You wouldn’t have noticed because I hide my emotions like every true man should, but I’ve been in kind of a blog funk lately. I struggled with things to write about. My humorous Nelsonisms felt forced and I started all sorts of posts that now lay abandoned in my drafts folder, more lonely than the recently dumped on Valentine’s Day.
The good news for the 9 of you who are actual fans is I think I’ve driven through the funk. You’re not going to get rid of me that quickly, at least until I get a girlfriend. Somebody has to entertain you with Taylor Swift jokes and dumps on the weekend. Besides, this gives me an excuse to pinch some asses without consequence, at least virtually. Remember kids, you can’t spell harass without ass.
At my lowest point, I actually considered shutting the Uproar down. Don’t get too concerned, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I consider shutting the whole thing down about once a month, usually when something happens that pisses me off. That’s when I shut my laptop, play some video games, and wait for the feeling to go away. Masturbating helps too. And secondly, it’s not like I take this too seriously anyway. I don’t want to quit my day job. I appreciate the extra money I make from this, but it’s not like I need it to live. The income from this blog is just gravy.
As I went through my latest funk, I started thinking about what the hell my blog was actually accomplishing. The answer seems easy – I’m trying to teach all you kids about finance, often by poking holes in conventional advice, all while cracking you up with my hilarity. As you can tell by the way I invest, I take pride in being contrarian, and I try to do my best to avoid all the topics that have been beaten more than Secretariat. As I approach 450 published posts (at an average of 800 words per, that’s 360,000 words on finance/penis jokes) I find myself constantly struggling for new things to write about.
Maybe that’s my problem, I’m always trying to find something new to say. I’m always trying to find new ways to look at the same old problems. My contrarianism (add it to your dictionary, I just made it a word) forces me to at least explore interesting things, at the expense of the obvious.
Where am I going with this cluster of a post? I’m glad somebody asked that. At least 95% of personal finance blog posts do one of two things:
1. Repeat the same generic crap about emergency funds, index investing, ways to pay off debt, and so on.
2. Become nothing more than a diary of what the person bought/spent.
I know I’m going to offend some people with this next part, because just about every blogger is guilty of both of the sins listed above. Hell, I’m guilty. But what the hell are you adding to the discussion with posts like monthly goals, (holy hell, I don’t care) spending recaps, (holy hell, I really don’t care) posts about buying some toy (hey, you bought a tablet. Good for-zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz) and the 1854928492852459828382nd post on why you need an emergency fund?
I legitimately want to know what the point of these posts are. Is it to hold yourself accountable? Because if the failure rate of goals I read is any indication, these posts are about as effective as a New Year’s resolution. Is it because you’re so vain that you actually believe people care how many times you went to Starbucks last month? Is it because you need content and you’re just filling space? I seriously don’t get it.
What do these posts add to the discussion? Is somebody really going to look at your weekly spending report and gain some sort of insight from it? Is that post you did on saving money on vacation actually going to help the reader save money, or is it full of advice churned out a million times before?
And then we have the comment section. Comments used to be a way for readers to leave their thoughts on a post, whether they agreed or disagreed. Now? Comments are a friggin’ joke. They’re filled with bloggers leaving inane crap just so they can have their tiny little bit of publicity. Somebody else’s comment section has turned into a place to pimp your blog. Well done everyone. It’s like going into a strip club, taking off your top and offering lap dances for $5 less than everyone else. I’ve actually read blog posts from personal finance blogs about the etiquette of blog comments.
Is this what we’ve come to? The same generic advice and diary type posts that nobody cares about except the writer? I understand every post can’t be a hit. Hell, my post popular post to date is when I bitched about tipping. I’m the first to admit it’s probably one of my weaker posts. But at least I’m trying to add something to the discussion that hasn’t been already hashed and rehashed to death. Are you?
Or, has the whole genre become so popular, so watered down that it’s next to impossible to find new things to say, at least on a consistent basis? Let’s face it, most finance bloggers actually don’t know that much about finance. At least 75% of the genre are digging out from years of financial mismanagement. Most can’t analyze an investment to save their lives. Hell, I bet a majority actually follow the laughingly bad debt advice of Dave Ramsey. It’s amazing how full this genre is of people who aren’t very good at finance.
That’s the crux of the problem right there. Most PF bloggers do a good job figuring out the basics. (Implementation is another manner) But they never level up from there. If you don’t know more than everyone else, what value can you expect to add? The answer is, sadly, not much. If you’re not adding value, then what’s the point?