How quickly do you put your thoughts together when there’s a hot-button issue? Do you take a few days to think about what you want to say, then carefully structure and write 500 words on the topic? Or do you dive in and let furious waves of eloquence bombard your blog and its readers, concerning yourself more with timeliness and instinct rather than restraint and premeditated point-making?
Recently, a friend chose diving in with fury regarding “YA as Guilty Pleasure” controversy, first holding forth on her Twitter account then translating her tweets into a blog post. A popular internet blog had posted an article slagging off adult readers of Young Adult and Middle Grade fiction (here’s looking at you, Hunger Games readers over the age of 18). The piece hit a nerve with a wide swath of the internet, because – as I’m sure you’re aware, if you haven’t been living under a rock since the 80s or even earlier – adults like well-written stories, no matter who the publisher things they ought to be marketed to. The result of my friend’s righteous anger was an impassioned, shoot-from-the-hip piece that not only spoke to the issue being debated, but also swept its readers up with its pure and forceful emotive oomph. From her blog:
I don’t care whether you’re fifteen or fifty; if something brings you joy and causes no harm to others (which, memo to the intelligentsia: that does not count readers’ love of MG/YA hurting your feelings), you should do that as often as you possibly can. Adulthood is serious business, and to get through it all and take on the responsibility of making the world what we want and need it to be, we need to feed our whole selves — we need those reserves of hope and joy, we need that catharsis, we need those reminders of possibility and who we were and who we could be.
Just a few days after posting her piece, my friend’s blog was picked up by Freshly Pressed (a WordPress.com feature that collects pieces the site’s editors consider worthy of being shared with a wider audience), and a piece that had already garnered significant attention was suddenly exposed to far larger audiences. Would this have happened if she’d waited a few weeks before posting her piece? Maybe, but my guess is the chances of it would have been significantly lower, simply because of the internet’s rapid news cycle and lack of ongoing attention span.
This bears out my own experience. When, on its second day, I posted my reactions to the #YesAllWomen hashtag, my blog experienced a surge of both organic search results and referrals. When I posted about David Tennant just after the Gracepoint trailer was revealed? Same thing. It’s the same reason TV bloggers often post their recaps within hours – or even minutes – of the end credits of a show. The internet has the attention span of a mayfly. Even this piece, from a legal site looking at criminal procedure via a certain recent event concerning Joffrey on Game of Thrones, already seems dated – just two weeks after the events the blog discusses.
Emily Suess, one of my blogger touchpoints for years now, recently wrote a piece titled Your Content Will Be Devoured, discussing how hungry internet readers are for content – and yet, she highlighted that even the most schedule-happy blogger must leave room to adjust around the news of the day.
As illustrated by both my and my friends’ experience, this is absolutely something bloggers should be aware of. Being able to quickly organize your thoughts and distribute a coherent take on an unfolding event is a skill every blogger should develop and use – otherwise, you risk missing hits and losing credibility when it comes to your selected field of interest.
Whatever your blog is about, try picking a news piece that relates to it and is currently being debated. Get fired up, write a blog piece, and post it before you give yourself enough time to calm down. See what you come up with – and feel free to post the link in the comments!