Watching one's Dashboard is somewhat addictive, like following the profit-and-loss cycles of a major corporation.
I've now, in somewhat under a year on Red Room, achieved a minor milestone -- over 2000 unique views of my various offerings on here. Given that I am hardly famous (despite my brilliance, good looks, wealth -- whoops! I am a poet, after all -- and attempts to get paparazzi to follow me), people must be dropping by my pages for other reasons. Like maybe they like the writing?
To put the 2000+ figure in context, though, over a half (1100+) of the visits are to my blogs. This is an interesting phenomenon, which probably says more about our Web-reading habits that it does about Red Room or my own writing. One might think that readers and other writers would prefer the polished, possibly published things in my poetry, articles and stories, but not so. The menu du jour when surfing this site obviously features the quick, off-the-cuff, pointed blog.
So, if one believes in Dashboard, the best way to build readership on here is to blog often, and give entries provocative titles (50 Ways to Improve Your Sex Life and Earn Millions While Writing Experimental Verse!). Entering Red Room's themed blog contests doesn't hurt either; I was a "top ten" entrant in the Obsessions contest.
However, it's hard to interpret these "visits" as there's no way to be sure how much or little viisitors actually looked at. Did they savour several of my contributions, and maybe have their lives changed in the process? Or did they glance at one, think "No way I'm wasting time on this %$#@!*" and go somewhere else?
Despite the over 2000 hits, I've got few comments. At least half of my blogs attracted no comments at all. Again, one wonders how to construe this. Granted, it takes time and some involvement with the subject for a reader to leave a comment, but without responses, it's rather like acting on television rather than on stage. You know your voice and gestures are going out into the ozone, but you have little idea how they're being received. The best way (doh!) to get comments is to comment on others' writing, so they can make a revenge visit to yours. I've tried to do my part of this, and have built a few valuable virtual relationships as a result.
But still, as my Dashboard heads for Sector 3000 of the Gamma Quadrant, the voyage does feel a little Trekkish. Yes, I have readers. BUt the majority of them may be alien shape-shifters, for all I know. Except, of course, for you, beloved reader, hypocrite semblable, mon frere (ou soeur). You, I love. Come back!
Causes John Oughton Supports
PEN International, Amnesty International, League of Canadian Poets, POR AMOR, Greenpeace