I blame it on Sitemeter. Actually I blame it on Toad for making Sitemeter known to me. And I’m always looking for someone else’s doorstep to drop off my blame-bag of garbage. I’ve checked in at Sitemeter rarely over the last year but the pathos of it was long imprinted on my noggin before I stopped watching the daily numbers like some kind of freakin’ playoff. Now I’m kidding about blaming Sitemeter but I think it’s important to include the psychology of blog visits in my story here.
Toad made me aware of the data collection/aggregation prowess of Sitemeter and since it was free, I figured I’d give it a go. But why? Folks, there are bloggers out there who are either generating revenue or hope to generate revenue or aspire to a book deal and for those mugwumps, stats gathered by the likes of Sitemeter are crucial. Alas, I ain’t part of that group. “Stop the false modesty or downright lie about not desiring blog revenue or a book deal.” I’m not kidding about my lack of ambition regarding revenue from blogging or that “proverbial book”…the one that bloggers either outright admit they’re seeking or secretly hope for. I’ll take on these topics more completely in a while. But at 556am here in Casa Minimus, I’ve gotta pee and get another cup of coffee.
I digress…surprise I know…so let me continue on with the Pathos of Sitemeter. Even though I never intended to try and commercialize my blog...witnessing the rising tide of readership was fun. What started as three to four-hundred unique/individual visitors (NOT page views…that’s a different and less potent
drug statistic. John/Jane Doe may visit your blog and read three different stories…thus one unique visit might manifest two to three page views. The purest drug for me was how many individuals visited that day) trended over the ensuing few months towards a thousand. W.G.A.S. right? I did. It was fun and it got to be sport. Kinda like a new personal best in a 10k run. But therein begins the pathos…you have to write stuff regularly in order to have people come by and sit on your blog porch for a spell. And as long as you find the story cobbling fun…as long as you have time for it…then it’s all good. The first time I had one-thousand people sit on my porch, albeit for an average of three-point-seven minutes, in one day, I wanted to tell someone. W.G.A.S. right? For some ego reason, I did.
But then I realized how perilously on the cusp I was to porching two-thousand visitors in a single day. Now for those who don’t have a blog…let me be clear…When I say one-thousand or two-thousand visitors in a day, that doesn’t mean every day thereafter. The number of daily blog visitors, at least on my porch, varies significantly and there are many, many more days when the number of visitors is eight-hundred as opposed to over a thousand. But when I got so darned seduced by the statistics is also when I self-identified the pathos. And from that point on, I disciplined myself to only go to Sitemeter once per month and gander the trends. Being one who generally lacks self-discipline, I’ve been true to the once per month commitment from the moment I established it. But it made little difference. The psychology of “feeding the beast” was now etched in stone.
I might be fabricating this but I think that Larry David and/or Jerry Seinfeld said that Seinfeld was a show “about nothing”. Folks, I’m far from being a Luddite but until a couple of years ago, I’d never visited a blog. And then somehow I stumbled upon a discussion, with pictures, about grosgrain watch bands or something like that. “Shit…this is cool…let me say something” And I did. Of course that blog linked to other ones and before I knew it, I was visiting and commenting on a bunch of Trad clothing sites and my comments got longer. Longer to the point where I concluded “that last comment over at so-and-so’s site could have been its own blog story.” And so I started a blog…I suppose it was intended to be about Trad clothing and style…as if the blogosphere needed another freakin’ blog about such shite. But then it became about LFG and other things that I was motivated to mention. And I think the lack of a singular focus became part of the appeal. At least I enjoyed it…enjoyed the fact that it was about whatever I wanted it to be. Or nothing.
So where am I going with this rambling story? It’s time for me to give this up. W.G.A.S. right? I do. I do because writing my stories has been one of the most fun and rewarding things I’ve ever done. And the friends I’ve made from this effort are true ones…the three-in-the-morning phone call type of friends…me calling you of course. But I’m at a point where the reward/effort ratio is out of whack. And to that end, as opposed to backing off a little bit, I need to just walk away indefinitely. But before I sign off, let me share with you a few of my whatevers from this experience.
