March 20, 2012

Do you like this?

The rules are different on the Internet . . . which is why I take great pleasure in wholly ignoring them.

I was rudely awakened at 5:30 a.m. by a Jack Russell terrier who believed the universe would collapse if he didn’t receive a large bowl of Pedigree within three minutes. Should the aforementioned kibble not arrive within the allotted time it is certain that fire would fall from the sky. Rubber balls would lose the power of squeak. The particularly odious type of fashion-show cat that wears an Easter bonnet and frilly, crinoline gown would assume control of the federal government and micromanage every aspect of your life (hmmmm . . . that one might have already happened).

Jack looked me dead in the eye (while standing on my chest) and said “Sudan?  You think they’re hungry in the Sudan?  What about me . . . dammit? I’ve not eaten for AT LEAST six hours. Where’s George Clooney when I need him?”

You’d have to live with a Jack to really understand the veracity of this comment. Jacks are, how shall we say, just a smidgen egocentric. Hugo, my other pup was not nearly as concerned with hunger pangs. However, since he is in awe of Jack (though over twice his size) he decided to join the party by doing some sort of Fred Astaire routine on my stomach.

At any rate, since I’m enamored by every dog that has ever walked or barked (and this goes double for the one known at Lil’ Jack E. Paper) I hustled up and provided the morning feast. All was well with the world until I sat down in front of this dangfool box and began reading an article on “How To Write Effectively For The Web.”  After finishing this bunch of rot, which nearly burned my eyeballs plum from my head, it is a foregone conclusion that such ”effectiveness” is not and will never be within my repertoire.

It’s like this. Most writing on the Internet is not really about writing. It’s purpose revolves around selling you crap, whether you know it or not. It’s about getting hits, about getting people to click on the inevitable slew of ads (ads, I might add, that are almost always added by the Google monopoly) that accompany every piece on “How To Tie Your Shoes With Dental Floss.”  You are probably aware of this type of story; the vast majority are provided by a company called eHow, which in turn is owned by an outfit known as Demand Media (founded by the same joker who gave us Myspace . . . remember Myspace?).

For several years the Demand folks were slapping up (I’m not making this up) over 5,000 articles per day on the net. Most of these were on topics about which no one cares, were largely nonsense and often provided incorrect advice. It’s almost inevitable that an eHow article explaining “How To” perform any given task will succeed only in demonstrating “How To” write 500 words without explaining anything.

As full disclosure is warranted, I must admit that I once edited and wrote for Demand Media. For this I am surely bound for hell. Luckily, it appears that the company could go down the tubes any day now (company stock has dropped about 70 percent in the past year). Alas, the damage is already done. Once something appears on the net it is there for eternity (it’s a bit like Hell in that way).

At any rate, now that I’ve admitted my sins and cleansed my soul, let me tell you about this article on “effective” communication. It told me that the virtually every study out there shows that the written word is nearing extinction on the web. Instead of words, the companies that provide content (that serve no purpose but to keep the ads for Viagra, real estate and diet plans from bumping together) are opting to slap up videos.

March 20, 2012

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