Studying the changes in Squidoo over the years, as the Squid-giant tries and fails to get along with Google's zoo of algorithm updates, I now -- REALLY, finally -- realize: I have always sold myself short freelance writing on that and all websites where countless hopeful content producers generate big enough bucks for owners and staff by continuously creating in mass quantifies for pennies per page, often while volunteering services in exchange for honorary titles and/or meritorious kudos (badges, points, whatever).
All the places I have freelance written shortchange, bait and switch necessarily, enthusing then disillusioning me: I started opening Squidoo lenses for fun and research, indexing collections together for easy reference and writing freely without worrying about keyword density and such -- or about making budget-changing amounts of money. When I began (and for years running) this was officially OK, and I relaxed while pennies and dimes rolled in, supposing I'd found the perfect-for-me platform.
But when Google began playing rougher, suddenly un-SEOed lenses started getting flagged or locked pending major edits or even re-dos, and the lists of dos and don'ts kept lengthening, as if the site were paying several bucks a piece like the (so-called) content factories (or farms) I've sold articles to, or paying competitive rates like my local customers (found by word-of-mouth IRL). From Friday's SquidooHQ post, I note that many veteran squids are being asked to redo lots of lenses.
But because Google can only get smarter, I opine this (IMO) desperate strategy will backfire and fail eventually (in the near-future, if not sooner) and I would rather delete my flagged lenses, one by one, than spend more preciously valuable hours on this futile, low-pay (mostly volunteer) work. The best creators will realize they need more control over their highest-quality original content and move to blogging, preferably self-hosted, and Squidoo will remain too blah to please the Big G, no matter how much tentacle twisting it does.
Another former favorite, Digital Journal seemed to open a way to fulfill a childhood dream and launch an online journalism career, and I reveled in that fun fantasy for a few years while quarters to dollars rolled in. But now I see its "digital journalists" are rewarded for churning SEOed and "promoted" content. I'm not against this sort of practice and opportunity. But months ago I stopped visiting DJ to read news because overall I find it has become more and more unreliable and spotty, though I'm sure those changes are generating steady increases in pageviews and profits.
So I get it -- again, and at LAST: Internet freelance writers are usually mainly a product -- really features and tools -- sold (and often eventually sold out) en mass to advertisers who are the real customers. Content websites tweak practices and principles as needed to stay in business and thrive. As an unabashed, enthused capitalist, I applaud heartily -- but I've decided participating in these start-up success stories just isn't worth my particular while anymore.
Another consideration: Almost topic of interest to me is covered (way more than) sufficiently (for me, IMO) already.
Besides, while writing about momentary, memorable happenings just to keep up a steady stream of updates, I would suddenly notice I was missing a stunning amount of what happens next, meaning I'm willfully ignoring what else (besides my writing about the recent past) is happening here (and universally) now. My colleague Tortoise Cat urges me to quit trying to explain our days to strangers and linger longer sniffing the breezes while listening...watching...!
Still, I continue the book projects in slow motion, mostly privately, for possible future publication: These could cover experiences others have urged me to record and traumas I still feel better processing further, hoping revelations, teachings -- or at least meanings -- will emerge. Recently I began having fun experimenting with using voice recognition software to dictate words into manuscripts to edit later, which I enjoy, so far, though it doesn't seem (yet?) like writing to me.
I will blog only when and if I want to process my thinking and feeling by writing, as a self-help technique. I will update my social network profiles for for fun: for my future reference and to meet, re-connect or share.