Daily Prompt: The Stat Connection – How to make friends and influence people

My most popular all time whiz-bang post was written during a five-minute commercial interruption of the 2012 première episode of Criminal Minds. Over a thousand hits came pouring in for that post plus another few hundred over the next few days and many more in the months since. It remains my highest drawing post. When the season première came around in England, I got 1400 hits in one hour.

shadow me

I always know when the episode is playing somewhere because each time it shows, anywhere on earth, in rerun or as a new series, I get another thousand or so hits. The last time was the middle of June when a rerun of the episode was on cable and I got just under 900 hits in about an hour and another 300 the next day. Sure does goose up those stats, eh?

swan 93

What have I learned from this? If you want to be popular, write about television shows and be lucky. Make sure Google puts you at the top of the search for that thing, whatever it is. Because that’s what drives them to me. Not my brilliant writing, not the extraordinary subject matter. I wrote a little piece quickly, without much thought, published it within a couple of minutes. It accounts for 10,111 total hits. I have no idea what kind of lesson to take from that. Do you? You may read it here: The FBI can’t do a simple Google search?

In second position for all time hits, with a solid showing of 5,043 hits is a joke about cell phones and Albert Einstein. I copied and pasted it from Facebook. It’s funny, but it’s not exactly a cogent, well-written commentary on the human condition. I’ve written shopping lists with deeper meaning. In the name of scientific inquiry, feel free to give this your full attention: The man who saw the future …

Finally in the number three position with 2,645 hits is a reblog of an article comparing two Olympus cameras, the PEN PL-5 and the PEN PM-2. It gets from 20 to 100 hits a day, every day since I published it about a year ago. Apparently if you are shopping for Olympus cameras, you are more likely to find me than the original author. The mystery of Google strikes again. You will enjoy this if you are buying a new mirrorless camera. The information is excellent and if I’d written it myself, I’d be prouder still: Olympus E-PL5 vs. Olympus E-PM2, a surprise. I bought the PM2, by the way. I already owned the PL-1 and P3.

There is no connection between these posts other than they hit the public fancy and placed well on Google’s search engine. One was written by someone else, another is a well-known Internet joke, and third comments about a popular TV show and involves hunting serial killers. What it proves to me? Popularity has little to do with good writing, meaningful subject matter, or even good taste. Taken by themselves, statistics are worse than meaningless: they are deceptive. If you can find another interpretation, I’m all ears.

Rarely are your best efforts your most popular posts. So far, never. The pieces of which I’m the most proud often languish unnoticed while articles written in haste with little thought, but about popular subjects do very well. On the rare occasions when a piece I’m genuinely proud of does well, I glow.

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Meanwhile, by dint of working really hard at finding interesting, entertaining and valuable subjects to write about, I’ve got almost 85,000 hits, more than 400 followers, about 1200 posts and Word Press has never found a single thing I’ve written or photographed worthy of being Freshly Pressed. Not a single picture or post. That boggles my mind too because I’ve read a lot of the freshly pressed material and can’t remember any of it. It was smooth reading and totally forgettable. Maybe I’m trying too hard.

Some days I wonder why I bother? I could just go find stuff on the Internet and reblog it and get fantastic numbers. But then I slap myself on the face and remind me I don’t do it for the numbers or even for the recognition, though I certainly wouldn’t mind positive input.

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I do it because I love it. The writing, the photography, the relationships. I really, truly love it. So until I just wear out and give up from sheer exhaustion, I guess you are all stuck with me.

Other recent top entries, many of which are informational and/or technical should not surprise me because I was a technical writer for 35 years and I write a good reference stuff. After all those years, you’d figure I’d have a grip on that, at least. So here’s a list of my most popular posts (not in order, but overall hit count showing). Within the list are contain some pieces I think are pretty good. Well-written and containing interesting or useful information, or just an opinion I’m glad someone found worth reading.

Why tablets can’t replace computers. And why they shouldn’t. (301 hits)

Amazon Kindle Fire 7-Inch HD: 13-months later (369 hits)

The Felix Castor Series, Mike Carey (359 hits) 

How many states are trying to secede? (843 hits)

Things that go bump in the night (354 hits)

Gazing through to the other side: Hollywood and Moral Character (751 hits)

Where do the swans go? (334 hits) (photo gallery)

Old Coney Island Impressions (306 hits) (photo gallery)

Nothing ties these articles together. Not theme, style, subject matter. The only thing they share is (with two glaring exceptions) the author — me. What should I make of this? You tell me. I don’t like any of the conclusions I draw.

