Monday, August 31, 2015

And...Relax : Blaugust

I almost went with Glad It's All Over for a title but, really, it wasn't that bad. Also Blogger doesn't allow hyperlinks in the title so it would have been a waste of an opportunity to link to my favorite band of all time (Dolly Mixture of course, not Captain Sensible, great though he is in his own way).

Ahem...why don't I go out and come in again...

Blaugust is over. It was a month-long party and now as we say our thank-yous to our exhausted host, Belghast, we'll find out who has the worst hangover and who's still feeling chipper. Wilhelm managed to post 42 times out of 31, presumably as some kind of tribute to the late Douglas Adams. He also has a full list of all the participating blogs in case anyone doesn't want to navigate around Anook to find them.

I didn't, which is the primary reason Inventory Full isn't on that list. Last year Blaugust kind of crept up on me and I didn't even think about participating. This year I gave it some serious consideration but it was the imposing formality of the entrance requirements, particularly joining Anook, that put me off.

For some reason I find Anook quite scary. I think it's the name. What does it mean? It reminds me of some ancient Babylonian demon that might be found lurking in the shadows of a small generic New England town on a designated public holiday.

Anyway, for whatever reason I decided not to sign up but instead to shadow the event and find out, largely to satisfy my own curiosity, whether I could post every day and if so whether I'd enjoy it. Well, the answers are "yes" and "not really".

Like Wilhelm, I had absolutely no problem generating ideas for posts. My goals going in, to the extent that I had any, were to post every day for a month and not post anything I wouldn't have posted in a normal month. That turned out to be easy.

There was no need to refer to any of the Blaugust memes or prompts for inspiration. I enjoyed reading other peoples' takes on the various topics but my own problem, far from not knowing what to write about, is always having too many topics and not enough time. On a number of days I'd have liked to have done two or even three posts but I had to force myself to resist temptation or I'd never have gotten to play any games!

Part of my motivation, ironically, was to win back more game time by posting more frequently. I was hoping the daily discipline would teach me to write shorter, snappier pieces, ones that take 30-60 minutes to finish instead of the two-to-four hour essays that are the norm here.

Well, that was a fail! Almost every post this month was somewhat rushed and not as long-winded overwritten well-constructed as I'd have wished. Instead of writing shorter pieces I ended up writing longer pieces faster, which really isn't an improvement.

On balance I think I'd prefer to take four hours over something every couple of days than two hours every day. What I'd certainly prefer is not to be posting on every day when I work. There just isn't time in the evening to do a proper blog post and play games and relax and wind down. If I could post at work or if I was retired or on holiday then sure, every day would be fun. On my current schedule it's not.

That I expected. What surprised me was the effect posting every day had on my traffic. Early in the month I observed that Blaugust appeared to be having a markedly negative impact on my page views. It was the opposite of what most Blaugustians were experiencing and I put that mostly down to my not being part of the official event.

As the month wore on things normalized; to a degree. The picture is slightly warped by the fact that July 2015 was, for reasons I don't pretend to understand, my best month ever for page views. August was always likely to slip back some.

What's absolutely, undeniably obvious, however, is that, as Azuriel observed, posting more often does not guarantee more traffic. I posted almost exactly twice as frequently and racked up twice as many posts as a normal month and the best spin you could possibly put on the results is that it made no difference at all to how many people read them.

Neither did increased activity generate more comments, my own preferred indicator of the health of the blog when it comes to readership. Comments ticked along much as usual. There were some new names which is fantastic - I love having regular commenters and value every one but fresh blood is always exciting. Hmm... that didn't come out quite right...

Anyway, it's done and it was enjoyable enough - for a given value of enjoyment. I'll be very happy to get back to a more natural schedule of posting when I have something to say (constantly and all the time) and when I have time (days when I'm not working).

I'll also be quite relieved if everyone else slows down a bit too because, unlike Murf, I do want to go on reading everything in my Feedly and blog roll on the day it appears. This month, for the first time in a long while, I've had to skim read posts I'd normally read carefully and skip some blogs altogether just because there aren't enough hours in the day.

If Belghast runs Blaugust again next year I'll think very carefully before deciding whether to join in but if I do I'll go the whole hog even if it means signing up to whatever new-fangled social media seven-day wonder is the hotness in Summer 2016. I just hope it doesn't involve neural implants.


  1. Posting more leads to less reading because if I check feedly after a few days and I see 1 unread post I can spent some time to read it. If I see multiple unread posts I might just mark them as read or leave them on my backlist for when I have more time to catch up.

  2. If only I had the foresight to hit 42 posts on purpose. I had to rewrite my summary twice because I expected to hit 40, then 41 at various points last week. And I simply pushed two already done posts to this week, and my drafts folder is more full than before. But that was all at the very last minute. Back at the first of the month I expected to hit maybe 32.

    Yes, my Feedly page was full beyond reason with posts this month. A lot of skimming was done. Back to a more reasonable rate of posting.

  3. This comment is coming terribly late - I do apologize. Despite what a pain in the rear it was for you to publish so prolifically in August, I thought you had some really ace posts! I even made my husband read one of them, even though he no longer plays online games and knew nothing about the subject. I thought the writing was that good. Thank you, for your effort in August but more generally for your amusing, consistent writing!

    1. Late or not positive feedback is always welcome! Thanks! I kind of enjoyed the challenge but I'm definitely glad to be going back to a more normal posting schedule.


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