People don’t hate you; they hate reading
Here’s the fact that most writers don’t understand: people hate reading. The average person, myself included, would rather watch My Strange Addiction than read your dissertation on gun violence and racism in America. Get over it. Yes, I know: America bad. Blah blah blah. But the bottom line–I hope you realize–is there are other things people enjoy more than reading your content.
Consider this. Last year the best-selling book was Barrack Obama’s A Promised Land, which sold 2.5 million copies. That was DOUBLE the amount of the second-best-selling book, a Twilight book retold in the voice of Edward. Also on the list of top-sellers of the year is a picture book about a fox and a horse.
Now compare this to movie sales. We can agree that 2020 was a lackluster year for movie ticket sales. Despite that, Sonic the Hedgehog sold 16 million tickets. Can we pause there for a moment?
In summary, I’m right. People would rather watch someone getting a coffee enema (season 4, episode 1 of My Crazy Addiction via Hulu) than pick up a book and read it. Even if that book is the newest Twilight.
There’s a reason we see weekend box office sales in the paper, but a New York Times bestseller list doesn’t show sales–if a book sold 300 copies, it could be a bestseller.
In other words, don’t cry if you only get a handful of views on your 2,000-word rant about how badly Trump screwed our country. No one cares. Again, myself included. To rephrase that: your views are down because Trump is no longer in office and people are no longer stuck captive in their homes.
What can you do about it? First, go back to having fun. If you are here because you want to make money, best of luck to you. You’ll make enough to buy a cheeseburger or two, but this doesn’t count as a job. But more on what you can do down below. Before that, I’m going to have some fun. Here’s a list of 20 things people enjoy more than reading your content.
#1 – Rubbing one out to stepmother fantasies
During quarantine, Pornhub was on its A-game. During the first weeks of lockdown, they gave a free premium membership to everyone, which provides me with an idea for a game. Choose one:
- A ribbed-ab dude with a throbbing cock pounding pussy with boobies wobbling, or
- The most-shared Medium article of 2020 about essential workers
But you don’t watch porn? Ha!!! I have one word for you: Bridgerton. So, I ask you again? Do you prefer porn or articles about essential workers?
#2 – People love pizza more than reading your content
Last year, Americans spent $46 billion on pizza delivery. Maybe instead of trying to come up with a clickbait title for your article, you could try offering a free pizza for every ten articles people read? That’s how Pizza Hut is getting kids to read.
#3 – Speaking of Bridgerton porn, people love Netflix
As of this writing, Netflix is worth $222 billion. My proudest moment was streaming two seasons of Survivor in one weekend. Guess how many blog posts I read that same weekend. Considering that same logic, now that American Idol and The Bachelor are back on the air, how many folks are reading your posts?
#4 – Getting drunk and smoking pot
People make great writers when drunk and high, but they make terrible readers. Have you ever tried reading while high? Same paragraph much? But do you know what IS great while high? Watching people give themselves coffee enemas (season 4, episode 1 on Hulu).
#5 – Playing Animal Crossing New Horizons
Here’s a fun fact: 2,000 people shared Joe Biden’s article he wrote on Medium. Compare that to the 28,000 people that shared the news that you could get Biden yard signs inside Animal Crossing. Video games rule; boring writing drools.
#6 – Meditating (aka staring out the window watching grass grow)
We have fully plunged into the age of apathy, anger, and depression. Do you know what people enjoy more than reading your content? They enjoy staring out the window and doing not-a-goddamn thing. We don’t need to read your article about the Capitol protests or race riots–we’re already WAY past the tipping point.
#7 – Maybe not enjoying, but people are back to work
COVID was a not-so-nice distraction from the 9-to-5, but it’s back to work time. Lots of folks are griding the gears, in person or virtually, and it is exhausting. I know, I know. You’ve spent all day crafting that well-researched article that only gets $5 worth of reading time, but I’m tired and Animal Crossing calls.
#8 – Patting their head and rubbing their belly
They haven’t perfected it yet, and it needs lots of practice. These folks are WAY too busy walking and chewing gum to read your writing. Get over it. The world needs more gun-chewer-walkers.
#9 – Sleeping
Ten years ago, people bragged about getting 4 hours of sleep. Today, those same people are setting world records for most hours slept in a single day. 24 hours of sleep? No problem. That leaves little time for reading.
