Count Along With Fandango

F0DBCFDB-4FB7-4AD4-9AF3-CB80998CE0F7Can you guess what these five numbers mean?

  • 2,000
  • 200,000
  • 31,100
  • 707
  • 1,503

Give up?

2,000 — In late November This, That, and the Other surpassed 2,000 posts. As of today, it’s 2,024.

200,000 — TT&O is currently 63 views short of 200,000 views.

31,100 — My blog is four visits shy of 31,100 visitors.

707 — The highest number of views TT&O received in a single day.

1,503 — The number of followers of TT&O.

9895D394-EC54-4E02-8231-56DD835165D5Okay, I know this sounds very self-serving, but I am stoked.

What can I say? I love numbers.

1337 5p34k

C5664DEF-6BE3-48C6-BE1C-4C38CCB88054Yesterday I received this strange notification from WordPress congratulating me on having received 1,337 followers on my blog.

That seemed to me to be a rather random number to have generated a special WordPress notification. I got one at 1,000 followers and I figured my next one might be when I reached 1,500 or 2,000. But 1,337? Huh?

So I typed “1337” into Google and learned that 1337 means “elite.” Apparently, “1337” is a sort of webspeak kind of symbol for elite. And “1337” is also referred to as “Leet.”

Curiosity piqued, I did a Google search on “Leet.”

LEET (1337) is a written language or cipher used in online gaming, emails, text messaging, tweeting, and other electronic communication. The root of the term “leet” is the word “elite” — translated as 31337 — and 1337 was initially developed as an exclusionary language: a way to encode text so that messages could only be read by the initiated. The defining characteristic of 1337 is substitution of symbols and numbers for letters (for example, in the term “1337,” 1=L, 3=E and 7=T).

Apparently there is this whole language called “leet speak,” and its alphabet is a specialized form of symbolic writing. According to Wikipedia, leet originated on bulletin board systems (BBS) in the 80s. Back then, having “elite” status on a BBS allowed a user special access and privileges.

Leet symbols, especially the number 1337, have become internet memes that have spilled over into popular culture. I guess I’m not so in touch with pop culture because I’d never heard of leet speak or was aware of any special significance to the number 1337.

And while doing my Google research, I also came across “1337 5p34k,” which translates to “leet speak” in, well, leet speak.

So essentially, “leet” is shorthand for the word “elite,” which, in leet speak, means “better than everyone else.” And apparently, the 1337 badge from WordPress is WordPress’ way of telling you that your blog has somehow achieved elite status for having reached 1,337 followers. Woo hoo!

I suppose this is a good, albeit weird, kind of recognition. But I came across another definition of leet speak that defined it as “the language used by geeks to help them identify one another.”

Now I’m not so pleased anymore. I’ve been called many unflattering things in my life, but “geek”? Seriously?

Wow!

Apparently when I was off entertaining our out-of-town visitors, this happened:img_1922I am totally blown away! And all I can say to those of you who follow my blog, especially to those who really follow my blog, is thank you.

Thank you for taking the time to read, like, and comment on my sometimes nonsensical flash fiction, my political rants, my weird takes on various prompts, and my periodic whining about the curse of technology glitches. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I appreciate you being here and interacting with me.

Pat yourselves on the back, bloggers. You are members of a great community. Thank you for welcoming me and accepting me. I’m honored to be just a small part of it.

THANK YOU!

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

img_1349I got a notification yesterday from WordPress that I had “registered” for this blog a year ago. Woo hoo!

I guess it took me five days after establishing this blog to publish my first post, Practical Pragmatist. It was posted on May 14, 2017 and it generated all of five views, one like, and not a single comment. A rather auspicious start, right?

And now here it is, almost a year later. This is my 995th post. My posts have received almost 14,000 visitors, more than 36,500 views, 10,765 comments, and my blog has 752 followers. So stat-wise, anyway, not too shabby.

As I reviewed my posts over the past year, I was surprised that I categorized 426 of them as “Flash Fiction.” When I started this blog, I had planned on posting about my observations and perspectives on the world around me. On life, politics, and on society. I really hadn’t planned on writing short pieces of fiction.

In fact, my blog was six weeks old before I posted my first flash fiction post. It was in response to a daily one-word prompt. And that’s when I discovered how much I enjoyed writing short fiction. I also discovered a whole host of flash fiction writing prompts and, as they say, I was off to the races.

But my point for this post is simply to say thanks to all of you who have visited my blog, read my posts, liked what you read, and took the time to comment. And to those of you who follow my blog, thanks, especially to those of you who truly follow it and actually read my posts.

You are a great, diverse, and talented community of bloggers and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.

Tending Down (Take Two*)

img_2810

You’re no doubt familiar with the philosophical riddle, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

I have a slight variation on that philosophical riddle. “If you publish a post and hardly anyone reads it, does it matter?”

Why should I spend my time thinking about and writing posts that few people read when I could invest that same time and effort doing something that does matter?

I’m proud of what I write. In fact, just the act of writing what I believe to be high quality posts is all that really ought to matter. Having said that, though, I do admit that it’s reinforcing to know that others read what I’ve written, like what I’ve written, and comment on it.

So the question is, should blog stats be the proxy for blogging success?

I try not obsess over my blog’s stats. In fact, I rarely even check my stats. Not more than 15 to 20 times a day, anyway. I check them to see whether or not what I’m writing and posting is being seen by, and resonates with, others.

The good news is that some people do read my blog. The bad news is that fewer people are reading my blog now than they were a few months back.

I started this blog in late May and slowly gained an audience. But, as you can see from the chart below, my views peaked in August, dropped in September, and dropped yet again in October. And what’s even more disconcerting, comments dropped considerably from September to October.

 

Blog Stats

Should I be concerned about this downward trend? Good question.

Each of us, as bloggers, has our own definition of success. We use certain metrics — blog stats, perhaps — to measure success. It may be the number of posts you’ve published. Perhaps it’s the number of views or likes your posts get.

Maybe your primary measure of your blog’s success is your number of followers. Or the number of comments your posts generate.

I admit that views, likes, and comments do matter to me. And the more I get, the better I feel. At least it let’s me know that someone besides me appreciates my efforts.

But, again, are my blog’s stats the best proxy for me to be using? What do you think?


Written for today’s one-word prompt, “proxy.”

*This is “take two” because the first effort somehow got lost in the ether. How does that happen?