My Viral Moment

Do you care about your online statistics? I do, a lot. But possibly, you don’t. If that’s true, stop reading now. You’re going to find this post ridiculous.

From time to time, I read posts from bloggers who say their blog stats don’t matter. They don’t care about page views, likes, follows or shares. They want to write, they say, it’s irrelevant if anyone reads. If this was twenty-five years ago, I’d say this was a load of manure (although I might have used a different word back then). Twenty-five years ago, I knew everything. I was perfect. If I thought stats were important, if I obsessed about mine, then everyone else did too. Of course, twenty-five years ago, there were no statistics to track.

I’ve aged, I’ve mellowed. I’m less sure of myself. If someone tells me their statistics don’t matter, who am I to argue. But I’m not the one saying that. My stats are a drug, an addiction. Big numbers get me high, and I’ve been mighty high lately.

Two weeks ago, I posted a story called God’s Light.  It’s about my niece Taylor. She’s been hiking the Appalachian Trail this summer (update: she finished), and I’ve followed along on Facebook. For the past six months, she’s posted to Facebook every day. And everything she posts gets a hundred likes. I looked on with a mixture of pride and envy. When I post something on Facebook, I usually get two or three likes. I typically post links to news articles that catch my interest, and I don’t expect many people to read them, much less like them, but really? Two likes?

A few days after I posted God’s Light, my stats started climbing. All the traffic came from Facebook, which is rare. Even though I have an “Other Stuff” Facebook page that is automatically updated with anything I post on my blog, I almost never see traffic from Facebook. Taylor discovered my post and linked it on her Facebook page. Suddenly hundreds of her followers wanted to read what I had to say. I was stunned by the number of page views.

On the same day, the Good Men Project posted a Tourette Awareness essay I wrote two years ago called Below the Surface. Every week, the editors at the Good Men Project search my blog for posts that they think their readers will like. I get posted every Tuesday morning at nine. I love this relationship. It gives me tons of exposure, tons of readership, and only one thing is expected of me. I tweet a link to the article of the week.

On occasion, they post content that embarrassed me. Once, they published an essay I wrote that minimizes my struggle as a newly sober alcoholic. I called this essay Never Again. The Good Men Project called it I Quit Drinking with No Drama which sets an expectation right from the start. Against my better judgement, I tweeted out the link with an apology. Here’s a response I received: “That’s like telling a depressed person to go outside and get some fresh air. It’s just that easy!” I’m now the Tom Cruise of the sobriety world.

When I tweeted out Below the Surface, I again experienced a mini-viral event. The Tourette Association of America retweeted it and posted a link to Facebook. My Good Men Project article got thousands of views and hundreds of shares. The Tourette Association – Texas Chapter picked it up and even shared a link to my blog. For three days, my stats went nuts.

The page views are still trickling in, but the exciting crush of viewers quickly died away. Left craving more attention, I tried to create a viral event. Recently, a blogger I follow went viral with this tweet about Trump. Possibly you saw it shared on Twitter, I did.

Boeskool

He’s a smart and talented writer with thousands of followers. I wanted some of his action. I came up with my own clever meme, touching on the topics that anger and frustrate me most: cigarettes and guns. I posted this on Facebook and Twitter, and I went off to work. While I was away, I expected it to circle the globe twice.

America

Fourteen likes, way better than my average of two, but not the viral event I expected. I don’t know why I set such high expectations for myself. I’m always disappointed. I do this with everything I post– on my blog, on Facebook and on Twitter.

I still think my post is ingenious. Sage, funny, sarcastic, true. It didn’t gain traction on Facebook, and I’m not sure anyone even saw it on Twitter. Fortunately, my blog is a place where it can live a long life and get periodic views.

As a side note: this “vaping disease” is serious, and my intention isn’t to poke fun at it. I don’t know why e-cigarettes became acceptable in the first place, but I fully support the growing movement to ban them. My theory about the susceptibility to lung damage is that the afflicted have caught a virus that interacts negatively with vaping. As the virus spreads, more and more people will be stricken (you read it here first). I support a total governmental ban on e-cigarettes, cigarettes and guns, because apparently, common sense isn’t enough to guide Americans towards more healthful behaviors.

