Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Chasing eyeballs on the Internet treadmill

I like the freedom and immediacy of blogging and writing for online publications. I don't have to spend two hours trimming a piece to fit an arbitrary word-count, I can link to sources instead of telling my readers to "trust me," and my pieces appear while readers are still interested, before the topic I'm addressing grows moldy and cold.

Well, theoretically, anyway. What I don't like about writing online is that I actually know how many people are reading my scribblings. Every day, I can see how many page views my pieces have drawn, which pieces are drawing eyeballs and which are sitting amidst rolling tumbleweeds in the great wasteland of nobody-gives-a-damn. For the Examiner, the reports get emailed to me every morning, so there's no escape.

Of course, plenty of my print pieces have gone unread too, but I know that without knowing that. Magazines and newspapers do market surveys from time to time and occasionally tell their writers to punch it up, tone it down or get lost, but that happens every few months at most; ink-stained wretches aren't confronted by their readership -- or lack of the same -- by daily 3 am emails.

Of course, the reports could be helpful if I could find a pattern in them -- common topics that draw readership and others that go un-perused. But I'll be damned if I can make heads-or-tails of the traffic patterns. One week, a couple of embedded videos draw massive traffic while think pieces gather dust. The next week I toss in a couple more videos that go unviewed, and the lengthy analysis I wrote as a labor of love hits with one of the social networks and damn-near overwhelms the server.

Do I get it?

Get what?

Actually, what I get is that I can't second-guess what's going to find an audience. I'll be damned if I know what makes for a popular piece. I'll keep writing what interests me, because that's what keeps me writing. I hope you enjoy reading.

But if you don't ... well .. stick around. I'll probably post a cool video or two in a couple of days.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

JD, I read every one of your posts here and you've helped to convert me into a libertarian. But I read your posts in Netvibes. I wonder if those get counted.

October 22, 2008 7:51 AM  
Blogger J.D. Tuccille said...

Hey Anon,

I think Netvibe reads do get counted. That draws from an RSS feed, right?

Anyway, thanks for reading!

October 22, 2008 9:54 AM  
Blogger John said...

Hey JD,

I also use Netvibes and always check our posts and forward certain ones on. I like your police brutality posts, your education insights and most of your liberterian viewpoints.

Keep up the good posts!


October 22, 2008 11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama is going to Hawaii for some other suspicious reason other then just his grandmother? His real birth certificate is being petitioned by the courts in Hawaii as an urgent emergency. He is an Indonesian Citizen, not US. Andy Martin is behind us all finding the truth for our liberty. Obama is scrambling to get there, now before this truth come out to stop his campaign in it's tracks, what a fraud he is, he's conned so many people.
I must say, he's a great salesman! Go to to www. AndyMartin.com, he's updating on this important issue to save us from out and out fraud.

October 22, 2008 11:26 AM  

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