57 Channels (and Nothin' On)

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    In 1992, Bruce Springsteen released the song 57 Channels (And Nothin' On). I often have days when I feel like this, when I hit my limit of news, friend and family updates, funny cat videos, over-hyped political commentary and silly industry comics. Nothing piques my interest. This sometimes makes me long for a more rudimentary role that satisfies my blue collar roots like construction or farming - that is, swapping stagnant desk work for actual movement where my legs aren't slowing dying beneath me.

    In reality, there's a ton of stuff on the web that's interesting, educational, and entertaining. I simply reach my maximum saturation early. And yet sadly, I'll still pick up my phone habitually as if something may have changed since I last checked it 30 seconds ago. 

    At first, I thought I had some sort of Internet addiction but once I'm offline and engaged with some other conversation, project or hobby I have little desire to jump back on. I really only check my phone habitually when I have to wait for something - stop lights, kid practices, doctor visits, etc. You may still call this an addiction of some sort and I'm ok with that. My point is I get bored with the content I check regularly.

    I'm confident I'm not alone in this behavior. Millions of others get Internet bored too. It's like reading the same sports headlines over and over again and hoping a new and interesting story pops up. So, as content writers and curators we have to pay attention to this phenomenon. People are tired of the fluff and demand higher quality reading. Think of this, too - there is more content added on a daily basis than anyone of us can count in a lifetime. Check out Internet Live Stats (keep in mind these aren't based on real stats but likely estimates and averages). Even Eric Schmidt in 2010 was quoted saying that every two days we create as much new content as we had in total up to 2003! Even in 2010 that was a lot of cat videos. And that's a lot of competition when trying to capture the attention of oversaturated, bored users like myself.

    So, what do we do? We keep honing our writing skills. We focus on relevance and quality. We continue to ask questions on how we can improve. We try, we fail, we succeed and we learn at every step. And then maybe, just maybe, we'll steal the attention of someone before they get bored and have a real chance at making a new, enduring connection.

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    About the Author

    Matt Zentz

    Matt Zentz launched Marketpath from a small Broad Ripple bungalow in February 2001 with a focus on custom web application development. He built the first, basic version of a hosted CMS called Webtools and shortly afterward expanded his team and created the first version of Marketpath CMS.

    Matt has worked for a national consulting firm, taught computer programming to high school juniors and seniors , and led the information technology arm of the auxiliary business units at Indiana University.

    Matt graduated from Indiana University in 1999 with a B.S. in Computer Science and has built custom web applications since 1995. Matt is husband to an amazing & supportive wife, has three beautiful children, supreme master to Archimedes (Archie) the dog, and mostly tolerant victim of 2 flying rats (cockateils).

    He coaches various kid sports, enjoys furniture and home renovation projects, and plays guitar and piano. Matt is also active with his church as a parishioner, technical advisor and board member on the festival committee.

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