Some Light Reading

Work and family continue to keep me busy this month. So I thought I’d share some of my favorite posts from the blog. These aren’t necessarily the “reader favorites,” but I think they’re good glimpses at the various aspects of me. For newer readers who may not have seem them, I hope you’ll take a few minutes to check them out. And maybe long-time followers will enjoy a rerun or two. Continue reading

Saturday Sundries 4

I’m at a wedding today. Somehow, my niece is old enough to embark on this journey, and yet I swear it was just last year that I became an aunt and was holding her newborn self. But today she’s a wonderful young woman on the first day of what I hope will be a lifetime of happiness and adventure with the man she loves.

So for today’s light fare we have the following offerings. Continue reading

Ringing In The New

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Let me start by thanking Char of Joy in the Moments for nominating me as a Blog of the Year for 2012.

Since it’s now 2013, I’ll retire this one. I’d bet we’ll see the 2013 version by autumn. 😉

As they have for so many others, the WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for my blog. Of course, if you’ve read this post, you know these numbers are less than accurate. 😉 But we can still have some fun with them.

There’s a link at the bottom for the full report, but you don’t need to bother with it. Here are my highlights.

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 17,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 4 Film Festivals.

If the Reader didn’t eat so many views, this number might be more like 20,000…. 😛 Either way, thank you again to all who have visited!

One of the top five referrers to my blog was Carrie Rubin’s The Write Transition. Carrie was also the top commenter on my blog. Kourtney Heintz, 4amWriter, Robin Coyle, and philosphermouseofthehedge round out the Top 5 of my awesome commenters. I’m sure most of you already follow these great bloggers, but if you don’t, do check them out!

Even though I’m a writer and post mainly about my WIPs, my most viewed posts had nothing to do with them. Instead, posts about blogging, social media, scheduling this thing called life, and the Tall Ships in Baltimore scored the most readers. Neither poetically inclined archaeologist Meghan Bode nor the characters from the WIPs came anywhere near them.

There you have the highlights. We’ll get back to regular programming on Saturday. The WIPs are the subject of Saturday’s post—even if it won’t generate mega views. The characters are far more important to me than blog stats. 🙂

Did you check out your Annual Stats Report? Or did you skim the email and move on? If you haven’t blogged a full year, you may not get one.

Click here to see the complete report.

So The Dog Didn’t Eat My Blog Views — WordPress Did

Maybe you’ve noticed this. You upload a post and a few minutes later, the “likes” start coming in. But wait—your stats page doesn’t show any views for the post. Where did these “likes” come from?

Blog-savvy readers know the likes originate in the WordPress Reader. Readers can read posts and leave likes without leaving the Reader. (Wanna try saying that ten times fast?) Only if they comment will a view appear in your stats.

Excuse me, but this makes no sense. Continue reading

Generally Speaking

Jack of all trades but Master of none. . .

. . . is an old expression meaning someone is competent at a number of tasks but doesn’t excel at any single thing. The phrase is meant to be disparaging. But why should that be? Why is it “better” to do one thing very well (specialize) rather than be competent at several (generalize)?

You see both behaviors in the animal kingdom. Some species are “generalists.” They eat a variety of plants (and other animals). Think bears. Continue reading

Blogs — How Do You Interact With Them? Part 2

This post wraps up my surveys about how readers follow and interact with blogs. If you missed Part 1, you can catch up here. Once again we topped 30 respondents, so the results are statistically valid—at least in regard to the people who read my blog. The comments made it clear that many of us are busy people with busy lives who struggle to keep up with everything we do. I think we need a collective breather before the end of the year.

With that said, let’s dive into the poll results so you can move to the next item on your day’s to-do list.

Do You Respond To Blog Posts?

Do You Respond

I hoped that people who normally don’t respond would answer this question. But there were no “never” replies. Of course, such readers might have refused to answer on principle. That’s okay.

We’re conscientious folks in this corner of Blog Land, and most of us respond as often as possible to as many posts as we can. Based on the comments, sometimes we can’t reply because of time constraints. Also, if we don’t know what to say (such as in response to someone’s very personal experience) or feel we have nothing new to offer, we might leave only a “like” or not respond.

How Do You Respond To Blog Posts?

How Do You Respond

I’m glad to say we’re flexible in our responses. No one who took the poll leaves only likes or only comments. Most of us leave a like or comment or both, depending on our available time, comfort level with the blogger, and personal interests. There is a group of bloggers that thinks “likes” are too reminiscent of Facebook and doesn’t use them. But there’s another group at the other end of the spectrum that relies heavily on the “like” button.

I have to admit, I like the “like” button. Sometimes that’s the best way for me to respond. What I don’t like about the self-hosted blogs is that they don’t have like buttons. Sometimes I don’t have time for more, and at others I don’t feel comfortable commenting. Without the like button, I can’t let those bloggers know I stopped by.

When Do You Respond To Blog Posts?

When Do You Respond

As you see in this last graph, we try to respond! By far, we either respond to most posts by most bloggers we follow or at least more often on some blogs than others. I suspect there’s a correlation between these two replies and the number of blogs followed. I bet the more blogs we follow, the more likely we are to respond more to some than others.

In Sum

There you have the results. I hope you’ve enjoyed the chance to compare your blogging habits with those of other readers. In this hectic month jam-packed with various holidays, I’ll keep my posts shorter so as not to take up too much of your limited time. Now go enjoy your day!

Blogs — How Do You Interact With Them?

