Monday, March 12, 2018

Quality Over Quantity

A few months ago I was talking to Brian about whether or not to accept all these page like invites on Facebook. He said to accept them all because it affects FB algorithms for what you see in feeds, friend suggestions, etc.

And with that realization I've come to the conclusion that technology is damaging art.

I remember when we started Spinetingler almost 13 years ago. In the beginning you want to get a lot of content. More content meant coming up in more searches which boosted our ranking in search engines and raised the profile.

Comparable to how I guess those FB algorithms work.

The problem is that you have to maintain standards. Let's say I'm really interested in seeing content about cat mysteries on social media. I'm invited to like pages by 100 different authors. 5 write cat mysteries. 10 write hard-boiled stories. 30 write science fiction. 40 write romance and the rest write Westerns and self-help books.

Is friending all of them going to boost the amount of cat mystery content I see? Nope. 95% of what I'd see would have nothing to do with cat mysteries.

That may seem simplistic but the applications are broad. I once thought Netflix had, of all the streaming services outside HBO, the best original content. One can't deny the quality of early seasons of Orange is the New Black or House of Cards. There were awards and nominations and streaming was no longer treated like self-publishing used to be. Streaming services gained respect.

But then something happened. For every Stranger Things there was a Between. Sometimes, there was more than one dud.

Netflix, it seems, has gone for quantity over quality. And while my habit used to be to log into Netflix first I have been turning to Hulu and Amazon Prime more and more for programming.

I actually questioned a few months ago if we needed to continuously maintain our Netflix account. It's the streaming service we've had the longest... But suspect decisions have undermined its dominance in the streaming world.

I'm not the only one to take note of the trend.

The thing is, this isn't about Netflix. It's about a philosophy with any type of artistic production. If you're publishing short stories then if readers find that you tend to have 15% great stories, 35% decent stories and 50% bad to just forgettable stories they are not going to pay to read an issue of stories you put out. Now, you have to allow for some subjectivity. Taste is a factor. But we're talking ballpark. If you consistently put out material that's filled with typos, missing words, logic flaws and underdeveloped plots and characters people will notice.

And as a writer, everything you produce sells your next work.

There's a temptation early on to want to add to your publishing credits but that won't benefit you in the long run if what you produce isn't good.

Sometimes, waiting to invest in the right material is the best way to build a reputation. There's plenty of crap out there already. As a writer and editor I'm looking for what rises to the top. There has to be something about that story that I really want to tell.

The rest is best forgotten.


Dana King said...

I've become more selective about how broadly I spread my likes of late for much the same reason. I enjoy getting a wide range of things in mhy feed, but I also have become aware of how the people and pages I really care about can get lost in the shuffle.

As for Netflix, I read an article a week or two ago noting how they're adding 700 streaming series from around the world. NO offense, but there's no way the quality standards can be the same with that quantity.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Agreed. And for all entertainment one truth holds. If people read a great book they want to read another great book. If they see a great movie they want to see another great movie. If they see a lousy movie they want to go bowling. Mediocrity leads to a meh response.