Stats Don’t Lie

20130522-225512.jpg
Personal Update
In case you haven’t noticed, I haven’t made a blog post in a while. And that’s gonna continue for a while. Reason is simple. Shit happens IRL and I’m gonna be stuck in California for at least 3 more weeks.I have written a ton in the past few weeks, but I’m contemplating what to do with them now.

Blog Rant
Attached above are the stats for my blog. As expected, my latest non-story update, the Game Of Thrones poster is charging up to become one of my most read posts, despite it being just a prequel to the actual post I wanted to write. It’s nice since I put in a bit of effort into that Jpeg, but it’s also sad because I knew it would succeed to a certain degree, given my own search patterns on Google.

Continue reading

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.

Related Articles:

What Stops You From Creating Content

Content Is King

Someone actually asked this question on Quora, and I gave my reply. I thought it might be interesting to see how the blogging community differs from the Quora one, since they tend to be more to the point and focused on facts, while the WordPress crowd seems to be more whimsical and emotive. Lemme know what you think of my answer to the question.

Why is the percentage of population that writes online content so much smaller than those who read it?

Filed Under: Writing

Why 95% of people will not write

This can only be explained as a journey. I’ve only started blogging about 2 months back. When I first started, I was scared stiff. My mind is total blank, and everything i thought I might post, sounded like a very bad idea. What if people don’t like me… what if… what if. 

The feelings I had in this single moment, could have stopped me from writing anything, and has likely stopped 95% of the world from writing anything. With that in mind, we move on to the remaining 5%

Of the remaining 5% – 90% of them repurpose content, and do not actually create content

These are the people who actually attempt to write. Like most people, I resorted to the Tumblr-style of blogging, taking other people’s content and posting in on my blog. Wheee I have a blog! 

Cute memes, gifs with inspiring quotes, lolscats, that was how I started my blog. And I believe this accounts for a good 90% of the remaining 5% of content out there. Reposts, repurposed, and represented content. I.e. Using content off the internet to create content.

This essentially means all social media content, 99% of all self-published blogs and online aggregators… that’s like 99% of web traffic right there.

For me, one month on, still slightly self-conscious. I started writing opinion pieces on what I felt about certain things, but never truly writing a full post with all original content. To this point, I have probably explained why a good 99% of the world does not create content. Which answers your question.

The last 0.5% – The journey to content creation

But the journey to creating actual original content goes even further than that. It’s even a longer journey than the one before this. Most people get stuck in the repurposing content department and stay there for good.

I have written my journey about trying to create original content in my blog, so click on it if you want to know the rest of the journey. But if you’re not comfortable, just know that it requires three things:

(1) An actual opinion This is the step that gives you the urge to create. Not just facts. This is actually more difficult than you might think. A lot of people are more comfortable just throwing facts around instead of having an opinion. You need to learn how to give the nay-sayers the finger and just write what you feel. Unless you’re a researcher, original content is usually just giving your own spin on things, not recreating the wheel – Your own recipe on fried chicken, your review on the movie, your commentary on the Obama Administration etc.

(2) An interest This step is the one that is the killer as mentioned above. What the hell am I suppose to write about? The ability to find a niche of content you actually care about will get you started once you develop an opinion. But usually people start off very broadly, before finding a niche. This takes time and people wander off course and never come back

Back to my personal experience, when I first started, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to write about, even when the interest is there. But I pushed through and made a few ambiguous postings. You really need (1) + (2) to get the first post cracking. But these two points are still not enough. Even if someone has the skill, he often goes, “oh someone is already doing it, someone is better at it…” It’s easier to just refer to someone than write the content yourself, because it is already there!

Thus point 3 is the most important one of all, but it only happens when you have (1) + (2)

(3) The URGE to write From experience, this only comes to you over time, and it is a surprisingly addictive process. The more you write… the more YOU WANT to write. For me now, what was once arduous 200-word posts, now become easy-peasy thousand word opinion pieces, which I have to slap my hands to stop writing. (Much like this post).

Anyhow, here are my blog posts in order from March to April so you know of my thought process. From scared blogger to person who can’t shut up.

Ramblings Of A Noob Blogger
Ramblings Of A Noob Blogger Part Deux
Midweek Ravings: Happy One Month Old Blog!
Happy Two Month Old Blog!

P.S: I’m not saying my content-creation is the top 0.5% or anything. It’s just my journey towards creating content for a subject I’m interested in. And I am actually trying to create content, just need to create higher quality stuff.

Update: I think I might have been ‘down-voted’ on Quora for this post. Just another of case of TL;DR. Such is the attention span of the world today.  

Happy Two Month Old Blog!

Mmmm... Cake

Mmmm… Cake

A few days late with this, but whatever, it’s the internet. I can say it’s the Vatican Queen’s birthday and people will believe me. In breaking news, they just made me Phantom of the Opera. But before I go for rehearsals, let’s do a blog review and discuss WordPress Analytics! Note, this is a self-serving post, anybody who reads this and gets pissed off, well, it’s your fault.

Good Stuff That Happened In March

  • Content: I’ve hit the sweet spot in terms of where I want my blog to be now. Mostly original content backed by my stories. I no longer feel the need to hide behind big name writers and websites. Not sure how this happened, I didn’t plan for it. It just came out. Heck, I even wrote one semi-guide using my own content and examples.
  • Originality: I’m writing more original content in all my posts – stories, reviews, ravings, guides, then ever before, all in, I’m pouring over 20,000 words of self-written content into my blog each month. About 600-800 original words per post with lots of quotes. It seems that with each week, I use less and less of other people’s content.
  • Theme: I think I found a theme which I am comfortable sitting on, one that actually has readable fonts while still providing structure. Though I’m still sad that I cannot just increase the font size automatically. Why WordPress sticks with mainly tiny fonts, I have no idea. Just 1-2 size upgrades for me would be perfect. Other than that, I’m still eyeing the MimboPro theme enviously, though I think it’s a dumb move since I don’t have that much content for such a newsy theme.

