Past My Prime

Warning: this post is of no interest to anyone else besides me, so if you’re not me, feel free to skip it.

I reached my prime in 2019 and it’s been downhill since then. And by “I reached my prime,” I’m talking about my blog.

According to the totally reliable and completely accurate WordPress stats, my blog received more than 178,000 views in 2019. It had almost 49,500 visitors, received more than 53,500 likes and 21,500 comments.

In 2020, my views dropped by 4%, down to just over 171,300. Visitors were up slightly, at 51,200, but likes and comments were both down to 47,276 and 20,616, respectively.

And in 2021, views dropped again, to just under 153,000, which was a whopping 11% drop! Visitors were down to only 44,100, but while likes were up to 52,278, comments dropped ever so slightly to 20,428.

I acknowledge that I wrote more posts in 2019 than I did in 2020 or 2021. But I published 45 more posts this past year than I did in 2020, yet still had far fewer views! What the hell?

Anyway, who, other than me, cares? Still, in a totally egotistical move, here are my top five posts in terms of views, exclusive of my prompts, my about page, and my archives, in 2021. You know, just in case you have absolutely nothing better to do today.

1. Fix Your Avatar

2. Free Speech

3. Damn You, WordPress

4. Insurrection in America, which was posted one year ago today, by the way

5. Do You Read Me?

Truthful Tuesday — Do You Like Me?

Frank, aka PCGuy, has published another one of his Truthful Tuesday posts. Frank is changing things up a bit on this Truthful Tuesday prompt. Instead of asking us specific questions, he is giving us a topic and asking us to discuss it. This week’s topic is the “Like” button. Frank wants to know…

How important are likes to you on your blog, and how do you determine if you are going to click like on other bloggers’ posts?

It’s nice to be liked, but the truth is that, when I look at my notifications on my iPhone, I don’t even bother with Likes. I just look at Comments.

From my perspective, between Likes, Comments, and Followers, Comments is the only true metric that matters. It is the best indicator of whether or not what I write resonates with those who read my posts.

Views just tell me that someone came across my post, either on the web or by seeing it on their WordPress reader. Likes tell me only that a viewer clicked on the Like button. I’d like to assume that anyone who tapped the Like button actually read my post and, indeed, liked it. But that might be naïve. As Frank points out, “there is no way to know for certain if those who clicked the Like button actually bothered to read the post, or were just acknowledging that they saw it.”

Followers is a useless number. According to WordPress I have more than 4900 followers. But I typically get fewer than 500 views a day, so why do people bother “following” my blog if they never read my posts?

Frank contends that blogging is not conversation. He says that it is communication. Technically I suppose he’s right. Blogging is a form of one-way communication from the blogger to his or her readers. But Frank admits that, “at least with comments, there is some indication that communication is happening.”

So to answer the first part of Frank’s question, I appreciate Likes, but they are not that important. On the second part of his question, I only Like a post that I have actually read and that I genuinely liked.

By the Numbers

From midnight Monday until noon on today. That’s 36 hours. That’s 2,160 minutes.

And in that 36 hour — 2,160 minute — period, my blog received 1,000 spam comments and 232 comments that went directly to trash. For a grand total of 1,232 bogus comments.

That’s an average of 34.2 spam and trash comments an hour, or more than 1.2 bogus comments every other minute for 36 straight hours.

There’s no way I can manually go through that many spam and trash comments manually. So I am mass deleting the comments in both my spam and trash folders. I apologize to any of you whose legitimate comments got caught up in these folders that were deleted.

I’m tired of this shit.

Truthful Tuesday — Surprise and Delight

Frank, aka PCGuy, has published another one of his Truthful Tuesday posts, and this week Frank wants to know…

Does it ever surprise you that people pay attention to your blog?

“Surprise” is not the word I’d use. I put a lot of time and effort into my blog, so the word I’d use to answer Frank’s question is “delighted.” I’m truly delighted that people visit, read, like, and comment on my posts.

What I am surprised by is the number of spam comments I’ve been getting over the past few weeks. Literally thousands of spam comments. Last night, between the time I went to sleep at around 11:15 and the time I woke up this morning at 6:45, there were 250 new comments in my spam folder and an additional 60 in my trash folder.

Prior to a few weeks ago I rarely got more than a few dozen comments daily in my spam folder and even fewer in my trash folder. I wish I knew what triggered this significant uptick in spam comments. But at least they are all being swept up by Akismet and few are actually making it into legitimate comments on my blog.

Cease and Desist

This is getting to be ridiculous. Am I being paranoid or are they out to get me? They must be out to get me because, in my four-plus years with this blog on WordPress and my six-plus years with my previous blog on WordPress, I’ve never seen anything like this.

On Wednesday night, at around 11 pm, right before shutting down my iPhone and going to bed, I deleted all comments in my spam and trash folders. So when I actually closed down, both folders had zero comments in them.

It’s now Friday at noon my time, or 37 hours later, and this is what I’ve got in those two folders.

1,300 spam comments and 544 comments sent directly to my trash folder in a day snd a half! Seriously?

I used to go through my spam folder manually and would review each one to see if any legit comments got swept up by Akismet. But that was when I’d typically get fewer than two dozen spam comments a day. There’s no way I’m going to go through more than a thousand spam comments to find one or two legit ones. So if you commented one one of my posts and it didn’t show up, well, sorry about that.