Friday, February 18, 2011

Forget these feet of mine

Never Google yourself. All sorts of things might happen, like finding your name attached to a video called Boring Blockage. But at least that’s just a nominal coincidence for which I can’t be blamed.

The fun really comes when you return to an online conversation in which you took part but then abandoned and forgot, like a drunkard bellowing from the top deck of a passing bus. I don’t know what brought me to Dan Zarrella’s blog in October, but when I got there I just couldn’t resist. DZ had come up with figures to suggest that the response to social media posts is affected by the time of day they go up, with 9am being the optimum moment to attract traffic. I pointed out – not unreasonably, I think – that not everybody’s in the same time zone, which rather blunts the impact of his figures.

And then, of course, I forgot all about it. But my comment had attracted the attention of another of Dan’s readers, who responded thus:
How nice for you! [I’m guessing sarcasm here.] I can’t imagine, however, that the majority of people who blog have similar readership profiles. Most of my readers live within 25 miles of me, so I’m definitely going to apply Dan’s advice to future posts. 
Now, I’ve never been much of an eyeball whore, nor have I made any particular effort to widen the geographical reach of this blog. And yet – if the software can be trusted – people in 174 countries have availed themselves of the Cultural Snow experience. I would suggest that anyone who’s run an English-language blog for any length of time could report similar numbers. It’s a Google thing. It just happens.

So to maintain a readership profile with such a narrow reach is, in its own strange way, quite impressive. I’m all for hyper-local media, but surely even a site with such a remit must attract out-of-town trade, if only by accident? The person who responded to my comment came to Dan’s blog as a guest, so I don’t know what’s so special about his/her blog that would discourage people in the next big city from checking it out. And more to the point, if the readers really do come from a 25-mile radius, wouldn’t it just be easier to put a card up in the window of the local Post Office?

7 comments:

Rol said...

I only know of one person who lives within 25 miles of me who regularly reads my blog. I can think of more people who read it from Australia or the States. And mine isn't a big blog, or an aggressively marketed one. The only reason you'd be getting readers solely from you local area is if that was your chosen subject matter... or the only people reading were your mates from down the pub.

Everyone in our local pub thinks I'm a miserable tosser.

Fat Roland said...

I have a filter that ensures the only people who can access my blog are those whose intelligence is in a 25-point radius of my IQ.

expat@large said...

I must drink at a wide world of pubs!

Pisces Iscariot said...

Americans. Geography.

Tim Footman said...

Difficult to say without seeing his/her particular blog, Rol. I'm guessing s/he means that only people within the immediate area comment on the blog, and s/he's never bothered to check who else reads it, however briefly.

FR: So, twazmuppets then?

With dreadful acne, e@l.

Possibly, Pisces, although that’s unfair to many. World Wide Web = World Series?

Sam said...

I think it depends on the blog and where it's being publicised though - my posts seem to do better if I post them late morning to arrive on twitter via twitterfeed just before lunch, as people are starting to get bored at work.

Tim Footman said...

That makes sense, Sam, but again it depends on your physical location, and that of your readers. Most of my *commenters* are in the UK, but I have more *readers* in the US than anywhere else. And surely most US bloggers have to contend with several time zones, unless they're as neurotically parochial as the one I mentioned above...