As a Southern California native, consuming (and/or cooking) mass quantities of Mexican cuisine is a way of life. One of the more delectable ingredients in many tasty recipes is refried beans. Ironically, the way these beans are made involves methods other than frying or refrying. So while they are still delicious, the name is not exactly accurate. 

I’ve never made them from scratch, but I understand refried beans are either baked or boiled before eventually being placed in the can that I purchase from the store. For certain things whether due to convenience or practicality, prepackaged products make perfect sense. For me, since the preparation techniques can be quite labor intensive and time consuming, refried beans are one of the better examples of that being the case.

On the other hand, there’s something special about compiling and creating content to produce a unique piece of work. When the mood strikes me to write, I may gather inspiration from a random source (such as a can of beans) or a series of events, interactions or triggers that hopefully coalesce into a coherent commentary on a particular subject matter.

Some of my esteemed peers on various industry sites have previously touched on the concept of blogging being on the downswing. There are many theories for this including sheer volume constricting everyone’s already limited attention span. Another belief is that most articles are not interesting, original or noteworthy enough to draw readers, comments or shares. Unlike a can of beans, written content has a very short shelf life.

That brings me to some personal observations about reading and writing. Not just recently but for a while now I’ve noticed a steady and rapid decline in the quality of available content. Many times it’s blatantly obvious that certain writers lack familiarity with the topic, but feel compelled to jump into the fray to sling some gibberish on generational generalizations, social recruiting and any other trending terminology

Several blogs I’ve seen lately are merely recycling of another person’s or publication’s copy or ideas presented by a different “author” that just discovered a theme perfect for an infographic or listicle.

While it is completely acceptable to reference or quote another party’s work, there really doesn’t seem to be any benefit to the reader to only repeat ideas already shared by whoever thought of writing them before. Many such articles resemble a grade-school book report where the student strategically places a few lines: “so and so said such and such” and then “later such and such happened followed by so and so doing this or that” to convince the teacher that the student read and understood the material.

To put this back into the kitchen terminology, a unique written product out of a person’s own thoughts and creative combination of analogies or anecdotes is similar to a homemade dish. A collection of quotations, links and citations resembles a concoction of canned goods rather than a chef’s own masterful amuse bouche to stimulate the palate or the mind.

Perhaps just like there was probably no intent to mislead in the refried beans label, the “new” writer (or content recycler) is just interested in expediency rather than engaging in that arduous task of slow cooking up his/her own flavors or food for thought. 

Views: 271

Tags: Corporate Recruiting, beans, blogger, blogging, blokdijk, content, hr, human, original, rbc, More…recruiting, resources, talenttalks, writing

Comment by Mike Rasmussen on December 18, 2013 at 10:47am

Your points are interesting - great post.

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on December 18, 2013 at 2:23pm

Thanks, Kelly. Well said. As a frequent commenter and a very occasional author, I can attest that it's much harder to come up with original content than it is to comment upon- or modify existing content.

If we required posters to:

1) State if they're fact based or opinion based, and if fact-based: cite their sources.

2) Strive toward an originality of subject/perspective and a relevance of topic

3) Avoid both the appearance and the reality of being self-promotional infomercials, then:

THER'D BE HARDLY ANYTHING TO READ.

Happy Holidays,

 'Cruitaz!

There'd be hardl

Comment by Matt Charney on December 18, 2013 at 2:51pm

This post hits the nail on the head, and also addresses the uphill battle that I'm personally facing.  The sites who are crushing the traffic game and the "thought leaders" who are really just content marketers rely on quantity, not quality, which means that not only are the posts unoriginal and uninspired, but "refried" because you can only skim the surface so much before repeating yourself.  I personally struggle with finding the balance between generating insightful, quality content and the metrics by which online marketing is measured, and think that they tend to be mutually exclusive.  The other problem is that this market for content has become such a commodity that many producers are simply hiring recent J-school grads who know nothing about the market but know how to write using the inverted pyramid, which leads to more refrying (perfect word choice). Recruiters like you, who are not only practicing what they preach but are also capable of crafting killer copy with meaningful insights are a rare breed, and I really wish for the sake of my sanity there were more people out there like you.

Great read and even better takeaways.  Thanks for this awesome post.

Comment by Kelly Blokdijk on December 18, 2013 at 5:28pm

Thank-you all very much for adding your feedback. It means a lot!

