What work will last?

Every week I edit a newsletter on writing and other things interesting to writers for my job.

Each issue is a new collection of links centered on a different theme, with other interesting nuggets at the end.

I’m always looking for ways to avoid linking to things people have already seen in the past week. If I’m just echoing what’s popular, I’m not offering much value.

Recently I stumbled onto a site that gives you the oldest existing results to your search.

It’s useful-ish.

It reminds me that there’s more to the internet than what was published days, or even hours, ago.

Many of the most frequently read posts on this site are things I wrote one or more years ago.

Yes, it’s a limited data set (I could/should post here more regularly), but they’re also posts on fairly evergreen topics.

If I write an engaging tweet, I’ll know in a matter of hours. When I publish something here, I might not know for a year or more if it has value to other people.

But the tweet will be difficult to find in a few days.

If I’m going to measure what’s a better use of my 4,000 weeks based on how many people find something useful in what I do, it makes sense to spend less time shouting to be heard in a big party and instead work quietly on making things that are available for people when they’re actively looking for them.

Clicks and eyeballs aren’t everything, but they’re a thing.