Gay As Hell or Where’d My Audience Go?

gay-as-hellI’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.

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16 comments on “Gay As Hell or Where’d My Audience Go?

  1. Just to let you know that some of your old readers are still around. Whilst I may not comment very often, I am still an email subscriber and still read most of your posts.

    Because I am a contrary old fart and love stirring the pot, I rarely comment unless I can express a dissenting opinion. If I recall, I upset a few of your readers during the “height of your mania” but it did get the conversation going on a couple of occasions .
    Due to time constraints, I had to depart from Empire Avenue over a year ago, so I am afraid you can’t bribe me with missions, eaves or whatever they now offer.

    As you mentioned, time is short for all of us, I allocate time for about 10 blog comments a week, rarely do more than 5 and selfishly tend to favour those blogs that are more likely to send me potential customers.

    I suspect you have more loyal followers like me lurking below the radar but still reading your posts.

    p.s nice flowers in today’s background photo.

    • Peter! How great to hear from you. So glad to learn that you didn’t drift out of my orbit after that nasty episode. Honestly, I still haven’t figured out what I was supposed to learn from all of that….and it bugs me immensely that I can’t figure out the lesson.

  2. Alan I enjoy reading your posts, but I notice for myself that my focus tends to drift. As I was swamped, WP blogs slid down my priority list–both my writing and engaging with others. Carving that time out is the old conundrum of balancing the urgent against the important so well articulated by Covey. I suspect that we all have our cycles of greater activity and quiet time.

    • I do know what you mean about drift. I published the updated edition of my book, but soon lost interest in promoting it. I a truly grateful to everyone who visits and have been so pleased at all the comments I’ve received on this post. Thanks, Harold.

  3. I guess I’m one of those who drifted away but it wasn’t because of any issues about content. I really don’t visit any blogs on a regular basis and the ones I did visit were because of EAv Missions. It’s not that I needed the eaves, I just needed the reminder. Life is full of both obligations, interests and hobbies and it’s just reading any blogs aren’t part of my online routine. Seeing a Mission reminded me, “Oh, Alan! I like Alan and he’s posted a new blog entry…I think I’ll check it out!”

    In August, I quit playing EAv (it had just all gotten to be too much) for five months and when I eventually returned, I no longer saw your Missions. Without reminders, my life filled up with other activities besides blog reading.

    This long comment is just to say that there probably isn’t ONE reason why you have fewer commenters. There are probably a variety of reasons, varying from disagreement with a post to lack of time to browse online to lack of visibility due to fewer Missions.

    • Liz, I know you’re very right about people being busy and not getting around to half of the things they might want to do. I’m sure you’re also right that there is no one reason but many different reasosns why people have drifted away. I’ve found over the years that most of the time we talk to people in some specific venue. When the venue where we have most often hung out together goes away, the relationship endures, but unless we both ended up hanging out a lot in some new place, they become friends we hear from occasionally rather than regularly.

    • Thanks Susan, I do appreciate you very much. (and on our blogs is not where we have most chatted I don’t think). BTW, I’m currently about 2/3 of the way through re-reading The Prophet’s Wives and will probably write the review when I finish, and schedule it for this coming Tuesday.

      • That’s awesome! I’ll happily link to it all over the place!

        Did you read my first novel, The Thief of Todays and Tomorrows, too? I don’t know if you’d like it, but it’s one of Jo’s favorites.

  4. Alan, I get your blog via email but to be truthful, my job is so demanding, I do not always have time to read half of my emails. I just scan the subject lines and move through quickly. I love your blog and try to get to it as often as possible. I barely have time to update my own blog. I have lost many good followers myself. I’m trying to change that as well. I love your 3 words and your backgrounds.

    • Michelle, I do understand that folks are very busy, and I apologize to you and to any of my other readers if this post came across…..whiney. Thanks so much for being a regular visitor and commentator and please don’t ever worry about the days you just don’t get to it.

  5. It could be worst… EA could be shut down… We could be without internet… or at war times… People come and go but… perhaps you manage to have some newer audience too… Who knows what will happen next 😀 Go Alan Go !

  6. Alan, I saw your mission earlier today and didn’t take it as I have already subscribed to your blog through WordPress. I agree with you on EA as I ran a comment mission for 10k for an account I manage few weeks ago and got 3 comments with less than 150 words 🙂 .

    I had to search for the blog post “Why I Don’t Wear A Button Anymore” and I could see 79 comments!!! The topic is hot and a wast majority consider it as controversial. Everyone has a say about it. If you look at the comments in the Huffington Post more than half of the comments are negative. Both positive and negative comments brings more engagement. May be more of such hot and so called “controversial topic” can bring more comments and engagement.

    • Yep, I was thrilled with all the comments I got on that post, and it seems to me that I had lots of posts reach 40 or 50 comments. If anyone knows of any way to get lots of people commenting like they used to do for 500 eaves I hope you’ll let me know. (Maybe I need to write about some more controversial topics)

  7. Hi Alan – my answer is yes to all of the above! But I also wanted to share the idea that there is yet another seismic tremor in the blogosphere. I know from the analytics (Google, Alexa and WP) that the number of visitors to my two blogs is increasing, yet I get far fewer comments than I used to also. I copy my blogs to twitter and facebook – guess what, I do get some comments on facebook. This is very annoying as unless I copy them myself to the blog (which I have occasionally done, eg on the height of bishops’ mitres in relation to their er…fill in the dots). I had about 20 learned commments on FB, but nothing on the blog until I copied it. You can’t do that every time, particularly as I felt I had to get permission from every contributor. So, I think we will have to bow to the inevitable, Alan… 🙂

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