While I will lose a ton of cool blogger points for this post, I would like to tell you readers that it is ultimately you that drives the content that you read on a daily basis. Bigger sites may get around this due to their unlimited capital for paying writers and advertising, but if you want to change what you are seeing you are not entirely powerless. The following items are things that I know will help you traverse the waves of information a lot easier and cut out the noise that you don’t really want to read.
01. Remember that we are not talking about you personally
If I had a nickel for every time that I wrote something about a situation and someone took offense I would have enough change to buy myself a tailored Italian suit. I want to remind you that what you read is normally from a person who doesn’t know you, so unless you are extremely guilty (which you reveal when you react) you have to chalk it up to generalization.
02. Comment on positives rather than negatives
We get it, we truly do. Seasoned writers know that silent nods in agreement is the norm for pieces that we put out there, but we also know that more visitation and commentary comes with negative/unpopular articles. If you wonder why so many sites take a political angle for the worse or an unpopular one, you should know that you—the reader—are to blame. If you want to change the climate of the internet you need to celebrate the good and ignore the bad. Lashing out at a writer with an unpopular opinion is feeding the machine of negativity.
03. Stop clicking through 10-15 pages of the same article
Any blog that forces you to click through pages of content to fulfill a “top 10 list” is playing you. Many of them get paid for page views and while your visit is invaluable, they are tricking you into making your one into 15. It has to be annoying to click and load a lot of pages and I can honestly tell you that it is done on purpose. Take a stand against this nonsense and don’t fall for it.
04. Not all reviewers are paid liars
There are a ton of sites with huge money that allow offshore accounts to spam movie and game reviews with positives to trick you (the consumer) into buying. There are also writers who get gifts and money from the people whose item they are reviewing in hopes that they will be kind… most of them are. This is why it is recommended that you support the little guys who do it for the love instead of these mega enterprises. Reviews are very subjective so I suggest that you find a couple with a history of loving/hating things that you agree with and follow them for their opinions. Star ratings are convenient but easily skewed towards the highest bidder.
05. Boost up new writers that you actually like
If you follow The Hall, you will know that I myself provide roughly 90% of the content; I am a machine. Many sites are like this, but many will hide that fact under a “written by staff” handle instead of revealing themselves. With that said, you should pay attention to featured authors and give them comment love on any blog (not just mine) if you really like their style. This gives them confidence (and the blog owner pressure to invite them back) and you can read more of what they have to say.
06. Stop supporting blogs that refuse to moderate their commentary
There are so many tools and methods to moderating trolls and assholes that an inmate-run blog of considerable size is absolutely inexcusable. Lazy methods like forced log ins, and downvotes to invisibility are not enough and you should force the owners to put human eyes behind their comments. As guests you are our bread and butter, and you have to realize that a blog which allows you to be insulted and demeaned does not respect you as a reader.
07. Double check surveys and news breaks before re-posting
When you re-post an article to your social media it is similar to giving that writer some money. You have essentially advertised their work to everyone you know and I must personally thank those of you who have honored me in the past. When you see surveys posted be sure to look for real sources cited (and read the sources) before posting it as fact. The less parody, troll articles that get spread as truth will make us all a tad bit better for it.
08. Suggest articles that you want to read
Many bloggers struggle for content, and if you value their general opinion on life and want to hear their thoughts on something, why not send in an email or comment asking for them to do it? Many guests have done that here, but I really wish more would. It would eliminate a lot of redundancy and a lot of dry “slow news day” articles.
09. Stay off of blogs that blatantly beg for donations
We are here to serve YOU, not the other way around. Smart bloggers have to figure out how to monetize their work through various means and the ones who earn it get paid. A person who begs you for money—just so they can dole you out some of their opinion at 500 words a day—is hustling backwards in the worst way. It offends me when I see the money jar, and I would rather see an ad for something I can use. Still if you do feel that person should be paid… by all means toss em a sawbuck through PayPal.
10. Join Newsletters
While there is a ton of spammy nonsense in each of our inboxes, a blog’s newsletter is a great way to support them. The positive for you the reader is that once a week you can skim the articles that were released and decide on your terms if you want to click through and read it. Subscribing will get you a feed of plenty but you can miss content very easily due to that. A newsletter is personal and easily skimmed at your discretion… Plus when you get tired of it you can simply unsubscribe!See some words or phrases that you don't understand? Check out The Dragon's Lexicon.