While I’m in a meta mood, there’s a post I’ve been meaning to write for months. It’s particularly apropos as a followup to this year’s Blog Anniversary post, especially as it’s a followup about Followers.
Specifically, the 2,642 of you supposedly following this blog. Often the proper term might be lurkers, but in this case I lean more towards absent drive-bys. There would be more, over three-grand, but ever since WordPress gave bloggers the ability to delete Followers, I’ve been removing obvious spammers (meaning anyone selling anything).
I’ll give you the punchline so you can stop reading: I’m about to remove nearly all of you.
If I don’t know you, if you’ve never so much as clicked Like (let alone Comment to participate or even just to say “Hi!”), then I’m kicking you off this blog. If you’re one of the few who lurk regularly, you might want to speak up somehow.
See, the thing is that, while I seem to have 2,600+ Followers according to WP, the actual number of reads any post ever gets shortly after publication is a tiny fraction of that. It varies from single digits to, maybe, as high as 40 or so.
Posts that have accumulated hits for years don’t come close to the supposed number of Followers WordPress claims I have. The new stats don’t seem to provide this easily (thanks, WP), but what seems to be my most read post, Sideband #17: Ready when you are, Mr. DeMille, published about six years ago, has 1,467 hits. (And one Comment and two Likes, so WTF, oh, my fine Followers?)
So there’s really two problems here: Lurkers and Drive-by Follows.
I’ll accept Lurkers; some people are just shy. If you’re out there silently reading, you might want to at least click Like (or, seriously, just say hello) so you don’t get caught in the purge. I don’t plan to spend a lot of effort trying to remember if I’ve ever seen a Like by someone. (Plus, I’m old and my memory is shot, so be advised.)
Those of you who have commented I’ll always remember!
As for you Drive-bys, y’all are gonna be history.
I don’t know if it’s advice that’s published somewhere or just an idea people get, but I know what’s going on, and to be both blunt and crude, you can kiss my ass. Following me hoping I’ll check you out will never happen. Even those of you with a hot chick icon. I learned my lesson about that bait-and-switch long ago. Don’t count your chicks until!
If you really want to attract my attention, speak up. Contribute. Or, as I say, just say hello and offer an invitation for me to visit. I haven’t turned down an invite yet.
So, as the saying goes, “Speak now or be forever Unfollowed.”
Here’s a little Follower-related show and tell: I’ve saved those emails WP sends when someone Follows your blog. I wrote a Python script to processes them into a nice list and another that makes hit charts.
Below are those hit charts (Followers per day) for the July 2011–July 2016 period of this blog. The scale is the same for all six charts:
The pattern is weird. The spikes from being Freshly Pressed I understand. But late in 2015 there was an apparent campaign going on resulting in a flood of new Followers. With almost none of them announcing their presence in any way.
There seemed to be a similar, but smaller, campaign in 2013. Or perhaps two, one in the second quarter, and another later in the year. Which is followed (pardon the pun) by a very slow year in 2014. Weird.
In any event, I’m shooing y’all off my lawn.
Go lurk somewhere else!