Bad Stuff That Happened In March

  • Like-Trollers: Still an amazing ton of them. Not sure where they get their kicks from honestly. What’s sad is when I click on their blogs, they have tens of thousands of followers. Like me, you have probably followed a few trolls before who liked all your post but never actually read anything. WordPress seriously needs to clean this up, if nothing else it is extremely misleading, encourages bad behaviour, and has turned one of the major metrics into a downright joke.
  • Follower-Trollers: Not as bad, but yea, I can’t get rid of you, and that makes me sad. I can imagine WordPress doing an infograph one day showing off all these metrics, and I’ll just be like whatever. If I can block them from even showing up anywhere, that would totally make my day. No, diarrhoea medicine guy or crappy SEO guy, I am not interested in you. The bad thing is, I’m wary about following people now, or even clicking on the likers in my post. More than 50% of them are turds.
  • Readership-Count Dropped: It’s just a given that fiction story posts do not get the same number of views as say a reblog from a famous author or a writing guide post. One of my stories, got a lot of new viewers because I tagged gaming, xbox and stuff. But did they actually read the posts, no. Refer to like-trollers. Plus I didn’t get the big reblog I got in Feb and earlier in March. One reblog by a big site will totally send your site to new heights for the entire week and not just the day. But still, I try to cut down on troll posts unless it’s something I like, e.g. Mad Men or World War Z (only 2 likes but top viewed post for content posted in April).

Analytics… Or “Pics Else It Didn’t Happen”

  • Internet loves Memes – Those I posted in the past are still my top posts on a week-to-week basis – The Immortal Jellyfish (20% of all my views), The Biodegradable Urn and The Gazelle Meme all gets lots of hits from Google. Jellyfish gets consistent hits every single day. The view count of that alone is multitudes higher than everything else, even those reblogged by others. The Gazelle Meme got like 11 one day, just not sure why. These people do not bother reading the other stuff too, so whatever.
  • Readership Count is Wonky All you need is one reader trolling through your entire site and your view count skyrockets. Honestly on all the best views days, that’s what happens. Else, I attract a very small but consistent unique user figure, just the number of views differ.
  • How to get to 1000+ followers Post and tag more photo prompts of the hottest google searches, reblog more content from big names. Until my own stuff gets better, thats the only way. Else I could make internet-friendly stories, very short, to the point, with a gimmick… maybe next time. Until then, just got to brush up my own content.

What I want to do

  • Need More People To Follow – I unfollowed quite a lot of people this month, but now I actually have a awesome reading list choke full of stuff I want to read instead of “Gif of blogger of the month” award ten times in a row, when their blog has more exclamation points and “You can do it!” stuff than actual content. Hence would like to look for new people to follow. Story Tellers, Artists, and Writing Guides are nice. The who to follow tool on the Reader page sucks very bad. No poetry or haikus though.
  • Keep At It – Just keep what I’m doing. But clearly I need to change somethings to get readers. The only way I see I can do that with sticking to the theme of stories, is probably to do something like Rick Mallery and his amazing Power Shorts Daily. I have the base in my photo prompts, just need  a change of style and become as awesome a writer as he is.
  • Structure something – People like structure or know if something can be expected. Using Rick Mallery as an example again. A story on a daily basis in your email – Very neat idea. Particularly when they have been all pretty amazing thus far. Follow him.

Gems Of The Month 

Rob Akers – Another story-teller. He writes stories based on his time in Iraq / Kuwait as a C130 pilot. He doesn’t focus on the action though, you get a detailed look at life behind the scenes. The politics and the fear in the eyes of the soldiers.

Amazing Series on Dialogue By Les Edgerton – He guest-posted them on Kristen Lamb’s blog. Amazing four-parter article that will train you how to look at dialogue differently, including the tricky subtext. Too bad he doesn’t have a WordPress blog, but he does have a Blogspot one though.

End Thoughts

I’ve decided to be more active on Quora again. They actually have an amazing community discussing and posting stories, story ideas and what-nots. In bite-size friendly pieces. Plus I like answering when people ask for ideas.

End Post. I shall have my digitally enhanced cake and eat it now. Gif-flavored icing rocks.

Related articles

Midweek Ravings: Happy One Month Old Blog!

Fact or Fiction: The more you blog, the MORE you want to blog

blog

When I started blogging just a month back, the first thought that appeared in my head was whether I had enough content or writing in me to sustain posting in the long run. Back then, all I wanted was a personal journal that would allow me to express thoughts, opinions and the lessons I have learnt in a conducive setting. Blogging seemed like the most obvious choice since I wanted to post more than just words or daily entries. I wanted to play with whatever medium I wanted, and I wanted to write more than just my day to day life.

Unfortunately, the moment I clicked the “create blog” button, I panicked. Holy crap! What should my first post be! Taking a cue from a quick look around the web, the first post seemed to be usually an introductory post, so I created the About Me page. Then came the dreaded second post i.e. The post that is actually supposed to be content. I wanted this to be a writing/reading site, so I scoured my favorites and bookmarks for old reads that I have found on the web. This went well for a while, I made a few posts in my first two days… and then I ran out of things to say.

Continue reading