In a day and age of influencers, everyone really can have their 15 minutes of fame. Some of us make the headlines and some of us are in the headlines. Over the top is the new normal and understated is blah. We have more opportunities to be noticed but also more competition.
It’s a wacky new world.
In this steaming mess of “look over here not over there” competitive world, opinions really are like nose holes, everyone has at least two.
Yes, I deliberately misquoted the quote. I also know that nose holes are not nearly as offensive as assholes but I chose to cheat myself out of a little extra attention with my title just because I’m that kind of girl. You know, understated and not driven by my desire to be in the spotlight.
In this world where anyone can be a writer, artist, video star, stripper, singer, businessman, guru, wellness coach, life coach, podcast host, you name it, it helps to not be shy, however, about sharing opinions.
If you want to make it BIG, that is.
While I admit that it’s nice to have a playing field that’s a little more equal than in the past, this new tell-all world that we live in has allowed opinions to become a part of the misinformation outlet.
It also confuses a lot of people about what actually constitutes an opinion piece or even what it means to hold an opinon.
Opinions are often delivered as hot truths, deeply disturbing bits of inside information, to the public without any real research or qualifications to speak on the topic. What used to take place in an after-dinner-parlor-room conversation between five or six gentleman while sipping a glass of sherry is now fodder to be broadcasted to millions every minute of every day.
In order to grab attention, our opinions must be heralded in the strongest language and shocking metaphors possible. BOOM! Did that title catch your attention? Did my bold statement make your head reel?
Will I be able to capture my fifteen seconds of attention today?
Then, if and when I do, will I be able to squeeze a like out of you, a full read through, maybe even a few dollars of support.
Maybe, just maybe, if I use the word asshole instead of nose hole, you’ll do a complete read through. Maybe if I keep using the word asshole over and over throughout the article, I’ll entice you to read the full four-minute piece.
It’s a fact that many people actually comment on articles they haven’t even read. They respond to a shocking title with a short, purely emotional reaction which is better than no response at all, I guess.
It’s hard to get people to read for more than a few minutes. Which kind of guarantees that a title plus a few paragraphs of bold statements will always have a greater appeal to the general public than a long scholarly piece backed by hundreds of credible sources.
So maybe it’s just business as usual but with a twist. Maybe this new opportunity to create an influencer out of nothing is just another pathway to making a little money.
I started using the internet sixteen years ago when I retired early, sold everything that I owned and traveled the world for four years living everywhere but nowhere. My Space was the thing at the time. I used it as a kind of public diary featuring my travel adventures. I moved from there to self publishing and writing for other people’s websites as a guest writer. I started my own website. It was fun and somewhat lucrative to have a niche audience.
I mostly wrote about traveling, offering travel tips to retirees.
Recently, I was in Los Angeles and found myself writing while on the road again for the first time in a while. It felt good. I even wrote several short articles on my iPhone for Medium which brought back lots of memories of pounding out blog posts in internet cafes all over the world back in the day. I guess I was one of the pioneers of travel blogging.
I can’t remember when I started to notice a shift to a new kind of online writer.
Someone who wrote about a multitude of things, touching on topics that weren’t even related, often briefly and without depth. Medium is filled with writers who share their opinions about anything and everything. I enjoy reading many different pieces and am often influenced by a catchy title as much as the novice might be.
Yet, I rarely take the time to argue a point because I suspect it’s kind of a waste of time.
After all, it’s just an opinion in most cases. And, while I honestly believe that everyone is entitled to their opinions, I don’t feel it’s my job to set them straight. Plus, I have no desire to be an asshole.
But then, that’s just my opinion, I guess.
At any rate, this piece is getting to be too long according to today’s recommended reading length for the general public. I guess if I were to define my reason for writing on Medium it would mostly be a means to think out loud. I’m not making money, although I wouldn’t turn down a contribution. I’m also not sticking to writing about a particular area of expertise. Although I do occasionally resort to that. I’m just thinking out loud, I guess.
Which is a gentler way of saying that I’m expressing my opinions.
Teresa Roberts is a retired educator, author, world traveler, and professional myth buster. You can find her books on Amazon.