Some kossers that have read my diaries in the past know that there was a one month period when I stopped posting at the site. Here is a little naval gazing on why I stopped posting, and why I started up again.
I started posting (just last Nov, kos was the first blog I got an account with) so that I could draw interest in my “freedom from the draft” work. I quickly realized that the way to draw traffic was to write diaries that would get on the front page. To do this, I did several things:
(1) I wrote either (a) highly charged narratives (revelations) related to the news of the day (or the koss internal news of the day) or (b) personal narratives with a compelling story and a strong moral lesson (parables).
(2) I gave high ratings to lots of readers – and left lots of positive comments, recommends all over the site.
(3) I recognized time of day, day of week patterns and exploited these patterns to gain access to the recommended diaries list on the front page.
Employing these three strategies, I was able to sustain front page (recommended list) access about 40% of the time. This generated between 400-800 unique visitors to my project sites.
After a while, I started to realize that there was a constant “arms race” of sorts, with a variety of strategies and tactics being employed by the small but active minority of kossers who “gamed the system” to gain access to the 5,000 or 6,000 readers that a recommended diary got you (or me, at least).
I also started to see that the kinds of diaries that I was writing were not going to attract the kinds of readers that I really wanted to work with me on pro-peace activities.
So I decided to stop writing those kinds of diaries, to use the site for news and information (not to drive traffic) and to post diaries that I thought were important to share with other progressives. I did these kinds of diaries for a few weeks.
I was a bit surprised that not only did the diaries not get on the front page anymore (I went from 40% to 0% in no time), but many seemed to not even get any readers at all.
At about this time, there was this really annoying person who totally annoyed me with her annoying comments – the only ones that I was getting. This person seemed to be online at all times, and seemed devoted to writing mean comments. The comments weren’t even mean in relation to what I was writing, but about assigned motives. Being annoyed, and not seeing a lot to be gained (no traffic) and having seen my own site traffic stabilize (even without the front page) I just drifted away from kos. The site seemed kinda pointless.
The reason I came back to kos is because of the small number (perhaps a dozen) of people who clearly were reading and responding to my diaries. These people were asking for specific material, and using it in their organizing work. Additionally, I met some people at a couple of conferences who had read some of my diaries. While the numbers were not there (so long as I wrote only “boring” diaries) it seemed as if I was reaching the kinds of people that I wanted to work with.
I am now only writing diaries that most likely will never move up to the front page – and am writing these for that dozen readers. Additionally, I now go right to the other diarists that I find relevent – skipping the rest of the kos site and not putting anytime into spreading my sig-line around. For me, there is a lot of content that I find very useful – in midst of content that I find totally unuseful to progressive issues.