WordPress Quandaries – Curation Through Culling

300 Followers? No... This is SPAM!

300 Followers? No… This is SPAM!

Disclaimer: Rant Piece Ahead

Let me start off by asking this question – Do any of you actively choose to unfollow blogs that you are currently following on WordPress sites? Or is this some taboo topic, only to be whispered around in hush tones around campfires at night.

I’m going out on a limb here and say most of you don’t. You have either never thought of it, or you feel your gut wrenching whenever your mouse button hovers over the follow / unfollow button in the omnipresent bar hovering on the top. (I call it the Fubar.)

But before that, let’s discuss your views on what the heck a Follow actually is:

  1. Currency – I follow you, you follow me back. This is courtesy, in some strange blog-culture manner, and society approves of it.
  2. Free Love – Oh, cool story bro. Follow! Oh cool pic. Follow! It doesn’t matter what the rest of your blog looks like. Follow! Exclamation points are just so awesome!
  3. E-Peen – This blog has ten thousand followers, thus it must be awesome. How it got them is not important.
  4. Ceretas Paribus – Followers and Following should grow in constant of one another. It’s only respect that I should show an interest in the community that has shown an interest in me.
  5. Interest – I have looked through this blog and it’s contents, and have found it to be highly entertaining and relevant. Hence I grace the blog with a follow. Also known as, if you chose this option, you’re probably lying.

But my real question here is, how then do you actually interact with the people you follow? What happens when your follows grow to such a extent, that you can no longer separate great content from the chafe. In particular, this relates strongly to the Reader Feed and email notifications. Sometimes it is what it is – Spam.

Behind the wall of spoon-fed social interactivity, there is A TON of awesome content on WordPress sites. So much so, I’ve practically abandoned Facebook due to sheer boredom from its drivel content. On a weekly basis, you read something inspiring or quirky on WordPress that makes you feel that you are a better human-being, just for having read it.

There’s my take on blogging right there. You can quote me on it. And the reason why some blogs thrive when others fail. After all, content will always be king.

But my take on the whole following / follower mess is a lot more depressing and cynical. What WordPress is terming as a social experience is turning into a festering pool of pro-creating viruses that seems hell-bent of turning every single blogger into a following-liking machine i.e. A social-media kid rather than a content creator.

And everyday their numbers grow. Have you ever seen the number of followers on your blog fall? Didn’t think so. But when was the last time you heard from 90% of your followers? Whether you see this as a good or bad thing, that’s for you to decide. It’s like the Facebook like and share after all. Clicking means interaction.

So what then must eventually happen? My personal opinion is that in the long run, two possible scenarios will occur. Likely in sequence:

(1) Overload leads to desensitization

The Reader, Notification functions will be largely ignored by the populace as people just keep clicking like and follow like sheep. This is detrimental to WordPress since content quality must give way to efforts to publicise and rise above the noise. Much like it already is.

(2)A counter-culture of unfollowing will start develop

A movement of self-curation, whether enforced or spread like an idea, people will learn from their behavior in real life and learn to be discerning. You don’t go around throwing five-star reviews everywhere, but neither do you troll and post comments in the negative. Rather, you just learn to ignore, and block out the bad.

Then one day, you finally learn the reason why the unfollow button is there all along. Inspired, you click on it. The world doesn’t end. You breathe, you smile. You go to another blog, and you click it again. You start swinging, wielding your mighty left mouse button like the chainsaw from Evil Dead, mowing down zombie blogs.

The Purple Pony Blog? Unfollow. Blog with nothing but reblogs. Unfollow. Wilson K’s blog…. maybe next time.

Don’t wait people!

The inevitable will come. Start unfollowing today. Turn your Reader into a well of knowledge and creativity that you can tap on everyday to nourish your soul. Turn every email you receive into one you will actually bother to click on, and let’s show those son-of-bitches blog trolls that we’re not falling for their little tricks and fairy dust again.

You can start with me first, if you like. Just move your mouse up, you know you want to. And… click. I offer myself up to the gods of Mount WordPressian as a willing sacrifice. May my blood wash away your trolls, inhibitations and inability to use WordPress effectively anymore.

Signed in blood.

