Our ever-shortening attention and the future of writing 1/2

From the Top Trends BlogPeople are now constantly distracted and find it difficult to stay focused on any one thing for more than a matter of minutes. For example:

In London a local council has experimented with cushioning on lampposts because pedestrians are walking into lampposts while they are texting. There are serious examples of semi-stupidity too. How about the truck driver that was looking at Google maps whilst driving on the M6 motorway – he ended up killing six people.

This story makes me scared, but not because people are hitting their heads instead of buttons. Because it reminds me once again that people are reading short texts more and – as a natural consequence – longer writings less.

Writing = red ocean?

After years of procrastination I have finally started to write regularly, on this blog. Then I hear the above-mentioned story. I get scared that I might have entirely missed the boat and end up writing with few audience, if any. Basically I write for the sake of writing, but even J.D.Salinger, who reportedly is putting his manuscript in his drawer after writing two historical books, will agree that a writer needs more than a handful of readers.

It used to be that when we hear the number of writers is growing we encouraged ourselves. We got comrades! No more – because everybody writes nowadays, more writers = more competitors, less readers. I might be exaggerating but that is how I feel. When I read non-celebrity blogs, I feel like I might be joining the writer's equivalent of mutual aid. I scratch your back, you scratch mine.

The traditional blogging has definitely hit a plateau – simply blogging about what you ate for your breakfast, lunch, and dinner doesn't attract readers. Well, it's a good situation for everybody, even for the writer herself. WebProNews describes the current blogosphere neatly:

There are as many reasons to blog, or not to blog, as there are people. One thing is for certain: we seem to be at a blogging crossroads. Sadly (but perhaps naturally), pivotal, transformational (and sometimes bloody) moments are often misconstrued as deadly ones. Blogging has reached a crucial moment in its evolution, one where competition for money, credibility, and attention has never been fiercer. The weak, those whose prime devotion is getting rich, getting famous, getting laid, or getting approval will be culled. In the end, as in the beginning, it’s about purity and (some type of) artistic integrity.

I know that I need to add value. Tell me something I don't know.

As the article says, one way to survive the blogging red ocean is to be authentic – to write things with *cough* value. Right, we know that, thanks. Is there any other way? Turns out there is. To be continued…