hello, roaring 20s and eff you, keyword optimisation

hey, it’s Em. consider this my weird, informal, personal, SEO-rebellion-infused editorial. but first off, it’s also a gesture of deep gratitude towards the 2010s.

the 2010s brought me so many beautiful things and so many challenging things:

-so many dear friends

-so many books

-a horrific concussion + the longstanding metabolic annoyance of hypothyroidism




-7 countries?

-so, so many mountains

-a 4.0 M.A. in Social Anthropology


-mental illness

-novels I wrote and then threw into the trash

-at least 40 states?

-another concussion

-swimming in the North Sea in January (perhaps see above?)

-Nick Potensky

-a reintroduction to the beautiful world of skiing

-rock climbing

-crazy kayaking adventures

-many, many miles

and I’m so pumped for 2020. it’s the roaring 20s, everyone, and I feel a surge of optimism and hope and strength. it’s a new decade, and I’m excited. I’m excited to write in it. I’m excited to live in it. I’m excited to love in it. I’m excited to chase goals in it, and I’m also excited to sit and chill and re-watch Lord of the Rings in it. here’s to a decade of beauty.

but briefly, before subsequent posts take deeper dives into topics like consumerism and body image, foraging, the right to roam, climbing, or mental health—before I share any more crazy fairy tales about intrepid talking spiders—I want to talk about what the heck I’m doing here.

as I mentioned in an Instagram post the other day, I tried going back into an old post on the blog and optimising it for keyword searches and all that bullshit and it EFFING SUCKED. I hated it.

and this is coming from someone who makes most of her living as a content writer and ghostwriter. I do that keyword stuff for a living. I know it’s a hugely important part of writing anything on the internet these days, and I literally. can’t. bring. myself to do it. I don’t blame people who do that on their personal blogs, but for me, it’s just not my style.

that’s because when I write something, I really try to put my effort into the argument, story, and the choice of words, even if it’s a complete train-of-thought vomit of months of thoughts that have been stewing that I then edit obsessively. the only exception to this rule of my life was honestly the year of 2018, where I was super hella anxious and had no attention span with which to write, which was pretty sad and let’s not talk about it.

but now, I really care about each sentence of a story or an article, even if my sentences don’t come out exactly the way I want them to. it’s a process that I’m connected to and that I that love deeply.

and, while I would never begrudge anyone making money off of Doing the Keyword Thing so long as they didn’t spread misinformation, that whole system is kind of a bugbear of mine. when I briefly blogged in high school, I really felt that my blog allowed me to connect with a small community of dedicated readers. now, on my current blog, I get just about the same number of readers that I did at my peak in high school, but actual engagement—shares, comments, and active conversations—was just way more prevalent back in the late 2000s and early 2010s.

now that I ghostwrite, I see why: so many blogs have turned into platforms that are just totally commercial. I’ve ghostwritten countless posts on seemingly ‘innocent topics,’ like winter camping, that were in fact handmade to just feature a few link and product placements. I liked the article, but the problem remains: that’s how it is on SO MANY BLOGS these days.

of course, a marketing blogosphere like that decreases engagement. nobody really wants to engage while being the subject of wild advertisement. and that’s not just blogs, it’s the whole internet anymore: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, it’s all just so much MARKETING. and this marketing is predicated on the idea that creators and brands alike should spread their nets incredibly wide and get as many followers as possible as quickly as possible.

but that’s not actually what I want, simply because it’s not conducive to my goals. I don’t want to appeal to everyone. I just want to reach the people who would like or benefit from my work. I want a little family. I want people to contribute to this blog, to share their adventures in sustainability, to discuss their battle with/recovery from mental health issues or eating disorders or addiction, and write so many stories of their own.

I want to have a little community dedicated to the idea of Circumspectacles: about becoming a better audience for the awe-inspiring, the absurd, and the meaningful in life. I want my words to reach people, and I want to have interactions and make new friends because of what I write. I want to Not Be Everyone’s Cup of Tea, but to really give a few people something special.

I don’t know what this community will look like. maybe I need to build my own social media platform. maybe I need to start doing slam poetry competitions. whatever it is, I’ll figure it out, and I’m fortunate to have people supporting me through this adventure.

and so here is my promise: I won’t keyword-optimise any of my blog posts unless I tell you guys I do. I might attempt many other methods of search engine optimisation, but my writing process will remain as my writing process. I’m going to try to stay true to what I want to create.

and I’m asking: together, let’s buck this minimal-engagement marketing culture that has become much of social media. if you like something I create, share it. if you want me to share something of yours, hit me up! if you want to write something on my blog, even if you’re nervous or feel like it’s going to take some heavy editing, just send it my way. email me at circumspectacles@gmail.com.

I want to become more conscious in how I engage with social media—not that I want to spend way more time on social media OR to be a Luddite eschew it completely. I just want it to be a truly social way to augment the rest of my life and my friendships, as well as something to amplify this project.

this isn’t about being marketable and perfect.

yes, I want to write books. yes, I want to have my own big online magazine one day. but more than that, I want to have a family of creatively-inclined individuals from many walks of life, and I want to bring joy to those who need the type of joy I offer.

so I’m asking: help me out. share anything and everything you connect with. and give me some IDEAS. I’m just a girl trying to figure out how to build the weird little community of her dreams.

I love you all. thank you <3

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