Exposing the lore 06: “An online article should be evergreen”

EIL 06What is “evergreen”?

Well, like the tree it’s named after, it’s simply material that always looks more or less the same, is more or less enduring despite the passing of time. It’s not going to be content about the Beiber’s latest drunken escapade, nor the latest incoherent statement that The Donald has spit out in public thinking that no one will take him seriously (wait, does anyone really take Trump seriously? What was that one about shooting someone on Fifth Avenue….let’s talk about Justin instead, ha!)

Now, while some content will want to be evergreen, change is natural. Even the best piece of evergreen content can become dated. The scientific community is constantly throwing new things at us about what is and what is not. Raise your hand if you were taught that Pluto was a planet.

Then, making a sweeping statement like “An online article should be evergreen” means that no one should write about current events. That’s kind of silly, though, since a lot of Internet users are specifically looking for current events content. Why, just yesterday on FaceBook, I read that Paul Newman had died. I was amazed and saddened…. until I actually read the article and found that he had died back inn 2008 and the “news” was just a reminder of the loss of a wonderful actor. Guess I’m not much of a current events reader if it took me 8 years to find out he had left us….

So, naturally, if you are writing about how to fix a kitchen faucet, then you’ll probably be writing something somewhat evergreen (until the faucet engineers design a new type that your explanation won’t help fix). And, naturally, if you are writing about the horrible taste in 2016 Oscar awards attire, well, that’s simply not going to be evergreen beyond its historical significance.

You’ll choose “evergreen” or “deciduous” according to your topic. What you’ll need to be aware of is that the “evergreen” may need updating sometime in the future, while the “deciduous” can be written in a fashion that makes it lasting despite being current. History is full of “deciduous” material which then becomes reference points for both the present and the future (though we never seem to get around to actually learning from those then current events).

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