Be careful what you wish for. Actually, I didn’t wish for it, but sometimes I thought about it. Only thing is, now it has happened, er, I’m not sure how I feel about it :/ So I started this blog nearly two years ago (New Year’s Eve, 2013, to be precise). Lots of people – probably at least two – said I should start a blog (if only I always took on people’s suggestions so readily). And I did. And it was fun. I had no expectations of readership and didn’t bother to promote it. Of course, when I read other people’s blogs and found they had thousands of readers, I wondered what that would be like, but decided it would be a lot of pressure and besides, their blogs were all very much targeted towards gaining an audience, very specific (beauty, recipes, photography etc) and very regular, whereas mine is whatever falls out of my head. Having said that, some of my favourite blogs are those where topics change from post to post (as long as they are well-written/funny).
Two happy years passed, with readership in single or double digits most days and spikes whenever I posted new content. That was fine by me – I get a bit frightened/suspicious when the numbers go up or a new country finds me, anyway.
Then Wednesday happened.
Wednesday began with me having an accident in the kitchen. I won’t go into detail but there was blood and a thumb involved. I put a plaster over my thumb and continued with my morning.
After checking Facebook messages on my iPad, I tried to do the closedown thing with my broken hand. For the uninitiated, you can close all your windows by “grabbing” the screen with your hand (I know, it’s ludicrous) and bringing your fingers together to the centre of the screen (sorry, mums, you will be flummoxed by that last sentence, I’m sure – it really is silly, but I use this feature all the time, because it’s also brilliant).
Anyway, doesn’t work that well with a plaster finger – instead, I inadvertently initiated one of the other features: the side swipe. My screen changed from Facebook to my blog software and that was when I saw it.
Big numbers. More than my blog generally attracts. I already had twice the normal hit count for a day and it was only morning.
It turned out that Natalie Conway – the pretty lady on X Factor about whom my last blog post had been written – had shared the post with her followers. And she has 20k followers, give or take.
First thought? Wow. I feel touched that she thought it worth sharing.
Second thought: wow, she has a lot of followers. Of course only a small percentage of those people will see the link (I didn’t receive it, for a start, and I am an ardent follower! Flipping Facebook algorithms). And only a small percentage of those will click on it. Still, a small percentage of a small percentage of twenty thousand is still a couple of hundred. Erm.
Then it began. The bar chart grew and grew and very soon the previous days’ bars looked largely insignificant and by the end of the day they practically disappeared alongside Wednesday’s behemoth of a bar.
People were reading.
And my feelings changed with the hour.
I was happy. Natalie had posted the link along with a message saying that she hoped this would answer the many questions she had received about her nerves. So I loved that she deemed my words an appropriate explanation and I was happy that people were bothering to find out the answer, because it must be a bit rubbish to have your awesome performance overshadowed by general confusion around a few tears and fears before and after.
I was also a bit worried. Other people’s blogs are businesses, would-be businesses, income streams, publicity channels etc. Mine is just a blog. I just write it. And I didn’t know how I felt about being more exposed.
Then I saw the parallels with Natalie’s situation and found it quite funny.
Then I spent the day excited every time the numbers jumped again. Which they did a lot.
Now, the awesome thing for me is that those hundreds of people will not return to athousandtimestooshort, because they were looking for something about Natalie. So I don’t have to worry, really. But it did make me think about those days (they’re still happening, actually – Nat made the top twelve last night and I think it provoked a new surge of interest) and how quickly I switched from excitement at people reading to anxiety that people were, argh, reading!
Sigh. Oh, I had my first criticism, too. And my second. Although they didn’t put anything on the blog, but on Natalie’s Facebook page (I should link to that, in case you want to know who I’m on about and/or become an ardent fan yourself. Here you go). I dismissed their comments, deciding one was trolling and the other had an argument that didn't even stand up. All the other comments were positive – hurrah. Oh, now I know why I have had Taylor Swift in my head for days – I think I trilled something along the lines of “Haters gonna hate” and “I’m just gonna shake it off” upon reading the trash talk. That really is an excellent song; I found it so annoying at first, then myself so annoying as I realised I was beginning to like it, then I embraced the catchiness and have sung it probably once/one hundred times a day for the last year.
Anyway, what’s Taylor Swift got to do with anything? You see why my blog will never be famous? I know I should cut that last bit, because it’s off-topic and not a strong conclusion (or any kind of conclusion at all). But I’m not writing blog posts to show people how they should write a blog post.
When it comes to readers, I think this one attracts quality, not quantity (although the big bar charts are fun). And that will do for me. Thank you for reading x
PS This reminds me of when I wrote something about not liking the idea of sponsored posts then almost immediately got offered some free stuff and I bit their hand off because I like posh tea.