Saturday, June 06, 2015

Audience appeal

There’s one inescapable fact about this blog: People like me to talk about US politics. Every time I do, every indicator goes up. And when I don’t, they don’t. Simple, really. And I ignore it.

I love politics of every kind, as long-term readers well know. You also know that I’m not married to my opinions, but to truth as best I can divine and interpret it. Which is a fancy way of saying I’m right until I decide I’m wrong (though I don’t often talk about being wrong, of course).

I have a special passion for US politics, since I studied it at university and engaged in politics at the local level for the first decade or so afterward, and starting again in recent years. In the USA, it was LGBT activism, while here in NZ it’s electoral politics. I’ve told stories about a lot of that on this blog.

But to be brutally honest, I have absolutely no idea why people check out my political posts. Do they agree with me? Do they disagree? Or, is it simply that they’re curious? Page-load statistics—one of the few audience measurement tools there are for websites, including blogs—can’t tell me why people stop by, not by a long shot.

Whatever the reason folks come here, whenever I talk about US politics, my page-loads go up, my Facebook “reach” (whatever that is) goes up, and so do indicators of all sorts. When I talk about non-political stuff—even core topics, like life in NZ or being an expat—those numbers tank.

This suggests that I should “stick to my knitting” and focus on US politics. But, unfortunately, I’ve never been one to do what I “should” do, so I go on talking about what interests me at the moment, as I always have. I guess it’s fortunate for page-load numbers that US politics interests me as much as it does.

I am what I am, and what interests me interests me. I make no excuses for either. But it does suggest that if I wanted to make money from this blog, I’m going about it all wrong. Oops.

Because of that, I doubt I’ll ever make money from this blog, nor anything else I do online. That’s not why I do it: I do it because I want to have my say, because I truly enjoy interacting with others, and because the best option is always more speech, not less. If one day that settles into an “income stream”, as the media companies call it, well and good, but that’s not my motivator.

Me, I’m here for the cake.

Postscript: I had a look at my most recent posts, and those that weren’t about US politics had, on average, less than 64% of the average page views of ones that were about US politics. Even a quasi-political post about something here in NZ, one that I specifically promoted on social media (which I don't normally do for the US politics posts), was still considerably lower than any post about US politics.


rogerogreen said...

Mostly I agree with you, though I'm fascinated how you perceive what's happening in the US from a half a world away. Still think Hillary's vulnerable to not getting the nomination because she's brought back Ali's rope-a-dope technique. Remember, she was a lock in 2007.

Arthur Schenck (AmeriNZ) said...

You're right: Early on in the 2008 campaign, Hillary was the odds on favourite. It wasn't clear that Hillary wouldn't get the 2008 nomination until relatively late in the game, and I actually think that helped Obama by building familiarity, excitement, etc.

I still wonder how much the other Democrats appeal to actual Democratic Party voters who participate in the selection process, because they're the people who'll determine the Democratic nominee. As near as I can tell, she's still way out in front by that measure, but things can always change, like they did in the 2008 campaign.

rogerogreen said...

Now if she comes out and talks about universal voter registration, like she did recently, and KEEPS UP this tactic, she can declaw a loss from the left.