This week marked our second full year at Forming the Thread (or FTT, as Lauriate Roly calls it).
This year, with all kinds of distractions, I have had to cut back to three articles per week and am profoundly grateful to Joan Larsen for her faithful and amazing Wednesday contributions (really, they are the biggest draw!).
I’m finding that blogging has its rewards and disappointments.
Readership: wishing for more, more, more! It was my hope to have a larger readership by now… and to have more discussion than we do… but the general atmosphere on the site has certainly been a lot more civilized than elsewhere on the internet (yeah, I’m talking to you, Washington Post readers/commenters!). That part, at least, has been a pretty great success. I’m hoping for more in 2014!!
Then there is content. This was started up with the intention of including other authors’ contributions, and providing a variety of the sort of intellectual stimulation that some of us seemed to be craving (I had really dreamed of Briana Baran serving up some of her very pointed, spot-on, and hilarious rants, but that was not to be).
At any rate, the site has sort of a variety format – Joan’s travel and life stories on Wednesdays, whatever strikes Lila’s fancy on most other days. Sadly, I think you all know by now that Lila is a curmudgeon and sometimes I fear that Joan’s articles are the lone bright spot on the Curmudgeon’s Daily Rant. But that’s what I do – I’m hard-wired – I can’t help it. Grrr! I should be the next Andy Rooney. Big thanks to Lauriate Roly for occasionally breaking my monotony with his retro, nostalgic stories (another big draw… his Woolworth’s article is in the Top 5 best-loved on the site!).
So I’m trying to include a bit of science and technology, a bit of medicine, a bit of politics, economics, society, culture, finance, the occasional entertainment rant. But do you know what one of my number-one, all-time most-read articles turns out to be? The one about bidets. What gives?!
This can be frustrating. Some articles that I pound out in no time get the most interest; others that I really put a lot of effort and background into can fall flat. I am learning that juvenile topics and sensationalism do “sell,” indeed… it is not a heartening thing to dwell on. I haven’t figured out the rest.
Maybe the readership here stays small because of two things: first, it’s a pretty select set of folks who actually want to have intelligent, civilized discussions with anonymous strangers; and second, this blog does not specialize on a given topic. Specialization tends to build a following of people with the same interest, as I suspect Wyrd Smythe will soon discover with his two great blogs, the varied Logos Con Carne and the brand-new but specialized The Hard-Core Coder.
But the Thread is not specialized, nor meant to be. It’s meant to provoke thought and discussion and maybe even a little fun, or occasionally, to inform. Gosh, I hope I don’t have to keep writing about bidets to bring in an audience…