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Monday, October 3, 2016

Results of my first reader survey


The results of my first reader survey are in and they’re spectacular. 

This blog is loved by everyone, everywhere!

I say this with the humble understanding that the survey margin of error is plus/minus 100 percent.

So I was pleased when a friend texted me that many of his co-workers tried to goad him into reading my post about the death of Arnold Palmer. This is significant because my friend for two months every year steadfastly refuses to read any of my posts.

He works at a large Latrobe manufacturer that supplies speciality plastics to industries around the world. He’s the lunatic who quits reading the blog cold turkey for two months so he can binge read while he’s marooned in a frozen Illinois tree stand (links below)

“I was told you wrote a great one about Arnie,” he said. “I can’t wait to read that one.”

It’s so bizarre I have trouble wrapping my head around it.

I think one of these years I’m going go in and delete every post the day his hiatus is scheduled to end just to, you know, mess with Sasquatch.

It’d be a supreme irony if by me metaphorically messing with Sasquatch he’d actually pay attention to nature and wind up shooting an actual Sasquatch.

But because I exist in an appalling feedback vacuum, I peppered him with questions: Who told you? How many people there read the blog? 

“Everybody reads it. It’s our water cooler conversation. I suggest that everyone read it and your content keeps them coming back. The ones that get the most reaction are comedy, local stories and sports. But you have many fans. People really love the blog.”

Let’s parse it.

• “Everyone reads it.” I take that literally. So that means Dolly Parton and Dalai Lama now have something else in common besides first names that are pronounced exactly alike. 

There are 7.5 billion people on the planet. If I could somehow convince every one of those 7.5 billion people to just each give me one penny, man, I’d spend the rest of my life wrapping pennies.

• “It’s our water cooler conversation.” I believe it’s always been. It’s just that people are now talking about the content instead of saying, “Say, did you hear what Rodell’s doing now? He started a blog. What a shithead!”

• “I suggest everyone read it and your content keeps them coming back.” In this world chock full of meaningless distractions, I’m proud to be one of ‘em. All snark aside, that’s great.Thanks, Dave.

• “The ones that get the most reaction are comedy, local stories and sports.” That’s my sense, too. My instinct is to always try to be funny, but if it’s something topical I feel obliged to opine — even if it’s political and I might risk upsetting half my readers. Life’s not always funny.

One disturbing fact: two of my top ’16 stories eulogize prominent locals. It puts me in the awkward position of rooting for the demise of beloved natives. Or maybe I could become a sort of Dexter Morgan who blogs. “Dexter” was the popular Showtime series about a serial killer who killed serial killers. Doing what he did for blog purposes might lead to a surge in readers, sure, but it seems like way more work than just reading the morning news for blog-worthy stories so I don’t see it happening.

• “You have many fans. People really love the blog.” Even one as habitually self-deprecating as I can no longer deny this. This blog has in the last three months drawn 29,611 readers. For an enigmatically named blog with zero niche appeal that seems substantial to me.

And who knows how many nut jobs are avoiding reading for months at a time so they can binge read in their tree stands?

I’d do a more scientific survey, but I fear the results would show 100 percent of my readers are hostile to filling out surveys.

So all I can ask is that you keep reading and referring to friends whenever you find  it worthy.

Me, I’ll keep trying to keep it fresh and lively while simultaneously trying to figure out a way to bust out of these margins of error that seem to have defined my entire career.


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