Friday, November 21, 2014

Assessing This Blog

Borepatch and I have been blogging since 2008. We started blogging together in June of this year.

Last night we had a long, wide ranging phone conversation. It was a great conversation, one I would have with a brother, if I had one. It touched a lot of topics and I think neither of us could quite find a way to bring it to an end.

One of those topics was this blog, what we are doing, why, and how we assess ourselves. Bloggers create their content, either unique or rehashed, and post it. We have no editors. We are unpaid. The digital equivalent of the guy standing on a soapbox in the park. 

We can look at two things. Hit counts and comments. Hit counts are a measure of how many people visit the site, how long they stay, how many pages they click on, what they click on, and how they got to the site. It is a regular, clockwork way to get a feel for hits. A lot of you are regulars, you stop by every day. Some one time visitors go to a particular post as a result of a search.

Comments are the other measure. Comments are like manna to a blogger. If you moved a reader enough to get a comment, it's a plus. A post that generates a discussion of readers, especially a discussion that doesn't devolve into insults and Godwin's Law, is a gift.

Sometimes you put up a post that you labored over. Something you care about, a personal story like the one I did a few days ago about photography and the Marine Corps. You think, "There, that's a great post." You put it up and sit back waiting for comments. Instead, crickets.

Other times you put a picture of a cat and some one line joke and thirty people chime in.

It may be that we are using hit counts and comments as assessment tools and it's a false measure. Maybe the regular readers really enjoyed a post, but just didn't have anything to add. Maybe the ones that got something out of it only lurk and never comment. How would we know?

We don't know what we don't know.

Meanwhile a picture of a cat...

And three one liners, that's an extra two just for reading this far...

1. I thought I wanted a career, turns out I just wanted paychecks.
2. Never hit a man with glasses. Hit him with a baseball bat.
3. With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine.


J Bogan said...

I made a comment once to an older lady friend, something about that'll happen when pigs fly... She later presented me with an awsome bronze "statue" for want of a better word, of a pig with wings... I still look for an appropriate car to use that as a hood ornament on..
Jesse in DC

Brigid said...

That was me - on't type after a 18 hour duty day-

Home on the Range has had 8.7 million hits in 8 years. 30,000 people plus a week visit. Everyone said "you need to write a book". I wrote the book. Only 202 of those 30,000 readers actually bought it while thousand's of strangers did.

There is no science to it. There's no logic. The best stuff on the net is discarded like kitty litter, but Kim Kardashian publishes her much too photo shopped butt to the world, and millions rejoice.

Write because you want to write. Blog because your actual friends will care. Anything more is ego and fluff,

Pootie Tang said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pootie Tang said...

I like the photography posts. Those were great memories to capture. Sometimes there's nothing left to add. Perhaps page views are a better page to consider.

Hat Trick said...

I'm one of those regular readers who rarely has anything to add to the discussion but I read every post the two of you put up. Keep up the good work. I'll add that pigs can fly when given sufficient incentive like the Yorkshire boar we had that managed to clear a 6' fence when he figured out that he was being sent off to market.

Anonymous said...

Due to circumstances currently beyond my control, I have limited time on the Internet. Therefore, I usually choose to spend that time reading rather than commenting. This blog is one of my daily must reads (the other two being Brigid's and Ol'NFO). Please don't take the lack of commenting for lack of interest or impact. Plus the fact that you all write so well, it's a little intimidating to comment. But that's my problem. Please keep up the good work, all of you

Chris Byrne said...

Something I wrote a few weeks ago

"Blogging's not Dead... Quite",

The conversation that blogs used to be, is mostly dead. Moved into reddit, twitter, and facebook.

Skip said...

Read this and other blogs at least twice a day.
Don't comment 'cause I have nothing as well put as you.
You educate me, I cannot add to you.

ザイツェヴ said...

My most popular blog never had comments. As a blogger, I find many downsides to comments, they are too high maintenance. But if another blogger craves comments, I participage.

Differ said...

Likewise I yearn for comments (thanks NFO) but this site is a daily read for me. Cat ribbon pic was funny: one of ours likes to eat them; the subsequent ribbon pulling is not fun for the cat or the puller...

James said...

I read you daily, and comment at times. I guess you have to realize that numbers are just numbers. The real question is do you feel satisfied?

scotaku said...