#10 – Watching makeup tutorials on Youtube
Thousands of teens lined the hallway of a mall to see a glimpse of James Charles for 15 minutes. But who’s James Charles? Warning: before you Google him, prepare yourself for existential dread and confusion and questions like, “how is this guy so famous, but my writing only got ten views?”
#11 – Catching up on the Marvel comic universe
Hey, at least folks are reading something. Once they’ve binged all 26 of the 3-hour-long Marvel movies on Disney+, fans are catching up on the comics via Marvel unlimited. Now, instead of reading your quips of the day, they can read a 1960s version of Captain America crushing Red Skull’s skull.
#12 – Making sourdough bread
You put flour in water–that’s it. Yet, somehow, this system takes hours to get just right. There’s no way that you can compete with this attention-demanding process of perfection. I don’t care how smart or funny your words are on the page–bread making takes higher priority.
#13 – Blowing the stimulus check on Bitcoin
What did you say? You don’t know anything about Bitcoin and wanted to read my article about blockchain for dummies? Oh, what’s that? You’re saying my article was so helpful to you that you wanted to read the follow-up about NFTs? But seriously, if you don’t know about Bitcoin, learn. That’s where your audience is going.
#14 – Complaining about Dr. Suess books they’ve never heard of
Let’s be real. We have already established that people don’t read. Most people, myself included, have seen more Dr. Suess movies than they’ve read Dr. Suess books. As for the books that got “banned,”–never heard of them. But hey, stop printing a book that nobody read, and all hell breaks loose. Maybe you should try banning your own writing. Then people would care.
#15 – Crocheting, sewing, and cross-stitching
I love the irony of women weaving together their yarn, just like their grannies used to do, while watching murder shows on Netflix. The juxtaposition of wholesome and bloodthirsty cracks me up. Nonetheless, it takes away their free hands from picking up their phones and reading your latest masterpiece.
#16 – Disinfecting the universe
People are wiping their assholes with Clorox wipes. Why would they read your contaminated shit? Seriously, your listicle probably has COVID 19, 18, 17, and 22. These folks are way too paranoid to read what you’ve got to share. What’s logic?
#17 – Dog videos > cat videos > stupid kid videos > ….. > reading
Here’s proof so that you can judge for yourself. I shared a post featuring a dog that pets all the other dogs at daycare. Then I shared a post featuring funny cats, where I talked about cat toothpaste. Yeah, it’s a thing. Finally, I shared 17 inspiring quotes by a poet. Guess which post got the most views?
#18 – Waiting for Joe Biden to fall up the stairs
He’s old and it’s windy. What do you expect? Despite all the news sailing around the world and the Guardian’s days of research to compile a 2,000-word article about the benefits of gun control, we still get trending articles about Joe’s dogs care of the Daily Mail.
#19 – Caring too much about Chrissy Teigen or the royal family
I wrote an article about the lies Harry and Megan told on Oprah. Can you guess what happened after the interview?
- Oprah came on the view to clear up the lie about the race of the baby
- Megan’s friend clarified the true previous knowledge of the royal family
- Harry took a job at a billion-dollar Californian startup
- Nobody gives a shit
There are 40-50 million abortions a year, plus another 45 million miscarriages a year. Either way, it’s an emotional experience. But why the fuck are we so obsessed with Chrissy Teigen’s occurrence? What makes her unique from the 100 million other women whose baby died? Too dark? Okay, moving on.
#20 – Shooting up grocery stores
Too soon? But yeah, more people are doing that than reading your peaceful, harmonious writing.
In summary, yes, people are doing a lot of other things rather than reading your content. So what? That’s the universe’s irony: most of us have an insatiable need to write, but nobody has the desire to read.
But you want readers, so what can you do about it? First and foremost, make it accessible. In one sense, yes, for blind people, you should include alt text in your pictures and all that good stuff. But in the other sense, for the dumbfucks who can’t read and just want to look at cat videos. You should include more cat videos.
If you want a statistic that says that someone “read” your article, then you should include bullet points, pictures, graphs, and anything else that you can think of that doesn’t actually involve reading. If you want someone actually to read your shit, then maybe hand out a few free pizzas.
For more bright and cheery news and too-soon jokes, feel free to join my mailing list. No free pizzas. Every week I send out five helpful articles and open myself up for questions. I’m not selling anything, just looking to connect and grow together. Find out more and drop your email here or connect on social media here. More clicks = more pizza.