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What do you think of spotlight posts?

Photo by Lotus Carroll.

Readers, I need your opinions.

A few months ago I started doing a lot of “spotlight” posts. These are articles where I basically start with a long quote from someone else’s work, link to that work, and provide some brief comment about it.

I started doing this because I run into a lot of interesting articles online, and if find them interesting I figure you might, too. It’s also a way of giving some public love to the author of the piece (or sometimes, critique).

How often I post these has varied; sometimes it’s been one or two a week, other times I go weeks without a single one. They never substitute in for my own writing: I publish an original essay of my own every Wednesday, no matter what.

Predictably, these posts get few comments or feedback (after all, the author isn’t usually here to talk with), but they do seem to get a fair amount of traffic, and boost traffic to the site overall. That made me think they were reasonably popular with my readers. But maybe not.

One of my most dedicated readers contacted me and told me she doesn’t like them. Her reason made sense: she comes here to read about my philosophy and my adventure, and these excerpts from random articles I read are usually irrelevant to that. They have nothing to do with this site’s topic. She said they’re a good idea but should really be on a different blog.

I think that’s actually pretty insightful. I wonder how many people agree?

Here are three examples of recent spotlight posts:

What do you think? Should I do posts like these regularly, whenever I find an interesting article? Or should I only spotlight material if it connects in some way to the heroic life?

I’m really interested in knowing your opinion. It’s always a struggle knowing how to focus this site and keep its message clear, but interesting. I know a lot of you will tell me to write whatever I want to write—and I appreciate that, I truly do. But I also want to know what you like reading, and whether posts like those get you excited or just get a “meh.”

Please leave a comment and let me know. What do you think? Spotlight posts, good or bad?

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13 thoughts on “What do you think of spotlight posts?

  1. thalassa says:

    Personally, I think that what people think about and find interesting or insightful or inspiring (not not) are ultimately part of their adventure and part of their philosophy. Perhaps, what is needed is a bit more commentary on the matter–more *why* you’ve chosen to share this, and what it says to you, how it impacts you, what actions it drives you to take, etc.

  2. Michael says:

    Spotlight posts reflect a part of who you are. You are not limited to a tight and rigid focus, nor even to original thinking. Although original thinking is wonderful, one of the hallmarks of our species, and why it has so easily outpaced others for advancement, is that we learn from each other; we do not all have to think primarily for ourselves, and learn the same lessons first-hand. Not only do we pass huge amounts of knowledge and insight down to succeeding generations, we also pass these things laterally, quickly spreading ideas to our contemporaries.

    Indeed, one of the best gifts we can give is to introduce others to ideas and information we find useful, inspiring, stimulating, or otherwise beneficial…even though the originator of the ideas and information was somebody else.

    And when one credits the originator and adds one’s own commentary, one has been both generous-spirited and, to some degree, original too.

    Human learning is a contagious dialectic. I say, don’t limit yourself or others by the arbitrary limits of radical orginality–which is an illusion, in any case.

  3. I haven’t been around to read much of anything, so this is more philosophical than based on what’s been going on.

    We come to blogs to read what certain people have to say. Mostly, because we either agree with them, or because we want to troll them. This is not inherently a bad thing. But it can lead to us getting locked in on certain patterns of thought and becoming dogmatic. Guest posts, or spotlight posts can work to relieve this, let people see where we’re coming from, what is influencing us on our paths. That’s why I reblog.

    Too many can become an issue, of course. If your blog is nothing but reblogs…you’re not putting yourself out there. But personally, they give us a break, give us content, and show us new things.

  4. honestly, I don’t read them. Unless it’s something you’ve written, I just skip the post. I’ve got a limited amount of time and energy, and those aren’t something I’m going to use it for. That being said, it’s just as easy for me to ignore them, as for you to not post them, so do whatever you want.

  5. I did enjoy what spot lights I did read but agree with the one reader on that I follow this blog to read about the Heroic Path. I’m crammed with so many newsletters, even though I’ve downsized by at least half some time ago, that I only kept what I truly wanted to read and follow. The spotlights seem more appropriate for FB posts, twitter and the like. I still like them, but they don’t really fit.

    *read responses*

    I agree with Thalassa’s post, it would make more sense to talk about why you’d post it there and how it impacts you.

    I’m honestly less inclined to read the spotlights than your own posts, and therefore more likely to respond when its your own. I especially skip em if my inbox is really full and I need to filter through a lot of info fast (i.e. missed a week and need to play catch up)

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