Tag Archives: Networking

Streak Day #13 Sucks (and some stuff about “networking”)

It’s 3:51 a.m. and I’m once again unable to sleep. I think this is partly to blame on daylight savings time. My body feels like it’s 2:51 a.m. not that it makes much difference anyways. I feel adrift in time, and yesterday was especially terrible. We were at the store at 7 p.m. and it was still daylight out. It felt really late, like 9 p.m. for some reason but also really early like 5 p.m. for some reason. Just nothing to anchor you to any sense of temporal security.

Every blogger has the same basic goal: get more viewers/readers. It’s so obvious it feels dumb to even state; isn’t it the reason anyone would take up this hobby? While I’m sure there are some “purists” that write and blog for the sake of writing and blogging, or to undergo some personal growth in a writing adventure, I’m guessing these account for like 10% of blogs. Even if you do blog with that purpose, I’m sure most have a close secondary goal of having others actually read your stuff.

Now that I think of it, maybe I’m wrong here. A friend of mine is working on some massive three-book fantasy story. She’s built an entire mythical world and it sounds wonderfully complex. I continually pester her about when she will make these writings public while she seems completely happy with the project being for herself. She doesn’t seem to care if anyone ever reads the story, it could be a total masterpiece but she’s doing it for herself. If that makes sense. Maybe purists do exist? Maybe I’m too pragmatic and egotistical where I don’t want to write and have no one else read it. It seems like a waste of time to me. In a way I wish I could be like my friend. The quality of what I write would probably be better.

The problem is trying to get people to read your shit in the first place. We all start from nothing, and how do you even get somewhere starting from nothing?

Post A Lot/Be Consistent

One blog I was a huge fan if years ago was waitbutwhy. Go check it out. The author Tim Urban, seems to be a total nerd and wrote many long and detailed pieces about Elon Musk, SpaceX, Tesla, as well as many other high quality, enlightening, terrifying, and hilarious posts.

I say ‘was a fan’ because something happened a few years ago where Tim seemingly dropped off the face of the earth. So when he started posting a few months ago I was surprised, mostly by the fact that I had totally forgotten about the blog when he wasn’t posting. (Note: what he was up to in the meantime was mulling over a massive post attempting to figure out what exactly happened to American society in the past five or ten years. Increasing hostility and polarization in America, wondering when we exactly went off the rails, shit like that. Namely, but more of a symptom and not the problem itself: how the hell did Donald Trump end up as president? I guess he was struggling to make any progress on this amazingly complex topic, and finally decided to make an entire series about it. It’s ongoing and he hasn’t posted in like a month but I hope he keeps it up. It’s fascinating.)

My point here is simple: to get readers you need to be consistent and actually post. Duh. People simply forget that you exist if you stop posting. Maybe we like to think that we have a legion of loyal fans wondering when the hell the next post/chapter will come out, and maybe this is true for some people, but we’re forgettable. I have this complex idea in my mind for a few months about how the internet only rewards action and not inaction. I want to write some big epic post on it but can’t pull it together. It goes something like this. On social media people only see you when you post and no one notices your lack of posting. Contrast this to the real world where your absence is noted, like at work. People miss you if you’re not there and this doesn’t happen on the internet. I think the same is true with blogging. People notice you if you do something while few notice if you don’t do something. If that makes sense. You need to stay in people’s minds I guess.

I had a first hand learning experience with this cactus recently (somehow my phone put the word ‘cactus’ there and it’s too hilarious to fix). My other blog for short stories and stuff hasn’t had anything new posted in a month or two. I recently plopped out a really shitty piece that had a single view. No one gave a shit about it. But when I was posting a chapter or two every week I was raking in the views. You can’t just hop back into the game and start where you left off. Nope. Rebuild the readers and don’t fuck it up in the future.

“Networking”

There are certain words that I just hate with a passion and networking is one of them. It’s right up there with synergy and scripture for some reason. I hate the word and I hate what it stands for. Basically, it’s a professional form of ‘socializing’ which I’m fucking terrible at. Not even socializing in the casual aspect but socializing with the purpose of building contacts and making progress in your endeavors. It’s socializing but with a goal.

One of my posts a week or so ago talked about how this streak I’m on is really getting me readers. This is because of what I talked about previously: being consistent and posting keeps you ‘out there.’ The more you post the more people will notice you and read your shit. One person commented (I’d link to his blog, but I don’t know the protocol behind that. Do you need to ask first?) that the real way to pump numbers up is to, you guessed it, network. That really got me thinking about the process and how terrible I am at it.

Last post I talked about my supposed “genuineness” with blogging and how I’m legit interested in what others write. Being genuine is the main key to proper networking; we’ve all seen the random comments on posts that usually go something like this: Great Post! Check out my blog here [link to post]! These aren’t genuine at all and anyone can see right through them. These people are networking on the most basic and fundamental level, forcing themselves to comment only to market themselves. There is no real interest in what you had written, and it comes across very pathetic and self-serving. People have a very sensitive radar for disingenuity. It’s painfully obvious and does you zero favors. If you network, or force yourself to network, don’t fucking do this.