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Backtracking

Well that just happened. I went off track with my story on the last 5000 words and it reads more like a fantasy / sci-fi novel with a horror theme than a horror story. Backtracking a little to see what I can salvage, but it’s a big slap in the face for me. Spent the whole of today creating Story / Character / Idea chit sheets with a whole bunch of checklists this time to make sure it won’t happen again.

Feeling the burn. Fortunately most of the parts can be dissected and reused… oh well. Started another story as well, will upload it tomorrow. Next time, I’ll write off the seat of my pants only for the first 10K words before I sit down and plan things out… or you know, just plan things out from the start.

P.S: Apparently Big Bang Theory just used the immortal Jellyfish as a conversation opener for their last episode, so I just received quite a bump on my Immortal Jellyfish post. The power of the media. This post and another Ang Lee one I wrote are my most popular posts right now. Kinda sad about it, but oh well, a view’s a view.

Ramblings Of A Noob Blogger Part Deux

Here’s a few things I have learnt since my last noobish ramblings last week.

WordPress Posting Skills 

  • You can resize and realign photos by clicking on the photo after inserting it into the post. I just realigned most of my earlier posts with those gigantic portrait photos.
  • Quote boxes are great when used wrongly. Quote pictures with blocks of text to align them side by side, or use quotes to create artificial breaks in your post to make it more readable.
  • You can schedule posts for posting anytime, including sending it back to the past and make your first posts super awesome. Neat trick to stay regular instead of binge posting.
  • Viewing on your iPad and iPhone actually bump up your view count a lot. Apparently even when logged in, they are counted as new views.

Rethinking The Internet

  • Google is seriously an awesome site. Referrals from search make up my main views now, and WordPress stats tells me everybody uses Google. They usually end up in my photo prompts since the themes and shots I use are quite popular.
  • I post too much crap and have realigned my content for more original posts or posts with some commentary, except for writing guides, which would be too much crap if I tried to add anything to them.
  • I actually enjoy raving once I get into a mood on a particular topic. I’m posting more for me now instead of a pretend audience, and it seems to be working. More natural flow to the posts as well.
  • If I included a photo in a post and call it something like Justin Bieber Topless, my views will skyrocket. Such is the world we live in. In fact, just post any topic with one of the google top search results as your title or file name, put a few pictures and links inside with the same naming convention, and you are golden.

Isn’t life great. I wonder what amazing trick WordPress has in store for me tomorrow. Screw SEO, Justin Bieber Pics FTW.

Ramblings Of A Noob Blogger

Being the noob bloglet that I am, I have developed a unhealthy obsession with the little ticker on the top of my WordPress page. On one hand, I find it extremely insightful in telling me how people are discovering and using my site, but on the other hand, I find myself irritably worried whenever I see it flatline for a couple of hours.

This is my first blog, so I came in here with no expectations. But slowly, as the views, likes and followers came in, I found myself steering my postings towards what I think gets attention – quirky little quotes and pictures. Then suddenly I stopped. I felt like a cheap little whore posting quotable memes. When I came back, I decided to focus on what I set up the blog for, pimping my own stories.

Then out of nowhere, I start getting significant search engine referrals for a particular post of mine, one of the photo prompts. Heck, someone even shared it somewhere, and I am beginning to see a big distinction between views and likes. That got me thinking, which one should I actually care about?

From what I see, bloggers on WordPress seem to be liking posts for the sake of it, or perhaps it’s a “I see yours, now come see mine” invitation. No offence meant of course, it still does wonders for my e-peen. But my most read posts actually got very little attention in terms of likes.

So, I would like to ask the REAL bloggers out there, not the pro-SEO and meme-me too posters. What should a noob bloglet actually care about when posting.

Specifically:

  • Length of an article? I think I need to cut back.
  • Are pictures necessary? We know most are screen grabs from Google.
  • Is it fair practice to take content from other sites and post it? (Even though you credit them)
  • Is it obnoxious to post content that you know no one wants to read?
  • Should I fish for likes and followers using non-original content?

I could probably google it and read some semi-pro site for this information, but I would like to seek a few alternative views first. Thanks in advance for any opinions you have to share.

P.S: I think this would constitute as a fishing post right?

EDIT: Just did quite a fair bit of research on spam-liking and spam-following. Ah well, guess the only true measure of readers is the number of comments / actual views you get then.