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08 09 2008
Please Enjoy

Depth v. Frequency

Content on the web has become overtly monotonous in format. Top X Lists, X Reasons Why Y is Z, and so on. On rare occasion you come across something useful amongst the plethora of these lists but more often than not you finish reading and realized you’ve learned nothing.

We know why these articles receive Diggs, Stumbles, or what-have-you. The content is typically easy to digest almost mindlessly, the headlines are proven phrases which spark interest – marketing lingo for the news world. They bring in traffic, traffic leads to advertising, advertising leads to monetary returns. Or perhaps people really love watching the little numbers go up in their stats regardless of whether they’re producing something of value.

These posts are easy to write, simply gathering information or regurgitating the thoughts of others, and my aversion to writing pieces such as these is – at least in my mind – a large reason why things have been so silent here.

Rant over.

I believe it’s been just nearly three months since I’ve written here, eclipsing a previous dry spout back in November. It’s not that I don’t have things to say, or that I’m too busy or that I’m burnt out on writing articles. Hardly.

Well, maybe a little. Things are definitely busy.

This is essentially a post to break the streak of silence, because after going so long without writing one feels indebted to show up with some miraculous, enlightening piece. This isn’t one of them, but it is writing.

I’m planning on posting shorter blurbs here in the posts section, saving the occasional article for the articles section as I should have been doing the last three months. So it may be a slight change of pace from what I’ve published here in the past, but I’d really love to share more inspirational things, or articles that left me pondering things at night, and therefore posting more frequently. Sacrificing length and depth on the common post for an increase in frequency. So expect some new content, even if it only arrives in bits and pieces, shortly.

Eighteen

Responses

  1. Take it easy bro. It’s a blog anyway. Cheers :)

  2. Good article,
    Looking forward for more but I hope you won’t loosing to much depth in the articles.

    ps your layout + logo etc are awesome!

  3. Welcome back Kyle!

    I actually saw an article on Just Creative about what there most popular articles had been over 7 months. 70% of those articles were lists. People seem to like there content served fast and easily consumed. The McDonalds of web content.

    Look forward to seeing more mate!

  4. Thanks , interesting post and a good read. I couldn’t agree more about the monotonous nature of the vast majority of content on the web. It’s a shame really but I guess that’s what comes with the ability to post your opinions for a few $$ a year.

    On the upside, while there’s a lot of crap out there there’s also some exceptionally interesting content out there - you just have to find it.

  5. Guilty as charged, although it’s the nature of the medium: we don’t read web texts in the same way as printed texts, for a wide range of reasons. I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with writing in this way, just as there’s nothing wrong with tabloid newspaper writing. It’s just a different set of rules.

    It can get boring, of course, just as hearing pop music all day long does. But there’s definitely some good stuff amongst the dross.

  6. I’ll take depth over frequency any day. If you want a high-quality intelligent audience then good solid discussions will gain them. Just look at ideasonideas or designobserver.

    I wouldn’t worry about all those digg-fodder sites with their useless links and list. It’s just for amateurs and unprofessionals.

  7. Those list posts are the nature of the web at the moment. We are constantly looking for pages that supply us with a list of useful links. We bookmark these pages as a good resource for these links, then other people do as well and it gets to the top of Digg and the site gets lots of visitors.

    I will always enjoy reading the quality of A List apart over the quantity of Smashing Magazine but must admit I’m a sucker for the quick and easily digestible post when time is against me. That said an A List apart article is always that much more enjoyable for having to have waited half a month for it.

    It’s a difficult balance but I hope you can increase your frequency, Kyle, without losing the quality of your major posts. Good luck

  8. I discovered your site a week ago. I enjoy your articles a lot. I understand how you feel trying to find a balance between quality and quantity. I have faith that you will find that sweet spot!

    Good luck

  9. Thanks for the kind words folks, much appreciated.

    @Adam: I love the phrase “The McDonalds of web content.” Forgive me if I use that frequently in the future.

  10. @Kyle: Haha. Go for it!

  11. It’s interesting, I started my blog recently and in the search for more users was contemplating the use of some sort of list, but in the end it was like selling out. I read them for entertainment every now and then, but creating lists - or any type of posting for that matter - just for the sake of getting people to read, digg, stumble, buy, isn’t worth posting.

    I also thought about a minimum posting per week but (inho) that would be falling into a similar trap. If you have a well informed audience who are as busy as you, they’ll understand waiting for some quality content. Naturally, I’d take depth over frequency!

  12. *meant to say (imho) - in my humble opinion

  13. I’m a bit late joining the conversations here (only now got a chance to look through my unread feeds), but wanted to say that you spoke what I had in mind these last few months: the blogiverse is turning into a junk food producing machine, or as Adam so eloquently put: “The McDonalds of web content”.

    We all know that junk food tastes good, but it’s still a junk food, isn’t it?

  14. The “+” in your logo and typo reminds me of wieden+kennedy’s… Anyhow i like your site and your articles :-)

  15. I actually agree with you!
    I prefer less posts but with some use than lots of rubbish posts!

  16. first: i like the austrian/swiss red-white-red approach of your homepage

    second: very good article. i liked this one most: “…the headlines are proven phrases which spark interest – marketing lingo for the news world. They bring in traffic, traffic leads to advertising, advertising leads to monetary returns…” because you´re just so right.

    maybe the first listing-articles that came have been of some interest. but like everything that´s spreading on the web, quality is pretty fast way behind quantity. even the monthly-this-or-that-linklists on psdtuts and other semi-commercial sites are putting more and more efford in presenting large numbers instead of quality. check those links and you know that you´ve read more of the tutorials and articles than the original (paid) poster…

  17. I’m not a giant fan of trying to get thousands of visitors. I understand the idea of wanting to have a popular site, but hasn’t time proven that popularity isn’t everything? (and often leads to downfalls!) I’d much rather have a loyal following of contributing readers than thousands of hits. I don’t even generate income from my blog, so why bother worrying about massive traffic?

  18. Good. I am not the only one who thinks about this sort of things ;)