Look at all that Traffic! Where’s Everybody Going??

In recent months I’ve developed an internal debate about what it is I’m looking for on social media sites.

Each morning, shortly after getting out of bed, I open the Facebook app on my phone. It’s gradually become part of my wake-up routine and yes, that means I’m reading about my friends’ family dramas and favorite brownie recipe as I sit on the porcelain throne.

For many years I turned on talk radio first thing out of bed and caught up with the local and world news that happened or changed overnight.

Whether it was the advent of a silent Facebook news feed or the realization that talk radio was somehow raising my blood pressure to unmanageable levels each day, I gradually began to sit in silence, stuck with my own thoughts and that nagging to-do list that plays round the clock in my head. Reading Facebook quiets the constant harping of my conscience. That’s why I’ve been doing it for the past three years.

As I scroll through an endless page filled with the news and recipes and political rants and selfies of the more than 300 people who Facebook defines as friends of mine, the harping shrew in my head takes a seat and impatiently waits her turn. There’ll be plenty of time later to harangue me about the long list of failures and missed opportunities but for now I’m numbing the increasingly desperate fear and loathing of my-life-so-far with a social media app on my phone.

 


“Oh Look! Judy had steak for dinner last night. And whoa, what’s that about a prayer circle over there? And looky—so-and-so loves/hates the POTUS because he is so incredibly brilliant/stupid and will you look at that photo of Betty Sue before she gained 85 pounds! Boy was she cute 40 years ago. And what’s that…a Time Hop post of the same thing Mary Ellen posted last year…here let me read it again. And boy that end of the world rumor—looks like it’s coming true any minute now.”


Yep. It’s all there. Distractions galore. It’s exactly what I’ve needed for the last few years.

Whaaaat???

Still Thinking…

I am healthier and stronger and more confident these days.  I’ve suspected it for a while now as the morning Facebook routine begins to make me angry and more often, bored. I’ve lost my interest in little Johnny’s ranting about his ripped-off life. First thing in the morning, anyway. Late at night it takes on a different affect and I enjoy posting photos of my grand kids and funny quips about my life. Also I make fun of people on political rants and the actual ‘news’ feeds from local news stations…don’t even get me started.

There is a similar churning in my pea brain about blogging. Why am I doing it? I’ve taken lately to reading other blogs and commenting and trying to stir up some interest in whatever it is I’m writing on my blog. And that’s the problem. What is it I’m writing? I’m blogging about blogging these days. Something seems wrong with that. Another distraction. This is not the kind of writing I want to do.

I’ve been hanging out with other bloggers online recently and there is a big movement underfoot to get more followers and more likes and more readers and more people interested in my writing. Except these new blogger friends aren’t interested in my writing. It’s just a reciprocal follow game.

Sure, I stumble around on WordPress and find tons of excellent writers and interesting blogs and I like them and sometimes they like me back. That’s pretty satisfying. But this new traffic game and the Linky parties and blog parties—I just don’t know.

Yes, getting involved with blog parties drives a little traffic to my blog. Long-term, that won’t hurt me. Short-term, it’s a little easy to get caught up in reciprocal following for the sake of followers.

I lucked into a couple of sites where there are frequent invitations to share links and articles and show off a bit. These are different from linky parties and traffic for the sake of traffic gimmicks. One of the sites features friendly critiques of other blogs and it comes across as more of a community service than a gratuitous traffic meme. These are the fun bloggers who also write personal essays and share writing tips.

A couple of my new followers are folks who write about blogging. One in particular comment-bombed my blog earlier today and congratulated me on an award meme I wrote about four years ago.  Had she read the actual

Just don't

Just don’t

article she would have known it was all a big joke. But she didn’t. So she congratulated me with the utmost sincerity and invited me to come over and visit her blog about blogging. The whole thing made my lip curl up a little. Is that a turd I smell?  I’m not worried at all about her seeing this article discussing her blog habits because she doesn’t read blogs. She just orchestrates traffic.

 

So here’s my new deal, my new year’s resolution:  I’ll give myself 30 minutes each day to peruse other bloggers who write things which don’t have anything to do with blogging. I’ll like them and follow them and comment on their brilliant writing. Then I’m signing off and doing the actual hard work of writing. That’s the only thing that keeps the obnoxious badger in my head quiet.

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43 thoughts on “Look at all that Traffic! Where’s Everybody Going??

  1. I totally agree with perusing a number of blogs for a certain amount of time on a daily basis. I see no point in blogging if people are not going to bother networking. It really irks me when a blogger does stuff like that often like hunting for traffic without as much as a by your leave sentence shared. Good points

    Liked by 3 people

  2. bzirkone says:

    Thanks. I spent a lot of holiday time searching for blogs that offer good writing and interesting perspectives and found quite a few. I’ve been trying to interact a bit more because I know how much I enjoy it when people comment on my work. Thanks for stopping in. I’m enjoying your blog as well … http://acookingpotandtwistedtales.com/

    Like

  3. lbeth1950 says:

    I have become friends with several people and eagerly read their posts, but spending too much time is detrimental to my writing time.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m definitely reading over here and I know exactly what you are talking about. For some, it’s all about the numbers and followers. Although I love getting likes and followers, what I love more is seeing the same people liking and commenting on my posts. It lets me know that my writing means something and is useful. Thanks for stopping by and Happy New Year!

