Saturday, September 20, 2003

Hit Me, Baby, One More Time

My husband sent me this link from Instapundit a couple of days ago. It was all about how you can improve your hit count by getting an "instalanche." Translation, getting noticed by Instapundit can send you an avalanche of hits or views.

I followed that link, which led me to others. They gave some advice about how they improved their number of views.

Now that I've been at this game for a couple of months I have learned a bit about how its done, though I don't have the time to do it properly. I could use my links more strategically. I could submit my best posts of the Bonfire of Vanities or share it with Glenn Reynolds. I could schmooze in the comment section of the big shots. But, frankly, I don't have enough time. My goal is simply to post something Monday to Friday. With all my responsibilities, sometimes even that can be difficult.

I jumped into this blogging thing pretty quickly. My husband, brother, and father have been reading Lileks, Reynolds, and Sullivan for awhile. Over Sunday dinners, they would laugh about Gnat or debate Sullivan's post about the Church. But I hadn't yet gotten hooked. One evening this summer, after the kids were in bed, I came across Blogger and decided to set up my own blog, calling it Apt. 11D.

I started blogging as a way of keeping track of some random thoughts and as a way of chronicling the details of my life. I also wanted to stretch my writing legs. To write without citations or footnotes. To write about things that weren't in my narrow specialty. To see if I had anything to say about life that would appeal to a broader audience than the five stiffs on my dissertation committee.

After a week or two, I finally admitted to my husband that I was doing this, and he became my main audience. I wrote to amuse him as he ate his salami sandwich at his computer at noon. Much later, I told a few select other people with strict instructions that they weren't allowed to criticize or tell others.

In other words, getting hits was never my main goal. But then I signed up for Nedstat and things changed. It became addictive. Who was visiting? What time of the day? From where? "Oh, there's my friend from the U. of Chicago. Hiya, anonymous friend. Is the Cobb Hall Coffee Shop still there?" Then I started noticing a hit everyday at 11:00 or so from a newspaper in Minneapolis. Could it be? I would run home and check every day to see if it was there. Crazy.

Then I started worrying. What did the people want to see? My daily life? My views on education and women's issues? The latest on Ben and Jen? For a while, I stopped writing for myself. I was writing for hits. (This is starting to sound like an AA meeting.)

Writing for hits can become a problem. Writers can get carried away giving people what they want, and even become politically extreme in order to get a reaction.

I thought about blogging blindly. Of getting rid of my Nedstat account entirely.

No way. This is too much fun.

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