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?