I think this is what holds me back from selfishly networking. To network you have to be selfish to some degree I think; that’s what gets you out trying to promote yourself in the first place, but I’m so selfish that I don’t want to spend my time forcing myself to read people’s stuff that I’m not interested in, if that makes sense. One good thing about this is that I don’t think I have the “genuineness” problem when I do network. If I am commenting or something it means I really have something to say and actually read your post. And I sure as hell aren’t going to leave a link to my own blog in the comment section trying to bring people over.

Networking seems to branch into other areas as well outside of “pure” networking. You really need to be creative and play the game of self-marketing. Make as many social media accounts as you can, spam your links anywhere you can on the internet. Find forums and like-minded individuals and send links to people that might be interested in your stuff. Some of my video game posts I could probably share on game forums, but no. I don’t want to be pushy. I’m terrible at networking in all its forms. I’m getting a severe case of deja vu here for some reason.

Part of me thinks if I could get my shit together this blog could really take off. If I could stay focused and churn out high-quality posts everyday and actually spend time networking I might find success. But part of me simply doesn’t care. That would be too much work and what is the grand goal of this blog anyways? Get a million views and start advertising? I doubt it. Do some affiliate marketing? Once again, I doubt it. There is no grand plan. I think this rambly post has worn itself out. Goodbye everyone. Day thirteen complete.

Streak Day #12 Sucks (and some stuff about WordPress email notifications)

It’s still Sunday. At least when I started writing this. One nice thing that a writing streak does to you is it keeps you on your toes. Knowing I’m going to force myself to plop out something tomorrow I’m inclined to start on it as soon as possible. Even if I don’t actually start writing anything, I’ve noticed I’ll at least start to think about what I want to write about. I’m a horrible procrastinator but this impromptu project is forcing me into the correct direction.

Today is my drinking day. I stayed productive nearly all day long, taking care of all the random shit that I need to take care of on the weekends. I have no reason to be in a terrible mood but for some reason I am. Keeping busy only keeps your mind off of things; once you stop being busy your mind reverts back to all the old demons that always seem to haunt it and yourself. I built some shitty solar phone charger this weekend, posted the Morrowind chapter, posted a blog post, and even did my taxes (while drunk, which is always a good idea…) and now that it’s all over, well, hello internal monologue. I can’t wait for work tomorrow just to keep my mind fixated on tasks and to keep it distracted.

Anyways, what I really wanted to write about was my emails. Yes. Emails. It’s the stupidest topic to complain about but I have a serious problem with my email. Let me explain.

I receive email notifications from WordPress (this blog, the other blogs) on my personal email. Hell, I’ll link to it: write me an interesting message if you want, I’d love to read some random ramblings from people. I was even thinking of changing the stock “Contact” page on this blog to only show my email address; no one uses the contact page anyways so maybe an email address would actually provide feedback. Anyways, the way it’s currently set up (and I have no motivation to change the settings) is that anytime someone likes/comments/subscribes to my blog or one of its posts I get an email. It does keep me on my toes especially with comments. Anytime I see a comment in my email I make sure to leave it as a reminder to actually reply within the next day or four.

The problem is everything else. I’m a terribly fragile and insecure person who appreciates any and every like/comment/subscribe to this blog. This leads me to hoarding emails because I want to check in with every person who interacts with the blog. I want to scour their own blogs, read them, and see if I’m interested in subscribing. I’m serious: every email gets a big analysis project. Some are easy: people who like my blog that don’t have anything posted themselves get deleted instantly. It’s an easy filter to apply. But this only accounts for like 5% of all the notification emails I get. And the rest? I never get around to it! I can’t delete them because I haven’t given them due diligence yet, but they keep piling up. I constantly have a backlog of emails from readers in the form of notifications that I just can’t seem to sit down and sort through.

And it’s not like I have a wildly successful blog or anything. There aren’t mountains of notification emails pouring in day after day that I’m unable to keep up with. No, in the end I’m just a slacker to the worst degree. It’s mentally taxing to read someone’s blog and decide if I want to subscribe or not. Many blogs are okay but not great — like they have potential — and these always cause me the most grief. Blogs that have a multitude of spelling errors get nixed right away, as well as blogs that are about business or cooking or any topic that is really specific. If all someone writes about is traveling it’s easy to not subscribe; I’m way too poor to give traveling any sort of room in my head to fester.

It’s a stupid problem to have, but I think it’s good in a way. I’m not just deleting people who read and like my stuff — I actually care about their own projects — I’m just a total slacker. It is a constant source of stress for me though. Anytime I randomly click the Gmail app on my phone I have this terrible sense of dread and of being a failure. There are all of those emails I still haven’t scoured through and they’re only emails. Why can’t I sit down and just get it over with?

I guess the upside here to any readers: yes, if you ever like/comment/subscribe to anything I’ve written I seriously dig through your own project, whatever it is, and give it time in my head. I like to think of myself as a “genuine” person who isn’t reading your blog to “network” or to do any other service to myself. This topic does seem it could naturally turn into my thoughts about “networking,” something that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately, but you know what? That sounds like a great topic for tomorrow’s post. Stay tuned.