Welcome to the redesigned website! I’m experimenting with different themes. I’m also optimizing for SEO. To that end, I’ve plugged in Yoast SEO for WordPress. One of the stranger features of Yoast is its post analysis. Developed in conjunction with a linguist, the Yoast’s algorithm scores your blog entry according to, among other things:
Some of this is quite disconcerting, especially the last bit. Yoast reads your post and rates it using the Flesch Reading Ease score. Presumably a good score correlates to a high SEO ranking. This means that anyone who wants a high SEO ranking will need to dumb down their posts.
In addition to promoting a lower reading level throughout the internet (Yoast boasts over a million active installs), it’s safe to say that this system will also lead to homogeneity. “Good” Yoast posts will all draw from the same shallow pool of vocabulary and keywords.
The Yoast post scoring system also encourages, in certain circumstances, bloggers to pad their posts unnecessarily. Take for example this paragraph. It’s pretty useless but does count to the all important word tally. I’m about two-thirds the way there now.
Discovery is money. The incentives for writing beneath a 6th grade level are real. Texting, tweeting, and blogging are all very necessary components of many modern livelihoods. Between the limited substance of a text, the limited characters in a tweet, and now the limited vocabulary in our blog posts, can it be argued that newspeak isn’t being foisted upon us?
The concept behind newspeak is that you can limit thought by limiting language. Is that the cost of doing business digitally? Must we limit substance, our vocabulary, and our characters? Must we limit our thoughts?
What do I care, I write about video games (not in this post obviously, but some days).
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