Sean Beckwith: Search Engine Sub-optimization

Most people want to get better at their job, but most people have jobs where progress is measurable. Sales people have sales numbers. Police have safety statistics. Teachers have test scores and graduation rates.

Writers have readership numbers. The most clicks equals the best content, right? So that’s what I’ve decided to do. I’m just going to fire off clickbait in hopes that something — or someone — literally clicks.

The ski industry: Do we need it?

I know winter tourism is the “lifeblood” of Aspen because one time I insulted tourists in a column and an outraged reader told me to explore a career in coal mining. However, if this whole climate change thing happens, we’ll be left high and dry. Aspen Skiing Co. needs to forgo this push to reverse the effects of climate change and embrace the future.

That’s not a bad thing if you’re prepared, though. Colorado resort communities are constantly adding summer activity infrastructure and they should continue to double down on things like alpine slides, mountain bike trails, ropes courses, Frisbee golf courses and the like. If it’s already there when the Earth is dried up and we’re just eating corn, then Aspen has a head start on the rest of the industry.

To be honest, Skico should build one of those indoor skiing facilities like you see in Qatar* right now. That way, people can wax nostalgically about the “good, cold days” while looking out the enclosed building at the inevitably snow-less slopes.

*Fun fact: Qatar is currently air conditioning the outdoors because, you know, insufferable heat from climate change.

Mansions help the environment

Restricting the size of someone’s home is going to backfire on the kids who think they know so much about science for three reasons:

1. These people pay for the extra square footage. It’s kind of like the luxury tax in sports. If you exceed the cap, then you have to pay a fee. Who knows where that money from the fee goes, but this is Aspen, so one can assume it goes into the pockets of rich people, environmentalists or rich environmentalists. And rich people always give back to the community.

2. It’s keeping out larger development. If a mansion — with its immaculate lawn and shrubbery — isn’t built, what would be? Do you really want a neighborhood full of normal people and their gross habits instead of sparsely populated homes? Think of all the wildlife that roam the empty cul-de-sacs that would be displaced if an employee housing neighborhood — or even worse, complex — was built.

3. Look at the Kevin Costner complex. It has a pond and woods and ducks. One could argue that the land encompassed in these lots is a sort of preserve. The mansions are essentially quarters for caretakers. Even then, there are rules to keep view planes intact that no one would ever try to circumvent.

Greta Thunberg: Climate hero or God?

Whether you think Greta is a charismatic environmental activist or, as one Fox News guest put it, “mentally ill,” (the network has since apologized for the comment), she’s a content queen. Me mentioning her name is SEO Coaxium.

She may be crossing the Atlantic on a schooner, yelling “How dare you!” at diplomats or leading international-wide climate marches at any given time. You know what kind of clicks that receives? The most clicks. Some people may question her audacity but if I was on Twitter at age 15 and already getting bombarded by bots and trolls, I’d probably be pissed, too. *Bane voice* She was born in the darkness. (Well, technically, Earth-debilitating heat, but you get the point.)

The climate strike/student walkout she coordinated already has given this paper alone like six op-eds, 10 articles, countless angry parents letters and a click rate rising faster than the oceans. All I need to do is end this article with a misinformed, blow-torched vape pipe-hot take on Donald Trump and I should have search engine secret sauce.

That or write an 800-word think piece on Paradise closing and how the town is losing a community asset but at the same time let’s not mess with capitalism but do I really mean that because I’m not here to tell you how to think, I’m here to tell you it’s on you to figure out how to feel because I’m just the middle man and I don’t want to be shouted down by either side because I’m merely presenting both sides of the argument and need you to keep reading but that may not happen if I piss you off.

So, yeah, click anything you want but remember news sites are tracking every page view because numbers sell ads more so than quality content. If you ever wonder why some news is just people screaming at each other, it’s probably because civil debates don’t draw eyes. People want CNN, not CSPAN.

Sean Beckwith is a copy editor at The Aspen Times. Reach him at