|Typical life and death of a new post.|
I’m guessing that we wargame bloggers enjoy a lot of our traffic from each other’s blog rolls. My blog roll is quite long but defaults to the first 25, the most that Blogger allows me to show. I’ve just checked my blog roll as I write. The 25th item is two days old and the other 24 are only one day old. Anything older does not appear unless you elect to ‘Show All’.
I remember a time when posts shown were much older, but as new interests have arisen I've added new blogs, thus increasing competition between them. Now they fight for daylight before falling off the bottom of the list. That presumes that visitors even get to the bottom of the list. In so far as fellow bloggers enjoy traffic diverted from this blog, they only enjoy it for 24 hours and I guess this is largely reciprocated.
This begs questions about the ideal frequency of publication. Every 3 days? Every day? Every hour? That is a slippery slope leading to obsession and is to be resisted. Unless I have something pressing to say, I'm now inclined to revert to a roughly weekly frequency.
|All time favourites.|
Some posts achieve longevity. Google moves in mysterious ways, but in so far as you can explain the popularity of a post it's probably because it's a relatively rare source of reference or it offers something of ongoing practical use.
In contrast to other forms of social media like Twitter or Facebook, blog posts are typically long and considered, can take considerable time to write and compare very favourably with articles in printed media. This is certainly exemplified by blogs like Norm’s Battlefields and Warriors or Steven Thomas’s Balagan. My own posts are much more economical/superficial but they still take quite a long time to write, illustrate and arrange. It just seems a pity that so much effort results in something which generally enjoys only a very ephemeral life.
I guess most wargame bloggers are pretty ‘old school’ and take pride in a process which is little different to traditional print media publishing. But I also know that I'm not the only blogger to entertain doubts.
I don't personally do Facebook but I know people who do. Post an interesting or appealing photo straight from your smartphone and you immediately receive a barage of 'Likes' and pithy comments. I fear that I'm beginning to sound narcissistic but I do know that this sort of response provides validation and is psychologically much more rewarding than the feeling that you are publishing into a void.
Where is all this leading? Well, I'm not planning to give up just yet or to make any radical changes, but I am seriously wondering whether from an objective point of view an essentially print-media process with a large overhead in time and effort is a good match for a contemporary Internet audience.
I have some more rants to make. Otherwise I will try to create posts which have more content of lasting value.
|Audience growth since inception. January|
2020 is incomplete, hence the cliff-face dip.
All of this begs the question of why we blog at all. If I have a few daytime hours at home without fear of interruption, I'm more likely to spend my time painting. Blog posts usually start life on my smartphone (a Galaxy Note with stylus) during train journeys, in any waiting situation, or in any other odd pocket of time, and are finished on a PC mostly during sleepless nights (as now).
Blogger is theoretically straightforward but positioning pictures and controlling formatting can be annoyingly tricky. Fortunately I have a background in web creation and can get under the bonnet to adjust the HTML. No such problems with Facebook.
Given this working practice, it doesn't really compete with other activities, but if I didn't do the blog I could be using the time to study wargame rules or to pursue other interests.
But I still haven't explained why I do it. Generally it's to remain connected with something that fascinates me and would engage my thoughts in any event. In particular I get the most reward from feedback about ideas I'm floating, e.g. what basing to adopt for a particular game or how to paint something.