Building something with honesty

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I started this blog in the summer of 2014, in the hope to build a place where people would come to be inspired, stirred, provoked and to make people think about many different facets of life. Two years on and over 150 blog posts later I am still here trying to do the same things that I started doing two years ago.

Is this blog an Internet sensation with millions of hits – no! Is it doing as well as I hope it would – probably not. Do I still enjoy what I do and believe in what I do – 100% yes.

Fake it to make it

I could come on here and lie and say it is going great guns, put a spin on it using fancy words or not mention anything about how many people the blog is reaching. To me doing any of that wouldn’t be real and would be lying. So many people sign up to the ‘fake it to make it’ philosophy in life and it makes me sad. What have I got to gain by trying to say this is a blog, which is visited by millions? Everyone with an Internet connection has the possibility of one day stumbling across this blog and I really hope they do, but until they do I am just going to keep writing, keep hoping and keep smiling.

The people who have to talk about their audience and numbers are normally the ones that are disappointed by their numbers, whereas I am proud of the 6 people who read this blog yesterday. Yes 6, I’ll admit it, but I am so thankful that those 6 people did, as thankful as if 6 million people had. Things that have a big following normally don’t need to talk about their audience and people just know.

Not worrying about numbers

I would rather just focus on putting out content that I am happy with and proud of than worrying about writing for numbers. Like on Monday I wrote about the extra day we get every four years, not expecting much response at all and I got 4 likes which blew me away.

I could pay for advertising but I just don’t see paying for an audience as a success. I want people to read what I write and be touched by it. I want to feel great when I see people reading and interacting with my blog, not just think that people only came became because I paid for them to come, where is the success in that?

Foundation blocks

I see every blog post as a foundation block. My house may take 500 blocks to build, it may take 50,000 but what I am going to do is invest time in each one and build each one as strong as the last. My advice to every blogger out there is be proud of the content you produce, as good content is the only thing you can control and the only thing you should need to be proud of.

Never stop writing or blogging because the size of your audience wasn’t what you were hoping it would be. Keep writing because your content is what you hoped it would be.

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How streaming and binging changed traditional TV

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Before the explosion of streaming platforms, there seemed to be great frustration from the majority of the TV viewing public when channels would schedule repeats or show old runs of TV shows. Fast forward to modern day and it seems that showing old re-runs is now something TV companies promote to the hilt.

Playing catch-up

Traditional TV channels that are eager to either catch-up with the likes of Netflix, compete with them or appeal to their audience are now filling their schedules with various seasons of programmes that we all used to have on DVD box sets but are now just gathering dust. I remember fondly the day that DVD box sets were the most sought after Christmas presents but now whenever I walk past them in the shops I just think to myself ‘I bet I can watch it all online somewhere.’ DVD’s no longer fit with the way we consume media. We want to watch episode after episode at the touch of a button, we don’t want to have to leave our chair and grab a DVD from its case and put it in the machine.

TV channels on the whole seem to be favouring this method of programme acquisition over commissioning new programmes and paying top dollar for exclusive first airings of new progrmming. TV companies seem to want to buy old programming on the cheap and instead invest money in promoting it. Instead of risking money on new programming it is seen as more beneficial to resurrect old programmes where there is a proven audience for it.

Cheap content

Because the content maybe cheap, channels are now no longer worried about making it stretch over weeks and months, now they can schedule it in ways so that you can binge watch like you can on streaming services. Also with series link features on satellite and cable providers’ people can store it up and watch it completely like their favourite streaming service.

I think personally it is a little too late from the TV channels to try and be a bit like your favourite streaming services. I think they traditional channels should be trying to be different and innovate. TV channels will never be able to completely replicate what the likes of Netflix can do, so why even bother. If I were them I would be trying to do something different to offer an alternative.

It seems that the likes of Netflix are now trying to invest even more in original programming and having more success in that market. This is only going to lead to more and more talent and companies being taken that way so if traditional TV want to keep relevant they have to up their game.

Where is the positive news?

Why is the news always filled with such negativity? I think negativity breeds’ negativity and I think if the news industry as a whole covered more positive news stories or covered news stories in a more positive way, the population of the world, as a whole, would be more positive and optimistic.

It seems that regardless of the state of the world, it is the news companies that decide how we feel about it. There seems to be a message, that negativity sells and that people want negative news coverage.

Consequences

Take charities in the news for instance. This week in the UK a big charity has been in the news for negative reasons and I totally agree that this needs to be covered and if something is bad it needs to be reported as such, however it can have consequences for other charities.

Sadly many of the viewing public just want quick and easy news to digest and don’t do any research around it. Worse than this, they will use one news story on a specific case and then start lumping everything in that sector, in the same boat as bad. It’s like you never hear in the news of great things charities are doing day to day across the globe, because it isn’t deemed newsworthy but some how a negative story is? It’s like everyone is ok, until they do something wrong or something perceived to be wrong and then the media are interested. After one negative news story about a charity, some members of the audience will start thinking every charity is like that, which is not the case.

Responsibility

The news has no responsibility to be balanced but I think we all should have as human beings, the sad thing is that the news doesn’t help. The news plays a part in affecting how we think and that is why I think it is important that we are mindful of how it is affecting us.

