I am sure that every wordpress blogger would agree that blogging is NOT a competition. We do not blog to compete with one another. We blog to express our ideas, hopes, dreams, aspirations, opinions, shortcomings, and accomplishments. We blog in order to share, in order to find common ground, in order to enlighten and be enlightened ourselves. But apparently wordpress does not see it that way. I fail to see how the inclusion of the “freshly pressed section” into its blogging service can be interpreted as anything but a blatant presumption that we bloggers have the desire to compete with each other.
Consider the first words designed to draw your attention on the “Freshly Pressed” page: The best of 432,776 bloggers, 904,414 new posts, 1, 104,711 comments & 220,564,758 words posted today on WordPress.com. My first thought is “So even in blogging I have to be better than someone else? Geez, I thought I left that mentality behind in high school.” I started blogging just for the enjoyment, for the chance to experience new ideas and ways of thinking, for the change to engage in lively banter about the topics I care about which happen to be politics and education. Other people start blogging because they want to discover how other people halfway around the world are experiencing life and likewise want to share their own experiences. Some start blogging for the simple reason that they enjoy seeing their writing published on a website. Somehow it makes their thoughts and ideas seem more official. I can honestly say that is a lesser reason for I why I blog But, whatever your reason for becoming a wordpress blogger, I am absolutely certain that it did not involve the idea that “one day oh I could be one of the 19 blogs which gets featured on freshly pressed and I will have beaten out everyone else and that will make me feel so happy inside.”
Now you might be thinking, “Well why can’t he just ignore the “freshly pressed” section. As long as he is not blogging with the goal of someday being featured in “freshly pressed” why should he care about the rest of us.” Well here is the answer to your very reasonable query. Kevin Ohannessian, a member of the wordpress editorial team, recently authored a post, ironically featured on “freshly pressed”, entitled “What Makes a Post Freshly Press-able? A Recipe For Attention.” I have several issues with what wordpress is trying to do here:
- The majority of bloggers do want attention from other bloggers, but not at the expense of the authenticity and originality and soul and purpose of our content. We are not a community of panderers, certainly not to each other, and certainly not to the wordpress editorial team.
- I read through many of the comments to this post, and some of my fellow bloggers made some astute observations which I have made as well. There are certain types of posts which the wordpress editorial team favors over others in their search for “freshly pressed” content:
- It favors food blogs over anything else (They genuinely admit that this is true in the post, “We love to read food blogs and we browse dozens each week.”
- They stay away from controversial and thought-provoking topics which may involve politics or education or any of a number of other ones.
- The majority of posts chosen are from American bloggers and primary language is English.
- Bloggers who have been in “freshly pressed” before are more likely to get there again.
One commenter asked what process does the wordpress editorial team use to find “freshly pressed” content. This was her answer,
The process isn’t some kind of closely-guarded secret, mainly because there is no process – at least, not like the one you describe. We’ve got no filters or statistical profiling systems set up, just a handful of staffers wading through as much of the blogosphere as it is possible to do each day without going a little crazy. We do search by topics to make sure we’re promoting diverse subjects/voices and posts on timely issues. These posts are the best we can do at getting you behind the scenes, because there’s not that much more to tell! Short list? We don’ need no stinkin’ short list.
All I have to say is “What the heck is wordpress doing here.” If there is no process and everything is subjective then what is the point of having a freshly pressed section? This statement reveals that the wordpress editorial team thinks that some bloggers are better than others, but doesn’t actually have an unbiased process which would care to explain why some bloggers are better than others. I mean to advertise the “freshly pressed” section in the manner in which it has, making bloggers believe that there is some special formula, I would think that there actually is some special unbiased formula. But apparently there is not, which expressly contradicts any reason for even writing a post entitled “What Makes a Post Freshly Press-able? A Recipe For Attention”. The editorial team might as well write a new post entitled “What Makes a Post Freshly Pressable Depends On Our Mood that Day.” I mean this is utter nonsense, and all it does is implant the poisonous motivation of competition in the back of blogger’s minds.
Not only is there no clear cut reasoning for having a “freshly pressed” section but the numbers don’t add up either. WordPress claims that 904,414 posts were published today. Everyday they choose 19 as “freshly pressed”. Convert that into a percentage and you get .0021% So they don’t have a process, and yet they somehow determined that this .0021% is the cream of the crop? What lunacy is this? Furthermore, in the comment I cited from the member of the WordPress Editorial Team, she says that her team sifts through as much of the blogosphere as they can in a single day “without going crazy”. That statement implies they somehow choose the best without even going through all the rest. I read a comment from a blogger who claims that she has written approximately 1,000 posts, and not once has any ever been included. I am sure that there are numerous other wordpress bloggers out there who experience the same fate.
What is the overall conclusion? The process of getting “freshly pressed” is deeply flawed and has no absolutely no claim to legitimacy. Yet, however flawed it may be, it still encourages the poisonous idea that blogging is a competition. I am not the jealous type. I know, at times, in this post I may have sounded jealous of the bloggers who have been freshly pressed. I am not. I was merely pointing out the pointlessness of the practice and that required some strong language.
“Freshly pressed” should not exist for two simple reasons: It is overtly subjective and therefore its original purpose to choose the “best” is not valid, and it encourages a culture of competition that should not exist in the world of blogging.
I welcome all thoughts and opinions 🙂