Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Blog Post No. 1000: Happy New Year, Lurkers and All!

Happy New Year 2014. Welcome, by the way, to my one-thousandth blog  post! You do not need to remove your party hat before reading this.

When I'm not pondering why my blog isn't being discussed on college campuses, when I'm not flummoxed by how a blog with some 18,000 monthly page views could have only 22 public followers after two-and-a-half years, when I'm not trying to figure out what my lame entries in the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest lack that the finalists possess, I sit back and ponder the science of participation inequality. Sometimes called the 1% rule or the 90-9-1 rule, it basically explains why participation in online communities and websites such as this one is generally so low. If you are a creator of content, a member of that 1% that actively participates in, say, the writing of any given blog or the hosting of any given website, I suspect you already know what I'm talking about. Here's a simple graphic from Wikipedia:

The 1% Rule

Now, I've always maintained that just about everyone has the capacity to write a blog. This is merely what mine looks like. We all have unique experiences and perspectives which can add to the general public's enlightenment. My writing this blog puts me in that 1% sliver, although the fact that this blog is published daily may mean I'm more like 0.1%. Just saying. Anyway, that holds only for this blog. For another where I may leave an occasional comment, I'm in the 9%. If I read a blog and don't participate at all, I'm in the 90% for that blog. If you've ever contributed material to this blog or left a single comment, thank you; that would then put you in the 9% of contributors to my blog, although I suspect the true percentage is much less. The remaining 90% or so are generally called lurkers, which sounds creepier than it is. Lurkers read content but do not otherwise participate.

Did you ever notice that little checklist at the end of my blog posts that asks whether the content is funny, interesting, or cool? It may seem trivial, but the reason it is there is to encourage even a modicum of audience participation. If you've ever checked off one of those boxes, pat yourself on the back and welcome yourself to the 9%. Go ahead, do it right now. Of course, if you write your own blog, you may feel you don't need to; you're already in that rare 1% elsewhere, but then you probably don't have the time to read this.

Most content creators want some sort of feedback, an indication that their efforts have found an audience, but the nature of online interaction generally precludes a lot of personal contact. I suspect this may be part of the reason why many bloggers quit. There is plenty of statistical evidence that people are viewing a website or blog, but there is often little in the way of personal interaction or meaningful commentary. I have been aware of the 1% rule from near the beginning, so I never expected all that much feedback. Still, I'm grateful for whatever comments I get, and I always try to respond.

Well, this seems as good a time as any to encourage more audience participation. If you are in possession of anything that would make any of the one-thousand posts on this blog better, I encourage you to share it. I don't consider any of these posts necessarily to be complete. If you have something that would make for an interesting future blog post, by all means contact me if you feel so inclined. Don't be too concerned that it may be wrong for this blog; if it is I simply won't use it. No hard feelings either way, okay? In the past, most of my contributors have had a very good sense of exactly what I needed. Oh, and once in a while feel free to leave a comment.

Note:  Start your Happy New Year off right with these archived posts.

Previous Attempted Bloggery centennial posts may be seen here:

Blog Post No. 100

Blog Post No. 200:  A Shaggy Dog Story
Blog Post No. 300:  From the Libraries of Searle, Koren, Booth, and Saxon
Blog Post No. 400: The Attempted Bloggery Quiz
Blog Post No. 500:  The Second Attempted Bloggery Quiz
Blog Post No. 600:  What I Do When I'm Not Blogging
Blog Post No. 700:  The Many Hazards of Blogging
Blog Post No. 800:  Think Locally, Blog Globally