WordPress Should NOT Have “Freshly Pressed”

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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  🙂

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25 thoughts on “WordPress Should NOT Have “Freshly Pressed”

  1. I have some sympathy with your view, and find my self frustrated that FP focusses heavily on food, travel, photography (sometimes posts with hardly any words!) while ignoring politics, moral questions, religion and the arts, it seems. Nevertheless, I think the idea behind FP is a good one – it just needs to be better executed and re-presented. I am glad that WP is at least coming out and explaining how it works, and to be fair it’s bound to be a pretty subjective ‘process’.

  2. Pingback: What makes a post Freshly Press-able? The word itself « GrayPencil

  3. This post should be featured on FP for voicing out the sentiments of the silent majority!

    I really don’t mind the competition that FP is fostering as long as the rules are clear and fair. At the minimum, the FP blurb — “The best of 432,776 bloggers, 904,414 new posts, 1, 104,711 comments & 220,564,758 words posted today on WordPress.com” — should be revised for the sake of transparency. Heck, they are good at churning those impressive stats anyway so why not something like “the best of x number of new posts reviewed by WordPress Editors today”?

  4. Thanks for your post. Makes me think about the whole process some more. I am totally new to the world of blogging. And I look at the freshly pressed and sometimes read the odd post if the title is of interest to me. It never occurred to me how the people get selected. I thought you could nominate people (the “press this” widget) and then it was a democratic affair……the blogger that gets nominated by the most number of people-should get freshly pressed??

    Oh well, my blog is about food and that apparently gives me a better chance of getting freshly pressed?? I write primarily for myself!! But since I started my blog 5 days ago, I feel lovely and warm inside when people look at my blog. And even better if they “like” it! And this from someone who thinks the Facebook “like” button is for pretending to show you care!! Because in reality most of the “likes” one presses, one does nothing else for that cause. It’s just a thought!

    • i do like the “like” button. my only problem with the wordpress “like” is that your not even encouraged to read the whole post or even visit the person’s blog in order to “like” it. people can “like” from the reader or the topics and tags lists which means someone never read the whole thing but just looked at the title and decided it was worthy. To me, that aspect is very facebook, because your pretending to show you care, as you said. I agree we all do get that lovely feeling inside when people comment and read and “like” our posts. its part of being a community. I like your suggested method though. it would definitely be more democratic. you should write a post about it and link it to their “freshly pressable” posts people could even nominate posts with opinions with which they disagree and start a great discussion. thanks for the comment

  5. Hi, that’s exactly what I felt about this freshly pressed thing. It gave me some sort of pressure to measure up my blog to their standard. It’s like I’m trying to fight for the attention for other fellow bloggers and it sucks big time. I started out my blog sort of like journal keeping, to sort out my thinking and have a idea on where my life is going in general, most importantly, connect myself in this community of blogsphere. Sometimes, some freshly pressed articles made me seriously wonder why it is there or why it is considered best of the day. If only there is such a thing as voting a certain blog to be freshly pressed, my vote to this article will go to you.

  6. My blog is very specific – healing from the loss of a parent. Most of my posts are not upbeat and I truly doubt I would ever get freshly pressed. The original goal of my blog was to heal from the death of my mom, and pouring out my feelings through writing has helped me. My second goal became to help others who’ve lost a parent. Would I like to be freshly pressed one day, yes. Will I? Probably not. But that won’t stop me from writing. My blog is a tribute to my mom.

  7. Pingback: Freshly Pressed and all that blah « Galang Pusa

  8. Good calls all round. I also find a similar poison with blogs & more so Facebook pages ‘like me & ill like you back’ culture. To the extent there is a ‘Hike your likes’ pages where everyone likes everyone else… what the hell is the point in this? Numbers. The FP thing would be nicer if it was split into genres put together by people interested in that specific section. I cant say I ever check out any freshly pressed pages. They never look very interesting!

  9. Interesting opinions on WP’s Freshly Pressed. Although the process is subjective, and with the thousands of bloggers out there, very little chance that one’s blog will make it to FP, I still like the idea of featuring FP blogs. For those who want their blogs to be noticed, it gives them a boost. I do sometimes question the reasoning of some of the posts they choose, but as you say, it is subjective.

  10. When one of my posts was selected I didn’t know about FP. I do agree that it should be more representative of the diversity in the wordpress blogosphere and that the bloggers themselves should have input into the selections. And you can only be picked once.

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