Hey, look me over

Not being a consultant or a guru or a “life coach” or anything like that, I’ve never felt a great deal of compulsion to promote myself, my alleged ideas, or my reputed lifestyle. And I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this:

I am bad at self-promotion. I always have been. At least, I’m bad at self-promotion in the sense that it’s usually taken these days. I believe (perhaps I was raised to believe) that your work should speak for itself. That is, if you’re work’s really good, people will notice it and pick up on it and good things will come to you. And conversely, I grew up being at least a little suspicious of anything heavily promoted. (That may have come from my parents. First, my mother, snorting over some of the first “infomercials” ever, “If it’s that great, why do they have to buy a half-hour television slot to talk about it?” and my father, when I was much younger, teaching my brother and me to watch ads and figure out, in his words, “how they are trying to get your nickels.”)

“Follow the money” is good advice today. Since most political activities today, it appears, are schemes to rob Peter to pay Paul, the first order of business is to determine whether Paul actually deserves what he’s getting. (I figure it’s a given that Peter doesn’t deserve what he’s getting, which usually is “screwed,” but this is not going to be taken into consideration by the proponents of whatever craptopian scheme is on the table.)

And if I’m leery of promotion, I’m double secret leery of self-promotion. Those who attended the 2006 Okie Blog Awards ceremony got to hear my insufficiently-plaintive request for a recount. I make some perfunctory efforts to hype the readership around here, but truth be told, I’m always amazed when someone sends a pingback. (That said, if someone links to me and doesn’t send one, I’m not above creating an artificial one, just to make sure that said someone gets some sort of recognition for the act of linky love.)

Besides:

[Y]ou can tell when someone’s writing about something they have a passion for, versus when they’re writing about something because they think it will get them “hits,” and there’s a certain sad sterility to those websites that are written purely to attract traffic.

There are people who routinely produce incredibly-involving stuff and are duly rewarded for it in the Daily Visitors count. And, regrettably, there are people who routinely produce incredibly-involving stuff who go almost completely ignored. I fall in between on both sides of the formula: I produce occasionally-interesting material and have a small but generally loyal audience which is (mostly) willing to put up with my occasional excursions into silliness, bathos, or Deschanellery. Sad, perhaps; sterile, hardly ever.

Besides, if I decided to monetize the hegemony, it would seem an awful lot like work, and I already have a day job which takes up too much of my time (though it pays better than blogging, you may be sure).







9 comments

  1. Tam »

    19 June 2010 · 10:13 am

    I’ve written emails requesting linkage twice and I’m batting a thousand (Woo! Two-for-two!)

    You’d think I’d do it more, but it made me feel needy and stalkeriffic both times, so I don’t.

    I envy people like friend Caleb who have the knack to go pound the digital pavement and cold-call, as it were.

  2. Nicole »

    19 June 2010 · 11:20 am

    Totally agree about the self-promotion thing. I don’t automatically think less of anyone who does it, but it just isn’t for me.

  3. CGHill »

    19 June 2010 · 11:47 am

    It takes a specific talent to do cold-calling. I don’t have it. There are times when I wonder if I could even sell cold beer in Satan’s waiting room, but until such time as this becomes part of my job description, I’m not going to worry about it much.

  4. Lisa Paul »

    19 June 2010 · 5:24 pm

    Chaz, you have a very Japanese Soul. The kind of attitude that protests you can only offer the meanest, most unworthy meal. Then produces a sushi dinner that is as beautiful as art and as tasty as anything that’s ever been tasted.

    Your fans will sing your praises for you.

  5. fillyjonk »

    20 June 2010 · 7:21 am

    Hrm. Based on being quoted here, I guess my work may be speaking for itself :)

  6. sheri »

    20 June 2010 · 7:28 am

    I have no idea what I would write that would “get me hits” as opposed to writing from the “heart” or whatever. The fickleness of blog traffic! Ha. I think I was disabused of the notion that a lot of “hits” meant anything at all once I learned to read raw logs up on a server; i.e., all those “hits” are not AT ALL what you think they are — not “readers.” Nope, unh-uh. (You undoubtedly also know this, Chaz, being of the geek-mind yourself, from what I have observed.)

  7. CGHill »

    20 June 2010 · 9:30 am

    I peruse my logs assiduously, if only to find snarkable material for Monday mornings; I have long since learned to distinguish among Actual Visitors, Total Page Views (which is, of late, Actual Visitors times 2.9 or so), and mere server hits (which is every time even the lamest graphic item gets loaded). So the vaunted “hit counters” aren’t actually counting hits, but it’s probably too late to correct the usage now; it reminds me of the baud vs. bps wars of decades past.

    I have, by my best estimates, about 400 people a day who actually visit the site, a couple hundred more who read the feed, and thousands who take the feed and do God knows what with it.

  8. Tam »

    22 June 2010 · 1:54 pm

    Hope I sent some Googlebots your way. ;)

  9. CGHill »

    22 June 2010 · 2:00 pm

    Hey, you sent me 1500 people (so far) looking for Hello Kitty 5W-30. Who am I to complain? :)

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