It’s not easy finding an audience in the vast, chaotic world of the internet. Particularly if you’re a blogger, you know how difficult it can be to call attention to your work and gain consistent readers. There’s so much else out there, jostling for attention with pictures and video and flashy ads clamoring to help you raise your credit score, satisfy her and earn big bucks working from home. It’s also more difficult at this point to find and carve out a unique niche that hasn’t already been done a hundred different ways. (Way to get there first, AlpacaNation.net).
I only recently began to explore the world of web content popularity-ranking sites like Digg.com and Technorati (I know, I’m old fashioned, yet sassy-kind of like The Golden Girls). I now know exactly what I’m up against in the fame game of the internet, and it’s a little disheartening. The last time I checked, the highest-ranked link on one site was a picture of a sleeping baby, wearing a party hat, with a bottle of Jose Cuervo nestled under its arm.
How can I possibly compete with that?! I don’t have any kids, or know anyone who would trust me with alcohol around theirs. I don’t even have a digital camera. Also, after gazing at that image, and considering its popularity, I am out of tequila.
I’ve realized that I’m ultimately doomed, because my blog is made up of words, which are on the way out. After all, why bother reading when instead you can watch a video of a guy getting a cake to the face, or a cat attacking a printer? (Oh man. The cat! The printer! Comic gold.) I predict that before too long, written communication will be reduced to an exchange of funny and shocking pictures and videos with universally understood meanings. Your boss will email you a link to a short film of a monkey falling out of a tree, and it will mean “You’re fired”. Your best friend will send you a camera-phone picture of a drunk guy eating plastic fruit, and it’ll mean “I’m going to be late to the movie tonight”. A picture of a puppy standing on its hind legs in an attempt reach a dangling hot dog will mean, “Please pick up milk on your way home.” We’re swiftly working our way back to pictograms. Extremely advanced and frequently moving versions of pictograms, but pictograms all the same.
After all, what percentage of the silly e-mail forwards you receive these days are simply an endless scroll of images; sunsets, children hugging, peace marches, galloping horses? (Or perhaps you have different acquaintances than I do.) E-mails don’t have to contain messages or even written content any more to be endlessly forwarded, as long as they include pictures of baby animals and/or unintentionally hilarious misspelled signs.
Some day soon my blog will be replaced with an image depicting a stick-figure wearing a hat on its butt. It’s the new universal sign of ‘if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em’.