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...There Is A Season
By: Wayne Brown
To Every Thing….Turn, Turn, Turn….
I believe the line goes….”to every thing, there is a season, a time to every purpose under heaven.” Now, that is according to the King James Bible. Other editions play on those same words in some manner yet the meaning is for all purposes of the same intent. Now, this is not the opening line of a sermon or my way or launching a career in the pulpit. I will leave that task to more capable men and women of the cloth than my humble, flawed self. My reference here is to say that maybe my season…my time has come here at HubPages to move on…a time to every purpose so to speak.
I have been here on the Hub for over three years now. I have published nearly 700 items made up of political essay, short stories, and a wealth of poetry dealing with a wide assortment of subjects. I have gained a sizeable fan following totaling over 1,000 and achieved views of almost 140,000 to date. On top of that, I wrote 30 hubs for 30 days for 12 straight months the first year although I never took the time to enter their contest to do it for just one month. I have achieved the score of 100 now over 120 times as well as garnering a few other accolades along the way. For all of that, the financial reward has been pitiful to be kind…a couple of hundred bucks and getting worse by the day. Luckily, I did not show up here and stay here for the money but there comes a time when one tires of HubPages making money and sharing so little of it. In fact, HP management seems to continually hunt for ways to make it harder to achieve views or to make money for the writer. That part I can no longer ignore as I feel it makes me look rather dense to continue to allow it.
I have watched change come and go with the HubPages format. The longer change has gone on, the further we seem to get from what the subject should be….writing. The site is moving more toward some kind of video game adventure where one searches for the most effective computer methods to improve their hub scores, views, and income. Every time there is another change in the format, it seems to take us further from the enjoyment of writing and sharing it into some classroom where one must master the manipulation of SEO and other computer-related crap to achieve a purpose. I am quite functional on the computer but I elect not to spend my time which can be used for writing to figure out what this week’s buzzword is down at Google and how things are sorted by search engines relative to title. I am fed up with that aspect of HubPages.
…The Quality of the Articles Must Be Improved…
I am also fed up with a format which offers no rhyme or reason for how it evaluates thing yet has the audacity to assign categories of qualification to our work. I have almost 700 hub articles now. With the new “Featured” and “Non-Featured” rating system, I have 39 articles which are red flagged in which “quality” is the cited issue. Twenty of those 39 articles happen to be about politics and the negative side of the Obama administration. Of the remainder, quite a few are poems written either with “ralwus” or about him. I do not find the system to have any credibility and I’ll be damned if I am going to rack my brain picking through any of it looking to raise HubPages appraisal as such. One thing I will say….if you are so damn sure the quality is lacking then have the guts and the fortitude to step up and point out the problem rather than hiding behind a word and a symbol parked beside my article.
I have contemplated leaving a couple of times before when I grew tired of the never-ending changes. It seemed that someone at HP was being paid to change things so they just kept coming up with changes overlooking the benefits of the status quo on quite a few items along the way. No doubt the site lives by the standard that “fundamental transformation” is good. It might be if we knew where we were going and really ask ourselves if we gave credence to what we left behind in the process. Honestly, I see HubPages as a better site three years ago than it is today…but that is just my humble opinion.
The rationale offered for this new quality audit and standard is that HubPages is ultimately being hurt by the poor quality of some of the hub articles in terms Search Engine Optimization thus if HP is hurting so is the writer thus the quality of the articles must be improved. I do not for one minute buy the concept that a search engine has any concept of the quality in terms of the verbal content of an article. All one has to do is run a Google search of some random topic to see some of the low grade stuff that comes up on the response. This is not about quality…it is about “gaming the system” for improved exposure and possibly financial reward…that is the ultimate end game.
