“Is ChatGPT to writers what steroids are to athletes?”​

Posted on March 14, 2023


When I started my blog in May 2007, my tagline was, and still is, “Delivering Understanding Beyond Insights.” In other words, I didn’t want to simply be a curator of others’ information that I would then pass through with generalized soundbite one-liners that would appeal to a Google algorithm. Does anyone remember Google’s Panda?

Don’t get me wrong; I use Google for research the same way I used to use Funk & Wagnalls. However, what I wrote was based on my critical thinking process resulting from experience and expertise. It was a thoughtful opinion designed to impart knowledge and get people thinking. My greatest benefit was that I was continuously learning – exercising my brain because I had to think, analyze, and form an opinion or conclusion. I would then share it without considering whom or how many would read it. It wasn’t about garnering likes or boasting about beating an algorithm to get responses. It was about connecting to stimulate dialogue that didn’t devolve into a “preaching to the choir” following of unanimous agreers. As the great Howard Kahoon – an IBM executive, once told me – “if both of us agree on everything all of the time, then one of us is redundant.”

While certainly not as advanced as today’s AI offerings, programs such as “TweetAngels” – which promised to deliver “targeted followers” on Twitter for a fee, or the myriad of YouTube “robots, spiders, and offline readers” were available way back then. Let’s not even talk about SEO keywords and phrases that reduced content creation into a game of “guess the right word combination” exercise.

I am sorry to say the following because I am not looking to offend anyone. However, to me, these “gaming the system tools” to get reads, likes, follows and whatever else may make you feel relevant – for a time. But beyond a sense of fleeting “personal validation,” what is the player really accomplishing? What are we doing if all we achieve is a ubiquitous regurgitation of popular opinion?

Seeking consensus for claps (applause), as I call it, doesn’t sit right. Jason Busch is one of several people for whom I have a great deal of respect. While we have had our literary differences, I knew what I read was authentic and based on earned knowledge and experience. That is why I enjoyed our written exchanges as much as I did. Kelly Barner is another person for whom I have high regard. I can’t help but think that my mutual exchanges with these and other individuals made me better and somehow wiser. They challenged me to up my game like I hoped I somehow upped their game.

All this being said, I understand the appeal of “popularity” and receiving a positive echo from the content you create and share. You want that validation and verification that what you say matters. However, by its very nature, fame, like wealth, is ephemeral. It is forever a moving target that can disappear in today’s hyperactive social media world as soon as it appears.

And while I may not be Tony Robbins famous, or a Sam Browne 🦖 or Richard van der Blom, I have managed to build a WordPress blog with more than 14,000 followers that I would like to think is still relevant after 16 years. I also hosted 900 episodes on Blog Talk Radio, in which some segments had more than 30,000 downloads in the 72 hours immediately following the live broadcast. Even though tagging and sharing links is now supposedly taboo on LinkedIn – something about algorithms, I have had posts with more than 90,000 views or more than 200 comments.

I genuinely understand our human nature desire to find shortcuts to gaining followers and collecting likes. I also understand that because the systems of distribution are not in our control, chasing algorithms or using “keywords” to gain the spotlight and an audience is an evolving exercise in futility.

In this context, all you really have when you put yourself out there is your clarity of purpose. Mine has always been “Delivering Understanding Beyond Insights.” What is yours?

Research Links:

What do Facebook readers think about Jasper – Writing Blog Posts 10X faster With Robots: https://bit.ly/3TcAAQ3

Why Anabolic Steroids Are Banned In Bodybuilding: https://www.verywellfit.com/anabolic-steroids-bodybuilding-and-weight-training-3498211

Posted in: Commentary