Matt- I don't envy your position in trying to balance all of that. Muchas gracias for the mad compliment, yo!

Comment by Noel Cocca on December 18, 2013 at 5:31pm

HI Kelly, I agree with what you and Jerry have said about this topic.  It has been a trend on this site since the beginning however (I checked, and talked to Jason about it) and it comes and goes.  In the past year most of the content that fits this description is from those looking to build reputation on line and market their products.  They take a swing and try to get the word out every way they can.  Do we just take out the ban hammer and cut them all out assuming that because the "veterans" of the site are not getting something out of it that others will not?  Not everyone may want to know what is new at X company but some do.  I know because we get good feedback emails about these also.

What could help and what I don't see is a lot of are blogs by the commenters and "veterans" on our site which is interesting.  Their lack of contributions, for whatever reason, is what a lot of you are looking for also.  The debate etc.  It is far easier to comment then to write but the posts that get the most traction and community love are the real world "what is going on while I work the business posts".  RecruitingBlogs still and must remain "open" to the many recruiters and HR folks that want to talk shop and start writing about it.  There have been many recent as well as past writers that now are doing much more as a result of their start on RecruitingBlogs.  Just ask around.  So the balance must remain, the new must start here, the great ones must come and go, and the site must remain open.  In that end, we will get the posts we love and we hate.  Suggestions?  Send em to me at noel@recruitingblogs.com

PS I love these posts Kelly, Jerry, Keith, etc....shows how much you care.

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on December 18, 2013 at 8:31pm

@ Noel:

Thanks, Noel.

Cheers,

Keith

Comment by Mike Rasmussen on December 20, 2013 at 4:43pm

What I loved about your post Kelly was the input on originality.  What I also think is important is how other's show PROFESSIONAL comments that are devoid of libel, sarcasm, and show respect for a blog posters opinion.  When this site began that was how it started.  It is interesting to me at times that some show forth their true colors when they may put forth what could be termed as a "cheeky" remark.  Kindness in our commentary goes a long way.  Professional dialogue between recruiting professionals to me is a powerful and robust opportunity.  Let us do well to remember, if you disagree with someone's point of view you must always show respect for that opinion.  Some comments disparaging to another's company, blog post, or something that references foul language is not becoming of a staffing professional.  Thus, anyone who engages as such will be hit with what I referred to as "Staffing Karma".  What goes around comes around, and may we as a recruiting community add value through a robust yet respectful discussion irregardless if one agrees with another.

Comment by Amy Ala on December 20, 2013 at 5:12pm

Great post Kelly. But still....

Comment by Kelly Blokdijk on December 20, 2013 at 6:10pm

Thanks, Noel. IMHO, some of the veterans known for quality contributions have probably grown bored with the unfortunate habits of certain contributors cluttering up the space with irrelevant or repetitive articles, ads, etc. BTW: my "content" observation in this post was meant as a general view from assorted sites, not specific to RBC. I realize there is a mixed audience here with diverse preferences and perspectives on what we find interesting and useful. Plus, I know all of you are working diligently behind the scenes to keep RBC as awesome as possible. 

Mike - thanks again for sharing your thoughts. Whenever I post anything anywhere I'm always prepared for disagreement, differences of opinion and being called out for being a no-nothing fool by someone that doesn't care for my ideas, way of thinking or how I communicate. It might be odd, but I'd actually prefer that to getting no reaction at all. That said, I agree it is not productive when comments venture into personal attacks or ridicule of another person's point of view or any of the other things you listed. Everyone has different sensibilities and sensitivities when it comes to expressing opinions, sarcasm, snark, cheeky remarks and blunt feedback. RBC has always been a tough crowd and I think that is part of what creates an interesting atmosphere. You've outlined some pertinent reminders - AND - Staffing Karma sounds like a great title for your next blog :) 

Amy - full of charm!!! And those other things you mentioned on animals' show...

Happy weekend, all! 

Comment by Mike Rasmussen on December 20, 2013 at 6:16pm

Kelly - Right on!  You are right - "Staffing Karma" will be the next blog title....I'll wait a bit though until the exact right moment to post it.....probably in the New Year.  And you are right there are some tough folks and crowd members here.  However - I think right to point out the "Golden Rule" when we post.  Sarcasm - okay if those other points are taken carefully.  We reveal much by the way we show our positive and professional dialogue!

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