Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Michael Lopez, who was upset a little while back about a school official's idea of proper graduation attire, is now dumbfounded that that post got some attention, including from me.

I understand where he's coming from, really. In the roughly 1.5 years I've been writing Byzantium's Shores, my three biggest spikes in traffic came thusly:

1. On April Fool's Day I took a Steven Den Beste post, ran it through Babelfish into Japanese and back again, and posted the results, calling it "Even More Turgid Steven Den Beste", as a knock-off of the "Shorter Steven Den Beste" that's occasionally flitted around Blogistan. Matthew Yglesias noticed it, and linked it. (He was doing SSDB honors at the time.) Much traffic ensued.

2. A few months before that, SDB himself watched Attack of the Clones and wrote a review that sent me into spasms of geek-like fury, the results of which were channeled into two posts here -- which SDB generously linked with one of those "So-and-so comments" updates at the end of his review (along with a "Maybe Jaquandor should lighten up" suggestion). Much traffic ensued.

3. Last summer, one day I was doing a lot of printing one day, and I decided to kill time by writing capsule reviews of every James Bond movie. Somehow this got noticed and spread around a bit, which was my first big spike.

You never know what's going to get attention, really -- or rather, what's going to get enough attention by the people who are already reading you that they comment on it in their own blogs, thus sending folks who are reading them to see what's up with you. In this specific case, I share Michael's annoyance at this school official's actions, and I thought I'd spread that feeling around a bit, with a credit to the original source. (I had already been planning to link his earlier Star Wars Fanfic post, and then decided to fold them together.) I've written posts that I thought for sure would get noticed and linked by someone, or at least generate some comments on site, but nothing happens; I've written other posts that are basically toss-offs that get noticed and heavily commented.

So, Michael, I understand what you're getting at. But look at it this way: it may have been a post of yours that is "devoid of intellectual content" that got that attention in the form of linkage, but someone had to be reading you all along to happen upon that post and link it in the first place. That is why you're doing all the other heavy-lifting. It may not generate a lot of linkage, but it generates readers. And in Blogistan, readers are where linkage eventually comes from, even when it comes like a bolt of lightning from a clear and cloudless sky.

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