The problem with having a blog, I’m finding, is that you have to have something to say on it; what we in the business like to call “content”, or “words”.This content takes the form of first sentences, and then paragraphs, eventually expanding to fill entire pages which will then be consumed by you, the reader, and discussed around the water-coolers of America’s workplaces, until the boss intervenes or something more interesting comes along to grab the collective consciousness of the workforce, such as a major world event, or internet cat video. Today’s workforce is increasingly made up of millennials, who are famous for having the attention span of gnats. In fact, most of the employees around those water-coolers aren’t even having live, human interactions with their coworkers, but rather texting, or tweeting, or snap-chatting photographs of their genitals when Janet from HR isn’t looking. It’s a tough crowd to capture, to be sure, which is why you need a steady flow of gripping material that will keep readers engaged, and you can’t just use the old filler tricks you perfected in English class, where you would write things resembling the following excerpt from the paper of high school sophomore Timothy Wassenbaum of Piccadilly, Arkansas, who was recently asked to produce an essay on the debate surrounding a certain ‘hot button issue’ in the news:
“There are many youth in Asia. The youth in Asia come in all shapes and sizes, as in most other places around the world. Most youth in Asia are, as one might expect, Asian. However, some are white or even black. Youth in Asia enjoy a great many activities, as their interests are very varied. Some youth in Asia enjoy soccer, while others enjoy hunting and fishing. Still others spend their time dabbling in the performing arts of singing, dancing, and stage performance, such as plays, musicals, opera, miming, or stand-up comedy. However, very few youth in Asia enjoy playing baseball, as it is America’s pastime…”
Timothy received a B+ on this assignment, because his teacher grades in alphabetical order, and was on her third glass of boxed Merlot by the time she got to his paper. My point is that you may have been able to get away with using ‘filler’ in high school, but your general blog reader is not going to stand for that sort of Tom Foolery. No sir! Nor will they allow you to use the ol’ double-spacing trick to make it look like you’ve written more material than you actually have. This, of course, is the equivalent of spreading your vegetables around your plate so it would look like you’d eaten most of them, and your mother would let you go play Mario Brothers or freeze tag, or perhaps engage in one of the many other activities that the youth in Asia might enjoy. Also, I’m not sure the free blog websites offer the option of double-spacing even if you wanted it…
But to get back to my original point, you need to have something to say if you’re going to write a blog; a defined direction; a niche; a forte. This is why many blogs cover topics such as baking, or child care, or booger-of-the-week pictures. (I wish I were kidding! Click here if you don’t believe me, and have a strong constitution.) This is all fine and good, but I feel like that generally gives blogs a limited shelf-life. After all, there’s only so much that can be said about a single subject. For instance, once your children are gone, will you want to spend your days rehashing your parenting decisions, analyzing the things you said and did, and presenting them to strangers on the internet in hopes that they might raise happy, fulfilled children themselves, or would you rather spend your time turning the children’s rooms into home gyms and theaters where you can walk around naked at any time of the day or night? I think we all know the answer to that. I was initially concerned that my own blog would fizzle before it’s time, given that I have no interesting talents or specific expertise. Luckily, it turns out any monkey can crank out material with no parameters or focus! This is why the content on the Reluctantly Aging blog may seem random at times. The way I see it, as long as I continue having opinions, I should never run out of content, and I shouldn’t need to worry about pointless ‘filler’ either, which is a huge relief. I could, of course, discuss this at length, weighing all of the pros and cons, and possibly inserting large, page-filling graphics, but all of that will have to wait for another day, because I’ve hit my word count threshold, and the neighbor kids are bugging me to come outside and play some freeze-tag. So until next time, I – Hey! Squirrel!