Monday, April 29, 2013

Words to Live By (Part 2)

[Many thanks to Lambert Strether, a contributor at Naked Capitalism, for linking to my April 20th Saturday evening post (I know, I know) first thing on the following Monday morning, which caused a day-and-a-half-long flurry of activity on Frieddogleg (as recorded by my Feedjit Live Traffic Feed.) Nearly a week later, the ripples continue.]

“Some will come back. So post wisely and well.”
―Lambert Strether

The Rest of the Story

The Feedjit Live Traffic Feed shows that most of the traffic―as much as 90% of it―arriving on Frieddogleg comes from a single source: Naked Capitalism. Virtually all the rest of it originates from a single source: BLCKDGRD. My gratitude to each bubbles over. I can’t imagine a better scenario to mark my return to blogging. Traffic when you need it. What a concept!

Another mouse-click, this time on a backlink, takes me to Naked Capitalism and the page on which the link to Frieddogleg resides. The link is rather nearer the bottom of a substantially long list of links, but it’s easily found.

Later on, I find that Lambert Strether, a contributor to Naked Capitalism and the person responsible for giving a homeless link to Frieddogleg a home, posted a reply to my earlier “thank you” comment. This, of course, prompted me to reply to his reply―well, you know the drill.

When somebody does me a kindness, I make it a point to acknowledge it, to say “thanks” and, if possible, to repay in kind. I scroll down to the comments section, write a short “thank you” message that I hope adequately expresses my gratitude, post the message to comments, and commence with revising my plans for a now radically altered day.

Elegant in its simplicity, eloquent in its meaning, Lambert’s third-round reply is the one that ends our brief exchange. His simple words and prescient message need no response. Besides, anything I can possibly say will only be anti-climactic.

Lambert Strether’s closing words were these: “Some will come back. So post wisely and well.”

Lambert’s comment refers to blog traffic, the general subject of our online back-and-forth. Profoundly wise, those words, and relevant to any blogger who struggles to attract new readers or hold onto old ones.

Some will come back.

Yes, some will come back; they’ll return time and again because you give them something they’re looking for―something they want or need and can’t get enough of anywhere else. If you give them what they’re looking for and keep them engaged, first-time visitors and casual readers often become loyal followers. These are your people.

Unfortunately, some will never come back. Accept that there’s little you can do about these except maybe try harder in the future. Bear in mind that the things that interest, motivate, inspire, compel, entertain and inform vary from person to person, and that no blog is a one-size-fits-all operation. For these reasons, trying harder is often an exercise in futility. Only you can decide if the extra effort is worth it.

So post wisely and well.

The second part of Lambert’s quote reminds us that, as bloggers, we have moral and ethical obligations and responsibilities to our readers and to the blogging community as a whole. We don’t steal content. We always give proper attribution when we do. We don’t provide safe refuge for spam in our comments section. We assume that our readers are as smart as we are and treat them as equals. We acknowledge our commenters’ contributions. We seek (and sometimes give) permission. We show respect for those with whom we share the blogosphere. We seek to inform, not misinform. We do our best to deliver our best because that’s what our loyal readers expect of us. These informal rules are simple and few, but when they’re observed they make for a friendlier, more civil and more efficient Internet experience for everyone involved.

Taken together, the two parts of Lambert’s quote add up to a healthy admonition for conscientious bloggers to examine their own efforts from time to time and correct the shortcomings that tend to impede or dissuade blog traffic arrival or retention.

Taken together, the two parts of Lambert’s quote add up to a single unified message: Think before you act. That’s the take-away.

“Some will come back. So post wisely and well.”

Are there better words for bloggers to live by?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Words to Live By (Part 1)

“Some will come back. So post wisely and well.”
―Lambert Strether

First, the Backstory

Monday. Earth Day. 10:00 a.m.―oh, alright, quarter-to-eleven―I roll out of the sack in anticipation of a fairly laid-back day, not quite awake but too awake to get back to sleep. There’s nothing on today’s agenda more complicated than booting the computer, checking e-mail, fixing breakfast, doing some prep work in my garden, visiting with my neighbors, fixing lunch, with time for reading and writing near day’s end followed by a late dinner and more reading before retiring around 2 a.m. So far, at least, it looks like just another routine day―minus a few of the routines.

Except this is not a routine day; today is Earth Day―a major holiday for me―and I plan on giving it a rest. The petitions can wait. The pleas for donations can wait. Blog and blogosphere can wait. Although I have yet to lay eyes on my computer this morning, I already envision deleting e-mail as fast as I can pound the delete key, because I know most of it will be the same kind of vacuous bullshit that shows up during every holiday―essentially meaningless trivia trying hard to disguise the fact that the message contains nothing of great importance. No time for that today. Delete. Delete. Delete.

