THAT POPULAR TOUCH

We bloggers are endlessly in search of answers. All kinds of answers. I am, in particular, forever seeking an answer to the ultimate blogger query: What makes people follow me … and why are some posts popular while others (often, in my opinion, better) … not?

Serendipity-Blogging-Map

I think I’ve got it. The answer became suddenly obvious while I was reading “Excellent demo” on Mindful Digressions site. He’s one of the bloggers I always read. One of a handful. He is like me insofar as he writes about everything, whatever is on his mind. Sometimes funny, maybe serious, frequently thought-provoking, and informative. Always well-written, entertaining, and admirably free of typos. Even if the day’s post isn’t exactly up my alley, it’s worth reading.

Excellent demo” was about a software presentation to a prospective client that goes horribly wrong. The WiFi connection doesn’t work, the hot spot tool doesn’t help. It’s humiliating. The kind of experience we have all had, in one way or another. It’s painfully universal. I can remember at least two horrible professional moments, both involving cameras. After more than 30 years, they remain cringe-worthy and painful to the touch.

Oh, his company got the contract anyhow. He wondered how that could be? I thought the answer is probably simple. Everyone in that room at some time or another had a similar experience. That the demo went badly generated a visceral empathy. It didn’t sell the product, but it didn’t UNsell the product, either.

Back on Serendipity, I noticed the last two posts that did better than usual were both about the kind of stuff that happens to everyone. THANK YOU, I THINK, about backhanded compliments and I JUST WANT TO FEEL BETTER, which talks about dealing with doctors who don’t see you as a real person.

The common thread? I looked at other popular posts. One that Garry wrote about his parents, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, MOM AND DAD! and a similar post by me, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!. A few more posts Garry wrote about me when I was sick.

I looked at the list of my all-time most popular posts. Not including camera, movie, television, and technology reviews which have a life-cycle unique to that type of post and setting aside DON’T DRINK THE KOOL AID – THE JONESTOWN MASSACRE, which has a life of its own … all Serendipity’s most popular posts have some universal theme — something anyone, everyone can relate to.

I don’t write this way on purpose. I write the way I write because I write that way. I’m betting most of you don’t design your style. It comes out of you. It is you. I can control my subject matter, but I have little control over my style. When anyone asks about my “process,” I come up blank. What’s a process?

I don’t have a process. I get an idea. I write about it. It may leap out of a conversation with Garry, a comment I make on someone else’s blog, a book I’m reading, a TV show I’ve watched. A dream I had or what the dogs did. Many are anecdotes … things that happened here and elsewhere. Often, the interesting part of the story isn’t the event, but how it affected me.

There are blogs that deal with issues. Special interest web sites which talk about current events, news, politics, religion, the power structure, education. Some are all about history or literature. Or talk only about movies. They have their audiences, people who are interested in the things these bloggers write about. Me and many of you reading this have special interests too, but mostly, we are interested in life.

That’s what we write about it. Sometimes, it’s a story with a beginning, middle, and end. Nice and tidy. As often as not, it’s a memory, a string of thoughts wrapped around something that happened. A wish, a wisp, a wistful moment. And strangely, other people enjoy reading it. Go figure, right?



Categories: Blogging, Writing

Tags: , , , ,

21 replies

  1. This is my way of doing it- just throw it out there, hope for the best. Depending on what I’m doing, like say music, I am a little more precise. Blogging is really just me thinking aloud. It’s actually really soothing sometimes.

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  2. I think you are on to something. The same type of thing happens to me. If I write something to which most people can relate, then there are more hits.

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  3. I think you’re right. I tend to do the same thing, i.e. blog about whatever comes into my head. I find that those are the best blogs, as they get me thinking about things.

    I have however separated my activity into several blogs. The principle is that I don’t want to annoy readers who are interested in my Product Reviews with blog postings about Local Politics. I’ve linked all the blogs together via feeds in the sidebar, so people can follow whatever topic in my portfolio interest them and click-thru to the others if they want to.

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  4. I love the flexibility of blogging. Inspiration is a funny thing and I agree it comes from everywhere. It not the subject but the connection that matters. http://www.inspiringmax.com/

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    • Everything is potential material for me to write about. Literally everything. What I see, hear, dream. What annoys me, inspires me, bores me, enlightens me. But then again, I really like to write … that probably helps.

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  5. I follow fellow bloggers because I like what they do… they are funny, informative, create beauty or have a way with words or images that simply appeals… for that elusive, unknown reason…
    You’re right, though, the ones that make me come back are the ones I have a ‘fellow feeling’ with when I read.

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  6. A good reason to read, but to follow?

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  7. Hey Marilyn, thanks for the shout-out. I’m glad that my demo gone bad inspired you to write this post, which is clearly a very good one. I’m glad no one ever asks me about my writing process. Like you, I’d probably get a deer in the headlights look in my eye and say something profoundly unprofound. Something like, “Writing process? Writing process? Whatcha talkin’ ’bout Willis?”

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