I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I have mostly lost the audience I had attracted to this blog. If you’re reading this, that statement probably sounds too strong, and yet in my heart I know that it is largely true. Looking back I realize of course that the height of this blog’s popularity, around March of last year, coincided with an extended manic period. Part of me IS impressed with all of the great people I was able to draw in at the height of my mania and the great conversations we had on some of my most commented posts. But the part of me that is in fact depressed as I type this now is not surprised that I was not able to retain most of that audience over the course of a year. If you regularly visit and comment on someone else’s blog, chances are they will regularly visit and comment on your blog. While it is most always based on a genuine relationship of goodwill, there is definitely a quid pro quo and the fact is that if you’re too depressed to even think about visiting your friends’ blogs, few of your blog friends are going to make the time in their own busy schedules to visit and comment on your blog.
I find myself genuinely mourning the loss of so many of the other blogger and social media relationships that have fallen by the wayside this year. Sometimes I know it really is as Billy Joel once sang “...you say a word out of line, and find that the friends you had are gone forever. Forever.” It really does seem to me that when I published Why I Don’t Wear A Button Anymore and in the discussions that followed on that post I lost a whole bunch of friends, trying as I did to be a neutral host who welcomed friends with vehemently disagreeing perspectives to both be a part of my blog comments. I confess I rather envisioned myself presiding over a high brow salon, where great minds came to disagree (respectfully) on big important issues. But loosing a dozen perhaps great commentators really knocked out the great discussions I’d been attracting, and as the year went by other friends also drifted away, as the places we each hung out online evolved and changed . Which is why I have almost a thousand Facebook friends….and only a handful of people read my blog.
It is easy of course to blame mission inflation on Empire Avenue for a great deal of the lost visitors and comments. Last March I offered a 500 eaves mission and got four dozen or more comments on a post. The last time I tried to use missions to get blog comments, I offered 25,000 eaves and was frustrated beyond belief that there were still people who took the eaves and didn’t leave a comment. The inflation, and the fact that many of my closest friends whom I chat with all the time intimated that they didn’t like having to leave a comment for my missions, led me to reluctantly just stop trying to use missions to drive comments. Lately it seems that even 10K to press the Like and Share buttons often draws in only a few takers. Last year Empire Avenue was the secret to how I drew all sorts of great visitors and commentators. This year, I can’t make it work worth a damn. I have been thinking that what I should do, is try to follow up with some of the folks who have drifted away. In most cases we remain Facebook or Twitter friends. Part of me fears that it would be low class or rude to try to talk publicly with people who have drifted away. But I think that more of me is curious and hopes that some of these folks…..may have more they are willing to share or say on this site.