Fifteen minutes later I’m at my computer, breakfast in hand and coffee close-at-hand, scrolling and scanning for e-mail that might demand my immediate attention when something leaps out and grabs it. Yippee-ki-yay! Someone commented on the piece I posted on Saturday, and before I can stop myself I click the mouse. In less than a minute, my plans for the day begin to unravel.

It’s not the comment that causes the unraveling, however, but what’s happening on my Feedjit Live Traffic Feed. For some reason, Frieddogleg suddenly seems to be every Internet surfer’s favorite destination; the traffic is insane. Clearly, something unusual is going on, possibly something important, and almost certainly something that bears further investigation. Before I can stop myself, I click the mouse.

The Feedjit Live Traffic Feed window on the blog page shows the last ten visitors to the blog. Clicking the Real-time View link at the bottom of the window takes you to the Feedjit site, where you get to see the last 50 visitors. In my case, only the most recent visitor hails from Portland, Oregon; the previous 49 represent visits from diverse locations all around the world over the last two or three hours. It’s unprecedented. I’ve only seen this kind of activity on A- and B-list blogs, never before on Frieddogleg. The standard questions―Who? What? Why, How? Where?―are most in need of answers, but how many times have this list turned over is the question now burning brightest in my mind.

In seconds I return to my senses. Stick to what’s important, I tell myself; accept the good things that come to you gracefully and graciously, but always do your best to find out what you did to deserve them. With those thoughts now at the forefront and my mission back on track, I begin my quest to solve this nagging mystery, minor though it is.

(to be continued)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

A spike in traffic to Frieddogleg (for our purposes, “spike” is defined as two or more visitors on the same day), all of it coming from here, caught my attention earlier today and prompted me to do a little additional sleuthing. It wasn’t hard to find the link.

BDR has been a good friend of this blog almost from the beginning; a similar link to one of my earliest posts produced a similar increase in traffic that helped launch Frieddogleg into the blogosphere* back in ’09, scant weeks before we lost Jon Swift forever. I couldn’t be more delighted that he has done so once again, wittingly or not, to help kick-start my renewed commitment to blogging (or bleggalizing, as BDR would probably say).

Those already familiar with BLCKDGRD need no introduction; those who aren’t need only know that BLCKDGRD is a quirky blog featuring a wide range of topics, including sports, music, avant-garde poetry, literature, scathing political commentary, and enough links to interesting articles on equally interesting blogs to keep you interested until you run out of time.       

Go there. Introduce yourself. Get acquainted. If you have a blog of your own, exchange links. If you’re a victim―rather than a beneficiary―of 21st-century economics, it’s not like you’ve got anything better to do.

*A term coined by Skippy

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Environment 1, Economy 0

According to a recent report in The Guardian (UK), the world’s wealthy have as much as $32 trillion stashed in off-shore accounts.

Why is all that money stashed in off-shore accounts? The obvious answer is that it’s avoiding the tax man, of course. The less obvious answer―the answer almost everyone overlooks―is that it’s cooling the economy and helping to reduce CO2 emissions and other forms of pollution worldwide.

Wait! What?

That’s right. Money acts as a lubricant for the economy. When you take away substantial amounts of lubricant, machinery starts to bog down. If you take away all of the lubricant, machinery seizes up and grinds to a halt. The economy works on the same principle; it needs plenty of lubricant (money) to keep the machinery running smoothly at top speed. When money goes out of the economy, the economy slows down, contracts and turns sluggish. You know, about like the global economy is doing right now.

More money circulating in the economy means more people have more money to spend on goods and services, which stimulates the economy. When demand goes up, businesses hire more workers to help them meet the increased demand. Taking money out of the economy produces the exact opposite effect.

Money taken out of the economy and squirreled away might as well not exist; certainly nothing would change if it ceased to exist. Money held in savings represents economic activity that’s already occurred; as long as that money is held in savings, it can’t be used to stimulate new economic activity. In terms of the economy, money is only useful when it’s spent. In terms of the environment, the opposite is true; unspent money represents reduced economic activity and a corresponding reduction of industrial pollution entering the environment.

Whether by intent or as an unintended consequence of rapacious greed, the world’s wealthy seem to be doing the rest of us a huge favor by reining-in the causes of global warming. How cool is that?

Friday, April 19, 2013


"Coming out of the recent election, it is clear that we're in the midst of a serious national conversation about marijuana." ― Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske, January, 2013

Where the hell have you been, Gil? We’ve been having a serious national conversation about marijuana for forty fucking years, but your side refuses to participate.