I commented to my long suffering wife the other day about my recently having achieved another landmark in followers.
“Honey, my blog now has over fourteen hundred followers!”
“That’s nice dear,” she replied, but then asked “Does that mean something?”
I rolled my eyes discretely at her lack of comprehension of the nuts and bolts of blog mechanics.
“It means that every time I write a new post, one thousand four hundred and seven people, collectively known as my followers, are notified of this momentous event. They can then scramble to the nearest smart phone, laptop or if they’re homeless, the public library, and hang on my every word. Despite the publishing industry’s opinion that I have very little to offer in the way of writing skills, there are fourteen hundred people who feel otherwise”
“That’s nice, dear.” she said, already refocusing her attention back to the sudoko puzzle or Kindle or whatever that thing was that allowed her to ignore me.
I sat there, mildly upset that she had not suggested uncorking some champagne to celebrate. I turned my attention back to my trusty computer and looked at one of my latest posts. This particular one was a whimsical discussion as to the merits or drawbacks of a dog having multiple penises, as originally suggested by former President William Jefferson Clinton. Then I jumped over to the stats page.
The post had registered 11 likes and 141 people had actually read it. These numbers are pretty typical for my posts.
I have a list of 70 or 80 people who I notify en masse via email whenever I post, most of them are not technically “followers” as far as WordPress is concerned. The email recipients are coworkers, family members and the receptionist at my urologist’s office among others. Many read the posts so they can avoid being badgered by me to do so, and at least one coworker has admitted to only reading my blog when seated on the toilet. Of my 141 hits, I’d estimate that 27 of them were from my stash of these non-follower, peer-pressure readers.
I try to tag my posts in a manner which accurately guides readers to my work. After all, it’s easy to attract readers from search engines by including content tags like “Bieber”, “Kanye”, “public urination” or “Kardashian” despite the fact that the post was mostly about my fondest Thanksgiving memory. My tags for the dog weenie post were “Clinton”, “dog”, “lucky”, “two”, “humor”, and “dick.”
My estimates for hits generated per tag are as follows:
Clinton: 6 hits. Rationale: Bill, Hillary and Chelsea are still news worthy, depending upon the week’s events. Funk master George Clinton may have been good for a hit as well.
Dog: 4 hits. Rationale: Everybody likes dogs, also I noticed Korea was well represented in my global numbers.
Lucky: 5 hits. Luck and/or being lucky is always a popular concept, though being as lucky as “a dog with two dicks” is still an analogy known only to Bill Clinton and the hill-people.
Two: 7 hits. Two is a pretty good number. Everyone knows that one is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do.
Humor: 6 hits. In these dark times, everyone could use a laugh. They’ll plug words like “humor”, “chuckle” and “guffaw” into search engines and hope for a few yuks to take their minds off of the rumors about lay-offs down at the salt mine.
Dick: 13 hits. I’m assuming I would have had even better numbers if Clinton had said Obama was luckier than “a pussycat with 17 titties.”
Those estimates account for 41 of my hits coming from search engines.
So between search engines and my personal mailing list I’ve accounted for 68 of my 141 hits. Assuming no random hits, I can deduce that the remaining 73 hits on my post came from actual followers.
1407 followers minus the 73 who actually read the post leaves 1334 followers who didn’t read my post. Roughly 95% of my followers didn’t follow me loyally enough to read my post. Cue the sad violin music and zoom in on the tears welling up in my eyes. As for the “likes”, 11 out of 1407 followers isn’t even relevant. Mathematicians could argue that statistically no one actually liked the post.
I glanced over at my wife, who was so engrossed in the romance novel on her Kindle that she had fallen asleep. I smiled to myself, secure in the knowledge that for the time being at least, she didn’t know what a total failure I turned out to be in the blog world, despite amassing 1407 followers. That bottle of bubbly can just keep on taking up valuable refrigerator space until we have something meaningful to celebrate, like Justin Bieber publicly urinating on a prostitute who turned out to be a Kardashian.