When is the last time you read a blog post or article and genuinely felt like you learned something new?  In this increasingly immediate gratification world of 140 character limitation, with insatiable demand for new content, it is a genuinely daunting challenge to invest the necessary time to create content that contains any original thinking.

So let’s examine this phenomenon and why it is seemingly getting worse every year.

Original thought doesn’t have has meta tags or SEO terms.  People are now conditioned to write internet content that can be found.  I get it, but perhaps we’ve overcompensated where seemingly more effort goes into the SEO terms than the content itself.

People are always looking for short cuts. Why spend the time if you can “draft” off of someone else’s content or ideas?  Retweeting..Favorites..Likes.. All are classic examples of drafting off other’s content or ideas.  It appears that frequency of content being posted, particularly on Twitter, carries much more weight than the actual quality of the content.

Social Media algorithms are driving behavior.  Content is being driven by the algorithms of the social media giants like Google, Facebook and Twitter.  I’ve posted several fairly long blog post links on Twitter and almost instantly see the tweet as a “favorite” or “retweeted” of a follower. Even the fastest reader couldn’t read, digest and decide that my blog post was a “favorite” in that amount of time.  Which means people are frequently retweeting or favoriting without even reading the article or post.

People are losing their ability to communicate effectively due to social media, etc.  We are turning into a monosyllabic communication culture.  I’m a bit of a dinosaur in that I love reading and writing.  But I’m also progressive in leveraging technology since I’ve been in software sales for 25 years.  I was a beta member of LinkedIn, very early non-college student FaceBook and Twitter users.  Whether it’s a book, article, or blog post, I thoroughly enjoy well written, thought provoking content.   The challenge is it is increasingly harder to find these days.

Cliché is the norm, not the exception. Big data, mobile, BYOD, Cloud…..do these terms sound familiar?  Every company, particularly those based in Silicon Valley, use cliché messaging statements which only serve to confuse, not clarify what the hell it is that they do that is unique and different.  Clarity and simplicity are incredibly refreshing and yet effective because of this. Try it; you’ll be surprised at how well it works!

Here are my practical tips to change this for the positive:

  1. Challenge people by bringing original thought to the table.  Healthy debate ensues and brainstorming results in better end product and innovation.  Don’t be afraid to bring your own point of view (POV) to a dialogue or conversation.
  2. Insist on original thought, stop falsely rewarding me too, fast follower, lazy retweeting, favoriting and liking.  Penalize content and recycled ideas lacking in originality.  Carrot and stick…
  3. Lead by example. Promote original thinkers, tell friends and colleagues what you like about their ideas and content and why.  Call out the charlatans!  DISCLAIMER: I’m not advocating bullying, but rather simply expressing your personal opinion without attacking anyone.
  4. Less is more.  Quality over quantity.  Tweet or post less but with high quality content or ideas.
  5. Experience and context matter.  Why are you qualified to speak on this subject?  Is someone a legitimate subject matter expert or a charlatan?  Challenge the charlatans so they beat a hasty retreat (without bullying or making it personal and nasty)!

I welcome your contributions to higher quality content and more original thinking on the web:-)