19 thoughts on “My Viral Moment

  1. I am forever disappointed with my stats, so clearly I do care. I also know that most of my stats are meaningless: likes and follows are mostly from people who only want me to pay attention to them…. people who will never visit my site again and probably never read it in the first place. On the flip side, some of the best writing I’ve seen on WP gets one or two responses at most. Go figure.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I know what you mean. I know several outstanding writers who get almost no love at all. My favorite are the people who hit like six seconds after you post. I recently went to someone blog and asked him why he would like something he hadn’t read. No response.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I don’t share my stuff. I never know what someone is going to like. A post I really like of mine doesn’t resonate with others while posts I am apathetic towards really do hit home with others. I do watch my numbers. I don’t get a lot of traffic (I think) compared to others. Certainly not enough to add the ads. On a day that I do not post anything I will still get around 100 views. That blows my mind. Every now and again someone will share one of my posts on their Facebook page – it happened a few days ago and I got 70 views on one post I wrote a year ago. I guess I wish I got more views – just like this though – someone else reads it and shares it. Great job to you on all your new traffic – that is pretty cool!

    Liked by 1 person

    • My impression is that if you;re getting 100 views on a day you don’t post, you’re probably in the top one or two percent of bloggers. I have the same phenomenon with my posts. The ones I work the hardest on earn a meh, while the ones that strike me as unimportant get way more engagement. It’s really gratifying to have a viral moment, especially when it’s a topic where I’m trying to boost awareness (Tourette). Do you ever wonder where you’re going with all this?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t think that high – I’ve seen some blogs that get crazy attention. Hundreds of likes in minutes. I figure if I see that many likes, then there has to be way more views. For me, I just looked – In the last month my lowest views per day was 70, my highest (on a day I posted) was 197. There seem to be a couple of posts that people just go to – Introversion vs Autism is one that gets around 10 views per day – I don’t get that many likes, just views. As far as I can tell, it has never been shared anywhere. I don’t know how people are finding it – but it must have struck a chord. I wish I could see what people said about the last one that got shared around – it was the After School Restraint Collapse one. I’d like to see what people thought of it. Stinks being in the dark. That is great about your viral moment. *sigh* No, I don’t know what the big picture is. Or what I am going to do. Half the time I am battling the “who cares” bug. I think that is why I don’t share any of my stuff. Maybe one day I will get the gumption to put it all together and put it out there.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well, I’m ecstatic if I hit eighty views on a posting day. When I started blogging about autism on my other blog, I expected tons of view. I got almost none. Pisses me off 🙂 Id you want to see what people said about your post, paste your URL into the facebook search. It will bring up the shared post. At least it has for me.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, that’s a good idea. I just posted the name of the post and IT came up but not how it got there. When I first started blogging about autism I seriously got no views – you know me, I just went back and checked. 69 views for the entire first month. Disheartening to say the least. That was why I started my running blog. I got to write, the posts were easier to write about, lots more traffic. I have always felt just writing about autism was narrow and limited. I have to be careful with what I say and I always need to be respectful. I made the choice to talk openly about our family, so I really need to keep their beings in mind. And I didn’t want the blog to be a diary. I definitely have diary-like posts now “Here’s what we did today!” which I don’t prefer. I added the reading in, some running and sometimes I write about me. But I have a harder time trying to come up with concept pieces (like introversion vs autism or after school restraint collapse) which I prefer to write, and I think, readers prefer to read and where I get most of my traffic.

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    • Completely off topic. I’ve been reviewing “The Concise Book of Muscles” by Chris Jarmey. I think a book like this is a must have for a serious runner. You’re able to track where muscles run through your body and where they attach to bones creating a better understanding of all the overuse aches and pains you’ll feel in a season. The book includes stretches for each muscle.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hilarious and honest. Love. I have this weird thing where I don’t want views sometimes. I’m getting a little less like-addicted but in general (but not always) I don’t crave high views, just high like-to-view ratio. Fluctuates with my ever-changing mood though. Issues.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sometime when I get a lot of comments I get annoyed that I have to answer them all (but that hasn’t happened in a couple of years). My like to view ratio will never satisfy me. If it isn’t 50% I’m pissed… and it’s never 50%. I easily like 50% of the posts I view.

      Like

  4. I am just catching up on your back posts. I so relate. I check FB stats, my old blog stats, my Conversations About Autism Stats, my Amazon sales, my Ingram sales — each several times a day. So crazy. It was much more fun just reading blogs and posting when I felt like it. I feel like I wrote a book about autism and what’s the point if no one reads it. If no one reads it, I feel like I’ve let down the people who shared their stories. So now I have gone through a personality change and care too much about what people think. Yep. I get what you’re saying and hate being in that place. By the way, I have far fewer followers than you or Robyn. I aspire to your number followers, likes, and comments. LOL.

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    • Ah, you left out checking for book reviews three times per day. My first blog on google’s blogger got a handful of views a week and no likes or comments. I kind of miss those days. I truly was writing for myself. Still I love the engagement so I keep myself engaged. Fortunately I’ve lost interest in Facebook and Twitter. I’m all WordPress now.

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