I do think the news industry is in a hard spot though, as it seems these days that any news story can be twisted to support any argument and with more people consuming news than ever before, the global impact a news story can have is mind boggling. A perfectly innocent intended article can be latched on to, shared around the world and copied, before a news company knows it and can cause unintended damage and by the time it has been removed it is too late.

Power

With the changing face of news, news companies have evolved from print to now being digital content providers and I think this has changed how articles are written and the subjects they cover. I hope that the industry doesn’t lose sight of their place, the power they have and how they can affect the world for good and for bad.

How Clickbait has made the world focus more on headlines than quality content

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It seems we are a generation that are a sucker for a headline and will click links based merely on what they say. We get overexcited about what we are about to click through to and then 9 times out of 10 are left disappointed.

Viewing statistics are King

In today’s world no one seems to care about content and brand, all people care for is views so that they have impressive figures to boast to potential advertisers and sponsors. If I were running an organisation that created content I would want my brand to be known by what it provided, rather than how they sell what they do.

If something is being heavily promoted it is usually because the company behind it isn’t confident enough in the product. As a world we need to become a more discerning audience. I hope that one day that instead of being guided towards things by well-worded links that instead we go directly to the content providers that we value and that we think provide great content.

Sharing content has never been easier

I think because sharing content is so easy these days, there is so much out there and everyone is fighting to get noticed. This isn’t the only problem, one thing I notice on my social media feeds is that someone has been duped in to watching something through clickbait and then it then shows up in all their friends newsfeeds, so they in turn have a look and not before long the video, article or media has spread like wildfire. Hitting a share, retweet or like button I think at times has made it too easy for people to share things and has contributed to the clickbait world we live in.

The biggest and most successful companies in the world are the ones that provide the best service or product. If you are a growing company that wants to be big then you need to act like a successful company in the way you deliver your product, brand or service.

Engaging an audience

As a company you surely don’t want an audience that clicks through once and then never again, you surely want to be a company where your audience continues to engage with you. If you have to hide your brand to get people to clickthrough because you are regularly clickbaiting, then what is the value of clickbait?

You know you are a successful company when people are talking about your organisation without you having to use clickbait. There is more value in your audience posting things online off their own back, than there is in you posting things talking about how great your own company is.

Promotion

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If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

When I think about my blog and my current book project, that old philosophical question above always comes to my mind.

I started this blog and my book because I wanted to create and share high quality content with the world, which would impact and influence it in some way. The further I get in to these projects, the more I feel that creating the content is only a very small part of the battle. In a world, which is over-saturated with content, getting people to view your content, over others is a very hard battle.

Wishing content was king

When you start off on projects like this, you have no reputation and it is only by sticking at it that you can build a reputation. Reputation is what leads many people to your work and without it convincing people to view your content is very hard. You can have the greatest content, a great life-changing message but that has no bearing on how many views it will get, which I find sad. I wish people searched out blogs, articles and books based on the content, not on who has written them or who recommends them.

I believe there are millions of gems hidden all over the internet but just haven’t be viewed yet. I don’t think quality of content should be judged on the amount of views it has had, but if you goal is to impact the world then the number of views is hugely important.

Writing in hope

When you create content for the Internet you can normally see how many people have viewed it but you will never know how many people it actually impacted. Some people may read your content and forget about it in a heartbeat, but some will have a reaction to it and it may change their way of thinking. I think as a writer online you keep writing in the continual hope that you are affecting someone somewhere with the words you write.

Knowing that writing the content for my blog and book was only part of the battle, I have been working hard in recent months to promote both. It is important to remember that if you don’t promote your work then who will? I wish the world was more organic and I hate self-promoting with a passion, but if I want to keep to the reasons why I started both projects in the first place, I have to do it.

A snowball

I see self-promotion as a snowball. I tweet, email and post about things in my blog and book, in the hope that the people I connect with will be impacted by it and then promote it to their friends. I’m the one gathering the first few snowflakes in my hand but come a few months, I hope there will be a group of us pushing a gigantic snowball down a hill.

Writing something online and expecting people to read it is the equivalent of just talking at someone and not having a conversation. When we promote our work we can help build that conversation and it is that conversation that helps give our content meaning and attention.

Happy and content

I think the people who are truly happy in life are those that can smile through their own contentness (I know there is no such word). I think people confuse being content with doing nothing and just letting life pass you by, but I don’t think that is what content is.

I think being content is about being happy from within and not needing events to happen around you to make you happy. Lets not find our happiness in inanimate objects and events, let’s find happiness inside of us and in each other.

Now we are all guilty of looking at the lives of other people and thinking that they lead cool lives and do cool things, but just because it seems cool, is it? Are they happy? Would you actually enjoy that life? Through knowing someone on social media or through the press you just hear the highlights, not the real life.

Whilst you’re busy wishing you had someone else’s life – so are they! Or someone else will be wishing they had your life. For many people happiness is a façade or something they feel pressured to be, “I have everything so I should be happy” they might think to themselves. Happiness shouldn’t be something you feel guilted (again not sure if that’s a word) in to feeling.

If you do anything for long enough it becomes routine and this is when if you are not content and happy, what made you happy to start with won’t any more and you will be searching for something different or something better. Don’t waste your time searching for the next high, start searching for internal happiness instead.

Don’t look down your nose people or call them boring just because they may do a 9 – 5 in an office and watch the same TV show every night, applaud them for being happy if that is what they are. We need to stop celebrating achievements and start celebrating happiness.

Success isn’t happiness but happiness is success.