    Liked by 2 people

    • bzirkone says:

      Thanks Leigh and I have thinking about the distinction for different kinds of blogsites. Yours offers something of value–getting organized and several other ideas. I spent some time there last night and actually found a lot of useful information. A site like yours values quantity and your followers are more likely to read your posts because you offer something useful. I mostly offer opinion and entertainment so I like people engaging in a different way and I may never have the sheer number of followers because of it. The good thing for me about the blog parties and linky-style posts is that I find blogs like yours. After sleeping on it I’ve decided to be more positive and appreciate blogging for what it is–an opportunity to write short pieces and clear my mind of the clutter that gets in the way of the serious writing I want to do.

      Again- I like your site and intend to visit often. thanks for stopping by–bz

      Liked by 3 people

  5. eyeofmyown says:

    My thoughts are shadowing your thoughts… I’m tired and bored of the Facebook scroll but spending time reading blogs of blogging that promote that shameless self promotion also drives me bonkers. I’ve started reading an extra post or two from every newfound blogger- if I like both posts, then I’ll follow them… While it’s nice to be liked and followed, I also like my feed to be filled with posts that make me think and laugh and gain knowledge. Not roll my eyes (well, sometimes roll my eyes, just not in disgust)… Thanks for being a blog of the real world with a touch of class and crass!

    Liked by 1 person

    • bzirkone says:

      Thank you Eyeofmyown (http://eyeofmyown.com/)– I appreciate the high praise. As a writer yourself, you know how great it is to get validation like this. I am doing pretty much the same as you–reading posts on each blog and following the ones that make me laugh or offer perspectives that I like to read. Thanks for stopping by. I am enjoying your fun articles and they do make me laugh.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. BZ there is a large segment of the blogging world feeling the same way. I was never one to worry about popularity too much, well not since puberty anyways, and I will be damned if I’m gonna start now. I blog to write and to clarify my thoughts on things and make humorous observations. It’s all the stuff that is going on in my head all day anyways so it’s probably really good practice to translate it into well-written and interesting content. We could publish a book of good blog posts to sell to the folks who still really read things, heheh. Thanks for voicing your thoughts which mirror my own and obviously other bloggers as well!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. bzirkone says:

    I agree Ilona (https://gielliott.wordpress.com/). I’ve been going back and forth on this article since I wrote it. Facebook, yeah…I’m a little tired of that platform. The blogging thing is kind of a strange balancing act for me. I’m in sales (in my real job) and I’ve been practicing various marketing techniques for many years so I understand trying to gain large numbers of followers. It’s a ratio thing–in sales we figure out how many calls it takes to write one policy and that becomes our baseline of activity or, minimum number of calls we have to make. That same theory loosely corresponds to followers. If I’m writing articles and essays and nobody ever reads any of it, is it still just as satisfying as having a few people actually ‘like’ my work and make comments and follow–which to me means they like it enough to come back later and read my newer efforts…and there is a kind of motivational/addicting quality to it. I’m over-thinking it. I always do. There is no money involved so it is strictly an ego thing. 😛

    Like

  8. lbeth1950 says:

    I’m always I’ll mess up if I really post on Facebook. Besides, I don’t have a perfect family, haven’t been on a cruise, or gotten a promotion lately. Nobody cares much if I need to clean the cat box or pick up some dog food and eggs at the Dollar Store.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Reblogged this on HarsH ReaLiTy and commented:
    I appreciate your kind mention and I hope you find what works best for you in the blogging world! -OM
    Note: Comments disabled here, please visit their blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. TT says:

    That dang badger 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Lol as I was going through my cats, reading new posts, I found this really well written post about blogging but my app was being weird. The name sounded familiar so I go to my notifications and bam it’s you. Good post. What on earth are blog parties?

    Liked by 1 person

    • bzirkone says:

      Thank you…I’ve just discovered them and I have nothing against them necessarily. It’s where a blogger invites a bunch of other bloggers on a specific date and time to post links to their sites as a way of increasing traffic to the sites. I have not figured out exactly what’s in it for the host, other than massive traffic. But if they aren’t selling something or writing something …. what’s the gain? It’s a clever way to expose your site to others and get some great feedback and as it turns out–find exactly the kinds of blogs that fit your personal taste. My issue is that because I don’t moderate comments on my site, the host came over and left disingenuous flattery in order to advertise her party. I mean… I thrive on praise for my writing and the more people reading my work the better…but something about it raised my ire. I may rethink the whole thing but I don’t know. I mentioned a couple of bloggers who do a similar thing but they actually write and discuss blogs so it seems more legit to me. Either way. Glad you recognized the name and I’m anxious to spend some time stalking your work. -bz

      Liked by 1 person

  12. bzirkone says:

    https://singleandclueless.wordpress.com/ — No tearing apart at all… I was your age..I recognize a lot of your sentiments. Encouragement is more what I had in mind. My kids call it free advice but what do they know? :/

    Like

  13. Steve says:

    Very thought provoking! I hope I don’t go down that route, keeping blogging fun is my aim.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. bzirkone says:

    Checked your site Steve and it’s clear you have a lot of fun over there. Thanks for stopping by.