I have no problem with that concept if you are a writer who is simply looking to optimize the internet for financial purposes. In other words, the money comes ahead of the quality of content thus gaming the system is your first priority. As a writer, I do not for one minute buy into the concept that gaming a system for financial reward has any bearing on the quality of a writer's content or subject material and I, for one, elect not to play that game and certainly not to the financial benefit of HubPages. In the past few months I have seen my view counts cut in half along with a similar reduction in revenue. I have not changed what I have been doing so do not try to sell me the hogwash that my old articles are pulling me down. Oh yeah, something has changed but it is not the quality of the writer’s content. The change came in terms of the altering of search engine criteria so that things like poetry, etc. fell by the wayside. It came because HP continues in a state of “necessary change” which eliminated many features that in the past had contributed to better exposure and viewership. At HP change for the sake of change is a good thing.
I have remained on HubPages up to this point because I have built a supporter base here, some friendships, and because this is where I started. Over time and through trial and error, I have come to realize that one of the things which makes HP good is that their competition is so inept in terms of appeal and functionality. But, they keep trying, and sooner or later some of them are going to get the kinks worked out…it is just a matter of time.
HubPages is not looking for writers…they are looking for packaging engineers!
For the moment, I feel the work that I have done here is rather wasted. I have put a lot of work on the wall and received a lot of very high praise for it. Now, I look at all of that stuff with so much of it having that new little HP icon beside it indicating that the article is “no longer featured because it does not meet the current quality standard”. That is as much information as they can supply apparently. HP does not tell me if I have achieved that status because the readership is too low, there are too many misspelled words, or an over-abundance of poor grammar errors…nothing so specific. No the quality is “poor” because you have failed to complete the “guess work steps” of search engine optimization. Well, ain’t that just a slap in the face with a raw Salmon?
Having exchanged some email with HP Associates on this subject, the lights have suddenly come on as to what really gives here. Basically, this is the way it goes. If I show up with a pig, folks might say, “gee that’s an interesting pig and I’d like to look him over.” But with HubPages, their quality system awaits to point out that what you have brought in is a “pig” and will remain a “pig” until I dress it up like they have instructed me with lipstick, a nice little dress, and maybe some bright white shoes and we got ourselves a state fair winner here folks that no one would think of calling a “pig”. If I applied that logic, most of the books which line the shelves in my house would have never been purchased as there are no pretty pictures on every other page. Basically HP believes that if you dazzle the potential reader with enough eyewash, the written content is good enough. Now I know why songwriters don’t care much for record company executives.
Please taken a moment to complete this totally irrelevant poll included below which is here primarily to add lipstick to the pig. Please select the answer that best fits you at the moment.
I Tend To Agree With....
Okay…So What Is The Plan?
Do I have a plan….at the present, NO! I do write in some other places as some of you might know by now. There are some options there. Will I do as well as I have done here? Who knows? Who the hell cares? I am just tired of feeling like I am slowly sliding off the side of a muddy mountain top leaving only behind the scratches of my fingernails in the soil on my journey to the bottom. I started off at the bottom and worked my way up here and now I am being told that what got me here is not good enough…do it again. I do have a plan for that…I am not doing it. No how, no way, no sir. Oh, and by the way…next time you run upon an aspiring poet be sure you tell him or her that if they poems are not at least 1100 words in length, then…find something else to do with their time. Savvy search engine experts know that no one reads poems that are not at least 1100 words and include some pictures, a map, a video, and an inspirational poll…now we’re cookin’!
In terms of “gaming the system” and search engine optimization and any significance either might play in the quality content of my writing, I offer you this closing vision. Picture Jack Nicholson playing me in the closing moments of this feature. Nicholson turns to the one in charge and says, “Well, if that’s the way it is, you can color my ass gone.” And they roll the closing credits with much thanks to Google and the closing song of the movie soundtrack reverberates from the speakers, “To every thing, turn, turn, turn, there is a season, turn, turn, turn…and a time for every purpose unto heaven.” Fade to black.
©Copyright WBrown2013. All Rights Reserved.
31 Mary 2013