Thursday, January 23, 2014

Whatever You Do-- Do NOT Share This Blog!

I receive no financial compensation for writing this blog. No jewels. No precious metals. No Godiva Dark Chocolate Vanilla Mousse Truffles. Nothing. Of course, I did not begin writing this blog back in August 2012 with the idea that I would, or should, get anything in return. All I wanted to do was find a new outlet for my writing in an effort to force myself out of a two-year period of creative dormancy (followed by a brief period of scattered thunderstorms). So I signed on to Blogger and started posting my miscellaneous ramblings. I sought nothing in return.

Soon after opening my Blogger account I noticed that they have a stats page that tells you how many people view your blog. “Oooooh! That’s cool!” I thought, and I wondered how many people would read my stuff. Right away I did some calculations.

According to Wikipedia there are 254,295,536 people with internet access in the United States. To make the math easy, I decided to round down to 250,000,000. Because I: a) didn’t want to be presumptuous, and b) figured that there are a lot of busy people out there who simply didn’t have time to read my blog, I took a conservative guess that only 1 in 20 people would check it out. That works out to about 12,500,000 blog readers. Pretty solid premise, right?

After I wrote my first blog entry (about being freaked out that someone running for Vice President—Paul Ryan—could possibly be younger than me) I emailed it to friends and family and posted it on Facebook and Twitter. Then I waited 24 hours and checked out my Blogger stats page expecting to see an eight-digit number. What I saw was the number 81. Yes, of the 254,295,536 internet users in the United States, 81 of them looked at my blog. (Well, actually 80, because one of the readers was my friend Rick, in France.) “Hmmm,” I thought, “maybe the others will come around when I post my next blog entry.” But my next entry yielded only 45 readers.

I wondered how I might go from 45 readers to several million, and as I researched I realized that I needed one of my blog entries to go “viral.” Yes, just like influenza, my blog needed to be shared by so many people so rapidly that it would quickly infect the entire country. But how one makes their blog that contagious has eluded me all this time.

I’m sure there must be some secret techie way to do this that I’m just not aware of. I know that others have made their various videos, images, and essays go viral, but I’m not quite clear how. The one sure way seems to be by over-tipping a waiter or waitress. I’ve noticed that about once a week some waitress from Red Robin or Hooters or Olive Garden posts a credit card receipt from a mysterious patron who tips them $900 on their $20 tab, and the next thing you know everyone within 50 feet of a computer has seen the heartwarming story. Problem is, I’m a mediocre tipper, so I’m certainly not driving up my page views this way.

Truth is, I’ve been scratching my head about this since I first started blogging a year-and-a-half ago. I know no conventional means to make my blog go viral, so I thought I might attempt the tried and true method of reverse psychology. This is why I’m telling everyone who is reading this blog (all 38 of you) not to share it with anyone. DO NOT SHARE!

And I know what you’re thinking: “Wow, Andrew’s being a real jerk about this. He can’t tell me what to do. Just to spite this yutz I’m going to share this with everyone I know.” Don’t do it! I’m telling you—it’s a huge mistake!

As I said at the beginning of this essay, I am doing this blog purely as a creative outlet. I want nothing in return—not even 12,499,955 more readers. SO DO NOT SHARE THIS BLOG!