40 thoughts on “Daily Prompt: The Stat Connection – How to make friends and influence people

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  8. *at lies st = *at least, sorry.
    You have written about your Criminal Minds article when referencing stats or high hit posts several times. I don’t know if its the subject or how quickly the post came together but I have sensed that you are not proud of it.
    I could be absolutely wrong.
    As a reader I know I can not read all authors, over my head. I also know authors that demand I recognize their intelligence. They go on and on, add so many variables that I don’t want to read them again. They actually make little sense. Then there are the know it alls that make opinions at first glance and have not a clue what they are talking about. Gag me with a pencil.
    You don’t do any of that.
    That post is intelligent, with informed insight, be proud of it.
    Using the same title, very important, you could repost it so your date will move you back up on the google page.
    Your post is better than the other two.
    Just a thought.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s not that it’s a bad article. It’s that I’ve put so much effort into other articles that hardly got any notice at all. I know that TV and the movies are important parts of our lives. My husband is Mr. Movie (when he isn’t Mr. Baseball) and is really passionate about TV and the movies. And I write about it a fair amount, too. But I also write about stuff that I think is genuinely important, not just because it entertains us, but because it is — itself — important. Peel back a layer of me and I have a deep, wide serious streak. I care about issues, I worry about what’s happening in the world, the nation, my own backyard. My husband doesn’t, or at least, not much anymore. He spent 40 years in the thick of it and all he wants now is to disengage and let the world take care of itself. I understand how he feels. I even understand WHY he feels that way, but it is sometimes hard for me to take. I’m not ready to disengage to that degree. I like TV, I love movies and I read books all the time … but I think that there are more important things going on.

      The worst part of my stats is not that one article. I at least wrote that one. The other top two are 1 reblog and 1 internet joke, literally, Neither of which I wrote. Two out of three of my top articles aren’t even mine. That’s kind of a bummer, you know?

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      • I am working on becoming more like Garry. I want others to care deeply and become upset over life’s issues. I don’t enjoy the feelings I have when caring about injustice’s.
        I try to not watch the news, I try to stay out of talks about anything important and I try to not share my opinion, very often.
        On your site I have broken my new resolve to keep quiet but I am a work in progress.
        I want to live in lightness these next few years.

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        • Garry watches the news if something big, usually local is happening, like the bomber at the Marathon. That, in particular, because were he still working, he would have been right there where the bombs went off. And he knew the reporters on the scene and understood what they were doing and how hard it is to do a breaking story like that. And how dangerous. Normally, though, he avoids the news. Like you, he feels he’s done his share. More than his share and his time to relax has arrived. Sometimes, he can’t help but get sucked in, but mostly, he tries to stay on the sidelines. I’m a little more proactive, but only as a writer. As Phil Ochs said long ago, “I ain’t marching anymore.” Time for the younger generations to take their turn on the frontlines. I too have done my share and then some. But writing, this I can still do and so I write. But that’s pretty much where it begins and ends. Time for others to do their share. I don’t see the younger generations really doing very much. They will be sorry, later, when they discover how much they’ve lost by their indifference, but it’s not my job to educate them. It’s their job to educate themselves and do their best to protect their rights, their lives, their world.

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    • One of the other problems of the post are that people get so angry about it. I’ve actually gotten hate mail from people. That’s why I closed the comments on the original post, though they are still open on the follow-up. I do NOT understand how people can get so worked up. It’s a TV show, not lif or death.

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  9. I found you by googling the quote. On google the song and its origin were listed first and you were second or third. The quote was in the title of your post at lies st on google it is.
    By using the quote like that moved your post up.
    Now two other bloggers have moved up but that is b/ c of how google uses dates of posts.
    You wrote a great article on Hollywood, television and accountability and it doesn’t matter how long it took you to write it.
    Very intelligently written. You got to the point with insight and questions.

    Remembering I am a reader that uses google & Bing if I was camera shopping I would read your article.

    Like

    • Thank you. I really appreciate your input. A LOT. It makes me feel good and I very much appreciate it. I haven’t checked my position on Google lately. I suppose I ought to 🙂

      On Tue, Jul 23, 2013 at 12:31 AM, SERENDIPITY

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  11. When I first starting blogging, the stats drove me nuts. Then, one day the lightbulb came on: I am not writing for the stats, I am writing because I love to write and if I touch only one person out there in blogland, then that one person may have a better day, have a frown turned upside down or have a bucket full of tears wash away negative thoughts. I have found the stats somewhat interesting between my two blogs since one is blogspot (Awakenings) and the other WordPress (catnipoflife). While Awakenings has only 88 ‘counted’ followers, it boasts 71,486 hits with the highest single post hitting 3,221. Would you like to know the topic? Word of the Day: BEER! catnipoflife, on the other hand, has 375 ‘counted’ followers and reports 30,528 views. Its top post hit 269 views – 25 Most Awkward Cat Sleeping Positions. All I can say is Go Figure! Forget the numbers, have fun with words and definitely make a difference!

