It happened again yesterday. A long-time reader that I had not heard from in ages sent me a note: “Are you still blogging? I haven’t seen anything from you for months, though I signed up for your blog posts to come to my email.” I’ve received several of these notes lately, and at first I thought it was just an email glitch.
Turns out there are more ominous forces at work.
Here’s the deal, in a nutshell: Google and Facebook are the big gatekeepers right now to most of the stuff on the internet. Google and Facebook don’t want you to read blogs. Blogs don’t contribute monetarily (usually) to these big guys, so why should they deliver them to you, for free?
Hmmm. Erg. and Harrumph, to put it mildly. Also: frowny face-—> 🙁
Facebook has tried their darndest to make sure that you don’t get to see my blogs. This amuses me and annoys me to no end. Being the administrator and creator of my vomitingchicken.com Facebook page (and please do “like” it, we really solve a lot of the world’s problems together on that forum) for example, the powers that be feed me all the numbers, in order to try to coax me to pay cash-money to get better views.
For example: if I post a familiar chicken-related meme on my page, something that you’ve all seen hundreds of times, Facebook will show it to 1,000+ of my followers. Or more! If I share a completely new and unique blog post (something that you, presumably, want to see, being a follower of my page) it’ll be shown to 39 followers. Or 102 followers. Or, pitifully, 12 followers. Depending on how many “likes” it gets, it may reach a few hundred followers, though I have nearly 2,000 good folks who follow what I post on Facebook!
Now Google is doing basically the same thing. Only, in my estimation, it’s even more nefarious. Suppose you put your email address into the little box above, because you want to receive my every blog post into your email box. (There is no accounting, after all, for taste.) Google (through gmail) is now sending blog posts–including mine–to your spam filter. Yup. Even though you’ve asked for them, essentially, to be delivered to your inbox. It’s not right. They are favoring commercial ads instead. (And who really needs more ads to peruse? Not me. Probably not you.)
Original blogs are one of the last great bargains on the internet. There is some awesome and inspiring and informative writing being done right now in blog posts (cough). I read several of my favorites every day. It is time well spent! But I have noticed, too, that the blogs that I signed up for are no longer showing up in my inbox.
Where are they? In the trash. Or even worse, my spam filter. 🙁
Here’s a old-fashioned analogy. Say you decide to subscribe to a magazine: How to Raise . . . um . . . Happy Chickens. You look forward to your first issue coming into your mailbox. But the Post Office intercedes (as Google and Facebook are doing now) and puts the magazine (that you did ask for) into the trash can, instead choosing to put ShopKo’s latest sale catalog (which you did not request) into your mailbox, instead.
That is basically what the big gatekeepers are doing right now. I do appreciate the spam filter, for what it’s worth. It would get pretty annoying, receiving daily alerts that Exotic (heart) Russion (sic) (heart) Women (flashing heart) are searching for me (heart) NOW! but it bugs the heck out of me that Google is now sending blogs that you have requested straight to the internet trash bin.
Especially. Especially since mine is one of them. *glaring at the Big Guys*
Okay, we can get mad, or we can get busy. Or we can get busily mad, or madly busy. Same basic idea.
I’m assuming that if you take the time to read my blog, you don’t appreciate these shenanigans. You are a free-thinker and a maverick in the lifestyle department (hello, vomiting chicken, need I say more?) You don’t really want Facebook and Google to determine what you’re going to read, do you? Or anybody else, for that matter. Your Uncle Hubert. Your cousin Ned. You don’t want anybody to tell you what you can and can’t read, right? Smart gentle reader. Of course you don’t.
So here’s what you can do, in lieu of sifting through all the legitimate spam in your spam folder every day.
Subscribe through Feedly, go ahead, just click here.
Feedly is an RSS feed: it’s free, it’s unfiltered, and it’s spam-free. People who know their way around the interwebs (like my much-admired son Timothy, an IT professional) use Feedly to keep up with the blogs that they want to read. They don’t rely on social media or gmail to deliver what they want to see. In fact, they saw this coming. There are thousands of blogs to choose from, in every category you can imagine, and some that you couldn’t! You can select blogs that you want to read, and set up categories and find great new blogs, all in a few moments. New blog posts come to your Feedly account, without anybody monkeying around with choosing which ones you get to see and which ones you don’t.
It’s pretty terrific.
And if you want to read more about the internet’s gatekeepers and choke points and so forth, read Seth Godin’s blog post about the matter. He’s pretty terrific, too, and is obviously smarter than me, but I’ll bet he doesn’t raise chickens. 😉 Or pigs (spoiler alert!).
And bless him. He must not own a camera, because I rarely see pretty pictures on his blogs. (Just kidding, Seth.)
I read his blogs through my Feedly account.
So, possibly, should you.
Thank you so much for reading, gentle reader. Now if you’d do me a favor (and your friends a favor) and share this post, you can be part of the solution. Circumvent!*
That’s what we must do. En masse.**
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