You Belong Among the Wildflowers

A long time ago, the web was open. Everyone and their cat had a website, or a blog. Search engines were terrible, and so the community came up with the  now forgotten idea of 'webrings'. 

But as search engines became better, along with it came the social networks. Overtime, they evolved and grew walls around their content - blocking search engines and only allowing registered users to view and share. Bloggers became 'content creators' distributing to various walled gardens, and they grew their audience.

And while the walls have always bothered me, the perennial problem has really been more about the focus on *recency* of content. To drive up engagement (a proxy for quality), algorithms favored newer posts that were getting more engagement.

But engagement isn't a proxy for quality, and social networks don't care about the great observation you made 3 years ago. You know who does? The people seeking help on that very thing you observed.

And to find that observation, they'll turn to Google (and more recently Bing Copilot). And, based on where you publish, that insightful observation may go unseen.

Walled gardens are manicured around what's in bloom. They're not for cultivating flowers.

Case in point: Despite doing nothing to promote my own blog, doing little towards SEO, in recent months I've steadily watched my Google Search Impact increase. Much of it has to do with a post I wrote more than a year ago. I shared it on my blog, on LinkedIn and elsewhere. It turns out the topic has become an increasingly popular query and only my blog has kept it accessible.

Keep this in mind if you're trying to establish yourself as an expert in your domain. As you share your posts to various networks, it's important to maintain a public blog as your primary source for content.

It can be crawled, parsed, indexed making it more lasting and less time-bound. The result is your work stops being *content* and becomes a *resource.*

When it comes to walled gardens, remember Tom Petty singing: you belong among the wildflowers.


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