I got a notification today from WordPress that I’ve posted 500 times. I wouldn’t have thought it was that much. I remember counting my art criticism articles at one point when there were 50. But of course this includes all my art posts as well.
A lot of people come and go in the blogging world, it helps keep me in the game that this is also where I share my art. Either way I’ve been pretty steady since I started about 5 years ago.
Why do some people last longer? There are myriad reasons why people drop out but my guess is the top two are that one doesn’t develop any audience, and one doesn’t have anything much new to say. The latter isn’t a problem for me but the former is, and the antidote is not caring so much about that. Occasional some of my articles went mini-viral (as in thousands of hits, not millions like YouTube videos get), but some of my best posts got a few desultory likes and disappeared from the radar.
At one point I was working on a series of articles about contemporary art which hit the world with a resounding thud and quietly decomposed on the pavement. Since nobody was interested I moved on to other things. Now, somehow, those articles have ended up being circulated all over the world. It can take a year or more for someone who has a bigger audience to share something I wrote on Facebook or somewhere, and then it gets lots of exposure. Nothing I post, no matter how good, will get anywhere just reaching my direct audience. Somebody else has to pick it up.
I wrote an article about “The Debate Over Skill In Visual Art And Conceptual Art” in 2015. It got 2,610 views for the year. In 2016 it got 3,309 views. But this year so far it has 19,242 views. When I examine my “stats” page I find that colleges are linking to my articles via web pages where they post their curriculum, which means they are using my articles for teaching purposes (I don’t know the context, though it’s probably not “don’t let this happen to you”). That’s really cool.
Looking at ones stats too carefully is a downer, though. Sure, a few articles go mini-viral, but most of them get so little recognition that other than formulating my own thoughts they were hardly worth writing. One of my most ambitious articles, “How Postmodernism Has Worked Against Us”, despite winning over a lot of people on a philosophy forum (where I was eventually banned for winning an argument with a presumed superior and thus upsetting the hierarchy), only has 157 views this year.
It’s almost impossible to get any real traction when you start from nothing, and don’t piggy-back off of celebrity. My blog would be much more popular if I wrote about whatever’s popular in the media, but would also be innocuous and derivative. Another tactic is to like the living crap out of other WordPress users in a frenzy of you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours in which most people don’t bother reading anything. I don’t do that. I get most my views from Google searches.
At the end of the toilet break, I keep going just because it’s intrinsically worth writing articles and publishing them even if I only reach a handful of people who are genuinely interested and willing to engage.
Will I be around for another 5 years or reach 1,000 posts?
And if you like my art and art criticism, and would like to see me keep working, please consider making a very small donation. Through Patreon, you can give $1 (or more) per significant new work I produce, and cap it at a maximum of $1 a month. Ah, if only I could amass a few hundred dollars per month this way, I could focus entirely on my art. See how it works here.
Or go directly to my account.
Or you can make a small, one time donation to help me keep on making art and blogging (and restore my faith in humanity simultaneously).
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