Wednesday, February 7, 2018

My Latest Meta Blog

Headnote: Meta means “about,” especially about a “higher order.” A meta blog post, then, would be a post about blogs in general, or, going beyond my specific blog essay, being “about” my blog.

Hello Reader,
Got blogs?

Doctor Who and Customers


Remember what blogs used to be like? Many people were less into leisurely reading, and more into frantically clicking, fearful of they knew not what. Not me, I never enjoyed “frantic.” Right from the start I blogged for focused readers.

Here’s a quote from the long running Whatever blog of John Scalzi from September 6, 2002, when blogs were still new:

There’s also the problem with the format of blogs, in terms of justifying their status as paid content. Most blogs are essentially agglomerations of links with short, functional commentary added; one reads the commentary, but it’s usually dependent on the link for context; if you don’t link, you’re missing half (or more) of the story. 

In this way, blogs represent a new kind of content: Conduit Content, in which the primary idea of the content is to lead to you somewhere else. 

This is opposed to Destination Content, the much more traditional brand of content, in which the primary idea of the content is to keep you engaged with the material at hand 
(This site, incidentally, deals primarily in destination content, which is one of the reasons I’m deeply ambivalent about it being called a blog, or me a blogger).

… I get it, Scalzi, I’m ambivalent too. As I said in my third meta blog, back in June of 2010, I’d rather be called an essayist than a blogger.


Of course I don’t do links—because I have standards! “No links is good links” is the title of one of my “top ten” essays, by hit count, archived back in July 2012.

Yup, standards: I would have been peeved with myself if I had started my new blog site back in 2009 and (a) rushed to talk for a whole essay about me, or (b) if I had rushed to talk “about blogs” in higher, meta terms. Instead, I thought I needed to earn the rights to (a) and (b) by writing lots of real essays first. 

In 2018 I still don’t “self indulge” by talking about me or blogs except at clear intervals. Specifically, at intervals of filling my “web administrator’s page” of 25 titles. I get a kick out of how I crank out a new essay title every week. Writing is hard, commitment still harder.

Now it’s been another 25. Well, what can I say, this time around? Like other blog templates, the one I use, blogspot, hosted by google, has buttons at the bottom for readers to press, such as “like” (G+) and “links to social media.” That’s nice, eh? I don’t do social media myself, but I guess the buttons are nice for others.

The “missing button” is one for readers to “click below to subscribe” to get e-mail alerts every time I post another essay. I guess that would be nice, even though I post weekly.
(Note: I have recently added such a feature, although without buttons)

First question: Would I ever use an e-mail button myself? No, I prefer to crowd my desktop with“favorite buttons” like dials on a pilot’s console.

Next question: Would anyone else care? I think Minkee Robinson, a local published author, once told me she couldn’t find an e-mail button on my site, but no one else has mentioned it.

Last question: Would I care… about missing out on getting more viewers? This question gives me a beautiful chance to segue (slide) into a new part of this essay. 

(If you are reading this at your leisure, as I hope you are, you may feel free to go for a Second Cup (Registered Trademark) and then return here)

Doctor Who and Customers

Go to the Who Store, 30 minutes by tube out of Central London, and you may see a manager my age in pink futuristic clothing out of the 1970’s British TV show UFO. What you won’t see is a young clerk wearing black freaky disrespectful-to-others clothing. Why? Because if even five per cent of customers are turned off, well, that’s five per cent less profit, and if the profit margins are very slim, well… who needs to go into the red just to support a disrespectful young person’s freedom of expression?

As for the Doctor Who show, there must be more than five per cent of viewers who are not fans… —I know, that’s so hard to imagine!— 

And truly the BBC goes after those marginal viewers with a full effort, as in, for example, stupidly showing scenes from next week’s episode, so fans like me have to close their eyes, plug their ears and feel with their elbow for the mute button.

Speaking of buttons, either for muting… or for e-mail subscriptions for the sake of the “five per cent” of my viewers who barely like my blog… well let’s add a zero: Because those folks who “barely like” are in fact “50 per cent” at least: surely the “majority.” God bless them. 

It’s all good. I have never promoted my blog. No special buttons. No scenes of next week’s post, no gratuitous jokes, and no beach pictures of my young lovely baby sister, perhaps standing next to her blond 28 year old daughter.

Forget bells, whistles, and fish swimming across the page.

For my blog I just want to write. No egotistically collecting viewer stats. (Hit counts) No paid content, or trying to impress potential advertisers, and no linking to fool search engines. Besides, every time I mention an archived essay, without linking, I know from my stats that very few will go and look. … It’s all good.

See you next week!

Sean Crawford
On the lone prairie,

Footnotes: (Again, reading as a leisure activity, you may go grab a tea now)

~My previous 25th blog was A Blog Interview with Me archived August 2017

~Can I discern who visits my site? No, not unless they have a home made web site. Ordinary blog templates are anonymous.

~It’s a small world: Minkee (Hermine) Robinson and I both have short stories published in an anthology out of England, The Baby Shoes Project.

~Regarding that lady in UFO pink, I dwell on the casualties of time’s arrow and war, and the old show UFO where an outrider was killed, in my essay Outriders and UFOs archived October 2014

~I have a statistics (stats) feature, very crude because it’s free, showing the “top ten only” for post hits, sources, and nations: Recorded for the day, week, month, and “all time.” 

Hence I know that No Links is Good Links is in my top ten of all time. (July 2012) My most hits ever? The Death of Buffy, back in January 2012. My one on Anya, Friend of Buffy, only got a normal number of hits. (April 2014) Maybe to get hits I should have titled it The Death of Anya. (If you only want to see her death part, click on the last Youtube music video link in the essay)

Hey, I wasn’t “blabbing,” when I revealed Buffy dies. Her death is foreshadowed right from the first episode, and again when she overhears the only two grown men in her life discussing how her death is prophesied. She confronts them, right after she hears her fate, in this dramatic Youtube clip.

Similarly, when a certain young companion on Doctor Who dies she foreshadows it for us, “This is the day I died” in a voiceover at the very beginning of the episode. That way we would not be so shocked, even though her death scream was so loud. (They say you could hear her all through the BBC studio) She was sadly missed. You can find fan clips on Youtube of other characters referring to her down the years.

~More fun with stats: For my essay about a housewarming, where the three residents are a virtuous gay woman and a straight couple living in sin, (July 2011) I keep getting hits from India. I guess Indian students have a school assignment to write a composition on housewarming parties. So in the comments I noted that an important man with an Indian name, the Prime Minister of Ireland, is a homosexual. 

He came out “of the closet” casually during a radio talk show, six months before the election, and still got into power. Of interest to students? Maybe not. No student ever adds to the comments. And no student clicks on my label for “gay,” either.

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