Your noise, my song

97-109-107 writes at Hacker News:

“Do any of you share the impression that the threshold for what is passing for articles and opinion pieces barely warrants being written down? The proliferation of blogging, posting and social media seems to have left me with a feeling with slight resentment towards most written content (as it’s just noise).

That’s okay as I can filter that out, but I found that if I have a message to put out to the world I’m faced with an internal critic suggesting that I’m only adding to the noise, and there’s not enough substance in what I’m saying. It’s all just opinions, churned out way too fast.”

There are a handful of thoughts that pop up on my mind:

  • There is a ton of noise on the internet, and that’s how it’s supposed to be. It’s your right to make noise on the internet. If you choose not to do it, “That’s your problem.” An aspiring fashion designer gets nowhere by saying, “There are too many clothes out there already.” No, they make a bunch of clothes, and they learn about new ways of making clothes, and then they start something like Freitag.
  • I would guess the resentment towards written content comes from a self-imposed limit: “If I’m considerate enough to not make noise on the internet, why isn’t everyone else?” That’s not how the internet works though. Everybody can make noise, and anybody can choose what to pay attention to and share.
  • This person is in tune with their inner critic, and can reconnect with the other inner beings of each person; professor Betty Flowers would call them the “madman,” “architect,” “carpenter,” and “judge.”

Things that are “obvious” or “noisy” to you may be incredibly valuable to somebody else. Chances are, you aren’t a great judge of what other people may want to learn from you. I know I am. I’d suggest flipping it: post everything that’s interesting to you (or filter it out—maybe when you’ve said something three times!)—show it to some people, and let them decide if it’s interesting or not.

Some nonfiction authors understand this and deliberately pay more attention during conversations. They’re noticing what people are asking during their Q&As at speeches, or during their podcast interviews, or just chitchatting with friends. 

For me, I enjoy posting other people’s writing for two reasons:

  1. Reminding myself I’m not the only one writing stuff that doesn’t get picked up
  2. If it does get picked up, it starts a conversation, and I get to read what other people thought about the article as a listener and writer

This post itself is somewhat redundant; I made up a mailbag question and responded to it with an opinion, and I’ll link to other interesting pieces on this. Here’s one, and another. I’ve also written about it before, twice. There’s actually an even better one out there, but… I totally lost it, and now it’s in the ether. (Update: Found it!)

P.S., On the topic of speed, write slow if you like! I usually refrain from writing hot takes, even though I know I’m trading off virality. I prefer to write timeless work.

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