Last month, I asked how you follow blogs and then followed up with a post on the poll results. Now, I’m curious how—or if—you let the bloggers you follow know what you think of their posts. Some readers already described how they interact on the earlier posts. If you did, I hope you won’t mind summarizing again. And now, let’s start with our first question.

Do You Respond To Blog Posts?

Of course, if you don’t normally respond to posts, I hope you’ll at least answer the first poll question so we get a more complete picture! Are you someone who leaves a like or comment on every post you read by every blogger you follow? Or do you stay anonymous, leaving the discussions to others? Maybe in between? I fall in that last category.

This first question is general and doesn’t get into whether you comment on all posts by every blogger you follow or on just a few posts by a few bloggers. By “respond” I mean comments and/or “likes.”

If you never “like” or comment on posts, the remaining questions don’t apply. But I hope you’re curious what other readers are like and will stick around for the rest of this post.

How Do You Respond To Blog Posts?

I usually leave at least a like, unless the subject matter makes me too uncomfortable to reply. I hope the authors of such posts realize that not everyone can respond to difficult, sensitive, or inflammatory topics. For my “inner circle” of blog buddies, I always try to leave a comment and like. But again, if I’m really uncomfortable with the subject matter, I might struggle to leave a like. And sometimes, I just don’t know what to say without sounding trite, insensitive, or clueless. Also, I can’t always get to every post, especially for the daily bloggers. So I might not have left a calling card because I didn’t stop by that day.

So for Question No. 2:

Please feel free to share your reasons for responding the way you do. (Or, if you’re uncomfortable with that, you can stay on the sidelines. 😉 )

When Do You Respond To Blog Posts?

I think we’ll see a lot of variation in this poll question. There are a few blogs where I comment on every post that goes up, unless I’m away from the blogosphere for a while. For others, though, I’ll only comment on some posts. And there are some blogs where I only leave a like. But I try to at least leave that “like” to let the blogger know I was there and read their work. As many of you already know, there aren’t enough hours in the day for me to comment on every blog I follow. And many of you face the same situation.

And so we have Question No. 3. Again, “respond” means either a comment and/or a “like.”

Again, please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Summing Up

I don’t want these posts to be overwhelming, so we’ll leave it at three poll questions again. The earlier posts generated a lot of great comments from readers, and I’d love to see more of the same here. So please help keep the ball rolling!

The Mystery of WordPress Shares

Did you see this post?

Hey, fellow WordPress bloggers—have you ever looked at the “Shares” feature on your stats page? It’s down near the bottom on the “Totals, Followers & Shares” menu.

For the longest time, my total only rose when I shared my latest posts on my Facebook page. But over the last month, the numbers increased. And I’m wondering what they mean.

At the end of August, I had all of 184 shares. Given that I had nearly 120 posts, it’s obvious most of them were my own. Maybe 60 of them came from readers. That would average to six per month. But then something happened.

Nine days later, there were 239 shares. You know I didn’t make 55 posts in nine days. Thirteen days later, 286 shares. Hmm. Four days later, 406 shares. At the end of September there were 423 shares. What the heck?! My first ten months of blogging had maybe 60 shares from readers. The next month alone more than 200?

I’ve made an exhaustive search of WordPress poked around a little, but I haven’t found an explanation for how the Mysterious Share Computator works. The shares in the stats don’t match with the share buttons on my posts. For example. I can see a certain post got shared on LinkedIn. But when I look at the share buttons for that post? No little number on the LinkedIn button. So where are these mystery shares coming from?

I am Mysterious Share Computator. Mere humans cannot understand the mysteries of my superior share computational abilities.

And what makes some posts more share-likely than others? My most-shared posts aren’t the ones that get the most views, likes, or comments. My least shared? It’s safe to say none of my posts are going viral as you can see below.

Number of Shares

I thought Meghan’s current short story in Poetic Archaeology might have generated a few, but only the second installment has had a share. According to Mysterious Share Computator, 64 of my 125 posts have been shared only by me. (But some of the share buttons on those posts show that somebody else shared them. Strange.) Most of them are early posts, so that’s understandable. But some posts that I thought were good didn’t generate much interest.

Which posts generated more shares (say 6–9 according to Mysterious Share Computator)? A number of Awards acceptance posts. Seriously. But a few posts that gathered a number of likes and comments also fall into this range, such as Will Social Media Kill My Writing? and Academic Writing Gets Its Revenge.

But my most-shared post according to Mysterious Share Computator? My recent Catching Up On Awards post. I’m as confused about that as you are. It’s received 16 shares. What’s so interesting about it? Are family and friends of my top commentators sharing that fact? And when I look at the share buttons on the post itself? There’s only my single Facebook share. Why don’t the numbers match?

Really, I don’t see any correlation between Mysterious Share Computator’s numbers and those on the posts’ share buttons. I mean, Blogs—How Do You Follow Them? has nine Facebook shares according to the buttons on the post. But Mysterious Share Computator says it has only one share, from Facebook. That would suggest only my sharing of the post counted to Mysterious Share Computator. Why not the other eight readers who shared it? Their opinions are just as important, don’t you think?

Of course, I still don’t understand the sudden jump in shares during September. Maybe my blog has achieved consciousness and is seeking out new friends for itself….

If you understands the mysteries behind these numbers, I would love to hear from you. And even if, like me, you don’t understand them, please have some fun and share your thoughts on how Mysterious Share Computator comes up with his numbers. There are some really creative minds in my audience!