Monday 21 November 2016

Gone viral

Could be titled Been&Gorn Viral or Once and Future Viral because . . .
I've been doing The Blob gig nearly 4 years since I started working at The Institute - a sinister corporation for altering the minds of youngsters in the Irish Midlands - and since May 2013 have put up 500 words of sense and nonsense every day for you Dear Reader. I should rather say chère lectrice nowadays because my french readers far outnumber the Anglophones (.ie  + .uk + .us).  Who knows how long les mecs de Grenoble will hang around before they get bored with the narrow parochialism. There was a time a couple of years ago when the page-view counter reported an unaccountable interest from Ukraine. I tried to communicate directly with them by writing things in Google-translate 'Ukrainian' and making snickering comments about Мать Россия; but it was no use and they've all gone elsewhere.

About three weeks ago, there was an unaccountable surge of interest in what I had to say which included, but wasn't limited to, la francophonie. At least in the recent blip-up it has been obvious what attracted the interest. It was all due to a piece I wrote this last June called Stilt-walking Nonsense.  In that post, I applied my crap-detector to an short video clip that purported to be the cartoon of an endorphin being dragged somewhere. Because I bang on at my students about the relative size of things [glucose is smaller than the pancreas etc.] the scale seemed off and I said so. The meme of seeing happiness being moved from one place to another continued to circulate but any interest in my take on the story died away to the echo. Then a month ago, someone posted a link on Facebook and page-views of my analysis exploded like a balloon with Harry Potter's face on it and soon out-shadowed everything else on The Blob: about 7x more interest than the next most viewed posts II - III - IV. And only the II of those has any intrinsic 'merit' because the other two are included in the list in the next paragraph.

I thought we were getting a lot of traffic from people who had some sense of critical thinking and an interest in crap-detecting. Accordingly, I editted the original post so that it was preceded by a number of other pieces I've written in that vein. That had no effect! Folks were just interested in the one thing that they been sent for and then they went back to restlessly checking The Latest on Facebook. There was a certain amount of through-clickery to links at the top of the sidebar on the days when folks were sent to the Blob by Facebook: 30/10 PV=914 - 31/10 PV=952 - 01/11 PV=957 - 02/11 PV=926 but [no | zero | nul | nix | zonders]  response to my recommendations.  I clearly hadn't scoped the demographic correctly.
Now that minor fad on Friendface has died away and the only people who are reading about stilt-walking and dragging endorphins are those who have been in a cave since the end of October and are only now emerging, pale and unshaven, from an internet-free zone. But we aren't quite at the status quo ante, readers of The Blob are Up from ~100/day to ~1,000/day, and most of those hanging on, as the tide ebbs, are from France. Bienvenue copains, to retain your interest, I'll have to find something interesting to say about Clermont-Ferrand . . . could be difficult.

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