Someone actually asked this question on Quora, and I gave my reply. I thought it might be interesting to see how the blogging community differs from the Quora one, since they tend to be more to the point and focused on facts, while the WordPress crowd seems to be more whimsical and emotive. Lemme know what you think of my answer to the question.
Why is the percentage of population that writes online content so much smaller than those who read it?
Why 95% of people will not write
This can only be explained as a journey. I’ve only started blogging about 2 months back. When I first started, I was scared stiff. My mind is total blank, and everything i thought I might post, sounded like a very bad idea. What if people don’t like me… what if… what if.
The feelings I had in this single moment, could have stopped me from writing anything, and has likely stopped 95% of the world from writing anything. With that in mind, we move on to the remaining 5%
Of the remaining 5% – 90% of them repurpose content, and do not actually create content
These are the people who actually attempt to write. Like most people, I resorted to the Tumblr-style of blogging, taking other people’s content and posting in on my blog. Wheee I have a blog!
Cute memes, gifs with inspiring quotes, lolscats, that was how I started my blog. And I believe this accounts for a good 90% of the remaining 5% of content out there. Reposts, repurposed, and represented content. I.e. Using content off the internet to create content.
This essentially means all social media content, 99% of all self-published blogs and online aggregators… that’s like 99% of web traffic right there.
For me, one month on, still slightly self-conscious. I started writing opinion pieces on what I felt about certain things, but never truly writing a full post with all original content. To this point, I have probably explained why a good 99% of the world does not create content. Which answers your question.
The last 0.5% – The journey to content creation
But the journey to creating actual original content goes even further than that. It’s even a longer journey than the one before this. Most people get stuck in the repurposing content department and stay there for good.
I have written my journey about trying to create original content in my blog, so click on it if you want to know the rest of the journey. But if you’re not comfortable, just know that it requires three things:
(1) An actual opinion This is the step that gives you the urge to create. Not just facts. This is actually more difficult than you might think. A lot of people are more comfortable just throwing facts around instead of having an opinion. You need to learn how to give the nay-sayers the finger and just write what you feel. Unless you’re a researcher, original content is usually just giving your own spin on things, not recreating the wheel – Your own recipe on fried chicken, your review on the movie, your commentary on the Obama Administration etc.
(2) An interest This step is the one that is the killer as mentioned above. What the hell am I suppose to write about? The ability to find a niche of content you actually care about will get you started once you develop an opinion. But usually people start off very broadly, before finding a niche. This takes time and people wander off course and never come back
Back to my personal experience, when I first started, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to write about, even when the interest is there. But I pushed through and made a few ambiguous postings. You really need (1) + (2) to get the first post cracking. But these two points are still not enough. Even if someone has the skill, he often goes, “oh someone is already doing it, someone is better at it…” It’s easier to just refer to someone than write the content yourself, because it is already there!
Thus point 3 is the most important one of all, but it only happens when you have (1) + (2)
(3) The URGE to write From experience, this only comes to you over time, and it is a surprisingly addictive process. The more you write… the more YOU WANT to write. For me now, what was once arduous 200-word posts, now become easy-peasy thousand word opinion pieces, which I have to slap my hands to stop writing. (Much like this post).
Anyhow, here are my blog posts in order from March to April so you know of my thought process. From scared blogger to person who can’t shut up.
P.S: I’m not saying my content-creation is the top 0.5% or anything. It’s just my journey towards creating content for a subject I’m interested in. And I am actually trying to create content, just need to create higher quality stuff.
Update: I think I might have been ‘down-voted’ on Quora for this post. Just another of case of TL;DR. Such is the attention span of the world today.