Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Is it sweeps week in the Blogosphere? Curmudgeon has new numbers over which to stress

I didn't get a memo, if there was one -- no surprise there -- but I noticed yesterday that über-blogger Ken Levine provided his (very funny) take on 50 Shades of Grey; today he offers a reminiscence of a visit to a strip club and a porn star's salute to America.

While Mr. Levine sometimes uses stronger language than I do (who doesn't?), most of his posts do not venture into the realm of, er, adult entertainment. (OK, he's sometimes hinted at a fantasy involving wandering in the vicinity of UCLA clutching his Emmy statuette -- here, for example.) As I thought about this seeming deviation from Mr. Levine's usual format, it finally occurred to me that it must be Sweeps Week.

On television, Sweeps Week has all the big season finales or crossover episodes or long-awaited weddings -- and the newscasts do hard-hitting investigations into UV-lit stains on mattresses at area hotels or prostitution scandals at the local shopping mall or anything else that might titillate -- or scare -- viewers into staying tuned for the late local news.

If they can do it on TV, why can't they do Sweeps Week here in the Blogosphere too? Not that I'd be any more concerned about numbers now than usual.

I've been stressing about ratings here at Second Effort pretty much since the blog was launched. After all, just because there's 55 million or 100 million or whatever bloggers out there, why can't my blog be a top-rated money-maker and lead to a book contract and maybe even a TV show?
OK, besides my lack of talent....
I used to really stress over Sitemeter (examples from 2007 here or here) but now I check only a handful of times a day -- and sigh as the numbers continue to trend downward.

I could say that I've stopped fretting so much over Sitemeter because I'm committed to working on my craft without worrying about the infidels and Philistines trolling around the Intertubes -- except that I hate to lie.

Actually, ever since I switched to the new Blogger format I've got something to stress over besides Sitemeter. In addition to telling me how few many page hits I get each day, Google now also tells me now how many hits each post has received. I have posts with (allegedly) no views but two or three comments. I'm not sure how that works. But some other posts seem to catch the attention of the search engines and bring traffic here, if only momentarily.

If you scroll down the page, toward the bottom of the sidebar, you'll find a list of the most popular posts on Second Effort. This is compiled by Google -- and it depresses the stuffing out of me: Two of the most popular posts on this blog were reprints of Cyanide & Happiness webcomics. Another is a compilation of snappy comebacks to cheesy pickup lines -- which I didn't write but merely sampled in admiration. Two are really my work -- but the essay comparing the structure of the modern law firm to ant hills or termite mounds is illustrated with ooey-gooey bug pictures and that's what's driving the traffic here. The other is a reminiscence of riding the school bus nearly 40 years ago -- but it's the bus picture that seems to drive traffic here.

According to Google, my two most popular recent posts concerned the Olympic basketball final and the death of Marvin Hamlisch. Both posts mention names often in the news and high on 'buzz' lists compiled by Google or Yahoo! or the like.

But would I stoop to simply mentioning Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez, Taylor Swift, Kristen Stewart, Halle Berry, Anne Hathaway, Zooey Deschanel, Emma Watson, Diane Lane, Keira Knightley, Beyoncé, Pippa Middleton, Megan Fox, Sofia Vegara, Maria Menounos, Zoe Saldana, Gisele Bundchen, Penelope Cruz, Minka Kelly, Jessica Alba, Mila Kunis, Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, or Kate Upton just to get a few extra page views?

Of course not!

For further reading: A serious post about being funny? -- and -- Dish it out, The Curmudgeon can take it


Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

i look every day~

smiles, bee

Anonymous said...

Keep stuff like this coming.