I had a rather off-putting f2f conversation with another blogger recently. The talk was supposedly about why don't I have my own domain name. I admit that bgalrstate is annoying as hell to find, though if you google "blue gal" you'll find it soon enough. Then we talked about how shitty it is that Blogger doesn't allow threaded comments. After all, that would lead to repeat visits, more hits. Ah, now we get to it, circuitously, cleverly, just as a clever person who wants the secret bomb code and will get it through charm rather than torture...these conversations are never about domain names or comment threads or blogging platform apps...
They're always about how many hits you get. And how to get more.
Full disclosure. I don't know how many hits this blog got last week, or yesterday. I could guess, but basically I check statcounter so I can thank those blogs that are kind enough to link to me. I don't check to see how many of my readers are just passing through, and how many are sitting back with two fingers of Scottish single malt to stay awhile or stay the night. (Actually that all-too-faithful reader probably just left his/her laptop on by accident.)
And yes, yes, yes, I do write for a couple blogs that get more hits than this one. Just a few more hits.
So to the fellow blogger who asked me in total frustration about this blog "Don't you WANT more readers?", my response that I could get readers anytime I wanted meant that I (a) get my popularity jollies at the big blog, (b) take readers at any blog totally for granted, and (c) have a right to because I'm connected to the "A-list" so fuck you if you don't want to read my brilliance. [Yes, there are bloggers who write stuff like (c). It kinda makes me scratch my head, hide under my desk, and despair for this lovely stage upon which we have found ourselves.]
Popularity jollies? Are you kidding me?
The only thing I really want to say in response to those charges, and that's what they are, make no mistake, is that the word "blogger" has become a perjorative in my own home. Blogging, to certain people, is "wasting time" in front of the computer.
And apparently I'm deluding myself in thinking it's about writing and helping in our own humble way to build a real breathing community.
The hell I am.
If you are one of my regular readers, you are not here because I'm any good at "blogging." You are here because you like to read what I write.
You are a miracle. I can't believe you are here. Thank you.
I remember the day I discovered that, all of a sudden, the majority of my readers were people who did NOT know me personally. I was in awe, and I still am.
But it is not about the hits. It's not about whether you're an a-lister or not.
Better and more popular bloggers than I have said so. Folks, the blogger who wrote the words below, Steve Gilliard, died this year. We're still linking him and quoting him and learning. It's not because of his techorati rank, which, make sure you name-drop it at the next Eschaton blogroll cocktail hour, is probably down from the time when he was alive. What kind of traffic strategy should a dead blogger adopt? Maybe he should get a new domain name.
Jesu Christi. Gilliard is sitting in blogger heaven laughing his (barbeque) wings off at the thought, I'm sure.
But he knew. Blogs are never about the hits and the links. They are about the writing:
Why the fuck do you care if Atrios or Kos has you on their blogroll. Does it feel like a pat on the head? A reward?
The ONLY blog you should worry about is YOURS. None of those people matter. It doesn't matter who links to you, only who reads you.
A good blog draws readers, a bad one doesn't. People begging for space are little better than the teens hopping around a Meat Packing district club hoping the bouncer likes them.
If you think a link on one of these sites will help your site grow, you're deluded. Only your work can help you. Cyberbuddying up to Atrios means nothing if you suck. I've never, ever exchanged a link or asked anyone to link to here. Why? Because I felt if people wanted to read this site, they would find their way here. You need to have the same confidence in your work.
It doesn't matter what other people do.
The only thing I could add to that wisdom is that cyberbuddying up to Atrios means nothing if you're the blogosphere's answer to William Shakespeare, either. And it doesn't matter if your blog gets five hits, five hundred hits or five million.
It. Doesn't. Fucking. Matter.
It's time for a pep talk.
One of those pep talks from this blog mama that lets you know that no matter if you've been blogging for three years or three weeks, whether you have big traffic or small, whether you despair of ever, ever getting one more reader, you are in service to art, the Revolution, your own creativity.
And being in service, to art, revolution, and creativity? Those are some damn good things to serve. Serve them on a platter. Serve them up in a gratuitous YouTube, just because you like the song:
Being in service to art, revolution, and creativity requires commitment, passion, and above all, humility.
And it is never a matter of who you know, or who knows you. It is a matter of what you know and how you say it.
And always, always remember, no matter what you do....