Ben Huberman

I’m pathetic. No, really, I am. I’m checking my Gmail account twenty-five, thirty times a day. Each time, as I click the link, I repeat my silent mantra. Ben Huberman.

Who’s Ben?

He’s an editor at WordPress. The guy who sent me an email last July telling me that my blogpost Follow was about to be featured on WordPress Discover. I’m expecting to hear from him again this week.

Ben Huberman. It took me a while to catch on that I was doing this, repeating Ben’s name. I caught myself saying it in my head on Friday, and I suddenly realized I’d been doing this for a couple of days already. Ben’s going to email me again. He’s going to Discover another one of my posts.

I wrote Be the Light years ago. Really, I wrote a post called Solstice + 4—a humor piece about stealing the solstice season back from the Christians. A year later, I wrote S+4 Redux where I spent some time fleshing out an actual spiritual belief system. Eventually, I edited the two stories into one essay, Be the Light, and published it in my book, Fragments. It’s pretty good. My essay, that is.

This week, I figured that Ben would want to feature something Christmassy. If I posted something pretty good with a Christmas theme, Ben would feature me again. So, I posted Be the Light.

Saturday, I was kind of shocked that I hadn’t been featured yet. I grew tired of checking my Gmail account. I started worrying that Ben was running out of time to select my post. I decided to look at the WordPress blogposts tagged with “Christmas” to see how mine stacked up.

Have you ever read what WordPress has to say about themselves? They’ll tell you that there are seventy-five million blogs on the WordPress platform. I find this mind-boggling and a little unbelievable. I seem to run into the same bloggers day after day as I browse around WordPress. When other bloggers show their followers in the sidebar, they have many of the same followers as I do. Seventy-five million seems unlikely. Maybe two-fifty, three hundred, tops.

When I viewed the tag “Christmas,” I noticed something strange. Five or six posts showed the publish-time as just now. Scrolling down the page, it took a little while to find posts that were more than ten minutes old. There were a gazillion posts tagged Christmas. About a hundred an hour on Saturday afternoon. I now realize Ben Huberman isn’t going to Discover my post. It’s sort of shocking that he ever did the first time.

I’ve learned that WordPress is like a giant city with thousands of little neighborhoods. Those bloggers I bump into time and again just happen to live close to my blog. I typically search the same tags every few days, and when I do, I see the same bloggers posting under those tags. Many of us follow each other. It never occurred to me how narrow my search is.

When I searched on “Christmas,” I stumbled into someone else’s neighborhood, onto some unfamiliar streets. I’ve learned that I need to go get lost once in a while.

Merry Christmas and happy Solstice + 4. Now that I know you’re out there, I’ll see you on WordPress.

20 thoughts on “Ben Huberman

  1. I agree – my community is pretty much the same as well. Makes me want to go on a search. And if this cleverly does reach Ben’s eye, may I give you a S+4 greeting this solstice season…”Be the Light!”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s funny – I seem to find that I run into the same people on WordPress as well. We do develop our own little communities of like-minded people. Maybe it’s time to explore a bit…. Glad I discovered your blog – happy writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ben is such a VIP around here. I would hope that before you get featured a second time, others from your community get featured at least once. But who knows what the picks for features are really based on?

    Funnily enough, the “discover” articles are rarely of interest to me, which I guess reflects on how likely I am to NOT get featured.


    • Yes, spreading around the discovering is the point of Discover. The point of my story is just how pathetic I can be in my attempt to get some attention. Even subconsciously, I do this stuff. Luckily, writing helps me figure this out.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I like that you’re my neighbor in this little cul-de-sac. I’m not much interested in the thousands of blogs that boast only listicles and click bait and disappear after a few months because they didn’t make millions. It’s like Vegas to me, some places just hold no interest. Like you, I wonder how many of those 75 million sites are actually active, eh? When you were “Discovered” before, wasn’t it a piece that you wrote connected to the Daily Prompt? You were already cruising Ben’s neighborhood. I tried jumping up and down in front of their picture window once and submitted a piece directly to them. I think they drew the shades…..

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you’re right that it was responding to a daily prompt. It was also nowhere near my best effort. Many of your poems are clearly discover material. God knows how they decide what to feature. Many seem pretty boring, but I read a great one a few weeks ago by billy joe armstrong’s (of Green Day) sister.

      Liked by 1 person

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