The Antithesis of “Viral”
Been playing around with “blog” posts on a platform called Medium over a year or so now. Previously I had an “author page” and a personal page on bedampt Facebook. Went on a 2019 road trip. When I got home FB announced I had changed my password. No, I had not.
Did not matter. Could not and cannot access those pages anymore. Ever try arguing with an algorithm?
Internet research confirmed my growing belief there is no there there at FB. Certainly no human contact.
In the ScReW, as computer heads once called the “so-called real world,” FB’s organization — I use the term facetiously — appears to hide behind registered agents, interlocking law firms, and “straw” nominees. In my investigative-reporting days neither the mob nor corrupt mover and shakers behind the Penn Central reorganization ever hid better.
Too bad. People I knew all the way back to high school in the middle of the last century had found my stuff on FB. Since I have no way to tell them why I vanished, they probably assume I am pushing up daisies now. Sic transit gloria, etc.
But a writer’s gotta write. Like pigs gotta fly, in the memorable phrase of a porker fighter-pilot in a Japanese anime movie. So, Medium. Over three hundred entries. More than twice that many comments on other writers’ entries.
Like playing tennis with a swamp largely. Step to base-line, serve — ball vanishes, usually even without a muddy plop.
A vast number of my 300 posts were “viewed,” says Medium, in single digits. Nine or less. Plenty were never “viewed” at all. Let alone “read” — they have an algorithm evidently tracking time on target. If a reader clicks off prematurely, no “read” gets recorded. I won’t even venture into the idiocy of “applause” icons or“fans.”
A single lonely post out of 300 pushed past one thousand “views”: title of the piece included the word “succubus.” Don’t ask me to explain. I’m just reporting.
So today, posting my 301st, Medium invites me to “share” it on Twitter. Hell, I didn’t even know I had a Twitter. But I clicked the prompt.
Lo and behold, there’s No. 301 on Twitter with an announcement I just posted it here. I am old and slow, more Luddite than technophile, so this is new news to me.
H’mm. Got me thinking now. Wonder if a complaint about poor readership I posted on Medium May 29 giving examples of unloved (or unseen) posts would get attention in the twitter-verse? The plaint was entitled:
(and I said then:)
I keep getting stories from Medium on the scores and hundreds and thousands of readers about which writers brag. Interspersed with all kinds of advice about how to join their rarefied ranks.
Grabby headlines. Dramatic photos. Superb writing (a somewhat subjective suggestion). So forth and so on. Only once in my time has the algorithm said I cracked a thousand views. It was all downhill from there. To single digits per day many times. Even on odd days when the count was up to 40, or almost, I had no idea what they were looking at. Because most-recent posts are roundly ignored.
For instance: of my last ten, the below six earned a total of ZERO. (The other four each got one view. Four total views for ten posts. Kind of like keeping a diary and you have the only key. Or emitting a short burst of static into a static-filled ether.
Reminds me of the old tuna-fish TV commercial: “Sorry, Charlie. Not good enough for…” was it Starkist?
Maybe it’s time to adjust the squelch and make this stuff vanish.