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Remember that first time you got into the web industry as a professional? Speaking from personal experience, it must be a pretty amazing experience for anyone. Not only are you joining a community of friendly people who are not trying to destroy everyone in their path to grow their own brand, but there are tons of great resources right at your fingertips. These resources of course being the amazing books, fonts, frameworks, knowledgeable forum members, and of course blog articles that really shape and change the culture of the web profession. Although all those resources are important, without great blog articles, how are up and coming designers going to learn about all of them?
Look at any professional in this industry’s social profile, 10 times out of 10 you will find it mostly made up of links leading to different blog articles that they found useful. That is because blog articles have a lot of information in them, and it would be a shame to waste good info by not sharing it with others. Of course this brings quite a bit of fame to the author of a blog article frequently shared, and a little bit of money too. However, has all the benefits associated with being a blogger in our industry overshadowed providing thought-provoking quality to readers? Is it now more important to a blogger to make money and gain community fame, versus taking risks on changing the industry through the articles we write?
Before any industry starts to embark on a downturn of any kind, there are always clear signs that get tossed under the rug so to speak. Instead of taking action, people allow them to enter into their culture. Sound familiar? Lets take a look at some of our signs, shall we.
How about everyone that actually reads an article before they tweet, share, like, or plus it raise their hand. It is sad that the truth is that a good percentage of people spreading articles on their preferred social network don’t actually read them, its kind of expected when barely anyone adds comments on an article in addition to them spreading it.
There have been many articles on the current state of the discussion aspect on blog articles today, including one published on 1stwebdesigner. Unlike the quality, discussion rich, past of our industry, today things are a lot more quiet. So quiet that unless you’re doing a list article and its a thank you, or you are being published on Smashing Magazine, nobody really expects too many comments. Honestly this is my favorite part of being a blogger, getting to read the comments of the people who took the time to read one of my articles and then interact with them.
This reason is understandable to everyone who has an understanding for the professional make up of our industry, for those who don’t I’ll break it down right quick. Okay, in the web industry you have three different types of professional levels. These being full-time in-house, freelance, and hobbyist who earns some extra income. Now for the most part, the majority of us can be found in the freelance spectrum of things. Where we all have horrible client stories that could make a grown man tremble in terror, and give toddlers nightmares. For the average freelance professional money is never certain, your career will have ups and downs. Becoming a blogger is a great way to make some extra money to be better prepared for those down times. However, the blogging aspect of our community has become an industry of its own. An industry where a professional blogger can rise to a point where they do not even have to be a designer or developer anymore to make an adequate amount for comfortable living.
Coinciding with the last mentioned sign, for many bloggers being one is more about making some money off the knowledge your career has given you. So of course it becomes more important to write an article that people will like and quickly share, rather than one that takes a lot of research and may go over the habitual skimmers most of us have become. With that mindset would a blogger like this stay focused on trying to take some crazy idea not many think will work out and turn it into a great work, or make a quick list article that will surely spread like wildfire in the first hour or so of being published?
When a reader can get everything they’ll ever need at no cost on their part, besides a few ads, its easy to treasure an article less. However, we have gotten to the point where a lot of us look only at how much interest a title can give us and decide on reading it based off that. Everyone does it, I’ve done it too, no need to get yourself all worked up because its being brought to light. Since that is a big deal to readers, bloggers start to put more of their time into articles idea that can be quickly understood and that deliver value right from the short intro.
We all have read an article on one site, and after it became popular you’ll see it on another site. This necessarily isn’t a bad thing for list type articles, which make up most of the articles published, because it’s always good to shed different types of light on things like these. Makes sure nothing is overlooked. However if someone were to steal an idea that clearly was highly original, and took an awful lot of time in researching, that is criminal.
Everyone has talked about this at one point, but its funny to find with all that talk we still continue doing the same things that are contributing to the current dilemma. It is very easy to write-up a bunch of different ways everyone can pitch in and add some life back to blog articles, but what would that do? Its been done by many people before me, and the results of their efforts have shown to be ineffective. I’ll choose to end this article with a couple of questions. Are we happy with how things are? Do we really want things to change?
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Jamal is a young freelance web designer, web developer, writer, and blogger based in Atlanta, Ga. His work can be found at his online identity Five Alarm Interactive(FAI). He is a college student and philosophical poet by day, and passionate professional by night. You can keep up with him on Twitter @5alarmint.
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