Saturday, May 27, 2017


In the past month, comments here have dried up entirely. It doesn't seem to me the content has changed, so I muse about the possibility that summer has led to less traffic.

Unfortunately, it is hard to tell. My traffic stats have for the best part of a year now shown massive bot traffic, from the U.S. It used to be when my "viewership" was up, I'd see Russia all over my posts. Anymore, though, it's domestic traffic, curiously enough all Mac. I'd indulge vanity and think I had a geek stalker but the levels indicate bot, not human.

There are still days Russia dominates the fake traffic around here, and we've always got Asia. But the major point here is that my actual readership appears to be gone.

And just when things have been getting so exciting with the WIP, too.

The point of THIS wallowingly self-indulgent post is this: what content is worth commenting on? Right now, is it better just to leave the blog fallow, wait out vacation season, and not worry that nobody's around much anymore? Or are all of you lurking and yawning ... ?

I have an idea for a good post. But it's possible I may be wasting my time.

(And yes, I know I need to shill this place on Twitter for stats' sake; it does work. BUT it does not ever result in comments.)


Colin Smith said...

Hey, Diane! As one of your statistics (of the real-person variety, not the Russian bot sort... besides, my Russian accent is terrible. In fact, I'm not really very good at accents at all, so I'm not fooling anyone. But that's by-the-by), I'd say it's a tough call. I too have pondered why some posts attract comments, and others don't. I could blog about this, but maybe it'll help seed some discussion if I throw some thoughts out here. Consider:

1) Is the blog post well-written, but not really thought provoking such that people want to throw in their 2c?

2) Is it thought provoking, but in the "I've got to go away and think about my life" sense, and not the "here, let me tell you how this makes me feel" sense?

3) Are you saying too much, and not leaving room for discussion, like the guy at the party who talks at you, but never invites you to respond, or takes an interest in what you think?

4) Do you have the kind of platform that makes people want to comment in the hope you will respond and they can then tell their friends "OMG, Diane Major replied to my comment!! Can you belieeeeve that?!"

5) Are you writing for comments, or writing to express your thoughts? Sometimes, maybe often, we have thoughts that don't invite comment. And that's okay. It's what we think, and it really makes no difference if anyone has anything to say in response. When you write about That Man, the one from whom you are physically separated, but still emotionally attached, what can anyone else say? Again, that's not bad. These are lovely insights into you as a person. But it would seem trite to comment, "Oh, that's lovely!" when you've just cut open your soul and offered it up to the world.

6) Are you targeting your blog to the kind of audience that will comment? If you've dropped by my blog of late, you'll notice I post weekly Doctor Who reviews. This really is just scratching a personal itch, so I'm not offended that they don't get many comments (mostly none at all). If I wanted to stir more comments, I would go out to blogs of fellow Whovians, or track down fellow Whovians on Twitter and start promoting my blog. But since my blog isn't a Doctor Who blog, I don't feel much obliged to do that. In a year or two, I'll have reviewed every Doctor Who story made, and that will not be as regular a feature. Janet's blog is a great example of a well-written blog aimed dead-center at her target audience.

7) Are you a blogger who writes, or a writer who blogs? This kind of goes along with 6). Bloggers learn how to market their blogs and attract readers. Writers get cold sweats at the very thought of self-promotion. You can see how this can cause problems for writers who want to have popular blogs. Once you have a book or two out in the world, you (and/or your publisher) can promote both the book and the blog, and you will no doubt get a bigger blog following. But I think this distinction makes a difference.

OK, that's enough to be going on with. And I assure you, I think over these things often about my own little spot on the interwebzszsssszz. :)

DLM said...

Hello, Colin!

I get the feeling this comment is more general than specific to me. Hoping so, in any case. As I'd said, my content hasn't changed, and I have had fairly regular comments in the past - and a lot of what you have to say seems more for an inexperienced blogger than directly to me.

Interestingly, the posts I write specifically inviting comments rarely get any, where the ones I think may be more inward-facing have gotten some of the most, so I'm not sure how well the targeting or writing-for-comments actually does work in the real world.

That said: #4 is hilarious. ;)

Colin Smith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Colin Smith said...

