You have to PAY to read this
A few hours ago, my friend and I were discussing the trials and tribulations of the average blogger. Blogging, my dear readers is not easy. Do not be fooled by the string of daily posts. They are time-consuming and often eat up one’s weekend. I always fall into the “I will quickly blog about it” trap where I have a brilliant idea that is almost fully fleshed-out in my head. Once I sit down to actually transform those thoughts into words something strange happens. The blogging faeries envelop me. One minute, I’m writing a quick post and three hours later I’m ready to punch my laptop for not cooperating. And maybe that has a little something to do with my limited design, Photoshop and iPhoto skills but nonetheless, blogging ain’t easy!
Put yourself in my place, if you will. You spend time coming up with interesting topics and then it takes you at the very least an hour of writing and rewriting to get it all out of your head and onto the screen. Then you have to select your images, you have to resize them and edit them. Then you have to place them in the text (over, under, square, tight, right, left, center?) and preview the post half a dozen times until it looks just right. Finally, finally you press that glorious button: publish. And it’s gone. It’s out of your face and somewhere in cyber space, somewhere in the vast blogosphere. What happens next?
Aha. Glad you asked. So back in the day (we’re talking 2004/2005), that’s all I did as a blogger. During simpler times, I wrote a post and hit publish. I did explore other blogs and slowly but surely I gained loyal readers: a fan base of fellow writers from Kuwait and the region. At the time, the blogging community was tightly knit and devoted to writing. Restaurant reviews were unheard of and the bloggers were split into two distinct groups: the political faction and the literary blogs focusing on fiction and poetry. In the course of those two years I met some amazing writers and formed lasting friendships with a few bloggers. Alas, those days are long gone.
Bloggers in Kuwait now vie for attention. But can you blame them? They are identified by the biggest corporations as advertising space, walking, talking, breathing billboards. Astounding budgets are being set aside for them and it does not surprise me at all that every Ahmad, Khalid and Amany are now proud bloggers. Ethics aside, this surge of “new bloggers on the block” has diminished the essence of blogging and considerably lowered standards. Can’t write to save your life? You can still become a successful blogger! Well, as long as you are sycophantic, have the right connections and make an effort to post regularly. You know, a bit like P.E. classes in elementary. You don’t have to show Olympian skills but if you bring your uniform to class, do what the teacher says and kick the ball in the general direction of the goal then you are granted that golden A. The amateur behaviour of incompetent bloggers has effected everybody in Kuwait.
Firstly, people’s expectations have been lowered and their opinion of bloggers has soured. Secondly, as attention spans continue to plummet, so does readership and the number of comments. So even if somebody is still reading this post, they are likely to doze off any second or they might have already taken a break to watch a cat video on YouTube. If somebody takes the time to actually read a blog post in its entirety (and we are not talking Homer’s Odyssey here!) they are highly unlikely to leave a comment. They don’t have the time; there’s Instagram to check and silly thoughts to tweet. Thirdly, and most importantly, people no longer give back. We live in an age where people are accustomed to information being at their fingertips. When you search for “best Italian restaurants in the area” and Google takes 0.35 seconds to give you 14,000,000 results (I tried this), you don’t stop to thank Google! You jot down the information you need and you move on. Why should you interact with the blogger if you have taken what you need? There’s absolutely no incentive.
The lack of comments and interaction, however, is really demotivating. So you find average bloggers, like myself, constantly pushing their posts on social media platforms and bullying their friends into signing up for updates. What may surprise you, however, is that bloggers are not after the numbers. At least, I’m not. The numbers can be thrilling; I imagine all the people around the world reading my modest blog but the excitement is short-lived because what these numbers don’t give me is the human interaction that I am after. I see returning visitors on my blog but why on earth can’t they be bothered to leave a comment? I don’t want a pat on the back but genuine feedback would be great every once in a while.
Out of sheer desperation and in order to boost readership and receive more comments I have decided to implement the following rules:
- I’ll be charging all those subscribed to the blog a minimal annual fee of $30. You get a discount for being the first 57 subscribers. You will receive your membership card and a box of homemade cookies. Tell your friends. Make ’em jealous.
- Those who would like to subscribe now can do so for only $50/year but this is subject to change at any time and without prior notice. We are working on a student discount so please leave your information and we will be in touch with you as soon as possible.
- If you are not sure you’re ready to make the commitment and would rather just browse the blog first, please go ahead. I’m only charging you $4.5 a click. Basically as much as a cup of coffee.
- You are all, henceforth, required to pay in order to comment. Platinum members pay $2, Gold members pay $1.5, the common masses pay $1. I understand that this might not make sense, but trust me on this one. Wouldn’t you rather pay more and get an authentic Prada handbag? That’s what I thought.
- I shall only accept major credit cards at the time being. I’ll accept cash if you want to pay your annual membership fee but at an additional charge of $10.
And before you leave an angry comment, please remember that the best things in life are not free.