Endure Fort


Chickenmom said...

I'm just an old lady who will probably never understand half of the technical things you write about. But that doesn't stop me from reading and learning. You have led me to new topics to explore and I do thank you so much for that. Stats, and of course comments are nice and you may be pleasantly surprised who reads daily and do not comment. But always write because you enjoy sharing your knowledge. You can never underestimate the people you influence.
Oh, and by the way, cat pics are mandatory.

Dan said...

What Skip said.

bruce said...

its my once a day check to see what
perversion is being skewered and what part of being human is.

Graybeard said...

FWIW, I have the same experience. Posts that I'm sure will get comments get crickets; things that are just some mental dropping generates lots.

Personally, I rarely comment if I can't contribute anything. I'll visit a blog and find what I wanted to say in the comments already and rather than say, "me too!" don't say anything.

As a certified introvert, I also tend to get overwhelmed by crowds - even if the crowd is just a bunch of comments. I rarely ever comment if there's more than 25 or so, even if what I wanted to say isn't already there.

(obligatory joke: how can you spot the extroverted engineer at a party? They look at the other guy's shoes when they talk, not their own).

joethefatman said...

I don't normally comment since I usually have nothing that adds to the discussion.

To paraphrase: Better to be thought a fool than open your mouth and prove it.

Bill Matthey said...

I would guess I'm fairly new to your blog by most any measure. I check it daily. If you have something new, and you usually do, I read it. I don't often comment. I don't comment on most of the blogs I visit.
I believe you have a quality product and I encourage you to continue.

R.K. Brumbelow said...

I (effectively) never post "Me too comments". If I comment it is topically (pun intended) for one of a few reasons:

1) State a opinion different than what has already been expressed
2) add some historical commentary
3) expand on a point made
4) Contradict or contrast a point made
5) explain something

NotClauswitz said...

Comments and crickets, happens a lot on my blog. When I was alone among the UberLiberals it was a comfort to know that there were other like-minded people out there.
I like to read comments because it connects me to other readers and I can discover other blogs and see what they are up-to. Often I get no comments on my own blog despite commenting elsewhere, and I guess I have commented inappropriately, especially when a comment is deleted.

Old NFO said...

Agree with Brigid and Greybeard... and I've talked to others at blog get togethers, and that happens to everybody! Slave and nada... Five minute brain drivel is 50 comments... BUT, I have to say blogging now 7 years has put me in touch with a whole new crowd, and has provided some real space friendships and re-connections with folks I hadn't seen in 20+ years. I never started blogging for hits, but to keep my ass outta bars and stave off boredom on the road... I try to read this and many others on a daily basis when I can. Y'all are doing good, keep it up!!! :-)

kx59 said...

Borepatch summed it up some time back, comments are blog-crak.
You've summarized blogging perfectly.
Parroting others comments, I have come to know and met people via blogging that I never would have under any imaginable circumstances.
Do keep writing. Although we may not comment, we do read.

Opinionated Grump (Rich in NC) said...

I'm jealous that I don't know youze guyz [yeah, I'm originally from Jerzee] in meat space.
I don't usually comment. I read everyday though. Sometimes I don't comment because what I've just read hit such a sympathetic chord, that I can't put words to the emotions the post caused.

That's probably why you get lots of comments for a "pigs fly" post and few or non on "deep thought" post.

Write On Ladies and Gentlemen... as long as you enjoy the challenge.

.. as kx59 said "Although we may not comment, we do read."

Rich in NC

Weetabix said...

I read this blog every day. As others have said, sometimes I have nothing to add, or someone else already said it.

On the ones you slave over and no comments? I don't always know which those are, but often, you've said it all.

I wonder how much individual page counts really tell you? A lot of the posts, I read by scrolling down the page at the home page(?).

And, I'm enjoying the collaborative effort.

TheUnpaidBill said...

FWIW, I've been reading this blog, and the previous ASM826 blogs daily for at least 6 years.

Thanks for all the free ice cream over the years.

Goober said...

I like the discussion.

I absolutely thrive off of intellectual discussions, and I can't find that amongst my daily meat-space associations very often.

You guys provide an outlet for my desire to read about an issue and develop an opinion.

It's pretty awesome.

I'm Charlie said...

I learn something every time I visit. I feel a slight connection in that I live in Marietta. Keep up the great work.