Internet Fame and Fortune
I recently read a blog post by Tobold about the subject of “internet fame” and the thorny issue of “influencers”. He referenced how at one point his blog was getting over 3,000 visits a day and he had traction within the wider gaming community. However, over time his waning interest in gaming along with the rise of other social media platforms has seen a steady decline in traffic to his blog. He notes how there’s been a shift towards Streamers and You Tubers becoming major sources of influence. He even goes so far as to suggest that creating visual content is harder than blogging. Yet I’m not so sure about the last point. Scheduling, producing and editing video content is certainly an involved process and requires a degree of skill. But mastering these techniques is not a guarantee of quality. I still believe that the written word, especially in a longform analytical fashion, requires more thought and analysis. And I would also argue that those very qualities subsequently narrow the market for its consumption.
But this post is not a debate over which medium is superior. I believe all have their virtues and their respective place. Nope this is a reflection upon the dream of “internet fame” and making money from your website. Of gaining the respect of your peers and having your writing genius recognised. Or maybe just getting some extra traffic to your blog. We all have hopes and dreams when we embark upon writing online. We also tend to be realistic about what the likely outcome may be. “Internet fame” is a fickle thing and is usually due to a perfect storm of reasons. As for making money from your blog, well I’ve never achieved that. In fact all my content creation endeavours over the years have been a money sink overall. Can blogging lead to developing a wider literary talent? That remains to be seen. If you subsequently write a successful book or are offered a paid position with a prestigious news outlet, then that may constitute as proof of ability.
For most of us, writing brings a small core group of readers who end up getting to know you through your writing. It’s quite an intimate relationship, as you eventually become your own brand. Yes, I hate that phrase but it is functionally true. For most of us, blogging, podcasting, live streaming or whatever won’t make you rich or famous. However, irrespective of your impact, it does bring you a degree of satisfaction that at least someone understands what you’re blathering on about. If you’re lucky, your readers will indulge you to a degree and support you when you stray into subjects that don’t necessarily enthral them. My longstanding podcast co-host Brian and I once did a show where we didn’t feel like talking about gaming, so we discussed bacon and eggs. It turned out to be one of our best received episodes. So if you have dreams of internet fame and fortune, I’d advise you to temper them. However, you may well find a comfortable niche and make some good friends along the way.