Saturday, September 13, 2014

When to tweet about your posts

About a week ago I saw a couple tweets that made me think. So I embedded the tweets in a post and added a short comment. I thought it was vaguely insightful, and considered tweeting about it, but in the end I decided that my addition was too insubstantial. 

A week later I'm pleasantly surprised with four visits to that page originating from Twitter (the links). I'm amazed that anyone found my blog at all, but I was really happy to see that someone thought my post was worth a share on Twitter. One advantage of blog posts over tweets, I suppose, is the longer half-life.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Why is this even still here?

Do people still read blogs like these? For most people, the answer probably is "only when someone links to it from Facebook". On the other hand, I'm guessing that a lot more people are on Facebook (and available to be led 'astray' by links) than ever read blogs in their heyday. So is this good or bad?

Back in the day we had quite the community around science blogs. People knew each other, people read each other's blogs, people linked to one-another from their blogs. I suspect that the same people are still active on Facebook (though in my experience, a lot of them don't really blog any more). The discussions which once kept blog comments lively are not fragmented among various people's Facebook feeds, while the active community-type stuff, where you interacted with people you didn't know (and get to know them) now happens on Twitter.

If you want readers, they say, you need to establish a strong voice, a 'brand'. So don't blog about all sorts of disparate things - focus on something you know a lot about and are passionate about. This, at one stage, led people to split their thoughts into multiple blogs. The obvious down-side of that is that the more you split yourself, the less you publish per site. Since readership is probably the thing that keeps people going, this is likely to be a bad idea. For a blog, at least.

I managed to split my blogging into more pieces than Voldemort split his soul. This site, which I managed to keep updating for five years, fell by the way-side. It remains an archive to various attempts at blogging. Worse yet, when I copied the good stuff to my first WordPress blog, I probably diluted what little Google-juice this site had acquired.

I have mixed feelings about writing here at all. I've started to write a little again, started to update those fragmented bits of my writing (at least some of them). Would I be better just updating one or two of them, while letting the others die a natural death? And if I update some, which ones should I update? Although this blog is the dustiest, longest-abandoned of any of my writing, it still attracts traffic, which is more than I can say for some of my blogging attempts. Should I work here, on a blog that has no 'brand' (it is, after all, a blog about nothing) but has traffic, or try to work on blogs that have brand, but no traffic?