10 Mar 2017
Wikipedia – the encyclopaedia that anybody can edit – is a good (and often brutal) filter of what information is worthwhile. There are rules governing what may be included, as well as robust discussion.
I uploaded an image showing an echidna – an Australian spiny anteater – in 2005, and it’s still there years later. It’s notable because it shows one of these rare creatures ambling beside Lake Burley Griffin in the heart of Canberra.
Not far from the Carillon, where I attended an impromptu Amanda Palmer performance last week. I’ve included a photograph from the same sequence as the Wikipedia upload above.
Dig deep to find a travel blog
The echidna has some industrial-grade digging equipment on its feet. When threatened, it presents a back covered in sharp spines, while digging its way into the earth. It also uses these long digging claws to uncover ant and termite nests.
Wikipedia and Google are our cyber claws, allowing us to dig down into the dirt and dross of the internet in search of gold. You know what? Most of the time the Wikipedia entry on any given topic will appear on the list of results long before a travel blog entry on the same subject. Try it.
Most times, you’ve got to make like the echidna and dig your way deeper to find a travel blog post. Sure, there are SEO tips and keywords to increase visibility, but mostly you’ve really got to dig down deep to find the sort of stuff we travel bloggers pump out.
Nobody wants to read your stuff
And the reason is that – as Steven Pressfield memorably said – nobody wants to read your sh*it.
Of course, there are friends and family members. There are bands of travel bloggers determinedly bumping up each others’ page views, likes, comments and so on. There’s the odd outsider who stumbles across a post or two.
Let’s face it. There are thousands of travel bloggers out there. There are thousands of professional travel sites. There are commercial sites for restaurants, hotels, cruises. How are you going to compete? There will always be someone with better photographs, who was there when the weather was better, who writes better than you do, who has a better blog set-up. And so on and on.
You might as well give up now. Don’t waste your time and money. Making a lot from Google Adwords, are you? They aren’t going to pay for your next flight.
But. But. But.
We all grow and change. They say that you cannot step into the same river twice. The water flows on and it’s a different river each time. Likewise, you are not the same person you were yesterday. Nobody is. We grow, we learn, we get better. Or, ultimately and irretrievably, worse.
We may study our subject, we may learn from those better than we, we can improve our work. With determination and practice, this is a given.
And, we may teach and inform others. There will always be those who can learn from our experience, who will enjoy our posts, who will smile and feel gratitude for our efforts.
If we give up, we might as well not bother with life. Best to keep on digging.
I’ll leave you with advice from Neil Gaiman, a writer who taught himself, who learnt from experience, who became a master of his craft, and now demonstrates how to do it yourself.