Saturday, December 15, 2012

Light and Dark

by Catherine Giordano

Yesterday I wrote about my disappointment to find that some of my page views came from robo-spam and not real readers. Not only was I disappointed to discover I had fewer readers that I thought, but also I was angered by people who have to take a beautiful thing like the internet and try to ruin it. OK—spam is rude, but I can understand that the sender is doing it in the hopes of making money.  But viruses! Why would anyone want to create and send malicious viruses to random strangers?  (I guess for the same reason, someone would go to a kindergarten class and shoot beautiful little five-year-old children. There are sick evil people in this world.)

Now back to my pity party. I’m going to list all my other blogging disappointments, times where I thought something really good was happening, and then I learned it wasn’t nearly as good as I thought.

There was the time I thought my posts were really high in the google rankings, coming up in the top three of searches.  Then I learned that google tailors search results to the individual.  My posts came up high on my computer because google thought that Catherine Giordano is interested in Catherine Giordano. Other people using the same search terms would probably not find my posts at the top of the list. (Isn’t it interesting, strange, and a little scary that there is no longer any privacy. Anyone with access to the data knows more about me that I know about myself.)

I was thrilled when I discovered that Showtime had put a link to my Premium CableReviews blog on the “About Dexter” page of their website in the “In the News” section.  The link to my website was the only link provided. I got so many hits to that review.  The next week, there were links to several other websites and my review was not amongst them.  A week or two later they linked to another review.  This time there was only a small bump in hits because my review was one of several.  Still I appreciated the recognition.

My disappointment is that Showtime has not linked to any of my other reviews.  I clicked on the “Contact Us” button to thank Showtime for linking to me and to ask what criteria they use to select which reviews they link to.  I said if I knew the criteria I would try to write reviews that met the criteria—maybe a particular length, for instance.  I wrote several times.  Each time I got a robo response saying my request was received and someone would respond.  No one ever responds. So now, I’ve given up.

I don’t know why those two reviews made the cut and others didn’t. I think all my reviews are equally well done. I think all my reviews are excellent.  I always write positive reviews because I only write about shows I like. I write in a unique style because I identify a theme for each episode and discuss the show in the context of the theme.  I recap the plot, but not in linear fashion. Instead, I tell the story, adding my own comments, the same way I would relate real events. (The episodes usually skip back and forth giving us the story in little pieces. I stitch the pieces together.) I focus on the characters and plots and not on technical issues like the quality of the acting or the writing.)

Another issue—search engine optimization, platforms, promotion, i.e. how to bring attention to my work so people can find my work. There is so much to learn. Further, the learning and the doing is very time consuming.  I’ve barely dipped my toe in those waters.  It feels overwhelming and I don’t understand it very much.

I started blogging because I started giving speeches which led to me writing books which led to me writing blogs. The blogs were supposed to call attention to my books and my speaking career and vice versa. I was hoping for a synergy. I was hoping the blogging would lead to something really good. I don’t know what—life surprises us sometime. So far the blog hasn’t led to the sale of books or speaking engagements or anything else. I’m still hoping.

And that is what it is all about, isn’t it. Try one thing, try another thing; it is hard to know in advance which will be the thing that pays off.  Like Thomas Edison said when he was trying to invent the light bulb—I haven’t failed. I’ve found a hundred things that don’t work.  And now, I’m writing this in the middle of the night because I have a light bulb to provide light.

And now I am going to start thinking about all the good things that blogging has brought to my life, and I’ll write about them in my next post.

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