Bloggers come and go in the land Oz; talking about a Midsummer Santa Claus
If you didn’t peak in high school, there was the consolation (myth?) that you’ll rock it (find happiness) later on.
Listening to The Big Web Show #49 at 5by5.tv/bigwebshow/49, I had to chuckle when Jeffrey Zeldman whines to Dan Benjamin about how “popularity” drives us now more than ever. Today, if your blog post doesn’t get picked up by techmeme, Google, or Ashton Kusher (@aplusk), you just won’t feel really good about what you’re doing.
“Popularity matters profoundly,” Zeldman bemoans. Popularity – not quality, Zeldman argues, is what determines your happiness because the advertisers, sponsors, and opportunities go almost exclusively to the winners of the popularity contest. Niche, in other words, should be awesome when you own it. But, frankly, as Zeldman and Benjamin admit, niche just doesn’t play out to our expectations. It doesn’t pay either.
U2 – I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
Zeldman says niche – not Nietzsche- is dead
Zeldman – an authority on web design, web standards, and other things AND an engaging leader in the design community – says, “Part of me will never get enough love.”
How do you balance your aspiration for happiness with writing for yourself?
“If you write what you think will be popular, it won’t work,” says Zeldman. But he also believes “the only way you are going to get an audience is if you write what you believe in and love.” Of course, he cautions that you need to pay attention to what resonates from your work and focus on that – in other words, be true to yourself in responding to the interest of your audience.
You might not know who Zeldman is and you may even be wondering why you should get anxious about what this Zeldman is saying. After all, Zeldman is not Gary Vee. Right? But I can personally vouch for Zeldman as a guy that has been all about the internet for 16 years. Zeldman’s encouragement was crucial to my diving into the business of design, technology and innovation.
So here is Zeldman. And Zeldman’s moderate success is evidenced by books, bank, acknowledged thought leadership, community, years of doing and writing, and a huge Twitter following. And, again, Zeldman sats it out loud: he’s not getting enough love.
I still haven’t found what I’m looking for
Imagine Zeldman singing along to U2: “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.”
But my point in writing this blog post is not to bum you out. Or me – but I’m singing the same tune and I don’t have a nickel to Zeldman’s claims to fame, love, and happiness. Some of my friends and readers don’t even have a penny to Zeldman’s Benjamin ($100 US) and yet you’re all gung-ho, huffington <sic>, and ready to give your best.
Can we figure this out? Can we figure out how to get satisfaction? Or just enough to get by – enough to make our struggles, risks, and sacrifices worthwhile? At least in our own heart?! Does it matter – or should we just go on talking excitedly about believing in Santa Claus – even if we haven’t believed in that jolly, old fairy tale since elementary school – if ever?
JackB, Janet Callaway, Paul Wolfe, Dino Dogan, John Garrett, Aaron Biebert, Saul Fleischman, Eugene Farber, Chris Hollingsworth, Constantin Gabor, Adrian Klein, et al:
What say you to my foolishness?
06 June 2011
About Stan Faryna
Mr. Faryna is the founder and co-founder of several technology, design and communication companies in the United States and Europe including Faryna & Associates, Inc., Halo Interactive, and others.
Stan Faryna served as a Global Voices author and translator. Global Voices is a non-profit global citizens’ media project founded at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, a research think-tank focused on the Internet’s impact on society.
His political, scholarly, social and technical opinions have appeared in The Chicago Defender, Jurnalul National, The Washington Times, Sagar, Saptamana Financiara, Social Justice Review, and other publications.
Mr. Faryna also served as editor-in-chief of Black and Right (Praeger Press, 1996), a landmark collection of socio-political essays by important American thinkers including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
Copyright 1996 to 2012 by Stan Faryna.
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