My Declaration of Independence
As I’ve mentioned recently, I’ve done a lot of writing in that alternate question-answering writing universe that must remain unspoken here on Medium.
I’m not sure what punishment the moderators would mete out, given all the cursing, hateful speech and sheer idiocy seemingly venerated on this platform, but I don’t want to take the chance of being banished before I can crow in glory.
Kind of like that guy who used to draw lousy crow cartoons, had a big following and then huffed away to his own blog in the hopes of monetizing his “success.” Considering I can’t remember his name, I have to wonder how many other people have the same reaction.
Anyway, I happened to look at my Notifications on that other platform, and saw a number that was so insane, it dwarfed another number that would cause any writer here to raise their eyebrows (we’re an erudite group here, so nobody should be sinking to the level of those Facebookies who get their panties in a twist, or those Tweeters ejaculating all over the internet, right? I don’t even know or want to know what they do on reddit or 4chan).
Now that I have officially (in my own mind) become a social media millionaire, I’d like to share the secret of my success with all one of you, my faithful reader.
Actually, I won’t do that, because whatever I tell you will have the same efficacy as whatever bullshit every other content marketer will breathlessly share with you if you just subscribe to their newsletter so they can then pelt you with an unending series of emails plugging something where they ask you for money.*
Here’s the thing about the writing platform that shall remain unnamed.
Unlike Medium which is all about your social media exposure, thousands of followers, click bait titles, listicles and all the other stuff we hate about the site, the quality of your answer (and not your writing style, or ability to use hip. devices. like. this.) is the only thing that counts.
I have roughly the same number of followers that I do on Medium. And if you’ve read The Grammar Games, you would know I am still a member of the unwashed masses. Instead of getting buried in the anonymity of this platform, all the answers are listed under each question which makes it much easier for readers to scroll through multiple answers to see each person’s perspective.
If I write a better answer to a question, it doesn’t matter there are 100 other answers, or if another answer already has 50,000 views. I could get more up votes and become a “preferred” most recent answer, and then get sent out by that platform’s algorithm to all those people interested in the topic of that question.
“Popularity,” in the sense of total views is still a function of the subject matter of the question, and not the writer or the quality of the answer. If someone asks a more obscure question like “How would a medieval/Renaissance doctor treat a sword slash or puncture wound?” (yes, this is a real question), it might attract only two answers, get a few thousand views and a couple dozen up votes.
So my self imagined entry into the social media millionaire’s club is based on the popularity of a subject (in this case Roger Federer) which is like crack cocaine for casual tennis fans and readers.
And that is why I remember my friends. Because everything I felt and wrote about seeing that number is a meaningless illusion. As I wrote in my initial disclaimer, I can’t afford to fill my bathtub with hot, young women. I can’t afford to buy and then retire on a desert isle. And now that Lebron James has joined the Lakers, I can’t even afford to buy tickets to the game. I can, however, still buy a box of donuts, and it’s the little things that count.
So, I wanted to share an especially good article that I wrote about tennis recently, on this, the 4th of July, with a full day of Wimbledon coverage.
To me, even though it only got sent to 100,000 people, this article is far more interesting because it allowed me to do my three favorite things as an unpaid writer on social media: rant at some arbitrarily chosen straw man; do obscure research (even for a tennis lunatic like me); and, present an “expert’s” perspective that you would only get if you hired an expensive consultant in your field.
The article below goes from the the universal (what a great coach does, regardless of the sport) to the specific (cool videos that show physical evidence of how much coach Ivan Ljubicic has improved the Federer backhand)
Enjoy Wimbledon, picnics, fireworks and the celebration of our democracy while it still exists. Happy 4th!
*The only money I would ask from anyone would be if they were in my neck of the woods and wanted to take a tennis lesson. Yep, one of those rare interactive IRL experiences that is impossible to replicate on the internet.