The Nerfherder's 100th Anniversary and Lessons Learned from Blogging...
This is officially the 100th post for The Nerfherder, which began last June as part of a class project being taught at the City College of New York. As a way to commemorate this landmark achievement of actually sticking with it consistently for so long (and not going insane from wondering if anyone actually reads it), let's stop and reflect on what lessons The Nerfherder has learned about blogging...
1) You can increase your number of page hits, but it's seemingly impossible to get people to subscribe - either by email or through RSS - to your blog. Except for relatives and close friends who begrudgingly humor your "cute little hobby" that "serves no purpose" and demonstrates how you "have way too much time on your hands". These remarks typically come from those who are unemployed and spending their days watching YouTube videos.
2) Shockingly, just because you have a blog does not mean people will start donating money to you through PayPal.
3) The number of comments you get is directly proportional to your ability to incite anger and go against the grain of mainstream thought. The Nerfherder's most commented story of the year was one which criticized the Pirate Bay organization, followed by a barrage of comments by Pirate Bay members flaming me for doing so. But those people are lunatics :-)
4) Conversely, the number of Diggs you get is directly proportional to your ability to re-inforce the mainstream thinking of Digg users. Surefire opinions to proliferate for this purpose: Linux = good, George W. Bush = bad, Open source = good, DRM and the RIAA = on par with fascist Soviet-era dictators.
5) Pimping out your blog with fancy features, writing well and on relevant topics, and submitting your post to Technorati and social-network/bookmarking sites will only increase your credibility. It will not increase the number of people who read it. (Caveat: Unless they are your students who are required to.)
6) It's still a million-dollar mystery of 1) how to catch the genie and, once you do, 2) how to keep him in the bottle. Last week, The Nerfherder landed a whopping 127 Diggs and over 1200 page hits for a story on how ABC censored comments on its website supporting presidential candidate Ron Paul. A few small paragraphs, not even breaking news, just editorializing as always - really, a post no different than any other I post here. Why did it catch fire? I have absolutely no idea! And worse, it seems impossible to replicate that success. Is it really all just that random?
We'll check back in with more lessons learned when The Nerfherder reaches its 200th post. That is, assuming I still have "way too much time on my hands".