Quality Blog Readership

A friend of the blog emailed this article to me last week. It's the story of how Gregory Levey got hundreds of thousands of people to become a fan of his book's Facebook page, even though the vast majority had never read nor had any intention to read his book.

The whole scenario is fascinating for many reasons. It shows that something can go viral on the internet for the completely wrong reasons. It shows that herd mentality is extremely powerful. And it shows that the quest for the most readers, fans, or subscribers may be vastly overrated.

I have a pretty modest but loyal following here at this blog. Occasionally I'll have a post that gets the attention of some big shot bloggers. I usually see a spike in traffic but it always comes back down after a while. I used to be disappointed by this. Now I've realized there isn't reason to be.

(from Flickr user The Life of Bryan)

Levey's story suggests that having a lot of readers or subscribers is a lot less valuable than you might think. In many cases, what the masses really want isn't good content or good writing, it's a forum to spew their opinions where lots of other people will see them. This could theoretically explain the popularity of many newspaper websites that allowed unmoderated comments and why so many commenters often appear to have not even bothered to read the article they are commenting on.

At the end of the day, I have no intention of doing anything with this blog than writing about things that I, and other people, care about. If that means I have 100 readers who care instead of a million who don't, then that's just fine.


    Don't forget, a lot of us read you through RSS, so don't show up in your hit count.


    True, I do keep track of RSS subscribers through Feedburner.

    On July 20, 2010 Joe S said...

    Hey Rob, I couldn't agree with you more. I highly suggest you read Kevin Kelly's "1000 True Fans)



    I wonder how many people are afraid of complimenting you lest you in any way change your excellently agreeable tone. I probably shouldn't even say this.