Saturday, November 16, 2013

Blogs and comments

I don't blog here very often anymore. I have the math blog, which I update sporadically, and the science fiction blog, which I update every day, like a good little obsessive compulsive. (Truthfully, I don't think I'm OCD. I'm way too lazy to be OCD.)

The page visit numbers for the sci-fi blog are doing very well. The increase looks steady, possibly linear, but it's actually a little faster than linear, more like quadratic. What that means to non-poindexters is that getting 1,000 page views is happening much faster than it did at the beginning of the year. Fresh out of the gate, only a few folks knowing me from previous blogs, it took about two weeks for 1,000 page views. This month on average, 1,000 page views takes about three days, which is faster than last month, which in turn was faster than the month before. Super fast growth is exponential. This growth is slower than that, but I'm still happy.

In terms of page views, Lotsa 'Splainin' 2 Do didn't grow anywhere near this fast and It's News 2 Them grew much quicker. All those stats make sense. With Lotsa 'Splainin', I was just some guy writing whatever I wanted. With the gossip blog, I had lots of pictures of celebrities and I'm sure many people came by just to look at them. This is also a draw of the sci-fi blog as well, and it makes some sense that Sandra Bullock, Brangelina and the Kardashians are going to draw more viewers than Isaac Asimov, Burgess Meredith and Neil Gaiman, though in a more thoughtful world, those numbers would be reversed.  (It should be noted that the sci-fi blog has more than its fair share of pictures of attractive actresses, due to my Pretty Girl = Picture Slot rule, which is regularly if not obsessively enforced.)

It's heartening to see this particular statistic, but I don't completely trust it. Without question, some of the viewers of any webpage on existence are robots. How many are real people and how many are algorithms is completely unknown to me.

Another measure is the number of commenters. This blog had a lot of regular commenters and I made several face-to-face friends through this blog, including sfmike, Namaste Nancy, DistributorCap, dguzman and Tengrain, to name just a few. This blog even had a regular troll. I wasn't keen on him, naturally, and he loved arguing much more than I ever did. Doing a little research on him, I realized he had his own blog, but very few people visited. I think he came here hoping to have his views more widely distributed. With as cozy as my audience is, it's more than a little pathetic that someone would think of my blog as The Big Leagues.

The numbers for the gossip blog dwarf anything else I've done online. I've kept it available instead of killing it after I decided to stop updating, and now there have been nearly 2.5 million page views. But for the two years I ran the blog, I had one regular commenter, Karen Zipdrive, for whom I was grateful. I haven't met her face to face, but we still keep in touch by e-mail and the occasional phone call.

The sci-fi blog has a nice troop of regulars. First among equals is certainly Zombie Rotten McDonald, who is handy with a quip and very informative about architecture. (I had no idea the field was so undead tolerant.) I have a few face-to-face pals who also write, but I am also blessed with people I haven't met like Lockwood, Mr. Prosser, Ken Houghton and Clem, just to mention a few.

Which brings me to comments. When things get big on the Internet, the comment sections can get just awful. People I read on Twitter with huge followings like Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day are always writing "DON'T READ THE COMMENTS!" and some websites like YouTube are famous for how bad things can get at a moment's notice.

My general experience with comment pages has been good. With all my blogs, my posts to YouTube, my Facebook and Twitter accounts and comments on different websites, I have amassed a total of one hard to get rid of troll, and even he finally left. There have been other people who have acted like jerks, but compared to the people who have been funny or informative or generous (and often all three) the amount of grief has been minimal.

Since it's the one I'm putting the most effort into, I'd like the sci-fi blog to get more popular. I'd like it to get "big", whatever that means. But if it means a massive increase in the overall number and percentage of jerks, maybe I'm better off with my little hobby just staying a hobby.