It has been a heck of a week.
An old post of mine, R.I.P. Bunny Bixler, went mini-viral last week. Someone with a lot of followers pushed a link to this post on Facebook, and I still don’t know much more than that. Things are getting back to normal around here now, like Fort Lauderdale after the frat boys go home. As I walk around picking up empty beer cans, I’m asking myself, “what’s it all about, Alfie?”
My best single day for traffic on the blog happened 3 years ago when a Freshly Pressed piece got 4700 views. Now the number to beat is 5500 and I hit that two days in a row. Bunny Bixler is my top post of all time with more than 17,000 views. That may be chump change to you, but it’s a whole lot to me. Major.
Above is a graph from my stats page. See the numbers that came before last week? It looks like this joint was a ghost town until then. Yet those blips represent solid blog posts: pieces that I was rather proud to run, and that got a respectable number of views from a number of respectable viewers. They’ve been reduced to nothing more than the tiny bumps of a hopeful, 12-year-old girl compared to the Dolly Partons that follow.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m grateful for the tourism. I want to attract lots of visitors. This means there’s a chance that when WordAds pays me for running their commercials on my page, the next check will arrive in less than the 2 years it took to get the first one.
But this numbers business has me conflicted.
I can’t help thinking that the Kardashian Machine built an entire empire out of nothing by pushing up their numbers. They now have a separate brand for:
- The Kardashian family
- Kim and her sister Chloe
- Kim and Bruce Jenner
- Kim and her skinny, underage model sisters
- Kim and Kanye
- Kim, Kanye and Cheesepuff, or whatever they named that poor kid
- Kim’s butt.
Each brand has its own TV show (past, present or in negotiation,) its own perfume, and its own publicist whose sole job is to ratchet up their numbers, which they got because they’re famous, which they are because they ratcheted up their numbers, which they got because they’re famous, etc. It’s like that Escher print of the continually looping staircase and it makes my brain hurt.
I signed up for Twitter a couple of weeks ago to build MY numbers and get in with the hep cats and cool dudes. I haven’t done much since then. One blogging friend retweeted one of my tweets so, not knowing the etiquette, I replied with a thank you. She was kind enough to let me know that what I actually did was retweet and thank MYSELF. She thought I was being funny. I knew I was being clueless.
I’m somehow following or linked in to all kinds of people I don’t even know and I’m supposed to feed this ravenous Twitter engine with an endless supply of tweets, favorites, retweets, and hashtags. It’s got me totally flummoxed. #stoptheworldIwanttogetoff.
One recent tweet from a friend of a friend was a link to a post that explained how to grow your blog using Twitter. The post said you need to do hashtag reposts on Mondays, rehash tag posts on Tuesday, corned beef hashtags on Wednesday, on and on throughout the week. She freely admits that she doesn’t have time to actually READ any of the stuff she’s recommending to everyone – how can you read 150 pieces every day? But if we all push one another’s stuff, we’ll jack the numbers and build community.
That’s not building community, that’s blogging by the numbers.
I love my online community. These are people I like and people whose work I like. Oftentimes I’m lucky and they’re the same person. I’m always open to meeting and liking new people, but I won’t pretend to be besties with 17,000 strangers.
Here’s what I want. I want…
1) Fame & Fortune. Yes, I do. I want it a lot. But I want to earn it because people like the things that I…
2) Write. I want to write good stuff. I want to make folks laugh or think or merely experience a mild twitch of the lips because, “gee, that Peg has a tidy way with a phrase.” I want to write things that people want to…
3) Read. I want people to read my stuff. I want EVERYone to read it and tell their friends. Once everyone on earth is reading and loving my work, I’ll arrive at item #1.
I’m going to keep trying to do my best work so people will want to read it and share it. If I do this right, someday the Peg-o-Leg brand will be as famous as Kim Kardashian’s butt.
PS If you have managed to figure out Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Press This, Pinterest and such, feel free to look through my archives, choose your favorite posts and push the hell out of them. In the interest of building community.