Wattpad: Library, Roller Rink, or Click Farm?

Ok, it’s time I got this outta the way. I’ve put off posting my thoughts about Wattpad because I prefer the positive when it comes to writing. But what positive thing is there to say about Wattpad?

Well, there’s this: Wattpad is like the local library combined with a 70’s roller rink. The core concept is cerebral, but the net result is disco. It’s nerdy but its “cool”, lame but fab. It’s literacy dressed up in strobe lights and unvaried counter-clockwise motion. Tens of millions of people are doing it today, but in 30 or 40 years everyone will stand back and hold their noses. “I can’t believe we did that!” we’ll say, shaking our sad grey hair, or whatever’s left of it.

Chicago's Gerry Murray, (L) and Brooklyn's Annabelle Kealey collide with the rail, 1946. Credit http://www.vintag.es/2015/01/32-interesting-vintage-photos-of-roller.html
skaters collide with the rail, 1946. Credit http://goo.gl/bTOHcs

That’s the best I can say about Wattpad. Here’s the rest.

Simply put, Wattpad is a click farm. From what I’ve seen of the work posted there, users are little inspired to put up quality writing. They are inspired, instead, to click. Click to view. Click to vote. Click to comment. It’s get busy writing, or get busy clicking, and everybody’s busy clicking. Click, click, click.

I get it—their model for success mirrors the rest of the Internet and social media in general. Clicks beget clicks. Rise to the top on Wattpad by having other users click your stuff because you clicked theirs. Click me and I’ll click you. It’s a clickotocracy. Clickety clack. Click my back, I’ll click yours. Misery loves company, and this is some miserable company.

This isn’t to say I didn’t try clicking. I tried to find things to click on, stories to view, writing to vote for. Nothing struck me. So I wrote a few comments, in hopes of some decent exchange. But I soon felt out of my depth, a lonely pedant, an awkward old man shushing the kids in the library. I felt like a high-brow killjoy, a grumpy old fart. Worse, I began to feel like a trench-coated old perv among children at the roller rink, a giraffe on skates.

I took note of examples but they’re not worth posting: anybody who wants to see the gore resulting from this roller derby collision will have to look elsewhere. I won’t insult your eyes with the tripe: the misspellings, the awful grammar, the awkward construction (“…she was sweet yet innocent…”). A quick browse through the cover art will leave you feeling dirty and in need of a shower.

I feel so bad to have orphaned my story, One Dead Cop, to a miserable place like Wattpad. Poor Sammy Darko, the one clean cop murdered by his corrupt cop brethren. Art, as always, mirroring life.

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2 thoughts on “Wattpad: Library, Roller Rink, or Click Farm?”

  1. I’ve been following your Wattpad experiment with interest. My own experience has been that there’s some good fiction there but that going to Wattpad isn’t the way to find it: there’s so much crap that probability is really working against you. I’ve been recommended Wattpad stuff occasionally from other sites, and that’s when I’ve found the True Quill.

    A couple of days ago I came across this post about Wattpad and thought it might interest you. Of course, I then forgot to do anything about it . . . until now!

    Like

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