The Blogging Ego: There’s a shitload of ego in the blogosphere. And I’m scared of people who try to appear devoid of ego and peddle false modesty with alacrity. Ego, as opposed to narcissism, is a good thing. But the Blogging Ego cracks me up…and of course I’ve fallen prey to its rearing head from time to time. I can’t be the only blogger who has had someone with literary credentials say… “You have a voice…you could write for a living…most bloggers and even some published writers don’t have your voice” and then starts thinking… “Damn…I missed my calling”. Shit. I’m laughing at myself as I admit this.
Thank God that another voice in my head is louder than the Blogging Ego voice. The other voice that says… “You have a job…you still need to work for a living…most consultants and even published consultants don’t write stories about socks…now go to the office.” Thank you…thank you…thank you, Other Voice. If ever there was evidence of Blogging Ego, it’s this load of drivel I’m writing right now. If there wasn’t any ego attached to this, I could simply go away without explanation or perhaps post a one paragraph goodbye. But no, upon my departure, I have to write a f_ck_ng manifesto. Bam!
The Blogging Objective…Commercial or Not: I reached out to three friends whose feedback and insights I was confident, would be honest and forthright. And one of the immediate challenges was… “What’s your Objective with this blog thing?” I can honestly say that I never considered blogging as a potential revenue generator. There’s nothing wrong with creating a commercial blog. I suppose there are those who realize a nice revenue stream from placing advertisements on their blog but the numbers I crunched showed me it wasn’t worth it…for me at least. The eight hundred and forty dollars per month that I coulda pocketed wouldn’t be worth the sense of duty that I’d have felt to ramp-up the effort and grow the eight hundred and forty to at least eight hundred and forty-five. Couple that with Sitemeter Pathos and Blogging Ego and I’d a manifested a hat-trick of intractable eczema or something worse. So the business model for blogging ain’t one that intrigues me.
The Blogging Mediated Book Deal or the Blogging Derived Journalism Career: I just chuckled some coffee through my nose as I pondered this phenomenon. Listen; there are a few really great writers who deservedly end up getting book deals from their blogging efforts. And there are others who end up getting writing gigs with very respected publications as a result of their blogging efforts. But these bloggers are few, few, few and far between. I have a career that still has juice left in it and while I don’t make a million each year in my little business, I’ve never let Blogging Ego delude me, even for a moment, into thinking that I could equal my income in the hack world. I just shot nasal coffee again.
I see an unfortunate turn in the business of writing. As traditional print media continues to whisper yelps of demise; paradoxically, some bloggers are finding their voice. The perfect storm then manifests when publishers, desperate to preserve margins, reach out to very accomplished bloggers with great voices and offer opportunities to write for their publications. The offers usually come in with comparatively modest compensation. I see the magazine/newspaper business model of the future being one of modestly paid but ego stroked bloggers/former bloggers hacking the copy while the publisher limits their full-time, fixed-cost writing staff (and even fairly paid freelancers) but doubles-up on copy editors and fact checkers. I mean why not? It’s a last ditch effort to preserve a dying model by poaching some of the cream from the encroaching beast and using it as an unguent to delay the inevitable. Why buy the cow when you can get the cream for almost free?
So for me, the pipe dream of realizing a whopping thirty-five thousand dollars a year from any kind of writing efforts never gained footing in my noggin. Perhaps ten years from now the idea might be appealing but not right now.
The Blogging Story versus Blogging Snippet: I pondered a compromise prior to deciding to end my blog. I love Hollister Hovey’s blog and a few others who simply offer more often than not, a chunk of visual candy with well-wrought, but very limited text accompanying their posts. I thought that maybe I’d do three or four little similar things during the week…posts that would require fifteen to twenty minutes each…and then tell a story…a long story each weekend. But as a trusted advisor reminded me… “ADG, you are an EXPLAINER so that blogging model won’t satisfy you.” Trusted advisor is right. I’d just as soon do nothing than post more shit like the L.L. Bean Go to Hell Boat and Tote story. Shut up.
So thank you for reading my stories. Thank you for emailing me personally to let me know that something I’ve said has touched you in a meaningful way. Thanks for the great personal friendships that this venue has created. I look forward to maintaining them and growing others. I remain an email away and for those who wish to remain in touch, I’ll always be gratified to hear from you.
ADG, II and of course; my heart…LFG