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    • You can’t just write for stats because they will drive you nuts. Hit counts go up and down without rhyme nor reason. 260 on Saturday, 131 on Sunday, 249 today. No reason. You’ve got to love it, want to write, or whatever you do for your own internal reasons. Because the numbers really will make you crazy.

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      • Right on, sister! There is absolutely no rhyme or reason behind their calculations for us to even worry about! I am working on the ‘doggie’ post. Love the pictures. I will probably post it later tonight or maybe tomorrow. Haven’t felt right today. One of the new meds from the ER yesterday made my lips swell so there goes another allergic reaction! I hate getting old…not use to allergies! Phooey-ma-tooey! [That’s Southernese!)

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  12. Some of your photos today triggered memories that are in the “warm & fuzzy” category. A summer vacation to my sister’s home in New Jersey brought me to the shore and Palisades Park. Roller coasters are always a fond memory since I’ve only been on a half dozen in my life. The boardwalk, with all the carney games, also comes to mind. The expertise of the men & women running these games was amazing. After dropping a wad of cash on a game that had you trying to lob softballs into giant milk cans a visitor claimed it was rigged, that it was impossible to do. The guy running the game quickly dropped 3 in a row like it was nothing. Next!

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    • True. I’ve seen them do it too … but to be fair, they have a LOT of practice, so they make it look easy. It isn’t quite that easy. But not impossible, either. I remember Palisades Park. They had the waves pool.

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          • My family had so much fun that the guy running the ride jumped in to get some real action. We were all laughing so hard we cried. We also had a crowd of cheering bystanders that didn’t have to nerve to jump in. LOL

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            • Last time we went to Coney Island, 6 years ago, my granddaughter (10 at the time) decided I was the ONLY one she wanted to ride with. We rode the cyclone 7 times, twice in the morning and five more times in the afternoon. She just laughed and laughed and laughed while everyone else screamed. What a kid.

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  14. Well, for what it is worth, I always love the posts and the pictures I follow on Twitter so I am more apt to find your new postings listed there than here. I believe you have to play all the angles if you want readers, so I think you have found some sucess here.
    I too find no rhyme or reason to the number of hits I get. For 92 posts I have just shy of 4000 hits. I do not know how to make Google rank me higher, other than using the notifications built into Word Press.
    Recently I have rerun some pieces from last year that I really liked and received almost no readers. I thought I would try them again.
    I also write because I love it, but the lack of readers makes me write only when inspirations comes, rather than the weekly post.
    I am glad you are adding to meaningful writing on the interent because, as we both know, there is a lot of crap out there.

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    • I have NO idea how I hit that number one spot on Google with that silly post, nor why some posts get a lot of hits and others none at all. I too rerun posts when I think they are worth it and haven’t gotten any attention. Sometimes it does much better second (or third, I’m not shy, I’ll keep running it if I think it was good) time around, sometimes not.

      I think I get a lot of hits from Facebook where I have many “friends” because of games I played in the past. Mostly, I don’t play them any more, but one of them — Metropolis — have have almost 1000 links from that one games. It’s a very complicated not very sexy game (nothing like the really popular games … it’s all about statistics) and you need cross links to play at all. I don’t know most of my linked “friends” but we know each others’ names and when I cross post from WP, about 1600 people on Facebook get the feed and I’m pretty sure that helps. Also, the Twitter feed is automatic and although I don’t have as many followers there as here, I have some important followers — authors and such and they often re-tweet my post information. How that happened has to do with books I review. They like my reviews, and they get in touch to thank me, so I’ve just gotten acquainted with authors and they have given me a hand. Ironically, I get very few hits on the reviews (with a couple of exceptions), but because authors follow me, their followers follow me too.

      Some help from friends, some good connections, having a LOT of connections. Most of all, luck and persistence. I keep writing. It does make a difference.

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      • I think I should post to myspace where I played Mobsters for a long time and have over 1500 friends. You need them for the game. The problem is many, myself included, have left myspace behind. I know I need to make more Word Press connections but I need to win the Lotto first so I can quit my day job. Meanwhile on You Tube where I am lucky to get 100 views on the vlog channel, I have one video over 11,800 views. One popular You Tuber liked it and added it to a playlist of favorites and it took off. I don’t even know him but have seen his videos.
        I guess this is all about catching lightning in a bottle. Thanks for the insights.

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