With that title and a cat picture, I estimate everyone on the Internet will have visited this page by next week.
Widespread fame and record breaking numbers of pageviews were never my intention when I started writing this blog. I’m not saying that I’d turn those things down if they were offered to me, but since day one I’ve been pretty sure that this blog isn’t going to become an Internet sensation, because every update is a massive block of text containing many big words and very few pictures, none of which feature anime characters doing it, and on the Internet that combination is practically a big sign that says, “MOVE ALONG – NOTHING TO SEE HERE.”
If I wanted to be popular the changes are obvious – write shorter, list-based updates more frequently and post funny videos and images – but that would do fuck-all for my growth as a writer and alienate the 15 diligent souls who’ve been following me for as long as I’ve been doing this.
Because let’s face it: Right now I’m pretty much the NBC of the Internet. NBC, as an NBC employee I went on one date with and never saw again explained it to me, is ‘the most popular network with people who don’t really watch TV.’
The most successful TV programs are either glorified talent shows, good looking detectives scrutinizing semen, or doctors and nurses bumping uglies in hospital supply closets. NBC’s Thursday lineup, which over the past several years has been as close as I’m ever going to get to religious devotion, includes none of those things, which is why it’s scarcely watched in spite of its critical acclaim.
I by no means am trying to imply that my blog is as good as 30 Rock, or that shorter blogs designed to attract more views are necessarily bad – I’m just saying that it takes a special sort of person to get all amped up about sitting down to read a thousand or more words as I meander my way toward a point, much in the same way that it takes a special sort of person to get wrapped up in a show like Community or Parks and Recreation, and those sorts of people are in short supply, which explains why those shows don’t get big ratings and my blog doesn’t get big hits.
Honestly, though, I like it that way. Obscurity protects me from the scrutiny of the collective sociopathic middle school that is the Internet and allows me to fuck around and experiment with my writing in front of a small, safe audience of friends and family like a kid doing tricks on his skateboard in the driveway. Sure, sooner or later I’ll have to expose myself to a wider audience who’ll presumably take me to task for my run on sentences and gross overuse of semicolons and dashes, but hopefully by the time that happens my writing will be a full time job with a robust salary that allows me to order guacamole at Mexican restaurants without caring that it costs extra.*
*What’s that old saying? ‘Guac at Del Taco is the best revenge?’ Yeah, I’m sure that’s it.
About six weeks ago, Blogspot made a pretty huge update to their interface – if you want to know specifically when, look back at my past updates and make a note of when the font went from the friendly, demure old version I liked so much to this new, overlarge monstrosity I’m writing in now.
Besides completely fucking up the look of my blog, though, they also added a tool that allows you to track how many hits individual updates get. The results, like most things in my life, started off confusing and ultimately led to disappointment:
You’ll notice that older updates seem to have more hits than the newer ones, which I imagine is a result of everybody getting sick of my constantly blown deadlines and just stopping by once and a while to catch up on everything they’ve missed. However, some updates have fared significantly better than others – my update ‘Money’, for example, has been viewed 10,651 times, while my update about the gay marriage debate has only been viewed 90 times.
At first I was giddy that the equivalent of a small town in a John Mellencamp song had read one of my updates, until I got suspicious and started looking at the referral pages. As it turns out, most of those 10,651 visitors were people who had done a Google Image Search for the word ‘money’ and found my blog because the first result was a picture of money that I’d uploaded. Samesies for the 2473 people who viewed my update about Workaholics, or the 2157 strangers who showed up to read about Risk.
Yes, it turns out that for all of my lofty talk about text and building a small, committed, literate reader base, you guys are a statistically insignificant percentage of my readership compared to the folks who show up in droves via Google to right click and save a couple of images I posted on a couple of blogs that happened to have frequently searched titles.
I wear my ignorance of search engine optimization as a badge of honor, but I am kind of kicking myself for not figuring this sort of stuff out sooner – if I’d taken advantage of some of Blogspot’s monetization options I probably could’ve made some decent cheesesteak money off of the ten thousand people who showed up last month to steal my picture of money (which I, in turn, stole from another website).
So today is the start of an experiment: We’ll see how many hits this update gets with its provocative title and popular image, and if it’s impressive, well… I mean, they show ads during 30 Rock and nobody accuses Tina Fey of selling out, am I right?
Truman Capps hopes that this is the last time he gives press to Kim Kardashian.