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Why Aren’t You Making Me Think?

When was the last time you challenged your audience?  I’m not talking about running a contest to see who can post the most ridiculous YouTube video or how many people will donate to your website. Any greedy moron can challenge people that way.

Writing online comes down to two things, informing  your audience or entertaining them.  The great authors are able to do both at the same time, and the very best are able to add another layer of challenge onto that.  That’s what I want to be reading.

I don’t want to read another half-assed lesson on how to make LinkedIn work better or how some new app works. Tell us stories and give insight into the human condition. Make us think deeply. Give your audience something to talk about.

Think radically. Dream harder. Tell a story that matters to you. These are the ways you get people to stop skimming along the bullshit online and have them start digesting what they are reading.

And if you can’t do that, then why are you writing online?

4 Responses to Why Aren’t You Making Me Think?

  1. Charles Gupton November 23, 2010 at 3:56 pm #

    Jay,
    I believe the reason most folks are challenging others to think is that they’re not thinking for themselves. People are desperate to to seen as having significance. Their short equation is “noise = content = significance”. The time of silence required to think is uncomfortable and often painful, something, it seems, few people are willing to suffer to offer value instead of distraction.

    Thanks for your insights.

    Charles Gupton
    http://www.charlesgupton.com/blog

    • Jay November 24, 2010 at 4:04 am #

      Silence does seem so oddly painful these days. I freak out when I take a day off blogging, like I’ve let down the whole world.

      It took me three days to write this short post, but I feel like every day, and all the quiet time contemplating, was worth it.

  2. Joe Blend November 24, 2010 at 6:20 pm #

    “I don’t want to read another half-assed lesson on how to make LinkedIn work better or how some new app works.”

    “Think radically. Dream harder. Tell a story that matters to you. These are the ways you get people to stop skimming along the bullshit online and have them start digesting what they are reading.”

    Good observation.

    It seems as if it’s becoming difficult to find sites that have real substance. Blogs do a better job at this than regular websites but even the blogosphere is muddled with watered-down, basic content. I would say the ratio of websites that have simple content to those that don’t is probably somewhere around 20 to 1…and that may be a little conservative.

    I’m interested to know your guess at that ratio, and your reasons behind it.

    • Jay November 25, 2010 at 12:29 am #

      I have no idea on that ratio. I think it depends on the author, and why they blog. Some many of the big name blogs are not run to share stories, but rather to make the author(s) money. WHile that’s great for them, it really doesn’t do much for the rest of us.