    Like

  15. I love blogs on blogging. New bloggers live in a lost world! I’m just figuring out how to leave messages! Public speaking and teaching are like 2nd hand for me. Analytics and traffic is a whole new book. Lol. Just figuring out how to like another blog or comment on one took a month!!!! You truly have great topics, funny things to say, and your style of writing is felt. It also seems you understand through experience this Internet world! You are one step above most! I wish I understood the internet as much as I understand how to start a business from the ground floor! Writing needs the internet! Keep up being amazing and I agree FB is the devil however a great means to market if you don’t know how to use the other avenues (twitter, instagram,blogging,and so on)

    Liked by 1 person

  16. bzirkone says:

    Thanks Dany for your kind words. I’ve enjoyed reading your posts as well. Internet-wise I know just enough to do what I need and that’s about it. Facebook is a great tool for keeping up with friends and family and as you say, market a product.

    Like

  17. […] More on Blogging […]

    Like

  18. I promise you I read every word – and loved your post. I agree so much about this following business – I like posts that interest me, make me laugh, and move me, I don’t like the idea of following someone just because they followed me – that seems shallow x

    Liked by 1 person

  19. bzirkone says:

    Thank you for reading. I also read your funny blog and laughed. Looks like you have a pretty good following and that proves a good point–publish real stuff and people will follow.

    Like

  20. […] As I said in a recent blog post, I recently stumbled into a couple of bloggers who shamelessly share blog links and invite bloggers and writers and creators of websites to post their work and show off a bit and introduce themselves to the thousands of followers these guys enjoy.  They’ve been at awhile.  They get the operations aspect of blogging. I’ve never been a big picture kind of person so six years after starting this blog I’m just now seeing some traffic on it.  And comments.  And interaction.  It’s heady stuff. I’m almost embarrassed by my reaction to it. […]

    Like

  21. Ellen Hawley says:

    Yeah, blogging can entirely eat your life. Having spent entirely too much time reading other blogs, I now limit myself to the ones I actually enjoy. Hell, I don’t have enough time for those, so why waste time on the ones I don’t?

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Eric says:

    You are actually distracting me by keeping me here. I’m currently in the middle of a promise that I will click on every 101 blogger that is willing to tap something out. I’ve recently been unsubscribing emails and rejoicing when the power goes out. Now I’ve narrowed my criteria for looking at the blogs as well. I’m just not going to spend time every day reading about knitting. Gardening yes; knitting no. More importantly I’m looking for laughs, for stories and well written distractions that take my attention away from less pleasant things. THANK YOU

    Liked by 1 person

    • bzirkone says:

      Seriously. You probably have no idea that you’ve made my whole day. My whole week. I’m tickled and honored. Thank you for following and for saying those things. I followed you back.

      Like

  23. Do a Find the Hidden Word thing in the first sentence of each blog. They’ll have to read the entire blog, find the word and enter it in the first sentence of their comment in order to receive a response from you. Look at me. I’m a Camp Director. Even thought I have no clue what I’m talking about!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. susieshy45 says:

    Hi
    I am Susie and I am glad I found someone who thinks as I do about blogging parties and Share a link and getting more traffic to one’s blog. I have participated in a few of these blogging parties myself- a year after I started writing, I have just about 250 blog followers. I don’t plan to monetise my blog, not ever. I started blogging because one of the requirements for being a freelance writer on many sites was having a blog and a blog address. I enjoy writing. A few posts later, I came to realise that i actually enjoy getting comments and talking to blog friends. Many of them are now my regular friends, with whom I share problems and ask advice. I am too private a person to put much of my personal stuff on a blog and so I can never have a truly successful blog, according to the standards set by blogs that have even 7500 followers. To tell you the truth, I would be scared to have so many followers, because I would have to read all their posts each day, and I would never be able to do justice to any of those blog posts.
    I want to make genuine friends through blogging, I guess that is the only aim of my blog for now.
    Susie

    Liked by 1 person

  25. bzirkone says:

    In spite of the personal slant to many of my articles I am also very private. I only share the funny stuff. You are so right about managing a huge blog–in just the last two weeks I’ve spent an enormous amount of time interacting with new followers and comments. I like it more than I should. That’s the rub tho, how do people do this and still work and cook and do laundry? It’s an expensive hobby and I can’t get enough. When this day starts to settle down I’ll have a chance to look at your work and that of others who spend their lives reading and writing and sharing little bits of ourselves. Thanks for commenting

    Liked by 1 person

  26. olganm says:

    It does sound like an excellent plan. I feel the same, not so much about blogging (although I’ve given up on awards for the same reason) but about trying to market the book. Perhaps I should be writing…

    Liked by 1 person

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