Thursday, April 06, 2006

Blog implosion described in terms of how big an elephant is

Listening to: Melody's wonderful Desert Island Mix

Lilly and I just finished math homework. God knows I try to be patient, slowly sucking air between my teeth while I silently count to ten before reacting to a wrong answer, applying my own arithmetic to parenting. Not teaching. My own prospects as an elementary school are dismal. Working with Lilly on her assignment, I'm tangential (though, to my credit, not explaining geometry theorems), attempting to explain base-10 theory and algebra to a first-grader.

Some of my frustration comes from my own geekiness - I'm one of those people for whom mathematics is intuitive. It just comes naturally to me, like rolling a joint or composing bad poetry. In my Senior AP Calculus class, 19 of the 22 students wanted me dead (one was better at Calc than me, one wanted to sleep with me). Some mathematicians believe they have some psychic conduit to Plato's realm of Forms but I think that's absurd, it's just a matter of applying the abstract to the real; there's nothing mystical about it.

In fact, if my intuitions are correct, I can transmit some of my math abilites to my daughter without working myself into some kind of spastic fit. She is, afterall, crazy about animals and that's my ace, convincing her that she'll never get through science unless she understands math.

As I said, my mind is mathematical and applying that, I have a rational explanation for why our little bloggy community seems to have dissipated or at least justify why I've gone from 12 comments a post to 2 comments a post (if at all).

Time Magazine was tempted to make "The Blogger" the Person of the Year for 2005 (and damned good thing they didn't because, who was the Person of the Year?), only to realize that, with few exceptions, most bloggers are fairly unexceptional by impeccable MSM standards. It's not as though any of the bloggers I know pretend to be anything other than online diarists but for whatever reason, the media seems to think we bloggers are out to turn the world upside down.

I got into this game relatively early on. I started my first blog back in 2002 and if anyone was reading that tripe, I didn't know about it. In 2003, I started another blog to vent my political ranting since my first blog was on the site belonging to a friend's band and I didn't feel right using their space to bombard their fans with my politics. The presidential election of 2004 took the wind out of my sails and by 2005, I lost my passion for political rants.

This blog started mid-2004, not exactly with a running start. If you check my archives, you'll see that for the first few months, three posts a month was a busy month. If I had 5 hits a week, I was ecstatic. This was a much smaller place and the blogosphere, a much smaller world. I trudged on, writing about my kids and my life and didn't much care if anyone was reading me here.

Then - "Bang!" - I went Big Time (or as Big Time as this little blog will ever get. Someone told someone else about this space, and someone else told Jay The Zero Boss (now sadly defunct) and the hits went through the roof. Also, I was nominated for a Best of Blogs award and that was driving new traffic to me. Whereas in 2005 I wasn't on a single blogroll, by early 2006 I was blogrolled in more places than I knew. Suddenly posts were getting 15 - 30 (or more) comments, an unreal situation to me considering that just weeks prior I'd flip out over one comment. More than that, I was introduced to a blogging community that was completely new to me. It was fun, dizzying, and a little overwhelming.

Little did I realize that I was riding the wave generated in the heyday of blogging. It seemed everyone was starting a blog and I seem to recall hearing sometime back then that a million blogs were being started every month. The blogosphere was buzzing back then.

So what happened? Where did my readers go? How did I go from having several thousand hits a month to maybe just over a thousand?

Well, it's not just my blog. Interest waned about everywhere, I think, the dew is off the lily. That's part of it. Plus, I think I can be a little abrasive (JUST a little) and I'm positive I've alienated not a few readers. My online romance (and break up) was also a little off-putting, as well, while the paucity of posts that followed the demise of that relationship certainly didn't help matters. Not updating much doesn't lend itself to holding onto a consistent readership.

I'm blessed with a small but loyal readership, folks who treat me better than I deserve. I whine about not getting comments and then fail to leave comments at their sites. And yet, they continue showing up here and leaving some love. I learned a long time ago that one has to click around the blogosphere and leave a little love if one wants love in return. However, I refuse to play those games; I never leave a comment unless I feel like I have something to add to the conversation. I'm not leaving a comment on someone's blog just for the sake of being seen.

Sure, I'm a prick but apparently, a loveable prick. I didn't start this thing to get noticed, I started it as a place to write about what it's like being a single dad. And that's what I continue to do. Those of you who continue to read and comment add so much joy to this endeavor and I appreciate your feedback more than I know how to say. Thank you. I love you all.


Mamacita said...

Much of blogging consists of prating about an elephant not one has ever seen. Much of blogging also consists of putting together this post and that post and coming out with an elephant.

It might be neon green, have six legs, and speak Esperanto, but it's an elephant.

Oh, and "ditto."

Mir said...

You love us all? I'm scared, Jim. Very scared. ;)

trusty getto said...

From one man to another, let me clue you into something:

All men are pricks, merely to differing degrees.


Signed: from one loyal reader to another

Eileen said...

Just in case you wondered (or care!) I am paying attention and find lovely little nuggets of wisdom colored with pathos within your musings on parenting.

Anne said...

Oh man, I'm gettin' all oogey over here.

You know everybody loves you-at least those of us who count.

BTW-I suck at math. Those homeschooling moments were Hellish.

landismom said...

First, let me say that I struggle with the same thing when it comes to math homework (not that I'm a math wiz, but heh, we're talking addition here).

As far as the blogging thing goes, I definitely have days where I think, how come Blogger X gets 80 comments a post, and I'm excited to get 10? Am I 1/8th as funny as she is? And then I think, why the fuck do I care? But I still go back around to the first day, now and then.

groovebunny said...

I'm so glad to read someone else is going through the same thing I go through doing homework with my little guy. It's as tiring as a regular 8 hour job! lol

As for blogging/journaling, there are a lot of subcultures of the blogging world that help people get hits, attract new readers or keep old readers. For instance, I know of a few sites that were bleeps in the blogosphere before Half Nekid Thursday first made an appearance. lol

And thanks so much for stopping by! :)

Deb said...

Math: hated it as a kid, love it as an adult. It's not a natural for me but I lurve the challenge.

I stop in to visit you about once a week but don't usually leave you any comment love. I'm sorry.

How about this :smoooooooooooooch:

trusty getto said...

And by the way, I've posted 4 times in the last week, to which I've received a grand total of 5 comments.

The week before, four posts garnered 34 comments.

So apparently it isn't just you. I'm boring as well.

melody said...

Keep it up, Jim. Your writing's always interesting though I am one of those non-commenters, for the most part. :)

Glad you like the mix!


Natsthename said...

Love mamacita's comment.

My readership is in the ter-let, but I care not. As long as one person reads my stuff now and then, I'm good. I've been at it since April of 2003 and have seen lots of bloggers come and go since then.

Right now, a bunch of my steady readers are taking blogging breaks, so there goes what readership I HAD! LOL. Oh well.

At least we still have Mixmania!!

Melanie said...

I fell upon your blog by accident... follwoing links, like a scavenger hunt. I admire your love for your children and your honest, matter-of-fact style.
Think you can teach me math??