’t have to be geared towards 140-characters or compete with a thousand social networks.
Sure, there are plenty of bloggers who are doing it the right way. But they’re not typically rewarded with book deals or speaking engagements or sponsored advertising or masses of followers. They’re working hard for something they believe in, but the world isn’t paying attention.
We talked a lot last week about the get rich quick, lose weight tomorrow phenomenon that is our society. And we all agreed (mostly) that easy achievements sell. Even though we know, deep down, nothing worth having comes easily.
And while we know it, we continue the cycle because that’s how it’s done and that’s what sells…even if it’s not truly helpful or valuable.
It’s easier to use aggregation tools. It’s easier distribute someone else’s content. It’s easier to echo what the perceived A-listers are saying. It’s easier to mimic than to be yourself. It’s easier to use headlines that grab the attention of our fellow short-time span humans without saying anything important. It’s easier to attract the masses than to niche.
After all, the idea is you’ll quickly become famous this way. And being famous equals making a gazillion dollars.
So why not take the easier route? Everyone else is doing it.