Sunday, November 9, 2014


Fame is a fleeting thing.

You can see from this handy Google graph that since October 19 page views at this blog have fallen by about 25 percent. This sudden shift is presumably due to some action taken by Google, either in the way they count page views or in the way they prioritize search results.

Still, it gets me down. For the first three years my count of readers rose steadily and I sort of imagined it rising on and on until I got modestly famous.  The count took a huge fall in 2011, when Google revamped their image search, but then I built back to to more than 40,000 page views a month in 2012. That was my peak as a blogger, in terms of both my overall count of real readers and the popularity of my individual posts. Of my top ten most viewed posts, nine were written in 2011 or 2012.

Since then, as you can see, my readership has steadily declined, and there have been few new blockbusters. Sigh. These days the main ways internet pages get shared are via Facebook and twitter, and for whatever reason hardly anybody ever shares my posts in those ways.

So I labor on in ever-increasing obscurity, wondering about how the internet works. When the web came along 15 years ago I thought it would solve a lot of human problems, especially how to meet people with similar interests. I thought I would find all these forums or lists where people were talking about the things that interest me and meet lots of people whose thinking is compatible with mine. Nothing doing. I wasted hundreds of hours exploring new sites of various kinds, looking for conversations I wanted to join, finding mainly anger and emptiness. Plus narrowness, places where only conversation on a single limited topic is encouraged. That was how I came to start my own blog, hoping to create the kind of conversation I had been looking for. You all know how this is working out.

It makes me wonder: why doesn't it work better? Is the kind of far ranging conversation I am interested in just not very popular, compared to ax-grinding and professional shop talk? Or are there tens of thousands of people like me out there, looking for intellectual companionship and not finding it? I have a feeling there are, and one of the reasons I keep blogging is the hope of meeting more of them, and welcoming them to our little world.


pootrsox said...

I visit your blog daily-- I always enjoy your writing and often learn something new and possibly even important.

I purchased and read your novel as a result of finding its author a fascinating mind with which to interact.

I tend, however, to cut a cogent paragraph or two from one of your commentaries and post it to my FB page as

"John Bedell comments that..."

I shall start using a link to the particular post as well as the credit-giving line. Perhaps some of my FB friends will become "friends" of your blog too.

BTW I *found* your blog via someone on FB recommending it to me.

John said...

That's interesting, because Facebook has never showed up at either Google or StatCounter as a significant source of visitors to this blog.

John said...

And thanks!

Jolie said...

This is the fourth week I've been visiting your blog and I've been reading it with pleasure. So I'm not among those who were with you at your peak readership, but I'm glad I found you. I have just completed a comprehensive history of Chateau D'Oex in Switzerland (Switzerland: Village History by Prof. David Birmingham) and was at the beginning of listening to the recorded lectures of Prof. Kenneth W. Harl, a part of "The Great Courses: Medieval History" found on Audible. My husband and I had just attended an Indian Pow Wow at Patuxent River Park in Maryland and I was Googling something archeologically related to the native American peoples of Maryland and your blog was offered as one of the sources of information. I simply don't recall precisely. Great blog.