Writers - Are Your Writing for the Signal or the Noise?

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Reaching Out Tea House

It’s getting harder and harder to be heard in our noisy and cluttered world.

This is particularly true online. We are spending more time than ever plugged in. Many of us are also trying to create something meaningful online. Perhaps a blog, a business, sharing our ideas or all of the above.

The internet used to work in a pretty linear way. You set yourself up a home (your own website or blog) or visited someone else’s (contributions and guest posts on other sites) and you concentrated on writing the best content you could. Good things could happen from here.

The Noise

Today’s model is a little less straightforward.

With so many more sites out there, so many more voices wishing to be heard and vying for attention, just writing good content doesn’t always feel like it’s enough.

Now we have to have a social media presence. One platform is good but 15 platforms might be better we are told.

As creators ourselves, we read advice from others that may be further ahead in their journeys. Perhaps we read about gaming the system, about quick fixes and hacks. The lure of an overnight success and instant hit is now on our mind. So we court a little controversy or come up with a snappy sounding title and then hashtag the hell out of it. Or we try a SEO shortcut and load our sites with buzzwords.

Landing pages for our products can follow. Pop-ups next. All the time it gets harder and harder for the online reader to find what they want, some good old fashioned, useful content.

With so many competing for the attention of the masses, we are left feeling we have to shout just to be heard.

The truth is, when we do this we are in danger of just adding to the noise. Perhaps we should focus instead on the signal.

The Signal

The signal is something else. It’s not always noisy, controversial or bombastic but gets heard anyway.

It’s thoughtful and thought-provoking.

It’s insightful.

It’s creative.

It’s meaningful.

It’s unique.

It’s beautiful.

Our Responsibility

As creators in the world, I believe we have a responsibility. We need to try our best to add to the signal, not the noise. We need to do our level best to make our world a better place in some small but significant way. Less clutter, more space. Less generic posts, more authentic thought. Less landing pages and invasive pop-ups. Less gaming the system, more authenticity.

Signal or noise — where do you stand?

Note: This post originally appeared here

Carl is the author of several short books full of big ideas including: Need Less, Live More and Slow: Seeking Stillness in Fast Paced Times. He is also the proud owner of Frictionless Living which is focused on helping readers simplify life and find clarity in a distracted world.

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