Absolutely, Diane. My comment was general, not specifically directed at you. Why some articles attract comments, or why some blogs get a ton of commenters, is something that has puzzled me for a long time. I just offered some general observations in the hope that something might be helpful, or perhaps other people might offer suggestions.

One thing I didn't mention which I have seen advised on more than one blogging site is visiting and commenting on other people's blogs--especially those whose content/interest are similar. I don't really like that because it's tit-for-tat commenting, not commenting out of genuine interest or desire to contribute to the conversation. I'm commenting right now because I think I have something to offer on the topic, and I hope I can offer some encouragement or, at least, solace from a friend who also struggles with commentless articles. I'm not doing it because I expect you to comment on my blog in return.

Hopefully one day #4 will come true. Then I can tell all my friends you replied to my comment... ;)

MLG said...

Just a quick hey . . . I popped in to see what's new, and it looks like I popped in at the right time. Love from TEO and the boys.

DLM said...

Hello, TEO and boys! :)

Colin, the biggest source of comments here is the Reider community network, where of course I do visit and comment. For the past several months, I've had less to say in general I suppose, particularly at Janet's own blog; with her occasional reintroduction of the rules, I like to ask myself whether anything I want to say is actually a contribution. Usually, it's not. Same with all the Reiders' blogs; I find myself with almost nothing to say to some of Donna's posts or yours, so I don't just pipe up.

So I suppose there is some reciprocity, things drying up here.

I should say, though, I didn't mean this post to be a whinge; more an observation and maybe a way to ask whether others are seeing the same thing - "I muse about the possibility that summer has led to less traffic."

This particular seasonal point was interesting to me, because I used to notice *increases* in certain traffic - back when I was a member at several thriving online discussion boards, we'd notice influxes of newbies mostly seeking attention, every summer. But blogs are very different, and my blog especially is extremely unlikely to attract significant student interest.

So I'm just interested in the dynamic; whether it's because I comment less, we're all on vacation, or we're all maybe just a little bushed with our online lives. I probably haven't logged onto Twitter half a dozen times in 2017.

So it's to so much a need for solace as a perplexion that interests me. I blogged before anyone ever came here to read it, I did work on making it readable - but then, I spent a decade doing that on a novel I now know nobody's really likely to see. If I needed readership to write, I'd have a hard row to hoe!

DLM said...

The other side of the curiosity is this American bot traffic. I have seen NOBODY else mention crazy amounts of stats coming in via United States/Mac. But it is far, far too much to be any individual, it's entirely in the pattern of bot traffic. It begs a lot of questions.

Donnaeve said...

What??? You have nothing to say? P-shaw!

Seriously, if it's any consolation, comments have really dried up at my site too. So much so that I thought about discontinuing the blog part. I'm not necessarily expecting comments..., but I'd like a few. Some. A little? I've been blogging for six years and I sometimes feel I've said all there is to say. Sort of how those comments have dried up, so too do the posts.

But. I decided I'd miss it. So, I've tried to pop a couple posts out there that were really just for fun, not about writing or the book, or whatever. AND. I'm about to start my First Sentence Friday's again! I've got a post ready to go for tomorrow about that.

Far as my comments here, I've been head down writing. I'm so damn nervous about this next book, I can hardly breathe. And talk about overwriting. I'm at 86K and still have 1/3 of it to get through and some hard deadlines. Which is downright scary to me.

Anywho, like you, sometimes I'm just reading your stuff, and have nothing to say that I think is of any real value. Ya know the old saying, we only have one mouth but two ears, which means listen more talk less. That's what I've been practicing all over the 'net.

DLM said...

Hah and awww - now I feel a bit bad, because this post really does seem like a whinge for attention, but also because I really haven't been doing that "reciprocal" thing! But it is interesting that even you are seeing a downturn in comments. I think there must be a seasonal element.

But it's exciting you are head-down and writing! So have I been. Maybe there's a lot of creative energy too, and since so many in our semi-network of commenters are authors, that's a good thing.

Interestingly, as of today, those bot hits from a Mac somewhere in the US disappeared. Maybe it WAS a stalker, with some sort of insane capacity for my babblerousing.

Hey, at least I got to come up with a stupendously silly new word out of it. Babblerousing. Heh.

*Staying tuned for First Sentence Fridays*

Unlike my must-fight-it urge to share my own murderous excerpt, YOURS I absolutely look forward to. :D